Google Ad Shakedown

Google Ad Shakedown

Google and Other Misdemeanors

I have noticed that over the past few months, the number of people coming to my site via search engines, principally Google, has dropped by something like 40%. Curious, last weekend I took a little time and searched on about a dozen keywords that would be used in the industry.

Media sites just don’t come up in the searches. But what does come up are a ton of ads. The bulk of the rest of the links are suppliers. This is a big change over this time period.

Then I came across a tweet from Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp. He noticed that when he searched for his company, Basecamp, he came up number 4. The first three were ads from competitors who had worked the words base camp into their URLs or name in some ingenious way. And they had purchased the adwords that placed their ad above the real organic result. He explains all this in a podcast on Rework.

Back to my observation. I appeared seldom, except for my own domain name, and I never saw the major trade journals in the industry. Even ones named IIoT in a search of IIoT. Automation got three hits a couple of pages back on the keyword automation. But it should have had a bunch.

But suppliers are the most prone to buy adwords from Google.

If you think that searches are not biased and show you the most relevant to you, then you are years behind times.

I have noticed a similar effect in Facebook. Of course, its ad strategy came from Google in the person of Sheryl Sandberg. I did marketing for a small retail startup coffee house in Sidney, Ohio. Being local, I went to Facebook. I also spent a few dollars a month on ads.

When I ended the ad campaign, I was pestered with several notices per day about boosting a post for only $10, then for only $5. And our reach started dropping. Suddenly not everyone saw all the posts. The algorithm ensured that. When you’re in a small town with only about 1,000 person reach, you get pretty quick feedback.

Once upon a time, I mostly trusted Google search results. I use it for research constantly. Now, I’m not so sure about where to go for better results. Everyone is in such a rush to maximize ad dollars that they manipulate anything, including us, in the quest for eyes on ads.

Interoperability and the Development of JSON

Interoperability and the Development of JSON

Interoperability enables growth of an industry, innovation, and great benefits for users. We see it broadly in the Web and more specifically in industry with OPC. It is topic to which I return frequently. We can talk about all the components of the “Industrial Internet of Things” whether it be devices, databases, big data analytics, visualization, but without interoperability the IoT will be severely hampered.

Dave Winer developed outlining applications to help writers of prose and code organize their thoughts. He also developed RSS and knows something about interoperability and the politics of standards.

In this podcast, Winer talks with Allen Wirfs-Brock about how JSON came to be and the back story about how Tim Bray (a developer of XML) came to be interested in its evolution. “Along the way we get a lot of interesting tidbits about how JavaScript and JSON evolved,” says Winer.

Data is like air

This all reminded me of some previous blog posts about data wants to be free. Moira Gunn, host of TechNation, an NPR show and also a podcast, discussed this topic in her opening “Take Five” essay in that podcast. She said, “Like air, data just flows. The power of data lies in its being replicated over and over.” She was thinking about Google and the attempt to have your past eradicated. But the concept also works for us.


I was thinking about my thoughts voiced yesterday about the use of open technology. Arlen Nipper, co-developer of MQTT, likes to tout that his middleware powers the Internet of Things. He says this because MQTT is the backbone of Facebook Messenger.

Ah, there is my point about the use of open technologies. Messenger is a closed silo. Try to move your data. Try to use your data in another application. Try to text someone from another app to an address in Messenger. Nope. Can’t do anything. Facebook wants you captured completely within its silo.

What’s that old phrase? Buyer Beware?

A New Internet of Things Operating System

What’s this? A new Internet of Things operating system in the making? I’ve been on a 3-day holiday this week. But I’m still reading my news feed. Then two articles popped up on Computerworld about Google’s new operating system Fuchsia (built on Magenta, those colorful Google developers!).

Here is an article by Sharon Gaudin. “Analysts see it as independent of Android and Chrome, set on different market.”

