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Journey to the Centre of Google Earth

“But what shall we dream of when everything becomes visible?” Virilio replies: “We’ll dream of being blind."
posted by 0bvious on Jun 24, 2014 - 5 comments

Peak Advertising and the Future of the Web

"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 3, 2014 - 173 comments

www.altavista.digital.com

DEC - I mean Digital - I mean Compaq - er, CMGI - no, Overture; rather - Yahoo ... will shut down AltaVista for good next week.
posted by dmd on Jul 1, 2013 - 121 comments

It's so loony, it might work

Project Loon: Google is testing an Internet access system mediated by stratospheric balloons. They are starting in New Zealand with 30 balloons.
posted by grouse on Jun 14, 2013 - 59 comments

Based on your history, we know you are interested in cephalopods.

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 17, 2013 - 30 comments

Free Speech on the Internet

The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2013 - 27 comments

Everything is fleeting

"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 1, 2012 - 109 comments

Hellaflops

This is what the internet looks like. Google hired photographer Connie Zhou to photograph its data centers for the first time ever, from enormous warehouses in Iowa to color-coded pipes in Georgia. You can even check out their security team on Street View.
posted by theodolite on Oct 17, 2012 - 86 comments

Comin like a ghost town

New Google+ Study Reveals Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement Fast Company summarizes a new study from RJMetrics that looks at public posts, +1s, replies and reshares on Google+. It concludes "the average post on Google+ has less than one +1, less than one reply, and less than one re-share." Google replies that public posts are a poor metric of user activity; Fast Company replies that "Google has refused to provide clear figures and metrics for its social network's active user base" and links to Danny Sullivan's "brilliant rundown of Google's lack of transparency on the subject" - If Google’s Really Proud Of Google+, It Should Share Some Real User Figures.
There was also Wil Wheaton's recent angry "Oh, go fuck yourself, Google" rant in response to a recent experiment replacing YouTube's "like" button with a Google+ button for a small number of users, thus requiring them to sign up for Google+ before they can 'like' a YouTube video. Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats?
posted by mediareport on May 21, 2012 - 205 comments

Zerg Rush

Zerg Rush (more)
posted by Artw on Apr 27, 2012 - 46 comments

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

"The Obama Administration today unveiled a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as part of a comprehensive blueprint to protect individual privacy rights and give users more control over how their information is handled." Full 62-page PDF - Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. "In addition, advertising networks announced that leading Internet companies and online advertising networks are committing to act on Do Not Track technology in most major web browsers to make it easier for users to control online tracking. Companies that represent the delivery of nearly 90 percent of online behavioral advertisements, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL have agreed to comply when consumers choose to control online tracking. Companies that make this commitment will be subject to FTC enforcement." [more inside]
posted by cashman on Feb 23, 2012 - 30 comments

The Browser Wars never ended

Is Webkit, the web browser engine used by Safari and Chrome, turning into IE6? Concern is growing that reliance on proprietry CSS features marked by vendor prefixes could be breaking the web.
posted by Artw on Feb 15, 2012 - 57 comments

Lo, in the twilight days of the second year of the second decade of the third millennium did a great darkness descend...

In Which I Fix My Girlfriend’s Grandparents’ WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero.
posted by homunculus on Jan 23, 2012 - 167 comments

Redefining the you that is you

You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 30, 2011 - 48 comments

White Spaces

A new form of wireless network known as White Spaces will come online next month, the FCC announced today. White Spaces has been called "WiFi on steroids". White spaces are unused spectrum between broadcast television channels. It is faster than WiFi so it can handle more data. It can bring (nearly) free Internet access to the most remote areas of the country, places that can't get WiFi. Because it uses broadcast television signals, any place that can pick up a broadcast TV signal should be able to tap into White Spaces.
posted by cashman on Dec 22, 2011 - 34 comments

Inside the Google Plex

Don't Be Evil -- a somewhat philosophical review of two new books about Google.
posted by empath on Jul 22, 2011 - 20 comments

I guess you could always dust off that Britannica set ...

