kraftymiles

Technology, Films, Nonsense

The Death of Google and the Monetisation of Wikipedia

Posted by kraftymiles on March 12, 2008

Well, it’s been a funny old week. There’s the Zuckerborg interview at SXSWi to talk about, which I wont and then the Jimmy Wales expenses coverage, which ICBA to mention. More interesting to me are the two statements in the strap-line for this post. The Death of Google. I wish, I mean I really wish I could remember who said this, but I can’t so apologies to the original commenter. (at SXSWi I believe) “Google is Dead; you can’t index the web”. What a statement! Let’s see if we can qualify it a little. The idea behind this story is that Google are attempting to index EVERYTHING. And of course in doing so fail. It’s a bit like Schroedinger’s cat, as soon as you look to see if the cat is dead, you may in fact be killing it. With Google, as soon as they try and index everything out there, then more and more crap pops up, so they have to add that to the list. SIDEBAR: When Google returns a set of search results, and says “Showing 1-5 of 10,233,440 results” does anyone ever go beyond that first page? Have you ever wondered what links lie at the end of the list? Let me show you.

Search for William Morris
Results 1 – 10 of about 2,490,000 for William Morris. (0.08 seconds)

Result 1 is “The William Morris gallery”
Result 2 is the Wikipedia entry

Between those two hits I’ve found out that Mr Morris was a poet, an artist and socialist, all without leaving the Google results page. By the time you get to the results in the region of 500, you are now looking at pictures of Britney Spears and Google tops out at 1000 results. So that “2,490,000” is a target you’re never going to reach. I wonder what it would return if you typed in Britney Spears? Would the results morph into ones about Mr Morris? Is this some kind of recursion loop such as putting Instant coffee in a microwave makes you go back in time?
Search for “William Morris again and it gives 2,500,000 hits, so that’s an extra 10,000 results for William Morris in about the space of 5 minutes.

Anyway, I digress. The point that the originally quoted person was trying to make is that Google has a limited lifespan and that “intelligent” search is where we’re heading. Sites like Mahalo that give smaller numbers of more accurate results are going to be the way forward. Google has done a lot in recent months in trying to eliminate the link farms, but now seems to be treating content on Wikipedia as true and something worthy of note. And as we all know
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability

So, seeing as we’re on to Wikipedia, what is this cry of monetisation then? Jimmy Wales has been in the news (well I say news, and by that I mean Valleywag, El Reg and other quality publications) over his expenses claims. Turns out that he’s been trying to submit claims for all sorts of things not becoming the founder of Wikipedia and head of a non-profit organisation. Except that’s where things fall down a bit. Ex-pornographer Wales isn’t the founder, but at best co-founder of Wikipedia along with much maligned Larry Sanger. (Look up his Bio on Wikipedia for more info, but he really comes out of this the good guy) Oh and as for the Ex-pornographer, his bomis.com career was in selling dirty photos on line. So anyway, back to Sanger; the story goes that Sanger came to Wales with the idea for a user generated encycloepdia based on his nupedia portal. Wales takes this idea and turns it into Wikipedia. This has caused concern for many as it appears that Wales isn’t giving credit for the idea to Sanger, but hey, H2G2 first appeared on the web in 1999, which is what? 5 years before Wikipedia?

Anyway, last year, pornographer in charge Wales sent a message out to those of us on the mailing list for Wikipedia saying something along the lines of “if you had a billion dollars in cash, what would you buy for Wikipedia?” This caused loads of excitement amongst the community and everyone started discussing what could be gotten for that kind of cash. Move forward some months and Wales is meeting with Bono’s people, has Wikia going strong, (which is a for-profit organisation) and is generally building an empire that could eventually take ownership of the content on it under CC and start charging for it.

The thing with working for a Non-profit or a charity (as I currently do) is that you need to be above reproach when it comes to matters of finance. One impropriety and people start to question everything you are involved in.

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One Response to “The Death of Google and the Monetisation of Wikipedia”

  1. […] TechshowWire (beta) wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe Death of Google and the Monetisation of Wikipedia Posted on March 12, 2008 by kraftymiles The Death of Google and the Monetisation of Wikipedia Well ,it’s been a funny old week. There’s the Zuckerborg interview at SXSWi to talk about, which I wont and then the Jimmy Wales expenses coverage, which ICBA to mention. More interesting to me are the two statements in the strap-line for this post. The Death of Google. I wish, I mean I really wish I could remember who said this, but I can’t so […]

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