With Google apparently working to develop a new operating system, speculation is centered on whether the company is looking to play a big role in running the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The important thing is that this could be Google’s bid to supply the OS that runs Internet of Things-type systems,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with OrionX, a technology analyst firm. “This could be an OS to run on sensors that, for example, check on fertilizer levels in farmers’ fields or voice recognition features for fitness products. The array of possibilities in these devices is endless and they all need some sort of operating system.”

Speculation about what Google is up to arose late last week and focused on whether the company is looking to either add to its OS family of Android and Chrome or to begin to replace them.

According to a report from Android Police, which spotted Google’s extremely cryptic and basic description of Fuchsia on the project’s GitHub page the new operating system’s kernel, called Magenta, is designed to be used on everything from tiny embedded devices to laptops.

And another article from Nick Mediati. “Nobody quite knows what it’s for (yet), but according to Android Police, Fuchsia can run on just about any kind of device.”

For years, Google has developed two operating systems side-by-side in Android for mobile devices and Chrome OS for laptops and desktops. But it looks as though Google now has a third operating system project underway known as Fuchsia.

Although Google isn’t revealing much, Android Police dug into the documentation for the project on GitHub and discovered more details about the OS. The biggest takeaway, Android Police notes, is that Fuchsia’s kernel, known as Magenta, is designed to work across a wide range of devices—from small “embedded devices” all the way up to desktops and laptops.

In addition, Fuchsia makes use of Google’s Dart programming language, as well as the company’s Material Design-friendly Flutter user interface framework.

Here is the GitHub link and another Google link.

Or Engadget, Google’s Fuchsia operating system runs on virtually anything.

Android Police, Google is developing an OS called “Fuchsia,” runs on All the Things

There are many more. Wonder what’s up? What do you think? Will we use it?

Augmented Reality Helps Sell Cars–Updated Information

Augmented Reality Helps Sell Cars–Updated Information

Accenture Augmented Reality application

[This article is updated as of 10/30/19. I received information that noted Google’s Tango has been shelved, but that there is still work being done on the platform. Thank you to Luke Pensworth of Daily Wireless.]

This news is a little outside my usual commentary, but it does reflect a trend. Augmented reality developments have grown steadily for many years. I first wrote about it before it had a name in the late 1990s regarding maintenance applications. Potential applications now are growing faster than the imagination right.

This “first-of-its-kind mobile augmented reality solution” creates a life-size 3D, virtual vehicle to enhance the car buying experience.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) unveiled a prototype of an immersive car sales application at Mobile World Congress designed and built by Accenture Digital using Google’s Project Tango developer kit. The prototype demonstrates how augmented reality can revolutionize the shopping experience for consumers by allowing them to view and interact with a full-scale virtual version of the object – or car – they are considering buying.

The prototype allows car buyers to hold a device and, using the integrated sensor technology and motion tracking, area learning, and depth perception from Project Tango, view, walk around, look inside and configure a life-size virtual car. On the Accenture demo, doors can be opened to reveal a realistic and detailed interior, where changes to upholstery colors or dashboard styles can be made with a tap on the device screen.

Project Tango technology gives mobile devices the ability to navigate the physical world similar to how we do as humans. Project Tango brings a new kind of spatial perception to Android devices by adding advanced computer vision, image processing, and special vision sensors. A Project Tango device maps the 360-degree environment around it, meaning that as it is moved it navigates and views the changing environment in the same way as a person would.  As the car is viewed through the device, the virtual car moves in relation to how the user moves.

The first commercial Project Tango device is expected to be available in summer 2016 and this application will be previewed to attendees of this year’s Mobile World Congress. Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, has worked with FCA to create an application for this new technology that will transform the process of buying and configuring a new car.

Untethered Augmented Reality Experience

Users of the FCA car configuration solution will be able to walk freely around a full-scale vehicle in almost any environment because Project Tango enables an untethered, handheld experience that does not rely on external tracking technology such as markers, beacons or GPS.

