Australian entrepreneur with FanFooty (alive) and Tinfinger (dead) on his CV. Working on new projects, podcasting weekly at the Coaches Box, and trying not to let microblogging take over this blog.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Google's successor will not be the new Google

Robert X. Cringley is making a habit of being wrong about Google. This time he tackles how Google will be superseded. The real answer is far closer to the scenario outlined in the comments to the article - proving yet again that the blogosphere is far more valuable when considered as a conversation, not a medium - by someone called David Christie, who I am guessing is this Perth-based consultant:

So the challenger that will unseat Google (eventually) will have to be an open source creation. Nothing else can do it. Whatever it is, it will have to turn the web inside out, by moving control from giant sites like google.com out to thousands of smaller sites, binding them into an effective non-proprietary counterforce for the delivery of distributed (as opposed to centralized) web applications and services.

In short: Microsoft Windows was unseated by TCP/IP, so Google will be unseated by whatever open source protocol supersedes the Google OS. The main reason that ex-employees are not dangerous, as it was for Microsoft, is that the incumbent actively militates against its own employees eating its lunch. By locking in their workers with non-competes, owning the IP on their 20% projects, steering those 20% projects towards being G-features rather than G-killers, and making life extremely comfortable to the level of a human-sized cocoon, Google is trying very hard to ensure that ex-Googlers will have already spent the peak period of their working lives inside the 'plex and won't have much to offer the world afterwards.

At this stage, BitTorrent looks like the most likely ancestor for the coming messiah, though the peer-to-peer model will have to go through a fair few iterations before it can support the sort of mashup of SETI, X3D and the Metaverse that might knock the big G off. So what do current Google employees have to do with any of that? Bugger all, most likely. I seem to remember there was a lot more mainstream focus on the W3C and the ISO in the last boom, but I see standards organisations, not startups, as being the midwives for the next big change that will make Google as irrelevant as Microsoft is today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Charles Knight SEO: GTFO

I have become increasingly annoyed at the blatant spamming tactics of Charles Knight, an occasional writer for Richard MacManus's otherwise excellent Read/Write Web blog. Charles Knight, a bank manager from Virginia with an interest in wolf hybrids who decided to get into the search engine optimisation business last year, has his own company called Charles Knight SEO, LLC through which he evidently wants to build a small search engine SEO consultancy empire. Charles Knight has spammed me and over a hundred other proprietors of search engine startups in emails promoting his conference appearances, R/WW blog posts, his shitty 100 Alternative Search Engines list, his LinkedIn group, and whatever else he's doing that day.

Charles Knight's latest missive (which he had to send twice because he only sent half of it the first time, while also making the rookie mistake of CCing instead of BCCing all recipients, a terrible faux pas in Internet etiquette):


By now, 78 alternative search engines or interested parties have accepted my invitation via Linked In to form a new community of search engines. "Alternative" means any search engine that is not Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask.com or AOL.

The purpose behind Linking In your search engines together is not to pad my "contact" list!

The purpose is to facilitate cooperation between alternative search engines, the recent partnership of ChaCha and blinkx being an excellent example. Please see my post below:


So, does this idea have "teeth?" It certainly does. We now have documented 700 alternative Search Engines. A project that has taken six people countless hours to assemble. No one has been paid to do this; we wanted to because we believe that in the struggle between the smaller search engines and the "Big Five," you can win.

So, this database has already been sent to one of you. It is not secret, it is not private, it is available for alternative search engines (in whole or in part) who feel that they can use it to benefit their engine and thus raise the bar for everyone. Engine-to-Engine conversations are encouraged most of all.

Now, I have a favor to ask of you. I just got back from Italy, and I brought back "The Top 100 Alternative Italian Search Engines" (Yes, I'm serious). I want the Top 100 search engines in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese - you get the idea. I have been accused of only collecting English search engines. Please forward to me any foreign search engines that you know about.

Why the hell would anyone want to join a community of their competitors? Most of the companies he has contacted are in different verticals anyway, and thus have nothing to talk about. And why would anyone want to do any of Charles Knight's work in compiling lists of their competitors? It doesn't even make sense. Obviously the only function of this whole thing is for Charles Knight to pad out his contact list, despite his protestations.

Quite apart from all of that, Charles Knight was the author of a recent article on R/WW called Weird Search Engines, which included Tinfinger in a poll of about 10 startup sites. No consultation, and I have no sense of humour about it. Fuck you, Charles Knight! How dare you poke fun at my site and then pretend to be on my side? Do I call you a furry freak for liking wolves?

I can only assume that Richard, whom I have talked to and think highly of, doesn't know what Charles Knight is doing. I ask Richard to either tell Charles Knight to stop using R/WW to promote his private SEO shilling, or if he won't, then ban him from R/WW. He's not doing anyone any good, and he's trading on R/WW's good name to further his own grubby little goals.

(And if you're wondering why I spell out the full name of Charles Knight so much in this blog entry... two can play the SEO game.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

So many levels of wrong that it's right

While live-Twittering his wife's labour, Second Life developer Nick Wilson somehow finds his way to a computer and types the following:

Can somebody please IM Vrynox Mingn and tell him that I can not make the appointment inworld today. Thx

Several minutes later he's back!

Sorry the spelling should be Vrynox Ming Thx

Let's pack up the Internet and go home for a while, nobody's going to be able to top that.