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Google, The Sea Monster, And The Big Whirlpool

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Google, The Sea Monster, And The Big Whirlpool
2. Today's Top Story
    - Google's Achilles' Heel
    - Review: Google Pack
3. Breaking News
    - Opera Releases 'Mini' Mobile Phone Browser
    - Firefox 1.5 Passes 20 Million Mark
    - Exec Pay At HP, Google Differs Drastically
    - Botnet Creator Pleads Guilty, Faces 25 Years
    - Super Bucks Needed For Super Bowl Tix
    - Does An Outside Contractor Help Speed Some Tech Projects?
    - 3G Finally Gaining Momentum: Report
    - Worldwide Hot-Spot List Tops 100,000 Mark
    - EMC: Strong Year-End Financials, New Products Thursday
    - U.S.-European GPS Rivalry Heats Up
    - Kama Sutra Spoofs Digital Certificates
    - Study: State, Local Government Outsourcing On The Rise
    - Egenera And Emerson Team On Cool Blades
4. Grab Bag
    - Business, And Repression, As Usual
    - Microsoft Not Meeting Goals Of Settlement, U.S. Says
    - The Year Of Living DRMishly
5. In Depth: Microsoft
    - Microsoft Leverages IPv6 With Vista
    - EC Grants Microsoft Extension; DOJ Says Company Tardy
    - Microsoft's Web-Design Tools Could Lure Corporate Defections From Mac
    - Bill Gates' Spam Prediction Misses Target
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Counterpoint: You Don't Have To Be A Busybody To Worry About Privacy
7. White Papers
    - A Toolkit Approach To Business Analysis: Maximizing Your Return On Business Information
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"The way to succeed is to double your error rate." -- Thomas J. Watson


1. Editor's Note: Google, The Sea Monster, And The Big Whirlpool

The headline on today's top story, "Google's Achilles' Heel," references classical mythology. Here's another classical mythology reference that's not mentioned in the story: Scylla and Charybdis.

In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster who lived on one side of the Strait of Messia. A whirlpool named Charybdis was on the other side of the strait. Ships passing through the channel had to carefully steer a course between the two hazards. If they went too wrong in one direction, the sea monster got 'em, and if they went wrong in the other direction, they went down under the whirlpool.

(Still other navigational errors would result in their being stranded on Gilligan's Island. But ancient Greek legends don't discuss that.)

Reading over "Google's Achilles' Heel," I'm struck that Google is attempting to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis.

The company gets virtually all its enormous revenue from keyword-related advertising. Type a search term into Google, and you'll see ads that are triggered by that keyword. Similarly, if certain keywords are present in a Gmail message, or on an external site that belongs to Google's ad network, you'll see ads related to those keywords as well.

That's a huge, and growing, business. But how long will that last? As our story points out, only until somebody else comes up with better algorithms.

Google appears to be aware of this. That's why it's scrambling to develop new products and services at a frenetic pace.

But in doing so, it can't lose sight of the original business.

It needs to innovate and create new businesses, while also avoiding losing sight of the old business. In other words: It needs to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis.

Read our story for more insight into the threats facing Google: In addition to excessive reliance on search advertising, there are also lawsuits, eroding public trust, lack of focus, and the competitive threat from Microsoft.

And, in other Google coverage: Google News is out of beta, and we have a review of Google Pack, the recently released bundle of desktop software for personal productivity, security, and fun.

If today's Google coverage leaves you hungry for more, we're running another major Google story Monday. I just read a draft, and it's a beaut; I'm eager to see the finished product and for you to read it.

What do you think? Can Google successfully steer through the threats facing it? Leave a comment on the InformationWeek Weblog and let us know.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Google's Achilles' Heel
Wall Street loves it. Consumers are begging for more of it. Other companies want to be it. But Google has its vulnerabilities--excessive reliance on search advertising, lawsuits, eroding public trust, lack of focus, and the competitive threat from Microsoft. How long can Google's run last?

Review: Google Pack
Google Pack is designed to be a single, easy-to-use package containing a dozen desktop applications for personal productivity, communications, security, and just for fun. How well does it work?


3. Breaking News

Opera Releases 'Mini' Mobile Phone Browser
Opera Mini supports virtually all Java-enabled cell phones and compresses Web pages by up to 80%, reformatting them for easy and fast browsing on mobile screens.

Firefox 1.5 Passes 20 Million Mark
The open-source browser, with between 9% and 10% of the market, has also been localized for 35 languages since its debut less than two months ago, the company said.