“Project Tango is a new, unique technology that is set to become standard functionality in the next generation of mobile devices,” said Matteo Aliberti, Digital Innovation lead for Accenture Interactive EALA. “Accenture has been experimenting with Project Tango and potential business uses for as long as it has been in development, creating a range of potential applications, including this one for the automotive industry.”

Accenture’s design-led development of this solution means that the process of making decisions about cars will be completely transformed with the new generation of mobile devices.  FCA is the first automotive brand to use this type of digital car configuration tool. Today’s car configurators are essentially flat, so with this tool FCA customers could have a more interesting and immersive experience.

This work is the latest collaboration between FCA and Accenture that aims to deliver a new and unique digital experience for FCA customers.

“Augmented reality is set to transform the way car-buyers choose and configure vehicles through the provision of immersive technology because it provides an enjoyable, delightful experience for customers,” said Luca Mentuccia, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Automotive practice. “We believe dealers and car buyers will be quick to embrace this enhanced way of buying a car as the new devices become readily available, taking advantage of the 360-degree mapping environment to create this unique experience.”

Google Taking Deep Dive Into Internet of Things

Google Taking Deep Dive Into Internet of Things

I saw some Google Internet of Things news on a new site called The Information. As the technology media consolidates and fights for page views in a fragmented advertising market, Jessica Lessen developed a digital site that is subscription only. No fighting over getting ads and eyeballs.

When I started this site two years ago, I gave some thought to ads. But that seemed like a losing proposition. So right now it’s free. And the newsletter is free. You can sign up for it by clicking the link on the sidebar.

Internet of Things

Everybody wants to get into the Internet of Things parade. The Information picked up on a new project at Google. Working through its Android software, The Information notes, “Google wants its software to power any electronic device that connects to the Internet, whether or not it has a digital screen.”

To that end, Google is working on technology that could run on low-powered devices, possibly with as few as 64 or 32 megabytes of random-access memory, according to people who have been briefed about the project.

The analysis is that the technology could make it easier for other companies to build everything from “smart” fridges and light bulbs to garden monitors. Note that this relates to the consumer IoT.

Keep in mind that ever since the PC-based control revolution of the late 90s, industrial automation and control have increasingly leveraged commercial technologies for industrial uses. If Google develops a low-power, low-footprint product, this will no doubt spur further development of industrial “things”.

And, this should have the twin benefits to customers of driving down costs and providing a more open ecosystem.

More from The Information

The project has been referred by the codename “Brillo” and appears to be separate from the upcoming release of the “M” version of Android. Like the open-source version of Android, Brillo could be more like a technology blueprint than a fully loaded operating system tied to apps and services, at first.

Google is expected to discuss the Brillo software, which is initially aimed at devices for the home, during the company’s annual conference for developers next week. Google last year offered a version of Android for smartwatches, called Android Wear, to certain partners.

Google considers Brillo to be a “platform” that will help streamline a fragmented market in which developers are creating or using lots of different operating systems to power Web-connected gadgets and sensors, says one of the people briefed about it. Because the software is so different from Android, Google hasn’t yet decided whether to fold it into the Android brand, this person says.

Having its software power a bevy of home gadgets would give Google valuable insight into people’s behaviors and habits.

Devices running the new Brillo software would be able communicate with devices made by Google’s Nest unit, which include a thermostat and smoke detector. Those have operating systems built using Linux software, and the thermostat is loaded with technology called Thread that could enable it to serve as a hub for communicating with a range of other devices.

Undoubtedly, Google also wants to head off efforts by Microsoft and Samsung Electronics to create similar software and hardware standards for connected devices.

Microsoft has announced a slimmed down version of Windows 10 that runs on a Raspberry Pi, a cheap microcomputer popular among device developers.

Samsung has Artik, a set of standardized circuit boards smart home developers can tap. It also bought SmartThings, which makes a $99 wireless hub and a free app to control compatible devices around the home. But developers have been reluctant to commit to the system because it depends on Samsung’s as-yet unproved ability build up a huge installed base of hubs.

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