Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Am Naked Before Goolge and Matt Cutts!

Alright, I didn't really think it all the way through. Over at the old Threadwatch, I took on a pseudonym because I am hacked at Google for their betrayal of their faithful followers by initiating a hungry, globalist agenda. And I regularly and passionately grind the ax of my displeasure at their forays. So I intentionally chose a name that would be a deliberate poke in Google's eye. And what better target was there than Google's very public spokesman, Matt Cutts? So to express my disagreements with Google's unhealthy ambitions to rule the world, I took on the username CattMutts. (Because I have both dogs and cats, you see.) And I posted vociferously.

So it's all fine and good. I figure that though I can make a stand against the giant, it is quite unlikely that anything I say or do will actually make a difference. I am just a tiny, tiny amoeba on a little fishlet in Google Ocean. Not that my points aren't valid. Indeed they are. I mean, I'm not some twenty-something year-old altruist trying to get some attention in the e-world by jumping on the wagon of some trendy cause. Heck, no, I've already had a career. When I speak up about Google's dangerous global intentions, it's because I have a solid understanding of national and international waves of culture over the last several centuries and I see what's ahead if Google gets its way. And I don't like it. Not in the way that it is personally distasteful, but in that it is not going to be good for us as Americans (note: the Britts, Aussies, etc. are Americans too. So is fantomaster.) That is, it is dangerous to our privacy and our freedoms. But this is not a post to grind that ax.

So anyway, I post away at Threadwatch. But then, sadly, Threadwatch dies. A short time later, I somehow ran into Sphinn. What in the world is this? When did this start? Who's Danny Sullivan? I then saw that it had only been up for a week or two, so I thought maybe I can exercise my cathartic expressions here. But who knew that Sphinn would turn out to be a blockbuster? I didn't, so when I signed up, it was once again, as CattMutts.

But to say anything on Sphinn, you really need to blog. I'm not really a blogger. I've got a lot to say, and I say it, but not usually in a blog of my own. So I start writing in a blog the same things I'm thinking and saying elsewhere, and I start posting on Sphinn. And of course, all the posts and all my comments are listed by my pseudonym, CattMutts. As my submissions pile up, (though generally not sphinned very much) and the site popularity rapidly increases, I start to realize that this Sphinn thing could turn out to have a more visible profile than I feel comfortable with using a blatantly hostile, anti-Google pseudonym. And as for my posts, they are not about seo proper, they are about Google's intentions and the future implications. They are ALL about that. I have a spoken consistently on a regular theme. It's what I know and what I want to say. But Sphinn's footprint is skyrocketing in its scope by the day, and I write anonymously for a reason.

And then it happens. I get my Sphinn profile visited by Mr. Cutts himself. I am exposed.

How smart was this to parody this guy's name and speak out against Google? I feel like I broke into an office and just found out it was J. Edgar Hoover's (younger set, he was the leader of the FBI for forever.) Just think of the ways Matt Cutts can hammer me now. I mean, he works for GOOGLE. He can very easily find out who I am, where I am, he can read all of my emails in all of my gmail accounts, read my docs, my spreadsheets, see my pictures, find my websites, etc. etc. I mean any seo could track down my identity and my address. I'm not really hiding or anything. But Google, on the other hand, possesses WAYY more information than anybody should that is not part of your family. From my browsing history, Google can track down my banks, my personal interests, etc. and ascertain something of a profile on me, which, I suspect, is their goal anyway (on everyone, that is, not just me.) They could determine that most of the websites I visit on a daily basis deal with the war, the military, intelligence, jihad, and would correctly classify me as a vocal right-wing flag-waver. I am naked before Google and Matt Cutts! And I am not one to want to be naked on the internet. (Which proves I'm not in the twenty or thirty-something crowd!) I have unintentionally drawn attention to myself because of the name I chose. It was always my intention to draw attention to the message, not to me personally.

So it is time to go back underground. Matt Cutts has appeared. CattMutts must vanish. Like a phantom (or is that fantom?). Matt, it was nothing personal to you. It's about the company you work for. It's agenda is a global one, no longer an American one. Your company's activities, if successful, will betray and weaken the people of the country that protects you.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Google Phone Number Launched Today Through GrandCentral

Google hatched its Google phone number through GrandCentral today in a beta version. What it is is a single phone number that you can have forwarded to your cell phone, your work phone or your home phone. It is basically one number for everything. So when someone calls your G-Number, it will ring on any or all of the phones. Or it can be configured to go automatically to your voice mail.

