Posts Tagged: Google

A Reminder That Google Precog Is Only in Effect for Certain Crimes

A reminder from Google after its automatic scanning of all email moving in and out of Gmail recently identified a man using the service to send pictures of child pornography: It is important to remember that we only use this technology to identify child sexual abuse imagery, not other email content that could be associated with criminal activity (for example using email to plot a burglary).

Gmail: a secure choice for plotting assassinations and most other crimes since 2004.


The New Internet Gods Have No Mercy

The internet is vast and wild and unknowable and full of potential, unless you are a website. If you are a website, you depend on traffic. And if you depend on traffic, you know that it comes from just a few different places. Facebook is a big one, and for many sites the biggest. Pinterest is enormous, staggeringly so, for sites that overlap with Pinterest's audience. LinkedIn sends a lot of people if you write about business or self-help; Twitter sends a very modest and modestly valuable stream of people to stories about the news. In other words, in 2014, normal people read the internet mostly on their phones, [...]


The Golden Era Of Spam Comments Has Ended

The search engine optimization community has spent the last two years in a panic. SEO people flood our Internet with spam links and fake Twitter bots and paid traffic, to help bad websites look more popular than they are, to deliver fake viewers to web ads.

They now spend their lives on the run, Google nipping at their heels. Their biggest project? Removing all the spam links on websites like this one—the spam links that they put there.

In early 2011, Google issued an update to its search algorithm—they called it "Panda"—that elevated social media and news sites. Sites both big and small, usually spammy and sometimes not, saw [...]


Google's Plan To Increase The Number Of People Searching For "Ways To Die"

"Along the lines of self-driving cars and smart glasses, Google's newest venture promises to wow the tech scene. Only, it's not quite tech, at least in the traditional sense. The venture is called California Life Company, or Calico for short, and its goal is to extend human life by 20 to 100 years."


The Next Google: It's Like Google, But For Search

It is no longer appropriate for search to be under the thumb of private industry. It's a critical part of the national infrastructure. So if I were a real pinko, I'd be advocating for the nationalization of Google, à la Chavez—but I'm not a real pinko. Besides, the American people have already bought and paid for an ideal alternative to Google. That's right: we have the means in hand to create a public, ad-free, totally fair and reasonably transparent search engine with a legal mandate to operate in the public interest, and most of the work is already done. We have also a huge staff of engineers to conclude what [...]


Mapping The Newest Old Map Of The World

Under circumstances shrouded by mystery, two brothers painted this on a wall by the railway tracks at Paddington on Christmas Eve of 1974.

Until the wall was knocked down, ten years later, passengers would cruise past it as their trains slowed in and out of London. It was anonymous, 45 centimeters tall, and not very colorful, but a lot of people remember it. "Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere."

In his lovely A History of the World in Twelve Maps (the Daily Mail called it "jaunty"), historian Jerry Brotton calls the graffito "perhaps the best metaphorical description" of what happens when a person uses a [...]


May I Have Your Pantelegraph? The Ritual of Book Signing in a Digital Age

I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson

She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"

Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)


On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]


Omniscient Company Acquires All-Seeing Company

Another day, another Google acquisition. But not all acquisitions are like this one. From Wired's 2013 profile of the satellite imaging company Skybox:

But over the long term, the company’s real payoff won’t be in the images Skybox sells. Instead, it will derive from the massive trove of unsold images that flow through its system every day—images that, when analyzed by computer vision or by low-paid humans, can be transmogrified into extremely useful, desirable, and valuable data. What kinds of data? One sunny afternoon on the company’s roof, I drank beers with the Skybox employees as they kicked around the following hypotheticals:


New York Times: At Least 24 People Use Google Plus

"A front-page article last weekend called Google Plus a ghost town. Since then, dozens of the very passionate ghosts who hang out there have let me know that, in fact, it is a lively, conversation-filled place that is unlike any other Internet social network."


The Future Of Biohacking In The Age Of Patent Trolls

The Bottlenose, a prototype by Grindhouse Wetware, receives sonar, UV, wi-fi and thermal information and translates it to a magnetic field.

We stand at a strange moment in human history, when lawyers and corporations wage war amongst each other over one question: who owns your body? Off to the side, biohackers—the freaks, geeks, rebels, and punks who do biotechnology experiments in garages and basements—must decide whether to abide by the outcomes.

Maybe you’ve heard about this argument in the context of the Myriad Genetics Supreme Court case; that corporation had patented a part of the natural human genome, the “breast cancer gene.” Some versions of the [...]


Today's Reminder That You Should Only Do Your Shit-Talking Face-To-Face

"Some of Google's Gchat and Hangout users are having their communications rerouted to unintended recipients. The glitch is causing unrest among those who rely on the two Google services (reasonably so), and could potentially be a serious breach of data." Google claims the issue has been resolved, but that probably comes too late for you to mend those friendships that have been irrevocably destroyed, right?


