275 Madison Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, New York 10016
Contact: Jeff Bogart
For: Arnold Information
Technology For Immediate Release
New Arnold Study
Dissects Key Google Patents,
Identifies Critical Paths for Disruptive Growth
Thomas Edison, Bell Labs, and
Xerox, move over and make way for Google as America’s premier R&D
“Google is an applied engineering
company, maybe the most skilled applied engineering company since Thomas
Edison cranked out inventions more than a century ago,” says Stephen
E. Arnold, president of Arnold Information Technology, in his recently
issued Google Version 2.0: The Calculating
Predator, a patent-centric study of the company. Adds
Arnold, “Google’s database inventions by themselves make it clear that Google’s research
unit has superseded Bell Labs and Xerox PARC as the place for technical
innovation in the U.S., if not the world.”
Arnold, whose earlier book
The Google Legacy changed how many investors and technology experts
view the Mountain View, Calif., company, bases his assertion on a detailed
review of patents and patent applications filed by Google employees
since mid 2005. The book’s index lists 90 patents and applications
of the more than 200 that Arnold has identified and analyzed.
Arnold examines more than 24
of these patents in detail in the 266-page study, identifying their
technological importance and potential business impact. These
inventions signal, he says, where Google focuses its research and provide
insight into areas into which Google could move. “Telecommunications,
motion pictures and entertainment, financial services, and publishing
are just a few of traditional market sectors that Google can enter and
disrupt without too many technical gyrations,” he says. “Most
of these market sectors are blissfully ignorant of Google’s capabilities.”
His study is the first to use
text analytics and intelligence community techniques to glean business
insights from publicly available Google patent applications and patents,
Arnold says, noting:
“To my knowledge, no one
has attempted the type of invention deconstruction that I have undertaken.
Also, no one has yet taken the Google technology and made an attempt
to characterize what functions it can support. The nature of patent
documents is to describe certain information in ways that can be quite
difficult to understand.”
His book’s title, says Arnold,
reflects Google’s love affair with mathematics, which is part of what
he calls the “Google DNA.” He continues: “Google is perhaps today’s
best example of a company built on calculative thinking.
Characteristics of calculative thinking include efficiency and logic,
not emotional reactions. An elegant proof of a theorem bundles
intelligence and beauty into a construct of great beauty. . .
. Like a grand master in chess, Google uses strategic feints to obtain
its objective—winning the game.”
Identifying Google’s patents
and patent applications is no easy task for several reasons, Arnold
found. “. . . Google does not list the company affiliation of
inventors of pending patents,” the study notes. “A search
for Google patents with a query for the term Google is almost
useless. . . .”
Arnold describes his approach
to this study as marrying two types of information. “First,
I have the patent applications, patents, and technical papers,” he
says. “Then I have the “soft” discussion of how selected
technologies disclosed in the public patent documents seems to relate
to Google’s capabilities, business tactics and products and services.
. . . Each of the patent discussions is introduced by a business commentary
and followed by a discussion of the possibilities the technologies described
picks up where Legacy left off in depicting Google as more than
a search and advertising company. Arnold observes in the study:
“Google Version 1.0 was the Web search and advertising company.
. . .
“Google Version 2.0 is another
creature entirely,” he adds, noting: “I use the term Googzilla
to describe the current incarnation of Google. The idea is that
Googzilla is big, powerful, and indifferent to the insects and ants
crushed by its massive paws. Google Version 2.0 shares the search
and ad capabilities of Google Version 1.0, but it is much, much more.
. . . With a little more effort, Google could become the largest information
publishing, distributing, archiving, and retailing operation in the
Throughout the study Arnold
evaluates the competitiveness with Google of companies such as Yahoo
and Amazon. Its would-be competitors are no match for Googzilla, he
indicates. “Yahoo operates the computer equivalent
of the Pan-Slavic movement in the early 20th century,”
he says. “Many different systems suck resources, and it’s
unlikely that its existing plumbing is up to the type of algorithms
that Dr. [Anna] Patterson uses [at Google]. Ask.com is not in
the running. Barry Diller is too abstemious to invest massively
in Google-like innovation in hardware and software.
The study’s chapters consist
of the following: Preface; Google’s Database Technology; Digital
Ninjas: Competing with Smarter Software; Brin-Page Patents: Tech Sign
Posts; Google Patents from August 2005–March 2007; Achieving $100
Billion in Revenues; Google and the Programmable Search Engine; Enterprise
Applications; Google As Publisher; Thwarting Google – Is It Possible?;
and Looking Ahead.
About the Author
A sought-after consultant,
popular lecturer and established author on technology, Stephen E. Arnold
has six studies, or monographs, and over 50 articles appearing in a
wide range of media to his credit. Among his studies are five on the
Internet, including Publishing on the Internet: A New Medium for a New
Millennium (1996) and New Trajectories of the Internet (2001).