It also can be configured to block certain callers, screen callers, has a full-fledged detailed call record and all of the other regular phone-using abilities that are common to phone services today.

Another interesting feature is the Web Call Button that you can insert into your web page so that people can call you without giving out your phone number. Once someone calls you, you can switch phones in the middle of a call with Call Switch. Of course if you want to call someone yourself, say from your address book, you can use Click2Call which calls them without having to dial the number. And also, if you are a member of the gizmoproject, you can call or answer your phone from any computer that is connected to the internet.

So here it is. Your universal, lifetime phone number. Goes with you anywhere and everywhere. Probably so nice that you will gladly embrace that upcoming Google Phone with its gps tracking ability for the first fully-functioning international human tracking system. Don't get me started....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Google 'Radio Ads' a Likely Cloak for Their GPhone Audio Ads!

If this article is on the money, then the speculations have proven to be true. Google will be debuting a GPhone next year.

So many are wondering why they would do this, seemingly mystified. There are discussions and arguments about how Google getting into the wireless world this would be good for the market. Yet few are looking down the road. I have covered the topic at length in previous posts, so I won't go down that trail again here except to say that people should be aware of the power of free; and then do the math. Open spectrum + free wireless service = total monopoly. Bank on it. (The corollaries to that of course, are:
A. Monopoly + GPhone = Your phone is a GPhone
B. GPhone = Global Positioning System (GPS)
C. GPS + Google Earth = International Human Tracking System
D. International Tracking System + Your GPhone = Loss of personal privacy; your whereabouts will then be public information
E. International Human Tracking System = Big Brother; you are not free, you are monitored)

But this post is not about the GPhone. It is about all those radio ads that Google introduced last year. You know, how Google suddenly announced that it would be auctioning off ads on the radio? Did that sound funny to you too? I knew something wasn't right about that. Well it finally hit me what that was all about. (I'm serious, this stuff just comes to me!)

Radio ads? Horse hockey! It has to be Google's warm-up for...PHONE ADS! Yes, GPhone ads! I mean, think about it, you are driving. You are looking for a restaurant or motel. You cannot (or should not, anyway) pull your eyes off the road to read some GPhone ads. You need them spoken to you; they need to be audio, not visual!

And if you missed my explanation of what Google's mobile model is going to look like and what it includes, read a few posts back. One of the features is a hands-free Goog-411 service that is entirely voice-activated and provides a free service that will actually connect you to the business.
So the search for a restaurant will be hands-free, (and your audio-'serps' will be based on your location as indicated by your gps Gphone) the results will be hands-free, and so will the connection to the business, 'But before we connect you, please listen to these ads......' It makes perfect sense. There never was going to be radio ads, I'll bet! It was just a red herring, a cover story for Google to build a platform for audio ads so that they could launch them simultaneously with the Gphone. Does that not make sense??

But I'll bet it gets even better. Not only will you communicate hands-free on the phone, but instead of actually talking to the place of business, you can just reply to their voice menu via your voice and book a reservation, book a room, confirm movie tickets while on the way (with your Google checkout pass, of course) all without ever having to dial a number. All the business will have to do is to run their voice mail or voice mail ad through Google, and Google will insert the audio click options, (and I'm thinking 'clicks' will be called 'picks') and they are up and running. Remember Google purchased Grand Central Station recently, a company that provides service for management of voice communication.

It all sure fits together better than Google selling radio ads! What do you think?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The SEO Future is ...You!

Be prepared to get very busy in the next ten years. A previously unheard of movement is in the works that is going to make an SEO a popular commodity. And not just in the world of commerce. There are rumblings, and now glimpses of a process that will add an entirely new dimension to searching. If you haven't checked out yet, its because you haven't been invited to. If you haven't heard of them yet, so far, it is a one-way relationship, because they have heard of you. They know all about you....

You see is a search engine that you will be talking about a whole lot very soon. It is not an information search is a PEOPLE search engine. Based in Redwood City, CA. it has actively been gathering information on individuals since 2006 and hopes to document every single human on the planet. It is currently adding about 1 million new individuals every day. When it is up and running, its goal is that a searcher can go on there and find out about anyone.

