« Big Switch: now shipping | Main | He with the most data wins »

Golden nuggets

December 21, 2007

On December 18, Google was granted a patent for generating "snippets" that summarize things, while on that very same day Amazon.com was granted a patent for collecting and displaying customer-supplied "blurbs" about things. Mike Masnick looks forward to the prospect of a "patent infringement lawsuit" in which the two net giants battle to define the boundaries between snippets and blurbs. What happens, for instance, when Google tries to snippetize a blurb? It could be the defining epistemological debate of our time.


Not a problem: Google offers to generate a text, i.e. the grammar & choice of vocabulary is done by a computer — while Amazon is basically patenting human-written comments.

While Google seems a spectacular feat in natural language procesing, likely to transform, among other things, Google News — without clarifying the intellectual property issues behind the “other documents” it relies on, Amazon is playing with RSS. Both usefull, however as different in nature as a Search engine classifying algorythm and a RSS viewer.

However, the non-neologisms are ugly — and Google might want to enroll the charming S. Pinker or that cute lexicographer from TechTalk Two years ago: branding needs them.

Posted by: Bertil at December 26, 2007 09:33 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

carrshot5.jpg Subscribe to Rough Type

Now in paperback:
shallowspbk2.jpg Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Riveting" -San Francisco Chronicle

"Rewarding" -Financial Times

"Revelatory" -Booklist

Order from Amazon

Visit The Shallows site

The Cloud, demystified: bigswitchcover2thumb.jpg "Future Shock for the web-apps era" -Fast Company

"Ominously prescient" -Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting stuff" -New York Post

Order from Amazon

Visit Big Switch site

Greatest hits

The amorality of Web 2.0

Twitter dot dash

The engine of serendipity

The editor and the crowd

Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians

The great unread

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock's avatar

Flight of the wingless coffin fly

Sharecropping the long tail

The social graft

Steve's devices

MySpace's vacancy

The dingo stole my avatar

Excuse me while I blog

Other writing

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The ignorance of crowds

The recorded life

The end of corporate computing

IT doesn't matter

The parasitic blogger

The sixth force



The limits of computers: Order from Amazon

Visit book site

Rough Type is:

Written and published by
Nicholas Carr

Designed by

JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address.