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Showing posts from July, 2009

And now the search battle gets a little more interesting...

...
While searching for a friend on Facebook, I suddenly noticed that I was being served search results on the side, that were "powered by Bing"
Apparently this started a couple of weeks ago.

Pic below for searching for Google, with the search results block in red.


Facebook usage does lead to searches; some study a while ago showed that Facebook users tended to increase their Google searches, and I can believe that given my own behavior.

Bing is pushing hard to acquire traffic. I can hardly do a general-ish query on Google without being served an ad for Bing.

Not a bad way for Microsoft to make use of its investment. :)

Work-life balance question ...

I liked the following thoughts that I ended up stumbling on during my surfing last week:
From this speech: "Work and life are not at odds - the better you are at your job, the better you can be at work; Success at work is very dependent on success in life, and vice-versa."Increasingly (and I see this a lot at Google) the separation of work and life is not a function of hours. The 9-to-5 (or even 8-to-8) workday is not the best option any more. Googlers are able to run errands early in the morning if they need to, pick up their kids in the evening and finish up work late at night. It seems to be the norm more and more (though I'm still fighting this!:)) and seems very work-able for everyone involved.People's personal and work life are more and more intertwined, and that's a good thing.

Whimsy and fun as you go about your work...

Amazon bought Zappos...

Apparently this is a good move. Zappos' interesting hiring practices were pretty interesting for me to read about.
There's a Bezos video that I liked, and a letter from the Zappos CEO to his team that I liked even more.

However, it was a great section at the end of the letter (pasted below), that sparked off a thought in my head. It surprising because its naturally funny, and consistent with the writer's style.

I'd heard a remark at work a little earlier in the week about having a sense of "whimsy" as you designed products and you go about your work. I think its done well really rarely, and as companies become larger, humor and whimsy (in communication and in product design) becomes either discouraged or something attempted to be done my committee (and hence not that funny.)

-----------------------------Q: I'm a business/financial reporter. Can you talk like a banker and use fancy-sounding language that we can print in a business publ…

I'm reading again!

Something funny happened this weekend.
I found time to borrow some books....and even more surprisingly started to read em. :)
So far, I'm really enjoying Evelyn Waugh's Scoop.

It a farce, wonderfully written and extremely enjoyable.

Let this be a warning to you though: the tragedy with being addicted to P.G. Wodehouse when you're young, is that your literary tastes stay stuck in 1930s-ish England.

I also checked out Information Rules.
More on that later. :)

Ad copy that mystifies me.

Sigh...
I was looking for a recommendation for a funny novel I wanted to read and found this...



Well, I clicked on it and Google clearly thinks its an effective ad. :)

I like Google Reader, but lukewarm on the "Like" in Google Reader

Google Reader (possibly the Google Product I use the most in terms of time spent/day for non-work related purposes) added a few social features; one of which allows you to "Like" an article.

I've always been a fan of Reader. It's help change how I consume content on the Internet and is one of the foundations of a lot of the social interactions I have on the Web.

So I understand the motivation behind this new feature and in a vacuum this is a reasonable, solid feature.
I get the difference in semantics between "like" and "share" (a feature already available) and actually think this feedback to the author isn't a bad idea, but c'mon! It is a trifle confusing; especially since clicking on the name of someone who liked an article leads to her shared feed (instead of a feed of things he liked)Perhaps, this will be a successful attempt at building a social graph and encouraging social interaction within Google products, which traditionally...well.…

Bits of destructions and the distribution of economic rents

There's a great two-part series on ReadWriteWeb on the economics behind the book business.
Part 1Part 2The author goes over both the current economics and how some future business models might evolve. Its a good read.

Most interesting to me was the following information on the distribution of revenue on a book sale (gleaned from this site.)

Some caveats on the analysis done. The first piece seems to have been done on the distribution of costs, but assuming that carries over to the distribution of revenues and profits there's some interesting numbers here:

The current distribution on books:
Author: 10% (This in fact ranges between 8% and 15%, depending on the author's clout -- e.g. Stephen King does better than most. If the author has an agent, the agent's cut comes out of this. It is indeed tough for new authors.)Publisher: 30% (This ranges between 25% and 32%, again depending on the author's clout -- e.g. their percentage is less with Stephen King because the risk is l…

This is why I was addicted to PhDComics in grad school....

Still so hilarious, still so true.