These books identify trends, impacts and new technologies. Arnold,
who heads ArnoldIT.com, is based in the Louisville, Kentucky, suburb
of Harrod’s Creek. He will be a keynote panelist on Nov. 7,
2007, at the Enterprise Search Summit West conference in San Jose, speaking
on “Giants Do Stumble: Are Google and Microsoft in Decline?”
He will appear as a speaker on the subject of advanced search technology
at VNU’s Online Information international search conference in London
on December 4, 2007.
Google Version 2.0: The
Calculating Predator (Infonortics, Tetbury, England; October 2007).
Available in online PDF download version only;
US$640 / €460; approx. 270 pages.
2.0: THE CALCULATING PREDATOR
Version 2.0: The Calculating Predator
by Stephen E. Arnold, Infonortics, (www.infonortics.com), published
Google obviously needs revenue
to expand; therefore, markets with inefficiencies that can be more efficient
with Google technology are logical targets. Analog telecommunications
companies, for example, become prey to Google’s more efficient technology.
. . . The march toward telecommunications
is a core interest of Google’s management, and it now pervades Gmail,
individualized Google, Google’s capturing digital images of storefronts,
and its wireless initiatives with Apple Computer, the Spanish company
FON, and the sharp-minded Sprint. (p.3)
. . . If anything, Google is
a savvy, logical, calculating competitor. . . . (p. 5)
. . . Based on my analysis
of Google’s technology and its principal competitors, Google enjoys
a technical lead time of nine to 24 months as of August 2007.
Google’s lead time may be greater because some competitors like Amazon
make innovations by “hacking” a relatively narrow fix to a known
problem. Google, on the other hand, solves major problems such
as the stability and performance of traditional relational database
design. So what a competitor touts as a solution may be a stopgap.
So, in a sense, the larger engineering gap between Amazon and Google
is not being closed in a significant way. . . . (p 8)
Google embraces scale.
Wal*Mart and Exxon are similar to Google because these two companies
understand scale. . . . Scale distances competitors technically, financial,
and conceptually. In online, Google scales. Yahoo cannot
scale, and the turmoil at the company, indeed within its ad business
that Google copied and then improved upon, makes it a distant second
to Google for the foreseeable future. (p 9)
I have a separate 50-page monograph in preparation on this topic.
The complexity of the 14 Google inventions in this field requires a
different editorial approach and more complex diagrams than possible
in this monograph. (p 11)
. . . The database—sometimes
called Bigtable—is not for a desktop PC or a standard office server.
Bigtable manages data across thousands of machines and uses intelligent
algorithms that make decisions without the involvement of a database
administrator. . . . Google’s database technology gives the
company an advantage in online services, and it also makes it possible
at some point in time to compete with traditional database vendors’
systems. (p 14)
. . . What’s revolutionary
is that Bigtable can scale. . . .
Bigtable is a distributed storage
system for structured data. Bigtable, at this time, is not a commercial
database. . . . Google invented its own distributed lock server to minimize
interprocess lock management traffic. We’ll look at this server,
Chubby, later in this chapter. (p 14)
. . . [T] Google database is
stable and getting stronger as it does more heavy lifting. At
last count, more than 60 Google services used the Google database. (p
Google, as we know it, would
not exist without a database system. . . .
Here’s a checklist of what
Google’s database must be capable of doing: . . . (pp. 16-17)
The single most impressive
demonstration of the Bigtable technology is Google Earth.http://earth.google.com.
The size of the Google tables
and the specialized operations that programmers perform created a need
for Google to develop a programming language for Bigtable. To
fill this void, Google created Sawzall, a programming language that
permits analysis in the Bigtable system. . . . (p 26)
Other key points about Sawzall
include: . . . the language can apply to data sets typically associated
with network logs, telephone call records, and document repositories.
In light of Google’s interest in VoIP and mobile communications, Sawzall
may be a pivotal tool for the company’s developers. (pp. 26-27)
A review of Google’s patents
and patent applications from 1998 to March 7, 2007 reveals a number
of database-related “inventions”. Of these more than 150 patents
and applications, five provide additional insight into what Google’s
database technology encompasses. (p 27)
In short, this is the
patent for the Google File System. Competitors who ignored Google’s
innovations for enhancing the performance and reducing the costs associated
with old-style file systems now find themselves in a tough spot. . .
Patents: Tech Sign Posts
This section presents the argument
that the patent applications and patents authored by Sergey Brin and
Larry Page provide valuable information about key areas of technical
investment at Google. . . . Three specific patents are discussed
briefly. . . . The second is Google’s early work in mobile search
. . . . Conventional wisdom depicts Google’s innovation as random
and almost without shared goals. The received wisdom is wrong.
