Monday, September 19, 2011

Quick links

Some of what has caught my attention recently:
  • "60 percent of Netflix views are a result of Netflix's personalized recommendations" and "35 percent of [Amazon] product sales result from recommendations" ([1] [2])

  • When doing personalization and recommendations, implicit ratings (like clicks or purchases) are much less work and turn out to be highly correlated to what people would say their preferences are if you did ask ([1])

  • Good defaults are important. 95% won't change the default configuration even in cases where they clearly should. ([1])

  • MSR says 68% of mobile local searches occur while people are actually in motion, usually in a car or bus. Most are looking for the place they want to go, usually a restaurant. ([1])

  • Google paper on Tenzing, a SQL layer on top of MapReduce that appears similar in functionality to Microsoft's Scope or Michael Stonebraker's Vertica. Most interesting part is the performance optimizations. ([1])

  • Googler Luiz Barroso talks data centers, including giving no love to using flash storage and talking about upcoming networking tech that might change the game. ([1] [2])

  • High quality workers on MTurk are much cheaper than they should be ([1])

  • Most newspapers should focus on being the definitive source for local news and the primary channel to get to small local advertisers ([1] [2])

  • Text messaging charges are unsustainable. Only question is when and how they break. ([1])

  • "If you want to create an educational game focus on building a great game in the first place and then add your educational content to it. If the game does not make me want to come back and play another round to beat my high-score or crack the riddle, your educational content can be as brilliant as it can be. No one will care." ([1])

  • A few claims that it is not competitor's failures, but Apple's skillful dominance of supply chains, that prevents Apple's competitors from successfully copying Apple products. I'm not convinced, but worth reading nonetheless. ([1] [2] [3])

  • Surprising amount of detail about the current state of Amazon's supply chain in some theses out of MIT. Long reads, but good reads. ([1])

  • If you want to do e-commerce in a place like India, you have to build out your own delivery service. ([1])

  • Like desktop search in 2005, Dropbox and other cloud storage products exist because Microsoft's product is broken. Microsoft made desktop search go away in 2006 by launching desktop search that works, and it will make the cloud storage opportunity go away by launching a cloud drive that works. ([1] [2] [3])

  • Just like in 2005, merging two failing businesses doesn't make a working business. Getting AOL all over you isn't going to fix you, Yahoo. ([1] [2])

  • Good rant on how noreply@ e-mail addresses are bad customer service. And then the opposite point of view from Google's Sergey Brin. ([1] [2])

  • Google founder Sergey Brin proposed taking Google's entire marketing budget and allocating it "to inoculate Chechen refugees against cholera" ([1])

  • Brilliant XKCD comic on passwords and how websites should ask people to pick passwords ([1])


Daniel Lemire said...

Why do you say that Tenzing is similar to Vertica?

Greg Linden said...

They mention Vertica a few times in the paper as one of their targets for performance and functionality.

I only said appears similar in functionality to Vertica. I was not trying to say they are similar in implementation.

Daniel Lemire said...


Right. I think we could describe it as an important part of Google's data warehouse architecture, and sure enough, they want to match the performance of the main vendors.

Related pointer: Apache Hive.