“To organise the worlds information about you, and make it accessible to Google”

As most of you i’ve watched the Google I/O  Keynote on tuesday. Because i was participating in a test of a live blogging software I did a fair amount of live tweeting.

Since i had to rush after 2 1/2 hours to be only one hour late to a dinner invitation,  summarised the keynote with a tweet saying:

My summary of the first 2 1/2 hours of the #io13 keynote: meh meets spooky, and forget about interoperable standards, do it the google way
@gkamp
gkamp

But this was only one part of the summary. The other deserves some more time and space than a tweet. Hence this post.

It was the modified version of Google’s mission statement that formed itself in the back of my head:

“To organise the worlds information about you and make it accessible to Google”

This is what the “sppoky” part of my tweet relates too.

For the first time did Google show off how the different  initiatives (especially in the machine learning domain) come together in order to accrue as much information about a user as possible by providing useful services to him and track his activities.

As usual, there are two sides of a coin: In order to be able to provide Services like Google Now, or auto-awesome you need that vast amount of information and you need the progress in machine learning, NLP, … all that AI capabilities that Google has developed (standing on the shoulders of the AI research community as well as contributing heavily to it). For anybody interested in this topic i recommend to visit http://research.google.com.   And subscribe to The Google Research Blog and the Recent Google Publications Feed (if you somehow can find the URLs for the feed, one sympton of what i meant by less and less using interoperable standards).

What also has changed from back in the days when i did AI research, is the way the services are realized (in the cloud vs. local ressources) and paid for (personal data and advertising vs. license fees). This heavily contributes to my attitude to not using services like Google Now etc.

I’d rather be able to pay real money  in exchange to get a reasonable guarantee that my privacy is not invaded for potentially massively privacy invading services like Google Now and Auto-Awesome.

In this i’m a typical german  after all :-)

What’s next

Reading the (currently) most recent Google Research Blog Post it becomes clear, that Google is not going to rest on it’s laurels:

:

We’ve already developed some quantum machine learning algorithms. One produces very compact, efficient recognizers — very useful when you’re short on power, as on a mobile device. Another can handle highly polluted training data, where a high percentage of the examples are mislabeled, as they often are in the real world. And we’ve learned some useful principles: e.g., you get the best results not with pure quantum computing, but by mixing quantum and classical computing.

Can we move these ideas from theory to practice, building real solutions on quantum hardware? Answering this question is what the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is for. We hope it helps researchers construct more efficient and more accurate models for everything from speech recognition, to web search, to protein folding. We actually think quantum machine learning may provide the most creative problem-solving process under the known laws of physics.

Elsewhere

As usual, i’m not the only one to get that feeling, and by far not the smartest. Without further ado, Mashables and Ben Thompsons take on it:

Mashable:

Now, however, Google’s worldview is finally coming into focus. The tenuous threads that connect these dozens of different applications and services are strengthening and gradually being pulled closer together. Underneath it all is Google’s vast web of information and smarts, which is all about us.

What Google is about to do with all of it is either a thrilling or very scary prospect.

Ben Thompson: (his remarks on Henry McCracken quoted nearly in full, but go read it and subscribe to Ben’S blog)

I don’t know much about itches, but I believe the conventional wisdom is wrong: from Google’s perspective, Google+ is not a social network meant to compete with Facebook. Rather, it’s an identity system that follows you everywhere.

Think about it: what is more valuable? Inane chatter, memes, and baby photos, or every single activity you do online (and increasingly offline)? Google+ is about unifying all of Google’s services under a single log-in which can be tracked across the Internet on every site that serves Google ads, uses Google sign-in, or utilizes Google analytics.

Every feature of Google+ – or of YouTube, or Maps, or GMail, or any other service – is a flytrap meant to ensure you are logged in and being logged by Google at all times.

Google’s mission is ostensibly “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

That was once true, but a better formulation today is: “To organize user information and make it universally trackable and marketable.”