Tag Archives: Google

Finders Peepers: Google New Default XXX Image Blocking Draws Fire

13 Dec

Don’t be evil. That was Google’s motto for years. How people inside and outside of Google have interpreted it is very different. Those differing views are again colliding as Google changes how it shows image results for “adult” images.

Google has started to do something different when someone makes an “adult” image search request. Going forward Google is making users get more specific when searching for pornography using its search engine. And let’s face it, finding porn on the internet isn’t exactly hard to do.

Microsoft is not, at this point, altering it’s Bing search engine to do more enhanced filtering of generic pornographic search queries. We will see if Yahoo follows Bing’s or Google’s lead. There is also the alternative search.xxx for anyone’s pornography finding needs.

Google has released a statement regarding the change. A spokes person from Google has stated the following:

We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in web search.

I think people are really missing what Google is really doing here. Let’s get to the real meat of this statement. Google says it uses “algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query.” In other words, when someone preforms a search Google is programmed to give the best results on what someone has requested. The more general the search request, the harder it is to get what the person requested. So another request is made to narrow down what the person is trying to find.

Now Google is requiring people looking for porn to think about what they are looking for and use words or phrases to narrow down their search to something more specific. This is a win for Google in multiple ways. The first, on a purely technical level, is the reduced load on their systems for performing the searches. Instead of a very broad search first search, it is more specific and should give a better chance of returning the desired results. Less work by the systems means less cost for Google for their “free” search service. Win number one.

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Numbers Game: New Report Puts Andriod Ahead of iOS in US.

4 Dec

Another day, another round of statistics from someone looking to fan the flames of the mobile OS war. According to a report by comScore [1]:

“The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 26.3 percent market share. Google Android continued to lead among smartphone platforms, accounting for 53.6 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple secured 34.3 percent.”

What makes this report interesting regarding mobile OSes is these statistics include the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 (which is available for the iPhone 4 and 4s as well). Not surprisingly RIM and Microsoft saw declines in usage. At this point the mobile OS field is still a two horse race.

For all the touting of apps on smartphones, the overwhelming majority of people use their phones for a different reason. Almost 76% of smartphone and non-smartphone users cite sending texts to another smart phone as their main function. This feature is also available on most “feature phones” which cost considerably less in terms of the actual phone and service plans. This could explain the large percentage of the feature. Second on the list of used phone features was apps followed by (in order of usage) using the browser, accessing social network sites or blogs, playing games and  listening to music.

Samsung at 26.3% edged out Apple at 17.8%  in OEM usage for smartphone and non-smartphone users. With the vast array of phones made by Samsung, Apple coming in second is very respectable. It would be interesting to see the statistics of Samsung smartphones vs. Apple smartphones only. But the waters would get muddied by the fact some parts of the iPhone are made by Samsung. So would Samsung get a percentage of those iPhones? All depends on how one decides to slice up the survey number pie. LG, Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five in that order. Most of which have smartphones based on the Android OS.

Over all then numbers clearly indicate mobile is not only here to stay, but growing every day. It continues to feed the addiction people have for being “connected” [2] with no end in sight.

Reference –

  1. comScore Reports October 2012 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore
  2. Hung Up: Addiction to Mobile Phones Ruining People’s Relationships

Name Game: Google Play Forces Reviewers to Use Real Names

30 Nov

I can’t stand internet trolls. To say they suck is an understatement. I did take some delight reading about one, Violentacrez, who got taken down and had to face responsibility for his trolling. The keyboard commandos on the internet are definitely a problem for many people and need to be dealt with.

The Google Play store has its fair share of trolls and people tire of hearing them post garbage comments on the site. Apparently Google has had enough and has chosen to “unmask” people who make comments on the site [1]. While on the surface this sounds like a good idea, in the end the results probably won’t be to Google’s liking.

Let’s face it, Google wants to know everything it can about all of the people using its products and services. The more they know the more they can tailor their real money maker (advertising) towards the users of those services. I always recommend people give as little information about themselves as possible either online or offline.

Going forward, if someone wants to comment on an Andriod application they must agree to use their Google+ account full name. Personally I am not a fan of this. I prefer, for better or worse, the anonymity the Internet provides. There is a great benefit to being just a screen name and not a “real” name. Google has floated the full name only idea before, through YouTube (which Google owns) [2].

Comments on YouTube have been for worse than has ever been seen on Google Play. So in an effort to curb the hostile posts, Google has implemented a request to people posting comments to use their real names. It is pulling the information from their Google+ accounts. So far the request is being denied by most people who continue to use their “avatar” name. I can’t say I blame them, though I have never made a trolling or vile comment to anyone there.

Trolls are really nothing more than digital bullies. In real life people know who the bullies are. They usually stay away from them or ignore them. That is the best course of action for the most part in real life. Digitally it can be a bit harder. The best action to take against a troll is to ignore them or, if necessary, stand up to them, preferably with a group of people.

Google’s theory of “unmasking” bullies on-line will only drive them to find other ways to circumvent that system. It will end up being a cat and mouse game which will cost Google more than their current system. Does there need to be action taken to curb the trolls on-line? Sure. Is “unmasking” them in this manner the best way? I would say no.

 

Source –

  1. Google Play Ends Anonymous App Reviews – Information Week
  2. YouTube Asks Users to Post Real Names in Bid to Clean Up Comments – PC World

 

Oh Brother: Goverment Surveillance Growing says Google

13 Nov

There is some irony in Google commenting about government surveillance of the public. Google monitors, with questionable consent, its users and their actions. However, the public should not have to worry about the government watching it’s actions, digital or otherwise on a daily basis.

According to a post on the Google Public Policy blog, Dorothy Cho, senior policy analyst at Google notes, “one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise.” The amount of information people freely put out on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, grows by leaps and bounds daily. It’s part of the narcissistic culture we are a part of today.

The government is not surprisingly taking advantage of the freely offered data and sifting through it. This is not a problem or issue for most people. What is a problem is, as Cho reports, since launching the Transparency Report,  “government demands for user data have increased steadily”. In other words, the federal government has become more and more active in monitoring public activity, especially digital activity. It has also been actively requesting more and more information be removed from public consumption by deleting the information from search engines.

Some feel this is surveillance is necessary for the security. Those on the opposing side feel one gives up security at the cost of personal liberty and freedom. There is a very careful balance between the two which has to be walked by those with the power of both security and liberty. It is up to us, the people, who have the final say to bless or “curse” the decisions made by those we put in those positions of power.

Uncontrolled or unmonitored guardians of the national security will eventually succumb to the temptation of its power. The price of the public’s freedom from government tyranny is eternal vigilance. We must all do our part and speak up when we feel the balance between security and liberty has been crossed. From the report Google is keeping, it sounds like the line could have some toes on it.

Source – Google Public Policy Blog