"Let's pretend it's an alternate world, or maybe sometime in the future, and there is no free search. You have to pay for your Google, or Bing, or whatever. How much would you be willing to pay?"
posted by bayani on Apr 28, 2011 - 119 comments

Goodbye expertsexchange.com

Users may now ban domains from their Google results. After users click through, they may return to Google and ban the entire domain from ever showing up in results again. This comes as part of a general reaction in the context of increasing complaints about Google's search results being spammy.
posted by jaduncan on Mar 11, 2011 - 194 comments

HTML 5 Circus

Mozilla's HTML 5 Circus rolls into town. The emergence of HTML 5 is marked by, among others, emerging browsers (or browser versions). The soon to be released Firefox 4, often delayed, mirrors the slow march to an HTML 5 Flash reduced web. Like others, Mozilla feels the need to sell HTML 5. We also have Chrome Experiments, Canvas Demos, IE HTML 5 demos and Never Mind the Bullets, and Apple's (warning: sniffer protected) HTML 5 showcase. [more inside]
posted by juiceCake on Mar 6, 2011 - 102 comments

Smarter, Happier, More Productive

Previously we worried Is Google Making Us Stupid?. Author Nicholas Carr has expanded that concern into a book, The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. An interesting review, more of a discussion piece, from the London Review Of Books. (via)
posted by tumid dahlia on Mar 3, 2011 - 55 comments

Does it make me more money now?

Why Gawker Nick Denton is a genius - he can smell the page views!. The redesign he's championed (previously) is a convoluted nightmare which breaks the web and left blog posts unindexed Google. Page views are in the toilet. He may loose that bet. It doesn't matter, Nick Denton is a genius. Look, pictures of a naked man!
posted by Artw on Feb 16, 2011 - 148 comments

Video Wars, round II

We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies. - Google's Chrome is will be joining Firefox in no longer licensing the MPEG-LA H.264 video codec favoured by Apple and Microsoft for use in the HTML5 <video> tag (previously). Not everyone is seeing this as a good thing.
posted by Artw on Jan 13, 2011 - 145 comments

Lubricating Sincerity

"On GChat, I type many things – sincere and not – that I would never say in person because it’s easy, when typing certain things into a box, to forget whom you are typing to." From Thought Catalog, writer Caroline Bankoff lists 45 things she thinks about when she thinks about google's chat service. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 6, 2011 - 34 comments

Thin Client

Google's pilot program for Chrome OS is well underway, with the new operating system being distributed on free Cr-48 Notebooks, to generally favourable impressions. Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, where software and data live on servers and are accessed by a client, and product manager Caesar Sengupta going as far as to say they will have failed if cloud computing does not become the norm. Not everyone is happy about that thought through, with Richard Stallman warning it may be a trap. Like the Cr-48s attractive design but not so sure about ChromeOS? You could always sneak Ubuntu onto it.
posted by Artw on Dec 14, 2010 - 96 comments

The Google Graveyard

Let's take a walk through the Google graveyard.
posted by Joe Beese on Aug 18, 2010 - 45 comments

"See no evil, hear no evil..." "Can you hear me now?"

Despite very strong denials last week from Google and Verizon that they were not discussing ways around Net Neutrality, Google and Verizon held a conference today to announce their agreement to the establishment of price-tiered network services, dividing the current Internet into a "neutral public Internet" that remains "open" (and which preserves access to YouTube and other Google properties), and a set of paid, priority channels that Verizon and other telecoms can use to deliver certain other types of content at higher prices, particularly over cell networks and whatever future infrastructure the Internet will be carried over.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 9, 2010 - 224 comments

Pie in the Sky?

CSS3 Pie. Google's Frame requires users to install Frame in order to get the benefits of CSS3 support (among other things). CSS3 Progressive Internet Explorer aims to bring support for CSS3 in IE versions 6 through 8 via a server side script. It's early days for the extent of supported properties but there are more to come. If it's ultimately functional and useful long term remains to be seen.
posted by juiceCake on Jul 18, 2010 - 21 comments

Welcome to Google, Kansas.

