Gongol.com Archives: February 2010
Brian Gongol

February 8, 2010

Computers and the Internet Google could be building a babelfish for phones
The babelfish is a fictional character from the riveting Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, capable of instantaneously translating any language into another. (That's why the Yahoo/Alta Vista Babelfish translation site is named that way.) Now it's being posited that Google is working on instantaneous translation using a combination of its voice-to-text software (developed for and through Google Voice) and its text-translation software (widely used around the world, even though most English speakers probably don't know it). This only seems to reinforce the argument that Google Voice is being used as a testing ground for voice-to-text algorithms which have myriad other applications as well. But it may also be one of those early symptoms of Google's eventual demise, since there's already some serious skepticism about whether the company will adequately protect individual privacy if people use such a service. The more skeptical people become of Google's motives, the more likely it becomes that the company will have trouble gaining the returns on investment that it requires in order to keep growing at a pace that keeps with its shareholders' demands. Americans seem to trust the small and upstart online services more than they trust the large and established, and Google is becoming the most established of all. That tilts the marketplace in favor of upstarts, even when Google has mountains of cash to devote to research and product development. Google's best bet right now, counterintuitive though it may be, is to focus on holding its ground in a handful of Internet services where it has a clear competitive advantage (search engines, video delivery, and e-mail would be obvious examples) -- but to diversify away from the Internet everywhere else. Become an energy company. Become a medical-research company. Become a homebuilder or a travel company, for all it matters. But recognize that the early symptoms of Google consumer skepticism likely portend greater skepticism in the future, and an even tougher job to be done to keep asking consumers to trust the company with more of their Internet-related lives.

Humor and Good News "How to Report the News"
(Video - with a handful of foul words) Truly a slam-dunk indictment of television news. Brilliant.

The United States of America Adult women shouldn't make crib sheets of their palms
Sarah Palin appears to have scribbled talking points into the palm of her hand in advance of the "tea party" convention this past weekend. Is it a big deal? Not really. But it's hard to take a person like Palin seriously when she clearly is neither the smartest person in the room, nor seems interested in becoming that person. People of average intelligence can have greater-than-average curiosity that more than compensates for their natural state. She doesn't seem to be one of those people.

Health Tremendous damage done to public health by the anti-vaccine movement

Business and Finance Show notes from the Brian Gongol Show on January 31, 2010
The better part of a full transcript of the Sunday night radio show about making money and having fun

Water News Plant closure will cut Sioux City sewer revenues by 7%

Recent radio podcasts