But there is so much more. Want to search by name? Of course that will be no problem. How about by email address? Yup. But then it gets interesting. Search by tag, such as "pacifist" or "inventor". After that it gets downright complex and hence the need for a qualified seo, because you will be able to search by such themes as: Drunk Driver; Sex Symbol, etc. And to keep someone off the dirty laundry list, it will require that a competent seo will actively be drowning out the bad news on the web with the good news. Some seo optimists are already engaged in such Reputation Management and I expect that this will be an activity that all of us will be engaged in rather quickly.

The pool of information is gleaning is from all corners of the web. Wherever a profile of you exists, it is gathering that information and associating it with other remnants of your footprints. Including photographs, mind you. Pretty soon, if you want to know about your neighbor, you will just enter his name into and an individualized serp will give you everything about that person that is on the web.

Oh No! Does that mean they will figure out my pseudonyms? Will CattMutts be outed? (Not really worried about that, any seo could easily put that one together.) But what about the privacy issues?! THIS is going to be a can of worms. Big worms.

And what would a MontereySEO Blog post be without my obligatory Google warning? I mean all of us know that, if successful, will eventually be Goobled by Google, right? I mean, I am still baffled by Google's ogreish, selfish air wave ambitions, and it ticks me off to no end; but would we not all expect Google, the friendly search engine company, to want to capture people search to add to its quiver? That one is a natural. It wouldn't even tick me off as much because it is involved with search. Not that I approve of the whole concept, just that if someone was doing it, I would expect Google would get in the game.

But either way, the fact that people search is coming means that individuals are going to need to have their profiles managed. Whether your new job in seo is called Reputation Management or Profile Management will be up to you, but the times, they are a-changing. And I wonder which one of us will be the first one to get a call from Lindsay Lohan?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Local Search and PPC Will Dominate Mobile Applications

Local search and ppc will dominate the mobile market in a few short years. One of the items Google is flirting with in its mobile labs is free voice activated local business connection. You simply speak the name or category of a business into a dialed Google 411 number and Google will spit relevant options back at you. You respond, again with your voice, and you will automatically be connected to the business you selected.

So what does this have to do with search and with seo or sem?

Well, since the FCC sided with Google in the most critical areas of how the upcoming 700 mhz bandwith would be regulated, and since 20% of that bandwidth will be open access, Google has nothing but green lights ahead of it. And this means that Google's mobile model will not only compete in the market, it will become standard. If mobile searches made up even 10% of the total searches, this would be enough to drastically change how a site should be optimized. Especially considering that the searchers who are looking for a pizza place in their vehicles are not only qualified buyers, they are only blocks away and looking for a place to spend their money.

If you wonder what logical leap I took to go from Google flirting with a mobile directory, to its model becoming standard, please see my earlier rants, I mean posts. But for the uninitiated, the primer includes Google offering free phone service to its subscribers which will then put the others out of business. And today's soapbox could include the irony of how Google is pleading for an open market and claiming solidarity with public interest groups when it knows that it will completely swallow up all the others when its hand is fully played out.

But for now, let's look at what the Google mobile model might look like and why local search will be essential for search engine optimists (that's us...made that one up too) and search engine marketers very soon.

Here are the basic elements of the Google mobile experience, coming in monopoly form to a planet near you soon:

With your Google phone subscription you will be able to:

1. Search. (Normal search. But the question is, what will you be searching for in your car? Google will have that answer and an seo will also need to.)

2. Maps. As Google says, "Get directions, satellite imagery and live traffic on draggable maps so that you can find local hangouts and businesses across town." And probably a few ppc adds of businesses that are near your current coordinates. But how does Google know which ads to pitch to you? Well, they can see your Google search history, they can see what things you have searched for in the mobile application and which items you have clicked on. They, of course can tell when you are searching from a mobile device and what your patterns on the road are, and, of course, they can tell where you are because of the gps capability.

3. Gmail. (Obvious.)

4. Calendar. (Nifty.)

5. News. (Novel.)

6. SMS text messaging to Google and from Google. (Matrimony.)

7. Blogger. As Google says, " Snap a picture, write a message and post to your blog all from your mobile device." (Candy.)

8. Reader. "Read your favorite blogs and news feeds on your mobile device." (Crack.)

9. 1-800-Goog-411. "Use voice to find and connect with local businesses, for free." (Heroin.)

10. Picasa Web Albums. (Self-Indulgant.)

11. You Tube "Watch, upload, and share favorite videos — YouTube is available on your mobile device wherever you are." (Narcissism.)