"For the month of March 2010, the city of Topeka will be known as Google, Kansas." Mayor Bill Bunten says the proclamation is an attempt to stand out from the crowd, as cities around the United States have until March 26 to tell Google they're interested in participating in the Fiber for Communities program, part of the company's recently announced plans to build a series of superfast broadband networks across the country [previously on MetaFilter]. Other cities are trying to get Google's attention, but Duluth, Minnesota, has upped the ante by pledging to name its firstborn sons "Google Fiber" and its firstborn daughters "Googlette Fiber" in a video [YouTube, 3:34] spoofing Topeka's efforts.
posted by amyms on Mar 4, 2010 - 47 comments

Google vs. China

The charges and retaliations seem reminiscent of so much cold war bluster, and indeed this encounter could be the first great clash of the 21st century’s two emergent superpowers—Google and China.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 25, 2010 - 30 comments

Anonymous Buzzkill

A worrisome set of posts from Princeton University's 'Freedom to Tinker" Blog:
In many situations, it may be far easier to unmask apparently anonymous online speakers than they, I, or many others in the policy community have appreciated. Today, I'll tell a story that helps explain what I mean. Second post: what BoingBoing knows about John Doe. Third, and most concerning post: The traceability of an online anonymous comment. Related post: a well researched review of the privacy concerns around the roll-out of, and push-back against, Google Buzz.
posted by Rumple on Feb 18, 2010 - 41 comments

"I WANT TO TAKE GOOGLES OFF OF MY HOME PAGE"

Yesterday, ReadWriteWeb, which "provides analysis of Web products and trends to an intelligent audience of engaged technology decision makers, Web enthusiasts and innovators" posted an article titled "Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login." What happened in the post's comments taught them a lesson about users who aren't in their target demographic: internet users browse by search, because they think browsers are search engines. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 11, 2010 - 190 comments

Google answers data transparency concerns with Dashboard

This morning, Google launched a new feature called "Google Dashboard" that lets users view (and in some cases control,) what data is being stored on a range of more than 20 Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Latitude. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2009 - 59 comments

Google Asks: "What Would Email Look Like, If It Were Invented Today?"

Google began inviting volunteers to a public preview test of their new Wave web-based collaborative email and document communications platform yesterday, which enables users to "communicate and work together in real time." Initial reviews this past May seemed positive. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 1, 2009 - 75 comments

Are polymathy and general knowledge in decline?

Two articles from The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine about changes in knowledge production and acquisition, The Last Days of the Polymath by Edward Carr and Is Google Killing General Knowledge? by Brian Cathcart. The first deals with the implications of increasing specialization in all field of human activity and the second with whether people are not committing facts to memory because they are so easy to look up on the internet.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 28, 2009 - 62 comments

Top things the < 18 set looks for on internets

Top 100 search terms of the <18 crowd during summer. If you're Glenn Quagmire, don't read this. All others, continue! An article with at least superficial credibility (they admit kids search for porn, etc.) about what kids, tweens and teens search for online. Randomness includes Megan Fox, Walmart, Youtube and Naked Girls. (And Craigslist. What the hell do kids need on Craigslist?)
posted by ShadePlant on Aug 14, 2009 - 75 comments

Computable data* (conceivably knowable) about people

Stephen Wolfram discusses Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine - at the same time Google Adds Search to Public Data, viz: "Nobody really paid attention to the two hour snorecast" -- like a cross between designing for big data and a glossary of game theory terms -- on Wolfram|Alpha (previously), yet the veil is being lifted nonetheless: "[on] a platonic search engine, unearthing eternal truths that may never have been written down before," cf. hunch & cyc (and in other startup news...) [via] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 1, 2009 - 29 comments

Extending the Mind

How Google Is Making Us Smarter: Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind."
posted by homunculus on Jan 15, 2009 - 50 comments

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors v2

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors v2 "represents the collective wisdom of 37 leaders in the world of organic search engine optimization. Together, they have voted on the various factors that are estimated to comprise Google's ranking algorithm." The highest ranked factor is Keyword Use in Title Tag.
posted by Soup on Aug 18, 2008 - 56 comments

"Schools should continue to require library research so they can see how old folks used to Google stuff."

