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Google Buys AI Social Search Service Aardvark

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the spelled-like-the-animal dept.

Businesses 41

eldavojohn writes "MIT's Tech Review is covering an acquisition it finds very interesting. Google (which recently announced Buzz) has acquired Aardvark. The review covered Aardvark and the artificial intelligence it uses in its searches in 2009."

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CUE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109024)

Cue microsoft shills reversemarketspeak....

Nose-y. (4, Funny)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109114)

Interesting name for a social service. An animal with a long nose that sticks it in crevices and laps up insects. How metaphorical.

Re:Nose-y. (2, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109140)

They just chose that name to increase page ranking of search results!

Re:Nose-y. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109364)

Oops - that question is too short for Aardvark! Try adding more detail so people know what you're looking for this is all aardvark could do for me... after 6 questions. i just don't understand.

Re:Nose-y. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109468)

actually it was to make them the top of the Buddy list in IM :-)

Re:Nose-y. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31117764)

In reality, they probably just wanted to land at the beginning of the phonebook.

CADIE 2.0 (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109138)

Is that you?

More Clutter in googles interface? (1)

altp (108775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109232)

I might be more interested in all of google's offerings if they offered a more unified interface to access everything.

Read, Gmail, Buzz, Wave, Docs, Calendar are all windows that need open. Plus, as they add more services, their interfaces feel more like "hacks" to put it all together.

Re:More Clutter in googles interface? (4, Informative)

Unoti (731964) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109362)

I think they realize that, and it appears that Wave is an important part of fixing it. Gmail and Buzz I use in a single window- my Buzzes run inside Gmail pretty seamlessly in a single window. And it appears to me that Buzz is really a wave app.

Re:More Clutter in googles interface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31113810)

Buzz is actually nothing more than google reader. You could share custom items in google reader for a long time, they have a little bookmarklet that let's you do it. How they created buzz. - Copy pasted the code from reader. - Added a add link and add image buttons when you share something. - Took out the share, star and tag buttons and put in a reply by chat on the items. - Changed the layout a bit. That's it. Notice than there's even a little black arrow on the left of the item you're reading. It's stored in the same place in the database, it probably only has a 'source' tag that says it's a Buzz item instead of a reader item This is probably why they took a while to put it in everyone's account, they had to retag all you reader items (I get over a thousand per day). Or I'm wrong and they made this whole new framework that integrates with reader/wave/gmail/whatever.

Re:More Clutter in googles interface? (4, Interesting)

pvanheus (186787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109488)

I also thought that when I first looked at Buzz.... but then I realised that Buzz is actually working off a rather minimalist integration of different websites model. This is actually a good thing - so instead of Facebook's model of providing "albums" and "notes", etc, I can publish a "newsfeed" that features the pictures I upload to flickr, the videos I put on youtube, the blog items I post on blogger, etc. Done right this is much much more powerful than Facebook - and part of "done right" will have to be integrating good ways of finding people - both by attributes such as name and location, and also by "group" - organisational or interest-based affiliation.

Re:More Clutter in googles interface? (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31113328)

Awaiting for Buzz to support FB so I don't have to leave my email page to update my status on both. /not that mom my one reader cares

Re:More Clutter in googles interface? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109972)

Read, Gmail, Buzz, Wave, Docs, Calendar are all windows that need open.

Well, except they aren't; for example: Reader can be feed into Buzz, and Buzz can be read through Gmail.

AI in 20 years? (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109308)

Typical. First AI learns to walk, then it gets a job working in the UK police force and since being in a government job means lots of free time it's now socializing... All in a days work... I guess the fears of AI taking over were exaggerated, it's just as lazy as most humans only more faster and efficient.

Re:AI in 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109370)

Yeah and when computerers gets even more fasterer we'll be able to use them to filter out idiots just by their more poorer grammar.

Re:AI in 20 years? (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109780)

And grammar nazis can take it easy =)

Re:AI in 20 years? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31110616)

Just imagine a beowulf of computerized grammar nazi's... The internet would be grammatically cleansed...

Re:AI in 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31111014)

Can't wait for RoboCop.

Aardvark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109380)

"Medium-sized insectivore with protruding nasal implement." Doesn't sound much like a bee to me!

Hasn't this been done? (1)

y4ku (1681156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109462)

So according to that article Aardvark gets some data on your own interests and whoever else uses it, then when you have a question it searches for users that fall in the realm of your question. The only problem I see here is that these are facebook/twitter/etc users. Is there some way the answers are verified? Or is this just a cha-cha/wikipedia-esque system?

Re:Hasn't this been done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109530)

Exactly, and no, it hadn't been done before, in the social network setting. The answers are verified because its a one to one conversation with someone you know or someone you know knows, or who is in a social group you belong to. The answers are not published in a Q&A form, unless you want to publicize some awesome transaction you had with a friend. Think of it as taking your full question, matching the question to users interests, and then Aardvark sends your question to the person most likely to answer the question. If they pass, then the question gets asked of the next likely person you know.