Given that this user experience will likely expand in it scope of applications and it is based on the assumption that it will be standard, as discussed above, the bottom line is that it will have the reach to be able to command ppc advertising dollars. Want to go out for lunch? Ask your voice activated Google 411 about lunch specials. Your request will be met by some appealing lunch specials happening at some of the restaurants in your immediate vicinity. Of course, Google knows your tendency for Chinese food, so those are presented first.

Oh, and when you are driving by the mall, expect some text messages from Macy's or The Gap about their specials. Need to get the cheapest gas? Just ask. You will get location, directions, satellite pictures and traffic information. And probably some of their inside specials to boot.

So an seo will have to optimize a site, or at least a portion of a site, for local appeal for normal mobile searches. This will be a routine requirement. But sem ppc will rule the day in the maps and directory/Google 411 arena. This is all no longer an issue of if it will happen, it is now a matter of when. Nobody else can compete with free, and free is exactly how Google will bring its mobile model into the mainstream mobile world.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Drum Beats : Yes, Free Cell Phone Service

I'm not real big on saying I told ya so, but in this case, I guess there is not much else to say. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal article on Google's cell phone ambitions reveals exactly what the message has been at the center of my drum beating for some time. Yes, Google not only has hope to enter the cell phone world, but it has a strategy that is going to neutralize and all but eliminate their competition.

Not only are they currently aggressively soliciting cell phone manufacturers to adopt their format until they can get their own phone happening, but Amol Sharma and Kevin Delaney uncover the aspect of Google's Master Plan that guarantees their future supremacy: "The prize for Google: the potential to broker ads on the mobile phones, complementing the huge ad business it has built online. Google even envisions a phone service one day that is free of monthly subscription charges and supported entirely through ad revenue, people familiar with the matter say."

I hope you noticed that part about "free monthly subscription." What is this going to do to the cell phone industry? Well, if you were offering widgets to a customer for a dollar and your neighbor was offering the same widget for free, who do you think is going to get more customers? It is as simple as that.

And in case you are a late-comer and have not had the chance to hear me in stereo, the other drum I am beating says that your new Google cell phone, with your permanent individualized IP address, I mean, cell phone number, will come equipped with a gps capability that lo and behold will be able to be tracked and can be displayed on Google Earth.

Do you remember Neil Young's song, "Ohio" back in the day? It goes, "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio."

I'm going to change that now, with no disrespect to Mr. Young, my man, to: "Ad revenue and Google's coming, We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Own you with a free cell phone. Own you with a free cell phone......"

Yes the article confirms my voiced suspicions about the gps danger, when discussing Google's specification requirements with potential phone manufacturers, "Google suggests the phones could include Global Positioning System technology that identifies where people are."

Such an include would indeed have a certain appeal, but what if, as part of the "free subscription service" as mentioned above, you had to sign off and allow your positioning to be tracked and publicized? That is where this is headed. And if all other carriers are put out of business, what choices will there be?

"Own you with a free cell phone..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Full Speed Ahead...But To Where?

FCC Approval -- Check

Well, Google got what it wanted. Yesterday the FCC voted to open up a hefty portion of airwaves to open access. Though the FCC did not succumb to Google's fourth demand, that the winner of the upcoming bandwidth auction be mandated to sell access to other providers at wholesale prices, the door has been opened enough, nonetheless, for Google to get its giant foot inside.

And who knows if that fourth demand was an actual requirement of their tightly-guarded business model for their plans for the future or simply a negotiation feint, a red herring? Why not demand a handful of things if all you really wanted was two or three things to expand your empire? So that way, the FCC can feel good about itself for having a spine and not giving in to ALL of the issues, yet Google still gets everything it needs for its Master Plan. Demand the moon, settle for Poland.

So what does Google lose by the results of the negotiation? Nothing. Not a thing. All the necessary pieces on the chessboard have survived intact and Google may now proceed forth a move at a time. With one-third of the bandwidth slated for open access, this means that Google has the freedom to prepare its configurations for implementation.

But where is it going? Well, let's look at some of its moves in the past and what resulted from those plays to be able to imagine what might be up their sleeve on this one.

Some Google Goobles --Check

In 2004, Google Goobled (gobbled up; acquired) Picasa and the result was free photo organizing software for its customers. It also Goobled Keyhole Corporation and Where 2 Technologies , digital mapping services, and Google Earth and Google Maps were born. Those, too, are free services.

