Industry News

Google CEO Ruminates on Life in the Information Age

google-foundersWhile Google CEO and multimillionaire Eric Schmidt is best known for his business ventures, he recently demonstrated his humor, poignancy, and ability to dole out life lessons at the University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony. Delivering the commencement address, Schmidt made some telling observations about technology, information, and the human condition in general.

He began by noting some mundane differences between his graduating class and the current graduating class, including something as simple as the drink of the day. “We had tang,” Schmidt noted. “You have Redbull.”

But his differences quickly revealed a fundamental divide between the mindset of the two age groups.

“We used $700 VCRs. You have YouTube,” which was followed by, “We got our news from newspapers…remember them? You get your news from blogs and tweets.”
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Mark Cuban: Keeping it Classy

mark-cubanIt’s no surprise that tempers run high in professional sports, but this becomes especially true when it comes to the playoffs. But tempers did more than run high during game three of the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets NBA playoff game. After the Nuggets walked away with a referee-aided 106-105 win to make it a 3-0 series lead, tempers finally bubbled over.

After the controversial game came to a close, notoriously hotheaded Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a few choice words for the scorer’s table. Then, after passing Lydia Moore (the mother of Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin), Cuban informed her that her son was a “punk.”

In the aftermath of the lash-out, reports have become widely varied. But whatever the exact wording of Cuban, there was definitely an exchange that was viewed as inappropriate by the Nuggets camp. As an owner, Cuban was expected not to contribute to the kind of heckling, name calling, and low class shenanigans that usually occur during these heated games. But such is the class of Cuban.

And he continued to demonstrate that highbrow level of sophistication that only $1.8 billion can buy by apologizing to Martin and his mother…via his blog. That’s right. Rather than issuing a face to face apology, Cuban simply posted a halfhearted, more than a little self-serving apology on his personal blog.
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Swine Flu Research Indicative of New Information Trends

swine-fluAlthough some of the initial swine flu hysteria has seemed to subside, search trends indicate that it’s still very much in the public consciousness. After hearing multiple stories and stats from both the local and national news, people fired up their computers and turned to the search engines.

People, of course, turned to their most trusted search engine—Google. Within that engine, queries such as “swine flu symptoms” and “swine flu” rose as quickly as the hysteria itself. The following is a list of the top ten visited websites based on these search terms.

1. CDC.gov
2. Wikipedia.com
3. News.Google.com
4. News. Yahoo.com
5. MySpace.com
6. CNN.com
7. Yahoo.com
8. PandemicFlu.gov
9. Facebook.com
10. WHO.int
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Wikipedia NOT the Most Accurate Encyclopedia?!

wikipediaIt took the loss of a musical icon, but a 22-year-old Dublin student finally proved what just about everyone suspected. Wikipedia may not be the most accurate source of information available on the internet.

When famed composer Maurice Jarre died on March 29, 2009, the world was saddened by the loss of a talented and prolific composer and conductor. Born in Lyon, France in 1924, Jarre was responsible for scoring much-loved films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India. For his work on these three films, Jarre was awarded three separate Oscars.

But as much as the musical community was reeling from the loss, they were at least left with some comforting words. “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.”
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Internet Giants Undergo Tumultuous Staff Changes

google-layoffsThere’s little debate that two of the most well known names in internet business are Google and Yahoo. These internet titans proved recently, however, that even they aren’t immune to layoffs, cutbacks, and employee shakeups.

For Google, this means they will be saying goodbye to David Rosenblatt. The former CEO of DoubleClick, Rosenblatt had been at Google less than a year before calling it quits. Rosenblatt hasn’t announced his next destination yet, but the fact that Google appears to be having trouble holding onto key creative players should cause people to pause and ask if things at Google are as rock solid as they appear from the outside.

And Yahoo isn’t faring much better. They have instigated some sizable cuts to their staff, giving the dreaded pink slip to about 600 employees. Although Yahoo projected 680 cuts in its first quarter reports, there’s still little doubt that following through with layoffs is far worse than simply projecting layoffs.

Morale, therefore, at both companies is sure to be at an all-time low, which puts them squarely in line with just about every other layoff-ridden, profit-decreased company out there right now.

