David vs. Googliath
If you’re a total loser in the school department, have no fear: Google has found that people who perform well in terms of GPAs, test scores and in-interview brain-teasers aren’t always the best employees.
The New York Times sat down with Laszlo Block, senior V.P. of people operations at Google, and he spilled the deets on the data behind Google’s hiring process. It turns out, there’s no foolproof way to measure hiring success and brainteasers are kind of a sadistic crock. Read More
Google can now predict a movie’s box office success a month before its release with 94-percent accuracy – although 48 percent of moviegoers don’t decide what they’ll be watching until the day they make the trip to the cinema.
Google analyzes search patterns to forecast opening weekend box office revenue, according to a blog post by Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst for Google. Subsequent weekend performance can be predicted with 90 percent accuracy. So if a movie’s not garnering much web buzz, it just might bomb like Battleship. Read More
Google snuck in a bit of a bomb for Foursquare with the latest update to its Google Maps app for Android. Without so much as a blog post or promotional tweet, users started noticing that—Surprise!—version 6.3 would now offer an incentive to check-in to Latitude, GOOG’s “all but forgotten” attempt to hit the sweet spot of mobile/local/social. In fact, the incentives will be familiar to any of Foursquare’s 15 million users: You can now get points for checking-in.
Betabeat reached out to Foursquare cofounders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai to see if they were maybe experiencing a little deja-vu. After all, Facebook tried a similar lemme-just-muscle-my-way-in-here strategy with the now-defunct Facebook Places, which also let users check-in, back in 2010. Not to mention the fact that Google Latitude was the company’s succession plan after GOOG acquired Dodgeball from Mr. Crowley, only to let it atrophy. Read More
The plot thickens! Yesterday we wrote about Scroogle, a nonprofit search engine that delivers Google results to a user without also collecting information for Google as the same time. Scroogle has been down for two days now, and an error page points a finger at the GOOG. “Google treats Scroogle like a bot because they see the traffic from our IP addresses as higher than normal,” the message says. “Searching Google with a bot is against Google’s terms of service, but Scroogle users are not bots. Is it ‘Terms of Service’ for Google, or is it ‘Terms of Monopoly’?”
Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically, but acknowledge Scroogle could have tripped a censor. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.
But now a tipster writes in with an image of a private forum post that appears to be written by Daniel Brandt, the militant privacy advocate who created the Scroogle engine as well as the sites Google Watch and Wikipedia Watch. There is no way to confirm the authenticity of the post, and Mr. Brandt has not responded to an email request for comment. Take what follows with a giant grain of salt. Read More
UPDATE: Google says it did not target Scroogle specifically. “We do have automated systems to deter scraping or excessive queries to Google, and spikes in query traffic can cause issues for some sites,” a spokesman said in an email.
Googleplex East Plays Chicken With Tennant Donny Deutsch Over Plans to Expand Within Its Block-Sized Building
The last time Betabeat was at Googleplex East, we rode the elevator up with a Russian-speaking developer sporting a Google “5th floor” t-shirt. But if the search giant has its way, those floor-pride shirts might soon read “14th” and “15th.”
For now, however, Donnie Deutsch, the ad exec and former CNBC host that New York magazine called “the last of the Madison Avenue wild men,” is standing in the way. His advertising agency has a lease for 140,000 square feet on the 14th and 15th floors that doesn’t end until 2013, reports the New York Post.
Google has been trying to buy out tenants in plans to expand within its 2.9 million square foot building, “which looms over the neighborhood and provides great light and air to its tenants.” Read More
eBay must have really dug Jack Dorsey’s vision for a frictionless point-of-sale system because CEO John Donahoe just announced that its PayPal unit is trying to do the same thing. Back in May, Mr. Dorsey, announced that Square, his mobile payments company, would be releasing Card Case, an app that attempted to reinvent the point-of-sale experience the same way Square reinvented mobile payments.
Card Cases stores your credit card info so that after swiping once with participating merchants, you can start a “tab” and pay with just a tap of your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. On the merchant side, businesses can use Square Register to spit out digital receipts, check daily transactions, and basically automate the checkout experience. On its quarterly earnings call, Mr. Donahoe said PayPal plans on targeting those same offline point-of-sale transactions. Read More
Last month, Betabeat talked to HopStop CEO Joe Meyer about “holding [its] own against the giant”–that being Google–especially in New York, where HopStop started. Now that the revamped site, with integrations from Yelp, Groupon, and Hertz, has been out for a week, we’re curious if it’s enough for Google Transit loyalists to switch back to the original. We haven’t been able to test it out for the accuracy yet (Mr. Meyer says HopStop has more realtime inputs than Google) as–miracle of miracles–all our most-frequently used subway lines appear to be running on schedule.
But while we appreciate the mix-and-match options of picking certain subway lines or choosing more walking over transfers, those features were always there. Finding nearby restaurants and bars still looks cleaner and takes less clicks on a Google map. And if we were going to rent a vehicle, it would be via ZipCar, not Hertz. Read More
The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly on the verge of serving Google with subpoenas as part of a broad anti-trust investigation into Google’s primary money-maker: its search engine business. For months, the FTC’s lawyers have been gathering intel about the way Google ranks search results and related advertising to determine whether it amounts to anti-competitive behavior.
Meanwhile, Senators Michael Lee (R-Utah) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc) have said they’re “very disappointed” to hear that Google has ignored Congress’ request to have Larry Page or former CEO Eric Schmidt testify at a hearing on competition in search and send their chief legal officer instead. Here’s why we think Google should reconsider, and send Mr. Schmidt to Washington. Read More