In 2005, it Goobled 2Web Technologies and Google Spreadsheets was born. Then it Goobled Urchin Software which hatched Google Analytics. In 2006 Writely and @Last were Goobled resulting in Google Documents and Google Sketchup. The list goes on and on, but the pattern remains the same. Google buys companies, converts the strength of the company into a free program or service for consumers and then advertises to the users in some of those platforms. In other cases, it is simply creating a dependence on or at least an affinity for Google. Indeed I myself have used many of its offerings and enjoyed them richly.

However, Google has violated one of its own mottos which is to do one thing well. Google, in fact is trying to do all things, not one thing. And as long as it is offering all these as free services there is great popularity among the public. Is there any reason for us to expect that Google is suddenly going to change their modus operandi? Unlikely. If they stay true to form, what will their next move look like?

VoIP Cellphones -- Check Mate

You are probably aware that several years ago Google introduced Google Talk. With that service, integrated with your Gmail account, you can chat with someone in real time, sort of like an audio IM. It is easy and convenient. The sound quality is fantastic. The whole program is brilliant. And it is all done with VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol.

Now take that technology and hold it next to the recent Goobling of Grand Central Communications, a voice communications management company and what do you have? If you still are confounded, mix in a little open access bandwidth. Now you are getting the picture.

But the coup-de-grace in this is the final element: free cell phone service. Bring your cell phone to Google and they will give you free VoIP service. Check mate.

The FCC ruling may have been a small step for man, but it was a giant Googlestep for mankind. Beware.

Monday, July 30, 2007

ImageAmerica Goobled, But Why Does Google Need Six Inch Resolution?

Ever decided to sun-tan in your back yard so you could have some privacy? Have you ever put a fence up or enjoyed a fence between you and your neighbors? These luxuries may soon be a thing of the past.

Google's recent acquisition of ImageAmerica, a leading orthoimagery provider puts the tiny details of your home in it's sight. Prior to it being 'Goobled up' (a term I just made up for another company being Gobbled up by Google) ImageAmerica already had the capability to take aerial digital photographs with six-inch resolution. Such resolution is extremely close-up and personal. Such resolution is tight enough, not only to be able to tell how many people are in your jacuzzi, but where they are sitting and what color their hair is. That is very, very detailed information.

What's more, the details of this capability are somewhat dated and current capability and information is unavailable as ImageAmerica's web site has too, been Goobled. So at the very least, Google now possesses the ability to spot you picking your nose behind the house, and may be approaching the ability to be able to tell what you found.

Now if I really wanted the intimate details of what goes on in my back yard revealed to the public, would I not just tear down the fences? Is there a reason that Google needs six-inch OR LESS resolution peeking into my house? It's not that I have anything to hide, necessarily, but if I wanted all my business to be viewed by the general public, I'd go live under a bridge by the freeway. Where is Google thinking that they now get such a right to get that up-close and personal? Are they just going to assume that they have the right to take detailed pictures of everybody's property and slam it up on Google Earth?

What's more, what if I was a criminal and was looking for the details of how your back yard was laid out for easy, clandestine access, or was looking for a vulnerable place on the roof of a business building to gain access? Is this the type of element we want available to all-comers? Is there a reason that the general public needs this type of power?

Do you remember when your first saw your house on Google Earth and marveled that you could see your car in your driveway? Well now imagine you can read the license plate. That is a little too close for comfort for me. Certainly the map-reliability aspects of such resolution would be great, but civilians do not possess an inherent right to be able to look into everybody else's personal business. Neither do terrorists.

And how soon before they bust out the infrared lens and then put it in real time? I'm just saying there has to be limits at some point in time and Google has not yet demonstrated an interest in such limits. Their direction at every step, as it relates to Google Earth, seems to be aimed at more and more exposure and less and less personal privacy. Where is the line going to be drawn and who is going to draw it? Do we want to leave it to Google to define what is appropriate and what is invasive? Dirty Harry said,"A man's got to know his limitations." So does a corporation.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What's Google Doing Out of the Kiddie Pool?

Google's own blog, the Public Policy Blog has described this summer for Google brass as a 'Summer of Public Policy'. No joke. The guys who write an algorithm are attending meetings with dignitaries and politicians around the country, getting on the platform and addressing such topics as 'health care, patent reform, immigration, privacy and consumer issues.'

