The WIRED Projection

February 15, 2008

The curiousities about internet and web capabilities have been on the minds of innovators for over half a century. Kevin Kelly begins his recap of history with idealist Vannevar Bush in 1945. When Ted Nelson started to build the concept of hyperlinked pages, the fantasy of search began to take its course. Nelson’s inspiring invention led him to believe that the the “grand utopian benefits of his embedded structure” would be the salvation of our stupid world. Those are seemingly harsh words coming from a fellow human being with a brain that structure the hyperlink, however, Nelson stepped on his own foot when he made that comment as hyperlinks have transformed the usage of the internet from inquiry of information to our taking the place of our own memory. Clearly, Nelson was right when he said that the hyperlink was “just the beginning”. “Transclusion” and “Interwingularity”, as Nelson, named these actions,  revamped the internet into a web of ecommerce, citizens media, customized news and information, music, and television and participatory consumers have become the spiders that continue to spin the web, threading and connecting links to each other. Kelly drops some impressive numbers, claiming that each person on earth could have 100 of their own webpages at any given time. I hate to burst this dreamy bubble but the digital divide the gap between people who do benefit from web technology and those who don’t, still exists. Kelly talks about all the economic benefits that come out of participatory usage of the internet and consumers building and flourishing their business on the internet. But everyone does not use the internet at an equal level. Yes, the freedom of speech is increasing as small, e-businesses are becoming larger and filling the shoes of big businesses, but everyone doesn’t have an e-business or knows how to blog or create video and photo journals on the web. What about all of the people who still only use the web for email only or to check the weather or get driving directions from Yahoo! or Google Maps? How will these people participate in the civilization of the web? In the 1990s, internet mavens and researchers were concerned that the government would have too much control on the way that the internet could be used by consumers, but now that barrier is broken. So who is controlling it now? Or is it just a free for all? This is a highly political matter. What I know for sure is that Nelson couldn’t have possibly predicted everything. That’s my CNN (WIRED) projection.



A Hard Place: Google and the Government

February 11, 2008

Once upon a course, in Communications and Culture, I learned some interesting tidbits of information through my professor’s regular presentation of Google search on the classroom computer. The results of his habit of obtaining information on demand were quite intriguing. Using Google’s search box in order to spontaneously supplement some tidbit fact he had just given the class was frequently the cause of my learning more and more about the information that Google produced. Whether I understood it all or not, i knew that it could produce mounds of information from the insertion of one or two words into the search field. I learned so much just from the 20-30 word mash-up descriptions underneath the resulting links, that I may have been a valid contender on Jeopardy after a semester in this class.

What is seemingly valued more than anything else America (and some may refute this perspective), is the freedom and ability to have wide access to any and all information world wide (web). Americans place high value on their right to know and be informed whether they are considering the consumption of E! News and the RedEye to be actual news or scouring archives that holds the history of government records, current corporate law, or getting a specific perspective on how the 2008 President Campaign is turning into Survival of the Richest. The idea that news has just become a speculation according to an individual or group perspective is certainly not far fetched to Americans, and so much of our “news” has also become entertainment which is also vital in American culture.

Battelle raises a crucial topic that I first encountered back in Communications and Culture: The China Question. The worlds different governments are in place to control society, creating laws and taking action to protect it and keep it in order. The idea that the US government can see (or hear) our private lives is extremely unearthing but the idea that it can also change existing laws (even) the constitution to do so just seems plain evil. The term Big Brother arises as an epithet of a nasty bully, rather than a protector. This is the same light in which I thought of Google when I first witnessed the returns Google had for “Tank man” and gathered information about how the Chinese government banned sites that were relevant to a rival government or other ideas that were unacceptable in China. What is the worth of information to the Chinese people? Apparently, a value that is applied negatively to the Chinese people according to their government. Otherwise why would they ban headlines and information about events that had religious and cultural implications?

The perspective that Battelle eludes to as Google playing the “Big Brother” role is quite interesting. Aside from trying to figure out the political stance of the writer, one could also argue that Battelle posed good ol’ Google has a silent bully who pretends to do what is the “right thing” rather than fighting for the political freedoms of others outside of America and conforming to some obscene government policies in order to avoid forfeiting a profitable market. Since search has become such an immense part of the internet a technology that is abundantly used in America, would it be fair to make reference to “the right” to search? Couldn’t search provide elements of liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness? It is interesting to draw difference of access between Americans who have a wide gap of digital and internet knowledge amongst American citizens and the access to that of the Chinese who seek the same human liberties.



Battelle Chp 5-7

January 31, 2008

The most well known model of business for internet advertisements did not originate with Google!? Really? Google is everything, has everything. How could that be?

Battelle tells all about the history of how Google landed what eventually became the largest internet enterprise that we know today through the saavy business model of Bill Gross. The pay-per-click model that Gross originally founded in his idealab was a revamped idea from his nostalgic activities as a student. The advertisers paying a very low rate for clicks on their advertisements, while Gross relied mostly on volume. Seemed at first like Gross was taking the stairs to the top floor with his methods.  However, by the time the model was changed to CPM, advertisers were paying very large amounts for quality clicks, or clicks that provided the means to a sale or personal contact information.

Gross is the economic builder of Google’s current method of acquiring advertising revenue. Its not hard to understand that Google is the beast of the internet because the model is inherently cyclical: advertisers pay large sums of dollars to gather information while Google provides free portals where information can be accumulated like Gmail and iGoogle! With millions of people online all the time, it is not hard to understand why advertisers are coming straight to Google for the numbers.

In our first class discussion, the first question that popped into my head after seeing Oprah clip was “what is the big deal”? How can a company get so large and lucrative that employees get to play at work and get paid really well?! Battelle includes his discussion with Ted Meisel in chapter five alluding to the je n’ai ce quoi of Google. The reason that competitive like Overture can’t beat Google is that they “lack Google’s sex appeal and broad consumer brand. Did two nerds from Stanford set the sex appeal standard for Google or did the consumers do that? These are questions that YouTube, a site made of citizen media, helps me to grapple with. In the meantime, Battelle talks about the economic growth of Google. Duh, we know that. I’m ready for Battelle to unveil the mystery.



January 24, 2008

The workings and the beginnings of Google are essential to gaining perspective on web media and the culture that is built around it. Even more pertinent is the concept of search, its purpose, and its value to major companies like Google. Battelle breaks down the concept of search into the simplest who, what, when, where, and why categories and then answers those questions open-endly. My take is that our economy have lead the revolution of the web and its intent to mind the intent of web-users. There is capital value in the idea of search because the creations that were stimulated by search: banner ads and web-embedded advertisments generate the greatest capital at the lowest price possible amongst other advertising outlets. This fact alone is changing the way that people are perceiving messages that are being transmitted to them. I’m specifically intrigued by the process by which Google has found search to the be the exact tool to yield advertisments tailored directly to different web users.

I’m interested in the way that wireless and smartphone technology has added speed to the effects such a process. Blackberries, Treos, Apple iPhone, and other such smartphones provide the search at any given time that the user browses the web. The idea that Google and search have translated from the home computer the same way that it translates to the smartphone is something to be studied by major phone companies and businesses and businesses that manufactur phonebooks. Why wouldn’t every independent business or major company find it lucrative to purchase ad space on the web and embedd ads on public sites rather than in publications or on television? This is something I hope to find counter information about. What are the cons of embedded message. Battelle’s first four chapter in The Search about the coming of Google and the lucrative ability of search almost seems too good to be true. What’s the catch?


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January 19, 2008

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