10 Things We Didn't Know A Week Ago #TGIF

by Ruud Hein November 2nd, 2012 

1. The first book ever sold on Amazon was Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought.

It was ordered April 3, 1995 by John Wainright. The Wainright building at Amazon's is named after this first shopper.

first-amazon-book-everThe Atlantic

2. Online, a single exclamation mark – as opposed to multiple marks – may actually convey a lack of enthusiasm.

It's one of the many insights online sentiment analysts try to fold back into their natural language algorithms.

"Computer programming follows strict rules, while natural language, particularly the inside-joke culture of the Web, doesn't. [...] If we can crack through political sarcasm, everything else will be easier."
Wall Street Journal

3. Apple products make people feel genuinely happier than do competing products.

241 young adults, aged 18-35 years, were asked questions about their MP3 player; was it cool, how does it feel, etc.

"She found that, for the iPod owners, nearly a quarter of the variance in their overall life satisfaction was attributable to the concepts embedded in her questions."
Wall Street Journal

4. Gangnam Style is YouTube's third popular video — ever.

That's 531 million views you're talking about right there, just behind Jennifer Lopez' 611 million and (hold on) Justin Bieber's 791 million. According to The Atlantic. But at the time of writing Psy is inching out Jennifer with 615,702,310 vs 615,428,908 views.

5. McDonald's deals with 2.5 million social mentions a month.

"We definitely have a triage system, and weve got this system in place but its really a framework. [...] for the folks who are on Twitter hours and hours a day, theyre going to know the ecosystem and the conversation better than any sort of numerical filter or things that I can put on there. [...] I wanted some folks who had came from a call center background who are used to dealing with customers who might be less than happy, and have an ability to quickly diffuse situations and turn them into happy customers again."
Rick Wion , Director of Social Media at McDonalds

6. France might want Google to pay up its taxes: US $1.3 billion worth of it.

Google registers its ad sales to their Ireland office, paying no French taxes. If that's really a concern remains to be seen.

The move comes amidst a back-and-forth between France and Google. France wants Google to pay for using snippets from (French) news sites. Google doesn't want to and thinking out loud France said it could simply change a law and tax the company. For ad sales.

Europe is a hard sell for Google lately, no pun intended. Germany, Italy, and France are working on laws to force Google to pay for the use of third party information next to which Google puts money making ads.

"Google said such laws would undermine its commitment to an open Internet and the free flow of information. It would also invert the companys main business model. A majority of the companys $38 billion in annual revenue comes from the sale of sponsored links, which appear alongside free search results."
New York Times

The tide may be turning for Google. Just last month the majority of Brazil's newspapers pulled out of Google News.

7. Google liable for defamation due to its search results, says a jury in Australia.

A 62 year old gun attack victim's name kept being attached to images of murderers and one a drug trafficker. He contacted Google about the search results, asking to take them down. As usual Google's answer was a "sorry, no can do — it's all automated". But that defense doesn't hold once you know about the (bad) results.

"Google argued that its results had been based on automated software processes and that, since it was not a publisher itself, put forward the defense of "innocent dissemination".

The jury at the Supreme Court of Victoria agreed that this was a reasonable argument, but only up to the point that Google had received the complaint about its picture results.

It indicated that the content should have been removed at that point, and as a result the search firm was liable for defamation."
BBC News

On Google+ I argued that Google's "innocent dissemination" argument could go the way of Europe's cable TV companies which quickly learned they were being held responsible for movies illegally shown over their networks by TV pirates.

"I think the same is increasingly happening to Google. The longer it is moving content, the more responsible it becomes for the content it displays."
Ruud Hein

8. MIT has tool that predicts Twitter trends hours before they do.

The tool is nonparametric; it doesn't come with preprogrammed conceptions of what a trend should look like. Trained on 200 topics that trended and 200 that didn't, the tool now performs excellent.

"In real time, they set their algorithm loose on live tweets, predicting trending with 95 percent accuracy and a 4 percent false-positive rate. [...] the systems accuracy will improve as the size of the training set increases"
MIT Media Relations

9. Snark needs no social media.

When food critic Anna Roth titled her assessment of Deli Board as Deli Bored, the shop fired back by labeling the next day's special "anna roth is boring". And the special after that? "Anna roth is still boring". The snark seems to have come to an end after the special named "onward. talking about anna roth is boring.

deli-boredEater.com

10. Matt Cutts is sleeping better this month.

"I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of trying to get good sleep this month, like eight hours a night. My wifes reaction could be categorized as skeptical at best. Which just makes me want to do it, of course.

So Im setting a goal of eight hours of sleep a night for the next 30 days."
Matt Cutts

That's a good idea because for most of us (and that includes you) anything less than 8 hours a night makes you stupid.

"All told, by the end of two weeks, the six-hour sleepers were as impaired as those who, in another Dinges study, had been sleep-deprived for 24 hours straight – the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk.

[...] in the seven-hour group, their response time on the P.V.T. slowed and continued to do so for three days, before stabilizing at lower levels than when they started. Americans average 6.9 hours on weeknights, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Which means that, whether we like it or not, we are not thinking as clearly as we could be. [...]

You dont see it the first day. But you do in five to seven days. Unless youre doing work that doesnt require much thought, you are trading time awake at the expense of performance."
New York Times

Anything we missed? Add them in the comments.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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6 Responses to “10 Things We Didn't Know A Week Ago #TGIF”

  1. Excellent post, Ruud. The amazing thing is that I'm a news hound but I missed every one of these. You must be using some news radar technology that I've missed. Care to reveal your secret?

  2. Jonny Ross says:

    Ruud,

    Brilliant article! amazed at how many social mentinos mcdonalds gets each month!

    All fabulous finds!

    thanks!! :-)

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Jonny, it's an astounding amount. I like their "well, our team sorta knows how it works" kind of approach though. Very hands-off common sense-y.

  3. Mr. Ruud Hein has a nice manner and humor in his writing. I never knew a building could be named after a customer. Lucky first customer. If only the internet and YouTube came out in the 80's or 90's. I'll bet Michael Jackson would have beaten JayLo and Bieber hands down. Number 6 and 7 is indicative of many articles I have been reading lately about Google's days being numbered. In number 8, I wonder if MIT's tools can predict SEO strategies? Just kidding, but, who knows. As for number 10, our mothers were always right about getting enough sleep. Medical Science has proved this since the 80's. It just goes to show that present lifestyles have led us into bad habits.