Go ahead and call me stupid, but what does a building full of math geniuses know about health care? And immigration? And who is the 'presumer' who presumed that these people had any authority whatsoever to address such issues?

For me, the charade that pushed me over the edge was when Google's CEO spoke at the National Governor's Association meeting in Michigan last week. He got on the stage and told our nation's governors that, "education must evolve to teach students how to research and access information instead of memorizing facts". Wow. Mr. Google is an expert on education. Mr. Google has such a solid understanding of education and the entire learning process that he can summarize all of education as simply, "memorizing facts," and pontificate what would be a better educational model for the kids in this country.

Pardon me for one moment while I hurl.....

OK. Feeling better now. But isn't that kind of summary of education just a little, um, convenient for Google? Not only has education been reduced to 'memorizing facts' but lo and behold, the solution lies in the hands of search, and ergo, Google, the search super-hero! How lucky those governors were to be present when this enlightenment was unveiled!

And as much as I know Google has Big Brother ambitions, but is still lacking a few shock troops to be able to pull that off yet, I just do not remember them ever being in any of the classrooms I taught in (in my other life) for them to actually know what is going on in education. Yet they want to give direction on education to governors. I think Google just wandered out of the kiddie pool and in to the deep end. Loaded diaper and all.

Another incredulous 'public policy' adventure was when a Google VP testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration last month. The VP said that, "due to limits on the number of H-1B visas, Google is regularly unable to pursue highly qualified candidates." Google cannot pursue highly qualified candidates? What happened to the recent graduates of colleges and universities in, let's say, the United States? (Or, maybe US students were all too busy, um, searching and weren't paying attention to their studies...?!) Oh, but that's right, Google's stated hiring qualifications are that the ideal candidate has graduated from a 'top-tier college or university.' That's right, this is the Stanford & Associates club. So maybe Google cannot pursue highly qualified candidates because they are unwilling to look at US students other than those from the 'top-tier' schools...Doesn't sound like an immigration problem to me. Sounds pretty much like old-fashioned arrogance!

Google's Public Policy Blog also reported that the VP also "encouraged Congress to significantly increase the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, and urged them to address the backlog of employment-based green cards for highly-skilled workers." Now is that the immigration policy that you feel comfortable with? Are you thinking we should add to the number of people coming in to this country? Me either. So if Google is not speaking for you, and it is not speaking for me, then who is Google speaking for? Well, the answer, of course, is Google.

Look at where they are pushing. We all know that immigration is out of control. Yet Google, because of arrogance or whatever you call it that rejects normal American students, want us to increase immigration rather than placing more restrictions on it. Is this "public policy" what is best for America and Americans? Clearly not. It is Google Policy. Self-serving corporate ambition. Not to be confused with American policy. And, frankly, I have no desire to be Stanfordized. Sure, they can do the math, but their football team bites! Always has. I'll pass on the Stanford culture.

So lest we begin to think that Google has any authority to speak on current issues because Mr. Google is showing up in political places and a microphone is thrust before him, let us remember that Google isn't interested in national public policy, Google is interested in manipulating national public policy so that it lines up with Google Policy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An Open Appeal to Bill Gates About Google Buying Bandwidth

Dear Mr. Gates,

Well, it looks like things have come full-circle. Not long ago, some of us were grumbling about your company acting like a monopoly (well, not me, actually, but certainly others). And now looming ahead of us is a scenario that makes your smack-down of some Silicon Valley rivals look like Little League play.

Of course I am referring to a recent announcement by Google that it intended to bid a minimum amount of $4.6 billion for a what-was-the-FCC-thinking bandwidth auction for 700 mhz bandwidth. That is a hefty pile of cash. Not that you don't have a bigger one. But for many of us, that kind of money is, well, prohibitive.

Now Google is not at fault for pushing the technological envelope. Neither are they wrong for their innovations and business ambitions. I don't think Google is sinister or underhanded in this.

But what is harrowing about this situation is this: So Google wins the auction for the bandwidth. Then they offer free wireless service to everybody with a Google phone, or G-phone or whatever. Instant hit. Everybody loves free. Now all of that is not bothersome. Google has always found ways to redefine things and their ideas have benefited many.

But what if they took that information from the cell phones and integrated it with Google Earth? I mean you can already go on Google Earth and see where people's web cams are located and other shared information. Now imagine what a cell phone's global positioning system information would look like combined with Google Earth!! Want to know where I am? Just type in my cell phone number. There you can see exactly on the planet where my coordinates were as of a few seconds ago. (And so can a stalker!) The implications of this are profound.