Facebook Fails to Capitalize

03facebookxlarge2With users now in the range of 200 million, Facebook has become the stethoscope which monitors the pulse of the modern world.  But despite a near unlimited amount of potential, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his board of directors refuse to tap into the potential revenues from their presiding ownership over a global online community.  Shiv Singh, VP of Razorfish, believes that Facebook is sitting on a gold mine of untapped potential. Singh’s advertising agency pays brand monitoring firms between $5,000 to $40,000 a year for insight into what online consumers are saying about their clients.  Singh also says he would pay Facebook twice as much for a similar service. 

Facebook has a free service called Lexicon which compiles and analyzes millions of Facebook Wall posts and provides a database of searchable trends.  However, people like Shiv Singh are looking for a Lexicon that does much more than just that.  Singh outlines a Lexicon that includes these features:
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Candidate “Tweets” Run for California Governorship

gavin-newsom-twitterIf you follow hot button political topics such as the legalization of gay marriage, it’s very likely that you know the name Gavin Newsom. Serving as the mayor of San Francisco, Newsom gained notoriety in 2004 when he directed the city-county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The move was a controversial political statement, which, despite being repealed by the Supreme Court of California, helped place Newsom on the larger political radar.

Newsom’s time in office was also marked by a turbulent personal life. He not only admitted abuses of alcohol, but he also admitted an affair with the wife of his campaign manager (and personal friend).

Despite these personal difficulties, Newsom announced on April 21, 2009 that he was throwing his hat into the ring for the California governorship. And while no one was particularly surprised by the move—there were few to no attempts to hide his ambitions towards higher offices—people are abuzz about the method by which he announced this candidacy.
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Craigslist Killer’s Spree Possibly Over

craigslist-killerWhile Craigslist is an invaluable resource in a lot of ways, there has been a rash of violent crimes recently surrounding the free site. On April 1, 2009, 20-year-old Michael John Anderson was given life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering 24-year-old Katherine Ann Olson. He placed a fraudulent ad on Craigslist seeking a babysitter only to shoot the woman once she arrived at the home. Reportedly, he simply wanted to know what it felt like to kill.

In related news, the Boston area has experienced two killings within one week. The killings are now believed to have been perpetrated by the same man, dubbed the Craigslist Killer or the .com Killer. Both victims were solicited from Craigslist and subsequently shot. On April 16, the Craigslist Killer was also suspected of tying a woman up and robbing her at gunpoint, but fleeing before she was seriously injured.

As of April 21, however, this particular spree of Craigslist related violence might have been quelled. Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old medical student, was arrested on suspicion of murder and held without the possibility of bail. Investigators traced the IP address of his computer to emails sent to the slain victim Julissa Brisman.
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MySpace Execs Could be Twittering from Unemployment Line

chris-dewolfeWhen social networking was first introduced into our everyday lives, it was little doubt that MySpace was king. Launched in 2003, MySpace was created in the wake of Friendster, and the popularity of the site was immediate. The novelty of social networking led to a huge rush of accounts being created, and by 2006, the site celebrated a noteworthy milestone—the 100 millionth MySpace account.

But for CEO Chris DeWolfe and the supporting team of executives, the heyday was relatively short-lived. Based on unique monthly visits, Facebook surpassed MySpace in popularity by mid-2008. And apparently, the boardroom has little patience for this kind of fall from grace. Rumors have begun to circulate that DeWolfe and other major MySpace players (like President Tom Anderson) will be terminated for their inability to keep the company fresh and relevant.

There has been no official word, however, on the employment status of MySpace’s higher ups. These rumors remain just that—rumors. But even if the claims are unsubstantiated, there’s little doubt that MySpace still has to take the company in a new direction. Despite being one of the most recognizable websites around, social networking is all about staying current with the demands of the youth. If you’re losing ground to the latest and greatest online tool, you’ll likely be left in the dust for good.

Online Competition Results in Real Life Concert

instrumentFor everyone who has ever dismissed YouTube solely as the breeding ground of juvenile videos and amateur home footage, the recently realized YouTube Symphony Orchestra (YTSO) has done its part to dispel that judgment. Several months in the making, the online competition called for musicians of all ages, nationalities, and instruments to submit video auditions displaying their talents. The prize for winning participants? Winning a seat in the YTSO meant the chance to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall for a special one-night performance.

Word spread quickly, and turnout for the competition was impressive. About 3,000 hopeful musicians, both amateurs and professionals, submitted viral audition videos to YouTube. And in true YouTube fashion, they ranged from the creative to the extraordinary to the downright strange.
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