Google knows almost every wi-fi password. Of course this means that the NSA also has access to them. Apple might not be much better.
To mark the 178th anniversary of Darwin’s first exploration of the Galapagos Islands, Google Maps has captured dozens of locations featuring the local biodiversity. It's the newest of Google's ongoing efforts to bring diverse locations to you via your computer.
If you start typing "why" into Google, the autocomplete gives you a glimpse at the various mysteries people want answers to, such as "why is space black?" or "why are people stupid?" or "why is there yellow discharge in my underwear?" XKCD's current comic, "Questions," shows a glimpse at some of these questions, culled from a big list of over 33,000 that XKCD's author, Randall Munroe, generated from Google API queries. In response, Reddit user GeeJo made his best attempt at answering every single one posed in the comic.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Two searches meant a surprise visit. Local police visited a Long Island family allegedly because of their recent Google searches.
First discussions from the Atlantic, the Guardian, and Hacker News. [more inside]
First discussions from the Atlantic, the Guardian, and Hacker News. [more inside]
The new documentary "Terms And Conditions May Apply," about the privacy overreach of major tech companies, presents its trailer on a cleverly written page of terms and conditions.
Google Doodles Roswell A minigame for your Monday morning alien exile pleasure.
DEC - I mean Digital - I mean Compaq - er, CMGI - no, Overture; rather - Yahoo ... will shut down AltaVista for good next week.
Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon." So what can you do? Use some alternatives. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over."
With the deeply unpopular shutdown of Google Reader less than two weeks away (previously), plenty of would-be replacements have jumped into the mix, including the newly web-based Feedly, Newsblur, Digg, and possibly even Facebook (a particularly bitter irony, as obsession with defeating Facebook has been the alleged impetus behind CEO Larry Page's abandonment of beloved Google hallmarks like 20% Time, Google Labs, and open platforms like Reader). But while there's no shortage of attempts to replicate Reader's look and feel, there's one little-known aspect that none can match, and that will be lost forever come July 1st: the vast cache archive of every article from every website, living and dead, that has ever been subscribed to in Reader. [more inside]
Project Loon: Google is testing an Internet access system mediated by stratospheric balloons. They are starting in New Zealand with 30 balloons.
Freebase, formerly Metaweb, is a Google-run open, community-curated database of everything: 40 million topics and over a billion facts, all free to use. If you need to wrangle the resulting data into another format, Mr Data Converter (previously) has you covered.
Rohan Shah, a student at the University of Illinois, wrote about the interview process and culture for interns at Google.
For years, Google Maps has been the map of our world in a historically unprecedented way. The new Google Maps (announcement) will eschew the uniformity of the old Maps and instead customize the map experience based on a user's behavior. Some are concerned how this artificial narrowing will affect the way we experience places and relate to our urban spaces. Others believe the customization makes the new maps more honest. Most, however, will probably just want to comment on the huge overhaul to the interface.
When news came through of Yahoo! buying Tumblr, everyone wanted to know what that meant for all the porn on Tumblr. But it turns out that long before Yahoo! signed a check, Tumblr had been quietly doing something about it on its own: stopping adult blogs from being indexed. [NSFW links] [more inside]
I turned around to face an approaching figure. It was Larry Page, naked, save for a pair of eyeglasses. “Welcome to Google Island. I hope my nudity doesn’t bother you. We’re completely committed to openness here. Search history. Health data. Your genetic blueprint. One way to express this is by removing clothes to foster experimentation. It’s something I learned at Burning Man,” he said.
A couple of discussions of recent Google design trends, one in The New Yorker (via Bruce Sterling), and one from Fast Company (via waxy).
Not a Doodle, but an Easter egg Google has a fun way to celebrate Atari Breakout's 37th anniversary.
An in-depth talk at Google that sums up the scientific research on living a healthy life with lots of practical advice.
Explore different views into this global timelapse built from global, annual composites of Landsat satellite images. Watch change across the planet's surface beginning as early as 1984. See Vegas grow! Rainforests Shrink! Coastlines expand, and lakes vanish!
Google is celebrating what would have been graphic designer Saul Bass' 93rd birthday with a Doodle celebrating some of his most famous title sequences. The doodle, set appropriately to Dave Brubeck's "Unsquare Dance, " pays homage to Bass' visual work on Psycho, The Man With The Golden Arm, Spartacus, West Side Story, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Anatomy of a Murder, and Around the World in 80 Days.
Halfcat. The magic of Google Street view is that it has shown us a new animal. A good animal. Thank you, science magic. Bonus: Top Ten Google Street View animals.