Now this is great from an information perspective, but this could certainly become an international human tracking system which is a monster we DO NOT want to create. Sure it would be great for security purposes. Yes, you could know where your child was (or at least his/her cell phone.) Yes, you could monitor employees and people flow and all kinds of snappy things. But regardless of promises and security measures, having any one enterprise be able to track not only where you are but where you have been, regardless of motive and benefit, is most certainly Big Brother. And such a thing clearly needs to be prevented from unfolding! I mean, do you want the public to be able to know where you have been? Frankly, it's nobody's business but your own.

So why do we come to you? Well, you and I are in a position to keep this from happening. Why you and I? Well, we are a lot alike. You invented the computer and I use a computer. You are prominent and popular and I know who you are. You started Microsoft and I pay Microsoft. You live in Washington and I rooted for the Washington State Huskies one year when they were in the Orange Bowl. You have about $50 billion and I have about $50. We are the same. (Though I may be a little bit more of a gentleman for allowing you to be the front man in this episode.)

You see, there is a way that you, Mr. Gates, could step in and secure not only your company's future, but you could add some paragraphs to history's expanding pages about you. Google's stack of cash is big; but we all know yours is bigger. Google cannot out bid you, Mr. Gates. And if you won that auction, you could design parameters of separation between personal gps information on a cell phone level, a corporate ability to gather that data, and a public ability to view that information. You could dictate things within the company that could ensure responsible use of that bandwidth. You could bind your company to ethical use of it.

Furthermore, your company, Microsoft, could once again be in the driver's seat for the road ahead. In possession of the bandwidth, you would have a certain amount of leverage to have a say in how things play out for the next 20 years. Microsoft is no stranger to leading. I think its time to grab the reins once again.

And for our part, that is, the mass of humanity, we sincerely repent from our former actions of occasionally installing your software on a computer or two beyond what was exactly legal at the time (with an understanding, of course, that that was before registration of the product was mandatory and that we are living clean now, and have been for some time...). We also confess that we were secretly pleased when the government handed down some rather nasty penalties against Microsoft (though just parts of us were pleased, not all of our beings, just like maybe a few sections of the brain. Or something. And, in hindsight, those were rather flimsy charges that were brought up and quite an insensitive penalty they handed down....ya know. )

So the appeal is this: Mr. Gates, would you please investigate the ramifications as mentioned above and consult your fellow smart-guys up there in Redmond and look at how a 'little investment' might be in the best interests of Microsoft? And then would you be courageous enough to have the boys in the warehouse bring that wallet of yours over on a pallet so that you could crack it open a little to see how small you think you can make Google's $4.6 billion look?

We've come to love you, Mr. Gates. We know that you built and own the computer world, but you know what? It's a good world. We love what we can do because you have standardized so many things. We know you and we love you. You have been a good regent. (On the other hand, Google, doesn't even have a face.) And now its time to take care of your children and protect them from a big brother; from who's clutches we may not be able to escape. Do the right thing, Mr. Gates. Stop the madness for us. Will you, ....Daddy?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Google at 700 Mhz...Think About It...

It was just announced today that Google sent an open letter to the FCC announcing that they intend to bid over $4 billion, minimum, for the upcoming bandwidth auction. Which also announces to everybody else who had planned on bidding had better bring deep pockets. It seems as if Google could win this one without a fight. Of course their plan is to wipe iPhones and all other wireless phone systems off the map with the yet-to-be-announced Google phone, G-phone or whatever it is called when it evolves.

As I was sitting there thinking about this, I happened to go to Google Earth to check something out. Then all of a sudden it hit me......Google phone combined with Google Earth....oh my goodness what kind of a creature would this combination create? I mean, imagine integrating cell phones (read: gps systems) with Google Earth...! Would this not basically be an international tracking system?? You want to see where I am on the planet? Just type my G-phone number in...and there, exact coordinates...! I mean this is fine from an information perspective, but from a security perspective or a privacy perspective, this is a nightmare!

So even if there are security procedures and a stalker cannot find you based on your cell phone number, Google would know.... and not only would Google know where you live, but they would know where you have been! And say there was a crime in your city and the police subpoena all the G-phone gps records and says you are a suspect because you were in the neighborhood...

