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Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Paper about Google with interesting quote

Today, I read a paper (PDF) written by the founders of Google about the first versions of their search engines. Probably, this is already noted by a large number of other webloggers, but I came across the following quote about ‘other commercial search engines’:

Currently, the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of
the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users. For
example, in our prototype search engine one of the top results for cellular phone is “The Effect of
Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention”, a study which explains in great detail the distractions and
risk associated with conversing on a cell phone while driving. This search result came up first because
of its high importance as judged by the PageRank algorithm, an approximation of citation importance on
the web [Page, 98]. It is clear that a search engine which was taking money for showing cellular phone
ads would have difficulty justifying the page that our system returned to its paying advertisers. For this
type of reason and historical experience with other media [Bagdikian 83], we expect that advertising
funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the

Considering the fact that Google generates most of its revenues by putting advertisements in its search results, it makes one wonder whether Google did not made the same mistakes as its predecessors. In the current version of Google, a search on Cellular phone does return only information about where one can buy the cheapest cell phones, but no results about a study on the dangers of using cell phones while driving a car. I think it is at least interesting, and maybe even an example of the risk of ‘allowing’ advertisements everywhere (of course, Google may decide for itself if it put advertisements in its search results). I also wonder how Page and Brin (the authors of the paper, but also the fouders of Google and now both billionairs) currently think about this topic. I guess they have a different vision on it now, then they had nine years ago…

Google Reader

Today I came across a weblog entry of Jorge O. Castro
on Planet Gnome which mentions Google Reader. While I didn’t know this service of Google, I decided to give it a try. I must say, it is a very nice AJAX-based webapplication for following various websites. There are several ‘packages’ available, such as photography (see screenshot below) and Technology (which consits of sites such as Slashdot, Digg, Wired, etc.). It is possible to add other RSS-feeds to the list as well, and you even don’t have to look them up yourself, because you can easily search for them using Google. Even the RSS-feeds are known by Google. I think this may be the first RSS-reader I will use regularly in the feature because of the ease of use (and also because of the nice pre-package feed-packages).

Google Reader

Google Codesearch: a potential hackers paradise

Google recently introduced Google Codesearch, a search engine for programming code. While Google was already a valuable source of information for hackers (it could be used to find passwords, usernames and so on), Codesearch enables even more possibilities. Obviously, it is quite easy to find patterns of potential vulnerable code, like buffer overflows, backdoor passwords and even proprietary code which is unintentionally published on public accessible websites.

One can think this is ‘bad’ or something, but I think it is very good that flaws in programs are easy to find and exposed to the entire world. This is the only way to prevent companies and individuals from relying on ‘security by obscurity’. And it is good for ‘closed source’ companies to realise that even while there program sources are not widely available, it is very hard to prevent people from getting it anyway. As some people say: ‘there are no secrets, only information you do not have yet’.

A nice list of stuff which can be found using Google Codesearch can be found on a weblog called

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