What To Google To Get The Government To Show Up At Your House

He travels to Asia for work. She looks up pressure cookers online. And God only knows what the 20-year-old boy in the house Googles. That combination, apparently, is how you get a "joint terrorism task force" to show up at your door on Long Island:

"Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? [...]


Google Takes Half A Day To Get Around To Removing Missing Bridge From Maps

In less than 12 hours, Google Maps has removed the collapsed I-5 bridge in WA (via @hackernews),…

— Veronica De Souza (@HeyVeronica) May 24, 2013

The world's biggest Internet company apparently took 12 hours to remove a missing bridge from its maps—maps that are used by millions to navigate. Tech geek society, of course, is apparently claiming this as a victory for amazingness. Except it's still not: Google maps still routes you over the collapsed bridge. Just remember, you were warned about giving one company all your email, documents, photos and everything else!


Scary New Machine-Worship Cult Arises: #NewDigitalAge

The #NewDigitalAge is a book about technology, but even more, it’s a book about humans.…

— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) April 25, 2013

Google billionaire Eric Schmidt is the chief lobbyist for The Machines, and so he has produced a piece of propaganda to encourage humans to welcome the ever-expanding roles of programs in their lives. Borrowing its name from a lost Joy Division recording, #NewDigitalAge will help retrain what he calls "humans" to give up all their data to the algorithms of The Machines, in exchange for ease and entertainment.

Schmidt's lobbying for The Machines includes teaching humans basic facts about The Machines and [...]


Cabbies, Terminated

The researchers found that Manhattan’s 13,000 taxis made 470,000 trips a day. Their average speed was 10 to 11 m.p.h., carrying an average of 1.4 passengers per trip with an average wait time of five minutes.

In comparison, the report said, it is possible for a futuristic robot fleet of 9,000 shared automated vehicles hailed by smartphone to match that capacity with a wait time of less than one minute. Assuming a 15 percent profit, the current cost of taxi service would be about $4 per trip mile, while in contrast, it was estimated, a Manhattan-based driverless vehicle fleet would cost about 50 cents per mile.

The upside of [...]


Gmail's Get Out Of Jail Free Card

"Google assured Gmail users on Tuesday that the slight bug that affected their inboxes last week is definitively fixed. The Web giant sent out notices to users that could have experienced issues. 'You may have been impacted by a recent issue in Gmail that inadvertently caused some actions (e.g. delete, report spam) taken while viewing a message to be applied to a different message,' Google wrote. 'The issue occurred between January 15 and January 22 and is now fixed.'" —If you received an email and January 15 and January 22 that you have been trying to figure out how to successfully ignore, [...]


Is the Internet Dying? Let’s Go to the Cemetery and Pick Out a Tombstone

On a recent five-star November afternoon, I decided to visit Trinity Church Cemetery in northern Harlem. Starting at the plateau on Amsterdam Avenue and 154th Street, I followed the winding paths down through a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves and crumbling crypts, which, glowing in the western sun, appeared almost transitory. As one tends to do in cemeteries, I contemplated the end of all things. Lately, I had heard murmurs about “the death” of the internet, and though inclined to dismiss such speculation as a form of insipid nostalgia that often clings to any recollection of the past—and really, what is the internet if not an infinite collection of memories?—I [...]


Google Is 15

On this day in 1998, Stanford University Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google, currently the world's greatest Internet company and what will eventually be the world's greatest company for whatever Google eventually decides to become. How great is Google? Google could not be greater! And I am not just saying that because they have so much of my personal information that just doing a quick mental inventory of the things they know about me—things I probably don't even know, or want to admit, about myself—provokes an astounding degree of anxiety and regret and recriminations of the "how could you be so stupid, giving up that much [...]


What Do The Apps Want From Us?

App updates seem to come in waves. One minute you've obsessively completed updates, the next minute, your folder or app store icon on your phone has a big red "22" badge on it. Around half of all updates are minor but useful bug fixes. Sometimes they're incredibly undersold security updates, a little trick Tumblr pulled this week when they realized that they were sending passwords in plain text. (No one really went crazy about this, surprisingly, because we live in password denial: "Some company that you exchange information with is going to reveal your password to someone else.") This week's app updates cluster revealed something more interesting: lots [...]


Will You Welcome Your New Silicon Valley Emo-Choad Oligarch Government?

Here is a pretty epic and accurate description of the hubris of the new Internet-rich. Now that a small group of people has accumulated vast amounts of money, employing desperately few Americans, paying very little in taxes, isolating itself in wealthy bubbles while the rest of America slowly smolders, what will we do when they try to take over the government? Nope, not in some hypothetical far future; pretty much it all starts right now. First one off the Internet wins.