Predicting Google Shutdowns. "In the following essay, I collect data on 350 Google products and look for predictive variables. I find some while modeling shutdown patterns, and make some predictions about future shutdowns. Hopefully the results are interesting, useful, or both." Gwern exhaustively analyzes Google products past and present with an eye to establishing what's not long for the bitverse. tl;dr? Results.
The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
On the 23 of June, 2011 a secret five hour meeting took place between WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was under house arrest in rural UK at the time and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. We provide here a verbatim transcript of the majority of the meeting; a close reading, particularly of the latter half, is revealing.[more inside]
Google has announced a new feature called Inactive Account Manager "that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account."
Fairsearch (a group led by Microsoft, Oracle and Expedia) has filed a complaint [PDF] with the EU claiming that Google has a monopoly in the mobile market and is using its mobile position to force its other products on users.
Postcards From Google Earth: "I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down." [more inside]
Google is forking WebKit. WebKit was a fork of KHTML and now Google is creating a new fork called Blink. Opera will contribute to it and use it too. Vendor specific prefixes will no longer be supported.
The Language Council of Sweden has been the semi-official arbiter of the Swedish language since World War II. It monitors "the development of spoken and written Swedish" and publishes a list of new words each year to ensure consistency of spelling and make sure that Swedish is a "complete language, i.e. [is] possible to use in all areas of society." This year, for the first time, the Council has taken a word off the list: ogooglebar, which literally meant "ungoogleable" but was defined as "a thing or person that does not produce relevant results when typed into a search engine." [more inside]
Google Glasses are being tested by tech writers as we speak. But are they a good thing? The long awaited Project Glass is nearly here. There are articles about them here, here, and here among many others. But is it a good thing? Questions are being asked both about safety and about privacy. Everything good, bad and ugly about the online world is about to get more intense. Are you ready?
Does Big Data Mean The Demise Of The Expert - And Intuition? - "Data-driven decisions are poised to augment or overrule human judgment." What Is Big Data? [more inside]
Does BBC Worldwide's sale of Lonely Planet at an £80 million loss (after writing down its value by £67 million over 6 years), on top of Google's purchase of Frommer's last year, herald the end of travel guidebooks? [more inside]
OMGif! [Wired] "On Tuesday, Google announced via Google+ that Image Search now has an “Animated” filter. That means that if you’re only searching for animated magic, you need never be bothered with a still image again. Finally that search for Jennifer Lawrence GIFs from the Academy Awards just got a whole lot easier."
We've all seen it. The off-white UAV is seen side on, nose tilted slightly down, a stubby missile caught at the moment of launch beneath it, a blue and grey landscape of treeless mountains behind it. There's no motion blur and none of the markings on the aircraft have been obfuscated. It's a perfect shot. Except for one or two details. [more inside]
First, there was the closing of Google Reader. There was also the announcement that Google would only leave CalDAV open to whitelisted developers (no MeFi link, though it is briefly mentioned in the Google Illiterate discussion), forcing anyone else who wrote a calendaring application to migrate from the open CalDAV standard to Google's own Calendar API. Then there was the removal of advertisement blocking applications from Google Play. Now, Google is blocking invite requests to their Jabber service from non-Google Jabber servers. A Google
customer user must send the request to the non-Google Jabber user. [more inside]
Google has removed Ad Blocking apps from their Play Store. AdAway is available on the open source Android repository F-Droid. AdBlock+ remains available from their own site.
Today would have been Douglas Adams' 61st birthday. Google is celebrating with an elaborate doodle. Neil Gaiman, who once wrote a companion book to the Hitchhiker's Guide, reminisces a little bit about the man here. Worth reading, if you haven't read it before, is the old lament by Richard Dawkins, a long-time friend of Adams. (Second thing on the page, not first; scroll down.)
Google and MPEG LA come to an Agreement, putting to rest (for the most part in the current patent atmosphere) fears that VP8 isn't really royalty free.
A life well lived. On October 4, 1973, Josh Miele (4) was permanently blinded in an acid attack by his neighbor (pdf). 40 years later, Dr. Miele has worked for NASA on the Mars Rover project, he's helped develop "WearaBraille", a virtual Braille keyboard interface, and has a new project launching this month: the Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX), which will allow "sighted video viewers to seamlessly add audio description to DVDs as they watch." [more inside]
Alton Brown talks to Google about bow ties, trying to find recipes on Google vs. on the Food Network website, and trying to impress his daughter by blowing things up. (SLYT)
I used Google Glass - "But what’s it actually like to have Glass on? To use it when you’re walking around? Well, it’s kind of awesome."