Google is a very focused company in terms of its research, development,
and innovation. (p 64)
. . . Notice that neither Brin
nor Page participate in inventions related to advertising. Advertising
produces money but may be less interesting than their personal inventions.
As we look back at the Brin-Page
inventions with the advantage of hindsight, three patents stand out
from the others. Each is related to search yet each opens new
windows into Google’s core technologies for its computing infrastructure,
These three areas of interest
Page’s patent is the foundation
for Google’s subsequent inventions in structured content, phrase extraction,
and advanced database applications. The “invention” . . .
is a roadmap for Google’s R&D team for the period from 2003 to
the present. . . . (p. 81)
Note: a two-page table at pp 83-84 lists 16 Brin-Page patent applications
Patent Tactics: Unique, Deep, and Wide
This section is an update of
Google’s patent applications since July 2005. . . . We review how
a patent that might be viewed as peripheral to Google’s core technology
actually reveals insight into the potential payoff from Google’s innovation
system as well as opens the door to a potential new business opportunity—thus
getting a preview of where Google’s innovation, as expressed in patent
applications, is concentrated. Finally, the discussion explores
two patent clusters: one related to phrase identification and
one related to online advertising. . . . (p. 85)
. . . Google files clusters
of loosely-coupled “inventions” that are often labeled in ways to
make the substance of the patent difficult to ascertain. A series
of important patents related to natural language processing were filed
shortly after Google hired Anna Patterson, . . . Now part of the Google
team, Dr. Patterson developed a breakthrough approach to natural language
processing that has gone unnoticed in the trade and technical press.
. . . [K]eep in mind that Google did not announce Dr. Patterson’s
hiring under wraps. Dr. Patterson herself maintains a low profile.
The net effect is that Google’s stepped-up activity in NLP has gone
unnoticed by many Google watchers and (one presumes) by the search wizards
at its major competitors.
. . . Her [Patterson’s] approach
has been to focus on techniques that use a variety of statistical and
linguistic clues to allow a system to understand nuances of indexed
content. (p. 92)
. . . In 2004 she began filing
patent applications for what is called “phrase-based indexing”.
Additional patent filings followed so that she is considered the inventor
of a series of systems and methods used for search and retrieval.
These [six] patents form an
important part of Google’s rich text processing capabilities:
the book discusses six Patterson patents.]
. . . [T]he basic idea
is that phrases can be evaluated and scored for relevance. . . .
What’s important about the
Xift patents is that the system takes a query for Australian shepherds
and returns relevant results about border collies, even though
the query and the result do not share any terms in common. . . . (p
. . . Google’s existing processes
create opportunities for additional profit maximization. Dr. Koningstein
and his co-inventors have figured out how to seize these revenue opportunities
and use algorithmic processes to generate better results for advertisers
and more revenue for Google.
We will discuss five Koningstein
inventions. . . .
. . . In his series of interlocking inventions,
Dr. Koningstein has invented a series of processes that make online
advertising more like a video game than the dry exercise of buying a
classified listing in a local newspaper. . . .
. . . It is likely that the
more game-like the Google advertising system becomes, the more advertisers
will become “hooked” on the Google approach. . . . As Google’s
reach in advertising extends beyond online, the Google system is likely
to become a far larger threat to established media buying channels than
it is presently.” (p 105)
Google is no longer a search
company. Google has evolved into a network platform with multiple revenue-generating
options. . . . (p. 234)
. . . No one has taken steps
to challenge Google in a meaningful way because no one understands that
Google is not a Web search company supported by advertising.
Google is the next-generation
computing platform. (p. 241)
. . . No company since the
pre-breakup AT&T has operated at such an effective, monopolistic
scale. Telecommunication companies worldwide are largely unaware
that Google can compete with them at any time of Google’s choosing.
Unlike most corporations, Google
can be anywhere and make a case that under the jurisdiction of the country
in which the service operates, the regulators in another country are
powerless to impose operational penalties on Google. If stringent
action is taken against Google, the courts are available to Google for
a ruling. Few judges are able to make much sense of a Web page.
Abstract transactional services based on non-fungible network functions
are going to take a long time to resolve in a court of law. If
Google loses, there’s the appeal process in most countries.
So, in practical terms, Google is able to operate outside the boundaries
of a traditional corporation.
As the first supranational
corporation, Google is going to be a slippery fish to manage.
U.S. and European regulators are not likely to be able to tame Google
quickly. However, other countries may take a different approach.
China and India represent a different type of challenge to Google.
We’ll look at one possible scenario in which China confronts Google
and brings Google to heel.” (p. 245)
# # #