The continuity I have in mind has to do with the nature of information itself or, to put it differently, the inherent instability of texts. In place of the long-term view of technological transformations, which underlies the common notion that we have just entered a new era, the information age, I want to argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable. Let's begin with the Internet and work backward in time.
The Library in the New Age by Robert Darnton, historian and Director of the Harvard Library. A wide-ranging overview of the status of libraries in the modern world, touching on such subjects as: journalist poker games, French people liking the smell of books, bibliography at Google, news dissemination in the 18th Century, book piracy and the different texts of Shakespeare. Some responses: Defending the Library of Google, The Future in the Past and Librarians Need a Better Apologetic.
posted by Kattullus on Jun 1, 2008 - 22 comments

Google's Knol

Google takes on Wikipedia with Knol. The web responds. Invite only, of course.
posted by Soup on Dec 14, 2007 - 121 comments

Access Denied

In the same spirit as the Open Net Initiative and Committee to Protect Bloggers that both track global internet filtering, Sami ben Gharbia's Access Denied Map tries to track the blocking of sites like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others by governments, as well as efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 19, 2007 - 5 comments

Google for Google's Sake

If Google was designed for Google.
posted by armoured-ant on Oct 16, 2007 - 36 comments

2006 Google Earth Census

Seen anyone on Google Earth lately?
posted by divabat on Feb 17, 2006 - 33 comments

Privacy and the need or right to know

NSA,FISA, and Privacy It is of course the president who finally approves of actions that may or may not be deemed legal but before 9/11, this is what he had been advised to consider "The largest U.S. spy agency warned the incoming Bush administration in its "Transition 2001" report that the Information Age required rethinking the policies and authorities that kept the National Security Agency in compliance with the Constitution's 4th Amendment prohibition on "unreasonable searches and seizures" without warrant and "probable cause," according to an updated briefing book of declassified NSA documents posted today on the World Wide Web. If this is the sort of reading you enjoy, then by all means dig about here: But then Windows allowed NSA to have a sure access to your machine . And by now we all know that Google will fight the government on making its search data base available in order to protect your privacy.(Reality: to protect Google stuff). And if you worry about search engines tracking you and making data available, then here is a workaround
posted by Postroad on Jan 20, 2006 - 16 comments

Google Zeitgeist 2005

Google Zeitgeist 2005
World Affairs Nature Movies Celebrities Phenomena
posted by Mwongozi on Dec 20, 2005 - 25 comments

NYC Google Maps Trip Planner

Yet another Google Maps hack for the NYC subway system. This one helps you plan your trip from point A to point B, and gives you an estimated travel time. Most locals will quickly find that the routes it suggests usually aren't the optimum, however this may be useful for visitors, at least until Friday morning. In the event of a strike, this is your best bet for some form of direction.
posted by allkindsoftime on Dec 14, 2005 - 20 comments

The Heart of Silicon Valley beats for WiFi

Newsfilter: Mountain View plans WiFi city. The Mountain View, CA City Council has approved an offer from Google to rent the city's street lamps for $12,600/year to install city-wide wireless internet. Some residents are concerned about privacy and health issues, but the city council says that's beyond their scope, and chooses to take the free lunch. (Disclaimer: I live here.)
posted by sarahnade on Nov 16, 2005 - 28 comments

SBC Vonage Google Internet pay Yahoo

"They use my lines for free -- and that's bull." The CEO of SBC Communications Inc. Ed Whitacre launched this criticism at the likes of Vonage, Google,Yahoo and MSN. Meanwhile Google is seeking some alternative paths to the Internet.Perhaps SBC should head the old adage from John Gilmore "the net treats censorship as a defect and routes around it”Or perhaps these companies need to pay the proverbial Internet plumbers; myself, I prefer more competition;my phone bill has never been lower!
posted by thedailygrowl on Oct 31, 2005 - 23 comments

Cerfle

Vint Cerf, "father of the internet", joins Google! It seems Google is going from strength to strength. Not content with buying up the world's dark fibre, they've now wooed Vint Cerf to work for them as "Chief Internet Evangelist" (what a great job title!) Vint's interview is here, and information on his major cause: the need for more IPs!
posted by tommyc on Sep 9, 2005 - 24 comments

Google blacklists journalists for Googling?

Google blacklists CNET reporters? An article about privacy issues that highlighted the potential for abuse if logs of search terms linked with IP addresses are combined by search companies with address and phone data, angered Google CEO Eric Schmidt enough to blacklist CNET reporters for a year, at least according to the bottom of this CNET story. The article begins with information about Schmidt found via Google searches, and goes on to "question Google's ability to adequately balance the heavy burden of safeguarding consumer privacy rights with the pull toward intermingling and mining data for ever more lucrative targeted advertising."
posted by mediareport on Aug 7, 2005 - 18 comments

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