Re:Hasn't this been done? (1)

y4ku (1681156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109582)

That might actually lead to some stimulating discussion in that case. Depending on your social group that is.

Re:Hasn't this been done? (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31110788)

I used Aardvark for a few weeks, and the majority of the questions were of the type that could be answered with lmgtfy.com/... ("let me google that for you..."). The amount of clueless morons on the internet is...

Re:Hasn't this been done? (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31111644)

Living in NYC, the vast majority of questions I get asked on Aardvark consist of "Where's a good place to go drinking?" and the like. I don't think verification is necessarily called for.

Of course they bought it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109502)

... because of all things they wanted, this was actually available! Google and Aardvark go social surveying! At least they had enough money on them for it.

Re:Of course they bought it... (2, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31111648)

Maybe they're planning on buying everything and this was the first listing in their phone book...

"AI" term is overused (2, Insightful)

loxosceles (580563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109504)

Most complex software uses some concepts taken from machine learning.

AI this AI that. Die in a fire. AI is a buzzword on par with announcing your application uses red-black trees. YAY. Nobody cares unless there's a performance problem and a particular implementation is under scrutiny.

When I see "AI" in the subject of a slashdot thread, I expect it to have some connection to Artificial General Intelligence, rather than something anyone can code after reading Norvig or Duda & Hart.

Re:"AI" term is overused (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109838)

Nah...

AI just means "it doesn't work".

Since once it does work it isn't AI anymore, it's just an algorithm.

Re:"AI" term is overused (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31116980)

> Since once it does work it isn't AI anymore, it's just an algorithm.

Unless it is a slave or "domesticated" AI.

It took us generations to domesticate certain animals, and not all animals are even that easily domesticated.

I personally don't think we should create a "classic AI" just yet, since we already have plenty of nonhuman intelligences in petshops, zoos, slaughterhouses etc that we aren't handling that wonderfully).

But to me "real AIs" would have to be able to dynamically create models of the changing external world. The next step would then be to dynamically and recursively "model self". Then do some predictions. Maybe if you do it in a certain way you end up with the "consciousness phenomenon" - someone can do the quantum parallel computer simulation handwaving stuff here ;).

Re:"AI" term is overused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31110456)

Agreed. I hate the words AI. It's just statistics, and some clever similarity metrics and features. Seriously. I have a masters in AI, and this work doesn't really come close to what people think of as AI (knowledge based systems?). Blame MIT :)

Google Answers 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31109538)

It looks like they're going to be bringing back Google Answers. Which I imagine they are trying to implement in a way that is far more controlled than Yahoo 'Answers'.

No comments (1)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109544)

I was wondering why there were almost no comments to this slashvertisement. Then I realized: to say something about this story, you have to read the story since the summary says little. Now it makes sense to me - no one reads the story around here.

Re:No comments (1)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31109574)

To help matters along: Aardwark in the story is a "searh engine" that works by recording questions people ask it and then selecting other users who are likely to know the person asking and/or that are able to answer the question. E.g. facebook friends are used to connect people in this way.

The AI of the Mechanical Turk... (2)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31110156)

If you RTFA, this has almost nothing to do with real artificial intelligence, it's just some basic text pattern recognition that directs your question to a person who claims some knowledge of the field. Basically all they have done is put a filter in front of Google Answers. That still may be a good thing for Google, but calling it AI is absurd.

Re:The AI of the Mechanical Turk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31110346)

As with almost all modern AI applications, the end result doesn't sound like anything all that intelligent. But as I'm sure google is aware, what AI is all about is making good decisions and that's exactly what Aardvark needs to do every time it routes a question. Hard problems with non-deterministic results abound. Will a person reply? Does the question match their expertise?

Re:The AI of the Mechanical Turk... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31110408)

Have to paraphrase a previous poster on this one.

"Once it actually works it isn't AI anymore, it's just an algorithm."

Basically a fairly simple expert system. Big whoop. Been around for years, for much more interesting uses. My point was the company drops the term "AI" all over the place, not because it's a shining example, but because it's sexy talk that will get them attention. Not impressed.

pig.com == vark.com (2, Funny)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31110174)

Vark is the Afrikaans word (probably Dutch as well) for pig.

Makes sense, Google is becoming way too corpulent. Hey, I just realised corporate rhymes with corpulent.

Fat and greedy.

Re:pig.com == vark.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31111366)

Varken = the Dutch word for pig.
Aarden = the Dutch word for dirt.

So basically its a dirtpig / earthpig / groundpig

Google's innovations. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31111158)

I thought this company was supposed to innovate but all they do is buy other companies and assimilate them into their borg. Pair that with their arrogance (see the recent Android vs Linux community fiasco) and you are left with a company not better than any other big company.

Re:Google's innovations. (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31119564)

I think I liked this post the first time I read it ...

In 1997 about Microsoft. Same song new band.

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