Googler proposes '451' error code to signal Internet censorship, in honor of Ray Bradbury

A 451 Internet error code? Digital Trends has the details:

"Government-imposed online censorship has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years...When censorship does happen, we need a sign that clearly tells us that that’s the reason for a site’s inaccessibility.

Enter Tim Bray, a software developer at Google who has proposed a solution: a “451? error code that displays anytime you visit a site blocked by the government. The number 451 is in honor of late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1950, warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship (in the form of burning any house that contains books)."

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?
And that's the biggest case against switching to Bing. If you're never really going to escape Google - and if Bing is pretty much exactly like Google - what's the point? Yes, Google and Bing are functionally identical. But Bing will need a lot more than parity with the most-popular search engine in the land if it wants people to switch en masse.

Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years

Considering how long Facebook dragged its feet to get into mobile in the first place, the data suggests they will be exactly as slow to change as Google was to social. Does the Instagram acquisition change that? Not really, in my view. It shows they’re really fearful of being displaced by a mobile upstart. However, why would bolting on a mobile app to a Web 2.0 platform (and a very good one at that) change any of the underlying dynamics we’re discussing here? I doubt it.

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit

Google Argues for Dismissal of Authors’ Book-Scan Lawsuit
Google asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an organization representing authors over the search engine company’s project to digitally scan millions of books, saying the group can’t represent the copyright holders.

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?

Do Personal Analytics Make Google Less Creepy?
Unquestionably, there are abuses of user data that go too far. But the truly troubling stories have a halo effect. Early adopter culture is hardening against the idea of any kind of data collection about users. But cultural norms are always changing. Isn't it possible that there are some kinds of data collection that could be valuable to users?

Google itself has begun trying to change the norms around this. It created a new opt-in monthly account activity report that provides Google users with some basic analytics about their Googling habits.

Google abandons indies again — but says they really mean it this time

Google ends their ebook program for independant bookstores. Full story here.


Google loves Delia Ephron

Author Delia Ephron wrote a NYT opinion piece about losing her domain name. Google must love people like Delia.

Quote from Delia's NYT piece: I hadn’t looked at my Web site in a while, but I figured that, with a novel coming out, I should bring it up to date. So I Googled (I never had gotten around to bookmarking it) and it wasn’t there.

She knows her entire domain name but instead of typing it into the address bar she Googles it. Delia writes an entire piece about how important a domain name is and then she uses Google to get to her site.

If you are at all tech savvy the piece has several lines that will make you quirk an eyebrow. Ms. Ephron sums thing up nicely when she says, "The Web can freak you out, and I freak out easily."

5 Key Points From Google's Privacy-Policy Letter to Congress

5 Key Points From Google's Privacy-Policy Letter to Congress
Point No. 1: Google still isn't selling your personal data.
Point No. 2: You're still up the creek if you get reeled in by a phishing scam.
Point No. 3: You can still use Google and YouTube for searching without Google knowing that you are the one doing the search.
Point No. 4: Users still have lots of options over how they're tracked across the Web.
Point No. 5: If you don't love the new integrated Google, you can always leave it.

Study says humans now use the internet as our main 'memory'

"In the age of Google, our minds are adapting so that we are experts at knowing where to find information even though we don’t recall what it is.
The researchers found that when we want to know something we use the Internet as an ‘external memory’ just as computers use an external hard drive.
Nowadays we are so reliant on our smart phones and laptops that we go into ‘withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately’."

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