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(Wired)   Google would be in big trouble if even one practical, product minded person worked for IBM   ( wired.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, IBM, Google, Vasant Dhar, risks, Brad Rutter, first computer, Alan Turing, machine learning  
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4015 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Oct 2013 at 9:48 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



22 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2013-10-07 09:57:49 AM  
A concept versus a huge, widely tested, much evolved solution? No doubt they're worried.
 
2013-10-07 09:58:52 AM  
I have my doubts that something like Watson would easily translate to a search engine - considering Watson currently requires a million dollar piece of hardware as "minimum spec", having the hardware to run it as a search engine hundreds of millions of people would use sounds infeasible without completely changing the way it works.
 
2013-10-07 10:08:01 AM  
Apparently nobody with intelligence (artificial or other) writes for Wired.
 
2013-10-07 10:09:01 AM  
Watson did not pass the turing test.  Watson answered questions really really quick.
 
2013-10-07 10:09:45 AM  
Watson has a lot of up front latency, making it useless for many search applications, especially in volume.  IBM has been looking for takers anywhere they can find them, but no one seems to want two or three seconds of latency in front of their search for some reason.
 
2013-10-07 10:10:34 AM  
IBM found itself in the consumer products and services market only by accident, and inasmuch as any creaky, venerable mega-corporation can be said to be "healthy" these days, has been doing well since spinning off Lenovo and refocusing on B2B.

There's some fantastic technologies in their portfolio, but you'll sooner see them licensed off to other companies to be turned into products than to see an IBM-branded public search engine.
 
2013-10-07 10:31:23 AM  
The author has apparently never heard of Google Now.
 
2013-10-07 10:50:28 AM  
And the headline writer would write better headlines if he knew how to use a hyphen.
 
2013-10-07 12:05:42 PM  
The search engine is only part of the equation.
Collecting, storing, indexing and retrieving a gazillion googlebytes of data isn't exactly trivial.
 
2013-10-07 12:20:00 PM  
Back in the day (90s), I worked for IBM when AOL, Dogpile and Yahoo! search sites were the "in thing" and Google was not even a thing yet. I remember the talk of creating a search engine site, and all of the execs saying it wasn't worth their time for the little profit involved in ad space. Since then, Google showed you could make it profitable, but only if it was the only thing your company could concentrate on at the time. If IBM had gotten into the search tech, back before Google got into the game, there was no way they could have put the energy into it that would have made it that profitable. I think that is still true even with the advanced tech they utilize today. Sometimes, concentrating on a single product is the best thing a business can do to make it unique.
 
2013-10-07 01:05:44 PM  

enry: Apparently nobody with intelligence (artificial or other) writes for Wired.


But I like my tech analysis stories from authors who have no grasp of what they are discussing.
 
2013-10-07 01:23:01 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Watson has a lot of up front latency, making it useless for many search applications, especially in volume.  IBM has been looking for takers anywhere they can find them, but no one seems to want two or three seconds of latency in front of their search for some reason.


I think the intent is to have Watson take on things like medical diagnosis.  There's a lot of diseases out there that have similar symptoms.  Having a machine that can quickly analyze all the information and come up with some ideas on what to look for will be a great benefit to everyone.  IIRC, the IBM Fellow that started Watson had this exact problem (nerve problem that caused a great deal of pain and nobody was able to diagnose it).

In this case, you just load up all the medical books and let it cut loose.  Feed in NEJM or whatever every now and then.
 
2013-10-07 02:11:27 PM  
Man, imagine the amount of trouble Google would be in if IBM ran itself like Google.

Google gives away the products that are Microsoft and Apple's bread and butter. Free OS? You want desktop or smartphone? Productivity suite? Online or phone app?

People who create popular web destinations often find that Google has cloned it and that (surprise) Google's implementation of your idea always shows up at the top of their search rankings.

I wonder how Google would react if IBM created an advanced search engine with a robust privacy policy and just gave away the advertising on that site for free?
 
2013-10-07 02:39:53 PM  
IBM sucks. They are the United Airlines of the tech world.
 
2013-10-07 02:57:32 PM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: IBM sucks. They are the United Airlines of the tech world.


In all of the Steve Jobs obits/reactions, it rarely came up that while Jobs didn't think very highly of Microsoft or their designs, he absolutely DESPISED IBM. The whole religious angle over Jobs and Apple is overblown, but the one area where it actually makes a little sense is the "holy war" between IBM and Apple. I don't own any iDevices, but I admit I'm glad Apple and the Mac won out over IBM's vision of the future.
 
2013-10-07 03:33:07 PM  
Please excuse me, as I work outside of the IT world, but what exactly does IBM do these days?  I assume they make servers for huge companies. Is that it?
 
