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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Google Webquotes

Fresh into Google Labs is Google Webquotes, an interesting tool that provides quotations about a site next to search results.  It still has some quirks, but could provide to be an interesting natural language reputation system.  Here's a sample search result:

President George W. Bush (12 WebQuotes) - Cached

  • George W. Bush, Governor of Texas and son of former President George Bush is elected president of the United States.

  • George W. » Bitches! You and you bitchass friends need to stop this sh#* before I send my boys to shut down your site. This is not why I send your ass to school in Long Island so you can pick on white people.

  • George W. » Of course your ass is fine, your tits are BIG, but thats no reason to pick on other ppl.

The problem with this being useful is pretty obvious.  Perhaps this is just a neat project, or something to counter the emergence of GoogleTrinkets like Googlism or Googlefight.

But there is a more practical concern besides reputation or liable -- Webquotes does not mine weblogs, perhaps the greatest source of natural language feedback, very well at all.  Just try a search of some of the bloggers at the top of the food chain like Dave or Doc.  Instead it picks up quotes when they are very similar to the format of the search results itself.  For example:

Dave Winer -- A nice guy who quit smoking and should be applauded

Doc Searls -- A nice guy who writes really well

Let's see if that turns up in the search results...

3:49:09 PM    comment []

DirecTV Broadband Discontinues

Its a sad day when your ISP goes under, but particularly when you thought you had picked a winner.  I shudder at the thought of going back to AT&T for cable modem service or even worse to PacBell, and fear going to an independent ISP because I may absorb switching costs yet again.  DirecTV Broadband was originally Telocity, a MDV-backed startup that had a great operating model, had great synergy with its satellite parent, and was providing a real competitive offering.

Unfortunately we are stuck in a quasi-monopoly state for each product.

We have some difficult news to share. With the dramatic change in the capital markets and the significant shift in the telecom operating environment, DIRECTV Broadband can no longer stand as an independent business.

It is our sincere regret to inform you that DIRECTV Broadband will discontinue operations. This email shall constitute DIRECTV Broadband’s 30 day notice of termination to you. Please be aware that DIRECTV Broadband’s network (including your email services) will remain operational for a minimum of 30 days from the date of this notice. We are working with alternate broadband providers to determine options for your broadband service, and as a result, our network may (but is not guaranteed to) remain operational for some period beyond such 30 days as we work through those options. If you wish to terminate service before our network is discontinued, please contact us at No early termination or cancellation fees will apply. In any event, you will only be billed for services received through termination of your service (whether terminated by DIRECTV Broadband or at your request).

12:21:25 PM    comment []

Creative Commons

Great article by Kendra Mayfield (way to go Sis!) on Creative Commons at

Creative Commons will release its collection of free, machine-readable licenses. The idea is to give copyright holders another way to get the word out that their works are free for copying and other uses under specific conditions...

These licenses will "enable authors to communicate to users of their content how those consumers may use the content without requiring the user to contact the author each and every time,"...

"We're working with search engines to collect this data and provide it as an additional option you can search on," said Aaron Swartz, a member of the Creative Commons' technical team... 

12:06:13 PM    comment []

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