A few Googlish things…

Unlike Siva and Philipp Lenssen, I can’t manage to blog full-time on all things Google. But I do try to keep tabs on the search giant. After the break, I’ll share a few interesting things that have recently come across my screen.  (Updated: (2/4/08))

PAST: This is a really old one, but I didn’t catch it the first time around (others did). The New York Times explained a while back that search engines are creating boring headlines.

News organizations, by contrast, have moved cautiously. Mostly, they are making titles and headlines easier for search engines to find and fathom. About a year ago, The Sacramento Bee changed online section titles. “Real Estate” became “Homes,” “Scene” turned into “Lifestyle,” and dining information found in newsprint under “Taste,” is online under “Taste/Food.”

I suppose one answer is that we should let the market take care of that. I.e. if people really want interesting headlines and clever section titles, they’ll support the increasingly obscure information sources that do that sort of thing. Seems unlikely to me.

PRESENT: Corynne McSherry & Eric Goldman report that a trademark litigation subcommittee of the ABA IP Section is considering a few resolution related to keyword advertising. It’s honestly a bit hard to know what to make of this whole thing, since apparently the subcommittee doesn’t want to say what it’s thinking about and McSherry and Goldman are encouraging them not to make any statement.

Color me a bit puzzled, but I’m generally in favor of hearing what a wide range of people (including trademark owners) think about the question of search engines and keywords. And while I agree with Eric that the crucial interests in play are those of the consumer, I have recently disagreed with him a bit about how the law might best protect the consumer.

Update: (2/4/08) I spoke with Eric, and I am no longer puzzled. Eric and Corynne have no objection to the APA IP subcommittee debating this issue, as long as the debate is open to public comment. They would like the subcommittee to object all the proposed resolutions. I agree the debate should be open and would have to see the resolutions before I could offer opinions on the substance.

FUTURE: Speaking of Eric, I’m flying out to Santa Clara, Eric’s new home, today, and specifically to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal is putting on a Symposium tomorrow on “Internet Collaboration: Charting the Waters of Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0, and the GPL.”

I’ll be talking about trademark law issues in virtual world. Also present will be Zahavah Levine, Chief Counsel of YouTube (this is the Google connection), who will be on a panel about user-generated content. Judge Alex Kozinski will be giving a keynote address, and Richard Stallman will be on a panel and giving a talk tonight. It sounds like it’s going to be a great event. If you’ll be near Mountain View tomorrow, attendance is apparently free if you don’t want CLE credits — though they’d be happy if you could chip in $10 for cheese and wine.

Update: (2/4/08) : This was a great event. Thanks to Eric, Tyler, and the SCCHTLJ for being such wonderful hosts. And the Computer History Museum was fantastic. Included: a PDP-1 equipped to play Space War, one of the first operative IMPs, Johnniac, and many other fabulous machines.