Exec Pay At HP, Google Differs Drastically
Although the Google execs--Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt--turned down the huge salaries that are standard at Hewlett-Packard and most everywhere else in the computer industry, their stock holdings are their rewards.

Botnet Creator Pleads Guilty, Faces 25 Years
A 20-year-old California man is the first American botnet creator to be convicted on federal charges.

Super Bucks Needed For Super Bowl Tix
A comprehensive search across the Web by FatLens.com found tickets ranging all the way from $1,825 for a single seat to $315,000 for a luxury box.

Does An Outside Contractor Help Speed Some Tech Projects?
Two transportation-security projects have yielded vastly different results thus far. One big difference is an outside contractor's level of involvement.

3G Finally Gaining Momentum: Report
Preliminary figures indicate that at the end of last year, there were 44 million W-CDMA subscribers worldwide, an increase of 164% over the number registered at the end of 2004.

Worldwide Hot-Spot List Tops 100,000 Mark
The number of wireless hot-spots almost doubled worldwide and is expected to continue growing rapidly, according to a directory service.

EMC: Strong Year-End Financials, New Products Thursday
The storage company's reports of double-digit growth will be followed by new file-virtualization technology related to its recent acquisition of Rainfinity, CEO Joe Tucci says.

U.S.-European GPS Rivalry Heats Up
A U.S. official today will unveil a next-generation GPS system that the government promises will provide more commercial features. The current GPS network has focused on military requirements, but now the Europeans are readying Galileo.

Kama Sutra Spoofs Digital Certificates
Another twist has been discovered with the newest worm making the rounds: Kama Sutra can fool Windows into accepting a malicious ActiveX control by spoofing a digital signature.

Study: State, Local Government Outsourcing On The Rise
One big factor is the upcoming retirement of many government employees, meaning that states will need more outside help to get things done.

Egenera And Emerson Team On Cool Blades
CoolFrame system is designed to reduce the heat generated by high-density blade-server installations.

All our latest news

Watch The News Show

John Soat With 'Like, News'
RIM's BlackBerry case rejected by the Supreme Court, consumers excited about dual-core technology, sex.com sells for millions, and more.

Elena Malykhina With 'Genie In A Cell Phone'
Youth-targeted Ampd Mobile, upgrades entertainment content management to create a more personalized mobile experience.


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4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

Business, And Repression, As Usual (The Washington Post)
Columnist Richard Cohen chastises companies like Yahoo and Cisco that do business in China and assist that country's repressive government in stifling and locking up dissidents.

Microsoft Not Meeting Goals Of Settlement, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)
Microsoft is failing to move quickly enough to comply with its antitrust settlement with the government, the Bush administration said in its strongest show of impatience with the company since they reached their agreement in 2001.

The Year Of Living DRMishly (Wired News)
All signs point to 2006 as the year consumers become intimately familiar with digital-rights management, as Microsoft, Apple, and Google all push their own copy-protection schemes. Can revolution be far behind?


5. In Depth: Microsoft

Microsoft Leverages IPv6 With Vista
Internet Protocol version 6 promises to deliver connectivity features in Windows Vista not possible with today's Internet Protocol version 4.

EC Grants Microsoft Extension; DOJ Says Company Tardy
The European Commission gave Microsoft an extension Monday to respond to charges relating to a 2004 antitrust ruling. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice took the company to task for falling behind in providing documentation required under a 2002 antitrust settlement.

Microsoft's Web-Design Tools Could Lure Corporate Defections From Mac
As the company provides early looks at its new tools, Web designers and developers say Microsoft could lure Mac shops with XAML support, collaboration features, and simplified user interface and app development.

Bill Gates' Spam Prediction Misses Target
Two years ago, Gates said the spam problem would be "solved" by now. We're not even close, experts say, and for many reasons that don't have anything to do with Microsoft.


6. Voice Of Authority

Counterpoint: You Don't Have To Be A Busybody To Worry About Privacy
Earlier this week, Bob Evans turned his razor-sharp pen on self-styled "privacy advocates" who object to the government subpoenaing search records in defense of the Child Online Protection Act. But Mitch Wagner says you don't have to be a kook to be worried about government setting a big bucket to scoop up thousands of gallons of information about Internet searches.


7. White Papers

A Toolkit Approach To Business Analysis: Maximizing Your Return On Business Information
Using integrated analysis toolkits, companies can rapidly build and deploy sophisticated applications for business analysis, budgeting, planning, simulation, and reporting. This white paper explores the toolkit approach to providing business analysis and alternatives for building custom analysis solutions for strategic decision-making.


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