Or how about Google notifying a politician that they know his whereabouts during such and such a time....

There are MANY horrifying implications of a marriage between cell phones and Google Earth. I think we are going to need Arnold the Terminator to come back in time and thwart Google's bid attempt to buy this bandwidth!! More later....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Remember we said that RELEVANCY was the Hercules of words when it comes to establishing your web presence? We mentioned several important things related to that in the last post. This time we want to look at another aspect of how you make your page relevant.

Be Consistent. You do not want mixed messages all over your site. The focus of it should be clear all the way through. If you are not all about something, the message that you want to get out is not getting out. You need to be consistent. Say something on your site and then have the rest of what you say be supportive of your main message. That includes graphics, polls, flash, links or textual content. They need to be related to your message. If something that you post on your site is unrelated, it is better to leave it off. The question of relevancy, which the search engines are asking, is answered by the argument of consistency. Make the argument in a variety of ways and forms if you wish, but be sure that it is one argument. Otherwise, you will be arguing with yourself and the searcher is likely to cut and run, not wanting to get involved with family squabbles, and all.

Part of the exercise of being consistent is offering your message using a variety of platforms. For example, if you choose to have a complimentary video link, make sure your searcher is not lead down a long, dark, scary path of confusion. He should be able to access the message in a click or two. Remember the movie, Deliverance? Not a destination of choice. Nobody wants to end up in Virtual Deliverance, so treat your visitors kindly by making your consistent video easy to get to.

Also, make sure your headlines and your titles are consistent with your message. Don't make your visitor perform mental gymnastics to try to figure out how a headline might be related. It is not the visitor's job to analyze your site to be able to make heads or tails out of it. That would be your job. And you had better do it ahead of time or else the visitor will be gone leaving you alone connecting dots by yourself. And arguing with yourself, of course.

( be continued...Next time: Be Clear and Complete)

Monday, February 12, 2007


RELEVANCY is the Hercules of words as far as your your web site is concerned. For relevancy is the highest goal of the search engines whose very business depends on returning the results that a web searcher has called for. If you are searching for Titleist golf balls and the search results turn up hen's eggs, how valuable of a search did the search engine produce for you? Not only did that result get you scrambling (pardon the pun) to another search engine, but the advertising that the search engine posted along side the free results were a disservice to the sponsors. Search engines who produce irrelevant results don't last long. Relevancy is their highest priority. Making your site relevant, therefore, should be your highest goal as well.

So how do you make your site relevant? Perhaps you are sitting on hordes of golf balls for sale. You are indeed a legitimate seller for a person looking to buy some. But does your site say so? If your site does not communicate this in ways that the search engine and humans can read, you may be indeed relevant, but you haven't said so. Remember, SAID=Say All, Include Details. Your page's content, not just fancy flash and javascript, should effectively communicate who you are and what you do. It should do so concisely but precisely. You should not allow the human reader to leave your site with only a vague sense of what was on it. Your message needs to be unequivocally clear.

Clutter kills. When your site is a jumbled array of various unrelated links, banners, topics and gizmos, the message is clear to the visitor: chaos. Nothing will get a user to hit the back button on the browser faster than allowing multiple and mixed messages on your site. I mean it would be like trying to hold a conversation with a person on a community telephone line, where everybody is talking at the same time. This is indeed sensory overload and somebody should take you out to the woodshed for committing such web abuse on well-meaning internet shoppers.

Likewise, you need to ask whether that fantastic creative web designer you hired to craft the perfect image for your name branding has done so at the expense of simply providing a way for a consumer with money to actually learn what you do or order the product he or she is looking for. Fancy flash and javascript looks nice and great creativity is a true compliment to the gifted designer. It also makes you look good. But how easy is it for a shopper to understand exactly what it is that you do? An example of this is during the dot com explosion when all of the up and coming internet businesses first began their advertising during a Super Bowl. A particular advertisement I remember was from Cingular. It was fancy. It was snappy and stylish. But I had no idea who they were or what they did. That part of the message was lost on me, for one. I did not fully understand what it was that Cingular did for months, or even years. I mean I could have researched it, I suppose, if I had wanted to, but the goal of an advertiser is hardly to get someone to have to do research to discover who they are all about, is it? Don't allow good design to leave you with an ambiguous message on your site and your potential customers moving on to the next search result.

to be continued....(Coming Up Next: Be consistent)...