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Google Shuts Down Schemer (schemer.com)
78 points by Kiro 1346 days ago | hide | past | web | 40 comments | favorite

Seems like gwern predicted this: http://www.gwern.net/Google%20shutdowns#predictions

More than half of those are either totally gone or have been quietly rolled into other projects.

Also kind of interesting that a noted Bayesian like gwern reaches for frequentism when he needs to do some actual analysis.

(If I'm a 'noted Bayesian', then Bayesianism is in big trouble. I use frequentist techniques because they're what I know, and I wanted to learn them before I learned Bayesianism so I'd know what both sides were like.)

Wow, that site is great. It's like John Nash and a librarian had a secret love child. Organized thoughts are clearly a virtue, but not quite his forte.

Agreed gwern is an all around stand up guy. Very glad I found his website and I follow his posts.

I only skimmed it (which is more than I like doing with gwern articles) but:

The base-rate predictor got 65% right by definition, the logistic managed to score 68% correct (bootstrap20 95% CI: 66-72%), and the random forest similarly got 68% (67-78%).

which doesn't really sound all that great.

You're right that it's not that great, although it might be more or less impressive depending on how much one expects these things to be predictable at all.

But one useful way to look at it is to see this as indicating how good the base rate predictor is compared to random commenters or your gut feel - 65%? Did you know, in advance, before I spent like 3 months collecting the data, that the right rate was 65% rather than, say, 10% or 90% or 50%?

What's wrong with gwern articles?

I really dislike his (textual) voice, among other things.

I find it refreshing. In an age where everyone on the internet is trying to "tell a story" it's nice to just have some plain facts and information presented in plain old text once in awhile. Seriously, how many "why our startup failed/succeeded/grew/shrank/lobotomized" articles do we need? It's nice to have people doing actual analysis with numbers once in awhile.

It can be kind of boring and overly detailed/analytical at times, but I don't really see anything wrong with his writing style.

Do you have a blog? Or one you like?

It's not my style, but i'd be interested in any other sites like his, because as I said it's not my style, but I love reading in-depth things that are style rather personal in nature, kind of an odd spot to ask, but sites like that arn't easy to find. Thanks for the link, btw!

I wonder why, in the least risky list, he puts Translate before AdWords. There's no way Google will shutdown their money making machine, much less likely than shutting down Google Translate.

Am I missing something? What's so special about Translate?

He used an algorithmic model (using factors like hits over lifetime) to predict the shutdowns. It wasn't that he decided on the ordering.

Ah, I see. I should've probably continue reading it before asking. However, it does say something about the algorithm if it scores Translate higher than AdWords (it should probably be first, even before Search - I think they're more likely to return results completely based on AdWords with no organic results at all than shut down AdWords and return only organic results).

Statistical algorithms that make predictions based on signals can't make good predictions about something that is unlike they've seen before. The algorithm being used does consider profitability. Even if you added "massive profitability" as a signal to AdWords, an algorithm would still struggle because it's the first and only data point like that for Google. They have decent other businesses (hosting, enterprise, etc.), but none in the same class as AdWords.

No, it says something about adwords compared to other google services.

Normal predictors for shutting down google services doesn't apply to it, because it is very different in its behavior than other google services. That doesn't make it a bad algorithm.

Why is the risk of Scheme so high? Is it financial risk, or risk of people doing things together instead of using G+?

I imagined Google trying to shut down Scheme and I chuckled


Never heard of it. To me this is not comparable to the tragic slaying of the RSS Reader. We will live.

Same, another Google product I've never heard of. When I read the headline I assumed it was some PaaS for Scheme. Guess I'll have to make due with Racket on Yandex cloud.

Is this just an acqui-hire?

It was a Slide project I believe. Slide was shuttered a few years ago, along with some gift/pet apps, but Schemer came out the tail end of it and survived for a little bit. It was never promoted or associated with Google much, so there's really no sense in keeping it around.

Glad to see it go. I signed up a while ago and soon deleted the app; 99% of the "schemes" it sent me were pure advertising. E.g. "Eat at this restaurant", "Go to this casino", "Donate money to this charity", "Book a trip with this travel agency for 10% off!".

Never heard of it, although it seems like a nice project.

Is there any alternative out there? I would like to try it out.

For couples, http://www.howaboutwe.com is actually pretty fun. If you live in SF.

Lift maybe? https://lift.do/

Great chance to check out Offline! I use it pretty regularly for things here in the Triangle: https://www.get-offline.com/

Requires a facebook account? C'mon fellas.

I can't imagine what was going on the devs head when they decided this would be a good idea.

Perhaps that basically everyone has a Facebook account and that catering to people who don't or who make a big deal about using it to connect within a social environment are probably not a worthwhile target market?

Or maybe they're tragically out of touch.

(I'll go with the first one.)

I would go with tragically out of touch, but then again maybe I'm sane.

As of lately, Google has only been good at shutting down things.

That and making money.

A traffic graph would be interesting. It was incredibly popular fad about a year ago for about a week, then crickets.

another "Google's Schemer" has been set up! The time has come for Schemer users to save their data to http://www.huing.com

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