Cuil Launches Today

Former Google executives and web gurus have gotten together – along with 33 million dollars in venture capital – to launch a new rival to the Google search engine, Cuil (pronounced “cool”).  Among it’s many boasts is that it contains three times the index, the total number of pages searched by the engine, as Google.

That might seem impressive at first, until you consider the fact that Google specifically banned a number of websites owing to the fact that they were either blackhat SEO honey pots or copyright infringers.  Take for example this search for “dragonflyeye,” Safe Search on, Safe Search off.  Neither yeilds the domain which bears the name.  There is, however, a ClaimID account I haven’t used in three years, some spam blogs and a bunch of comments I’ve made at  None of this is accurate to what one might expect to find when searching for my domain name.

So, they’ve got some room to grow.  It would be nice to have another competitor in the search engine market that provides something a little different, but relevant keyword searching is relevant keyword searching, and Google seems to have it down.  I do like the basic layout of Cuil and if they improve their back end, they might really have something.  Time will tell.


Who’s Watching the Watcher You’re, er, Watching?

I remember getting a video pulled from my account by YouTube a while back. It was a video of The Daily Show, and so copyright was admittedly a bit murky: on the one hand, rebroadcasting clips of television shows is generally copyright violation, but since it’s a kind of current events show (some people actually learn more about the news from TDS than from their network news, big surprise) and since I’m a blogger who does the pseudo-journalistic thing, an argument could be made for “fair use.”

But as YouTube has become – along with many other social video services – a standard of presenting media on the Internet, more and more content has gotten pulled by YouTube for more and more questionable rationales. Free speech covers things like fair use, parody and other uses of otherwise copyrighted material. But with thousands of videos getting posted per day, the need to regulate copyright and the need to protect free speech in a large volume, rapid fire environment are highly competitive necessities.

Enter YouTomb, the MIT student project dedicated to cataloging YouTube video removals, their owners, their viewers and what reasons the vids get pulled for:

YouTomb Keeps an Eye on YouTube’s Graveyard | The Underwire from

Jansen says the site’s opaque policies spurred the YouTomb project.”We aren’t trying to be antagonistic at all,” said Jansen. “We understand YouTube has a business to run. But at the same time, we’re not sure where it ends.”

Alongside a screenshot of each clip deemed in violation, YouTomb lets users see who posted the offending video, how many views it got before being pulled, when it was removed and by whom (for instance at the request of the user, a media company or third-party).

Site Updates

New Feature at DragonFlyEye

I just wanted to point out that there is a new feature here at DFE that some of you may want to avail yourselves of. I’ve created a Google custom search engine that pulls exclusively from Rochester news sources including Channels 8, 10, 13 and R-News, the Democrat and Chronicle, City Newspaper, Rochester Business Journal.   Look for it in the sidebar, below the news updates. If you know of other news sources I aught to be including in this list, leave a comment here or contact me with whatever websites you think of and I’ll add them to the list.

I’m hoping that, at some point, Google will let us unlock the power of the News Search where we can order by date. There may yet be a way to do that with what I’ve got, I’m going to keep checking.


Oh, They’re Paying Attention Now

I’ve been watching and following the Subprime story for a while now, and when there was news to report, I’ve been faithfully reporting it back here.  This evening, I thought I’d check to see where the rest of the Internet was on this whole thing, so I checked Google Trends.  Even just in the last thirty days, the change has been enormous.  Betcha a lot more people will know the name Ben Bernanke in a month or so.


How “Stocks” Beat “Sex”

China Daily is trumpeting the recent Google China statistics that point out that on the search giant’s Chinese language site, the names of a few banks and the keyword “stocks” beat out the word “sex.” Isn’t that a hoot?:

“Stock” beats “sex” on Google China | Top News |

“On the Chinese mainland, it was money and technology that took the honors last year,” the China Daily said, pointing out that “sex” was the most popular keyword for Google users in some other countries.

Really? Hmm. Wonder if in “some other countries,” Google filters results or reports search queries to the government? Because I’m thinking that might have something to do with the statistical differences. . .


Sometimes, at Night, I Google Myself

And I’m not alone. has the story.

Of course, you’d be a fool these days not to know what information there might be about you out there online. Many a person has been “Dooced” or found that those secret tapes they made with a former loved one turned out to be not-so secret, after all. Besides, it’s cool to own your own namespace.


Don’t Miss Google’s Latest Innovation. . .

“Google Base,” . . . You know, like “bouillabaisse?” Get it?

bouillabaisse – Recipes – Google Search

. . . made all kinds of Spanish and French dishes, including a great bouillabaisse. Now Armstrong serves his own phenomenal bouillabaisse, packed with shrimp, . . .


Verizon Adopts OHA and Linux Handsets

Verizon has announced that they’re planning on adopting Google’s new Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of manufacturers working towards an Open-Source wireless networking scheme.  There is some concern that government regulators may soon force open networks on providers whether they like it or not.  Great run-down with good linked articles by

Well, That’s It: The Internet Has Been Sold

In a vote that basically paves the way for a new corporate-censored, plutocratic Internet, the Republicans defeated the attempt in the House to establish Net Neutrality.  Congradulations to all those brown-shirts that made this possible.

House rejects Net neutrality rules | Tech News on ZDNet

By a 269-152 vote that fell largely along party lines, the House Republican leadership mustered enough votes to reject a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others.

I am finding it nearly impossible to say anything intelligent at the moment, preferring to swear and curse and jump up and down.  Listen to this Republican peice of filth spin the debate as though he’d done a good thing for Americans:

“I want a vibrant Internet just like they do,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican. “Our disagreement is about how to achieve that. They say let the government dictate it…I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet.”

