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Lots o' Google News

I am not a search engine watcher. It is not my personal or professional inclination (beyond a certain "which engine works best for me for what type(s) of query?) to be a search engine watcher, and with trying to survive the first semester of law school, I don't have the time or energy for it.

And yet, I can't help watching Google. When I have the time. But I haven't had a lot of time, so a lot of stuff has gone by me.

Like the new book, The Google Story, by David Vise and Mark Malseed. Gary Price has more about it, along with a short excerpt.

Mr. Vise has also authored an opinion piece about Google that was in a number of newspapers. I'm not sure how many papers ran the whole thing, but the Salt Lake Tribune allowed a near-2,000 word count for the piece (which is substantial for the opinion page). Oh, the things I learned:

  • The company is quietly working with maverick biologist Craig Venter and others on groundbreaking genetic and biological research. Google's immense capacity and turbocharged search technology, it turns out, appears to be an ideal match for the large amount of data contained in the human genome.
  • Its ad-driven financial success has propelled its stock market value to $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, Ford, General Motors, Amazon.com and the media companies that own The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
  • The more books and other information that they can translate into any language through an automated, math-based process they are developing [emphasis mine], the more compelling the Google experience will be for everyone, and the more wealth the company will have to invest in their vision.

In addition to summing up Google's activities, Vise's op-ed is a mix of "Golly gee whiz!" and "OMG! Aaaaiiiiieeee!" responses:

Consider the wide-ranging implications of the activities now underway at the Googleplex, the company's campuslike headquarters in California's Silicon Valley. Google is compiling a genetic and biological database using the vast power of its search engines; scanning millions of books without traditional regard for copyright laws; tracing online searches to individual Internet users and storing them indefinitely; demanding cell phone numbers in exchange for free e-mail accounts (known as Gmail) as it begins to build the first global cell phone directory; saving Gmails forever on its own servers, making them a tempting target for law enforcement abuse; inserting ads for the first time in e-mails; making hundreds of thousands of cheap personal computers to serve as cogs in powerful global networks.

Okay, the Google global cell phone directory, I didn't know about, but is the company really demanding such information in exchange for a Gmail account? Because I know of at least two people who don't own cell phones but do have Gmail. The "inserting ads into email for the first time" seems wrong, in spirit if not in fact. The web-based list/group management site Topica has been placing ads in every post for every free list on its site (and if you get posts via email, voila, it's in your email). All of my outgoing Yahoo! mail gets a little text ad at the end (although it's for another Yahoo! service). Mind you, I still have baggage over Gmail (and it matches my shoes!), but let's not go crazy.

Okay, here, let's go crazy: Google may be launching a book rental service.

Web search leader Google Inc. has approached a book publisher to gauge interest in a program to allow consumers to rent online copies of new books for a week, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The proposed fee is 10 percent of the book's list price, the Journal reported, citing an unnamed publisher.

I wonder if Michael Gorman knows about this yet?

Alright, I'm done for now ... back to Contracts.


Unless I'm one of the two you already have, add a third person who has Gmail and no cell phone. I don't even remember the question being asked...

Gmail is now open for everyone and you don't need an invite. In order to prevent spam accounts they require you use a cell-phone to verify yourself. I find this an interesting technique and one that may spread to other free email services. The page is here:


And the info snippet:

Phone numbers are also stored to manage the number of accounts created per phone. Your number will never be sold or shared for marketing purposes without your permission, and will only be associated with your account if you check the box above.

You can still get an account without using the cell phone if someone sends you an invite.

Walt, you came to mind as I thought that you did not have a cell phone, but I didn't know for sure. So, you're third.

Ryan, thank you for the info!

Eli, this is a bit off track, but in case you haven't seem my posting about Google's digitization quality, I wanted you to know about it.


I hope that school is going well for you.