2013-10-07 04:01:41 PM  

MistaWaRe: Please excuse me, as I work outside of the IT world, but what exactly does IBM do these days?  I assume they make servers for huge companies. Is that it?


They like to patent stuff among other things.
 
2013-10-07 05:03:48 PM  

BullBearMS: People who create popular web destinations often find that Google has cloned it and that (surprise) Google's implementation of your idea always shows up at the top of their search rankings.


[citation needed]

And, no, don't cite the EU anti trust agency complaints, which were sourced from a bunch of crappy, unpopular sites who want Google to help them become popular even though they suck.
 
2013-10-07 05:32:16 PM  

Geotpf: BullBearMS: People who create popular web destinations often find that Google has cloned it and that (surprise) Google's implementation of your idea always shows up at the top of their search rankings.

[citation needed]

And, no, don't cite the EU anti trust agency complaints, which were sourced from a bunch of crappy, unpopular sites who want Google to help them become popular even though they suck.


Since you've already cited an example, nobody else needs to.

Also, if the sites in question were so crappy and unpopular, then why did Goggle scrape the contents of so many of them when they copied them wholesale?
 
2013-10-07 09:01:25 PM  

enry: Marcus Aurelius: Watson has a lot of up front latency, making it useless for many search applications, especially in volume.  IBM has been looking for takers anywhere they can find them, but no one seems to want two or three seconds of latency in front of their search for some reason.

I think the intent is to have Watson take on things like medical diagnosis.  There's a lot of diseases out there that have similar symptoms.  Having a machine that can quickly analyze all the information and come up with some ideas on what to look for will be a great benefit to everyone.  IIRC, the IBM Fellow that started Watson had this exact problem (nerve problem that caused a great deal of pain and nobody was able to diagnose it).

In this case, you just load up all the medical books and let it cut loose.  Feed in NEJM or whatever every now and then.


I like the call center idea for Watson as well.  Fill it up with all of the KB's a company has and route the question tree based on customer responses.  "Did you turn it off and on again?" doesn't bode so well for something like drano.  It has its place, and something needs to be specialized in finding specific answers instead of offering the top 1000 keyword matches that you personally have to mentally churn at the level which its team wants to achieve.

Sometimes I still give in to college-level prank call antics and call the number on the back of products.  I still haven't found a poor 19-year-old who can tell me why I can't use drano in a toilet, even though it's obvious enough to be borderline common sense.
 
2013-10-08 12:29:56 PM  

Sugarbombs: Sometimes I still give in to college-level prank call antics and call the number on the back of products. I still haven't found a poor 19-year-old who can tell me why I can't use drano in a toilet, even though it's obvious enough to be borderline common sense.


I have never heard that before. I've never done it, but I've never heard not to use Drano on a toilet. I'm guessing it has something to do with an acid/base reaction, but what's the "obvious, borderline common sense" reason?
 
2013-10-08 06:34:31 PM  
poot_rootbeer: There's some fantastic technologies in their portfolio, but you'll sooner see them licensed off to other companies to be turned into products than to see an IBM-branded public search engine.

I don't know about recently, but during the 70s through at least the early 90s IBM patented more potentially kickass technologies than almost every other tech company combined. Seriously, it was insane. Xerox PARC is legendary for giving away the WIMP user interface design to Apple and MS, and everyone laughs at them for it, but IBM had developed essentially the same thing at least a decade earlier. And done nothing with it. And that was a minor gem among the piles of unused swag in their Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse.

IBM is chiefly a development company and a big-computers company. Before that, they were an office machine company. They're not a hot-new-technology company. Most of the awesome stuff their development people play with never finds its way to market. There generally isn't even an intention of bringing it to market. Why IBM is this way, and how they can possibly have stayed this way, I don't know. But IBM is like Menlo Park if Edison hadn't been interested in business beyond maintaining telegraph systems.

Sony, actually, is very similar, as are at least a few of the major Japanese and Chinese tech companies. They constantly develop stuff that blows your mind . . . and then it never appears on the market. Sony had the MP3 player (by any other name) in the late 1980s, but they didn't think enough people would pay $300 for a Walkman. They wanted to incorporate it into cars, as a radio jukebox, but a deal with Nissan or someone fell through, and they simply sat on it.

Steve Jobs was nowhere the genius people make him out to be, but if he'd worked for IBM or Sony, Apple would still be a tiny niche player. It's not inventing things that usually matters. It's styling them and marketing them. Frankly, I detest the Apple style, myself, artistically and from a technology perspective, but there's no denying its market strength.

Google . . . eh. Google impressed me ten years ago. By five years ago it had begun its decline as a technology company and its rise as a marketing company. By now, mostly they're . . . better than MS. That's not bragging territory, but it's nice for money.
 
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