No, you don’t want a vibrant Internet.  What you want is an Internet where you’re rich buddies get to decide who gets to speak thier minds and who does not.  What you want is an Internet that looks like network television.  In short, what you want is an Internet that is a plutocracy.

One asshole Tennessee Representative (and I’ve seen this woman speak on the floor of the House, believe me she’s a grade-A asshole) knows exactly what this is all about, and is willing to say she opposes it:

While the debate over Net neutrality started over whether broadband providers could block certain Web sites, it has moved on to whether they should be permitted to create a “fast lane” that could be reserved for video or other specialized content.

Prohibiting that is “not a road we want to go down, but that’s what the Markey amendment would do,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican. “The next thing is going to be having a secretary of Internet Access (in the federal government).”

Oh, I see. Something as outlandish as a Secretary of Communications Technology is so far beyond the pale. Next thing you know, other essencial services might get coopted by silly things like (I’m spitballing, here) a “Secretary of Energy,” or “Secretary of Health and Human Services.” Man, who would want to live in such a bizzaro-world?

The fact of the matter is that information is and always was power. Who controls that power controls most everything else. The Internet presented a chance for at least some of that balance to shift back to the people; a chance for bloggers and individuals to put out thier own thoughts and ideas without the corporate filter. The Republicans are diametrically opposed to any such thing, and they’re going to do everything they can to push the Internet into the box.

What they and Corporate America want is for the Internet to become a passive, one-way media like television is. They don’t care to hear back from us, they don’t care to hear what people like or dislike about the crap they feed us. They want another, far more expensive type of media that allows them to tell us what we like, just as they always have in the past. A “Vibrant Internet” might talk back. A “Vibrant Internet” like the one we have now decides what it likes and dislikes according to it’s own schedule; a “Vibrant Internet” made MP3’s possible, and forced Corporate America’s hand in providing us the content we want the way we want it.

But Corporate America is one step closer to eliminating the upstart-public’s right to choose. The House of “Representatives” has decided once and for all to publicly declare who exactly they represent, and it’s not you or I.

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Micro Persuasion, Google Trends, Crafty Google!!!!

The newest innovation from Google, our earstwhile ally, is Google Trends. This new web application allows you to see trends in google searches, along with any relevant news articles that may account for peaks in the search performance. At first blush, this may not seem very important, but for a site like Micro Persuasion that is dedicated to Web2.0’s impact on marketing and sales, it’s imperative. As you can see, he’s come up with some pretty interesting results.

There’s also no telling what else could be gleaned from this trend-pattern information, at least in terms of sociological data. It helps get a sense of what people are thinking as opposed to what the media tells us. Further, since the data on searches is cross-referenced with news references on the same subject, you can get a sense of what is and what is not actually driving the media and the people together.

My one complaint about Google Trends is that there are no numbers. Sure, we can see a graph, but what does a graph really mean without the correlating numbers to give us a sense of scale? The breakdown of results by major cities is interesting, but if you read into it, the graph means something much different than it appears at first blush: the data is normalized to provide a proportional representation of the Google searches for a given topic in relation to all searches in that city.

Nit-picky, I know, but when you’re talking about charts and graphs that will inevitably be used to bash people over the head, it would be nice if at least we had an accurate picture of the object used for bludgeoning.

Why did Google develop this? Well, they’re always innovating something new. However, there is one other possible explaination, which if true means Google is indeed the crafty company they’ve always been. The Federal Government demanded that they provide information very nearly like the information you find in these charts. They were perhaps looking for more data than this, but thier explaination was that they were trying to gauge the effectiveness of thier anti-kiddie porn efforts. Well, Google managed to deliver in what I view as an acceptable way without violating anyone’s personal freedom or privacy. Good work, Google!

And the results?? Well, if you keep kiddie porn in the news, you keep it out of the search engines, that’s for sure!

New Google “GeoCities” Site

I have always thought that there are not nearly enough outlets for people to design half-assed webpages, and thank goodness, Google has heard my call.  They now offer the same pseudo-GUI interface to design pages that every other crappy site like Geocities offers, or back in the day, Homestead.

Not that I’m in a position to crab about it too much: I know of these other services because I’ve used these other services, back when I didn’t know how to code even HTML.  In fact, I still use Geocities to keep some of my stuff that isn’t important enough to fill my website’s space.  Still, I don’t see why Google needed to get into the crap-orama webpage design act. 

There is one interesting point about Google’s service, and other services they’ve offered in the past, which other companies either cannot or will not duplicate: volume.  Geocities only offers about 15mb of space for free pages, whereas Google offers you a full 100Mb of space.  I don’t suppose I’m going to go and use thier webdesign tools (though I did create an index, so its been written), but I will happily use thier space for my own purposes.

Not that I care too much about the stuff that I’m going to be putting in there, but there is some question as to why Google wants us to create pages on thier sites.  They already advertise to you based on your email, and one can presume that they will use the information on your page to advertise to you again.  Phhht!  Whatever.

OK, Google is Just Gross, Now. . .

Ladies and Gentlemen, if ever you doubted that the Google we used to know and respect had long since left the building, doubt no more.

No, they’ve not given in to Federal demands for search results (yet).

No, they’ve not been proven to have aided and abetted China’s search for dissidents (yet).

My friends, my fellow citizens of the Internet, feast you’re eyes on Google Romance.

The end is neigh. . .

Well, at least they can still joke.