mfioretti: google*

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  1. As Google looks for ways to keep people using its own mobile search to discover content — in competition with apps and other services like Facebook’s Instant Articles — the company is announcing some updates to AMP, its collaborative project to speed up mobile web pages.

    Today at the Google I/O developer conference, Google announced that there are now over 2 billion AMP pages covering some 900,000 domains. These pages are also loading twice as fast as before via Google Search. Lastly, the AMP network is now expanding to more e-commerce sites and covering more ad formats.

    In Google’s post announcing that AMP pages load faster — which Lunden links to — they also explain some additional capabilities offered to AMP pages:

    Many of AMP’s e-commerce capabilities were previewed at the AMP Conf and the amp-bind component is now available for origin trials, creating a new interaction model for elements on AMP pages.

    Forms and interactive elements were previously verboten in AMP land, but they’re now allowed through a proprietary — albeit open source — and nonstandard fork of HTML largely developed and popularized by one of the biggest web companies out there.
    https://pxlnv.com/linklog/amp-taking-over
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-05-30)
    Voting 0
  2. Google doesn’t generally make money from Google News itself, because it doesn’t place advertisements in the service (though it does of course place ads in its main search service, where results are sometimes augmented with Google News results). In contrast, ancillary copyright destroys the entire business model of small aggregation startups. CEDRO, Spain’s equivalent to VG Media in this arena, recently decided that aggregators should pay €0.05 per user per day in ancillary copyright fees – for the popular local aggregation startup Menéame, this works out as 20 times the company’s turnover. Obviously, this is completely untenable for a small business.

    So, given the German and Spanish experiences, what is the push for ancillary copyright actually trying to achieve? On the face of it, the aim is to get Google to pay publishers for sending readers to their articles. This is in itself a very strange idea, as publishers get to make money from showing ads to those readers, but let’s take it at face value for a moment. Even if Google were to continue to use those snippets, and if it started to pay those fees, the law would kill its small, European competitors in the news aggregation space – no-one would invest in them, because their businesses would haemorrhage money. Wealthy Google, if it stayed in the space, would end up dominating the EU news aggregation market even more than it does now.

    But this isn’t going to happen. Google is not going to start paying anyone to link to their online content, because that would be the beginning of the end for Google’s core business model – a win-win situation where the company benefits from being the gatekeeper for the public’s attention, and linked-to sites benefit from the traffic Google freely sends them.

    Günther Oettinger has claimed that the might of a pan-EU law would force Google to open its coffers, but he’s wrong. Nobody can force a company to engage in a line of business that will lose it money. If pushed, Google would undoubtedly do across the EU what it did in Spain: shut down Google News. This may benefit the traditional press publishers that hate online competition – and perhaps this is why they, with their vast offline marketing budgets, have lobbied so hard for an EU ancillary copyright law. But it would cause infinite harm to smaller European publishers and the innovative European startups that are trying to develop cleverer ways of connecting publishers with their readers.

    There are many flaws in Article 11 as proposed – its vague wording could penalise social media users; there’s no guarantee that journalists themselves would benefit from the fees; and it could lead to the last two decades of journalism becoming less accessible to the public. But even if the wording were tweaked, the basic concept remains fundamentally flawed. Nobody would benefit, apart from the handful of large press publishers that are trying to turn back the clock to protect their bottom lines.

    There’s no doubt that the news industry is in crisis, nor that digitalisation is largely to blame. It’s a deeply complex problem, and solutions are urgently needed. But ancillary copyright is not one of those solutions. If anything, it would hold back the innovation that’s so desperately needed to rescue the industry – innovation that might come not from Google, but from the bright minds in the EU.
    http://copybuzz.com/copyright/ancillary-copyright-poison-not-cure
    Voting 0
  3. Google’s argument that “no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access” is appealing, but it is also misleading. Currently, US copyright law is relied on to remove content from Google’s global index, no matter where an alleged incident occurs, and at a rate at least three orders of magnitude greater than partial delistings under data privacy laws. The respective rates of approval are 97% for 345 million copyright requests and 41% for one-quarter million privacy requests, in a comparative period.

    But copyright is not the only murky territory. Trademarks are another. The trademark issue blew up last month, when a Canadian appeal court found that Google was liable to globally delist 345 links that were found to be clearly infringing on a Canadian trademark owner’s rights.

    Google’s “swiss cheese” argument was given short-shrift: “Google raises the spectre of it being subjected to restrictive orders from courts in all parts of the world, each concerned with its own domestic law. The threat of multi-jurisdictional control of Google’s operations is, in my view, overstated,” said Justice Groberman on behalf of the court. “It is the worldwide nature of Google’s business and not any defect in the law that gives rise to that possibility. Courts must consider many factors and exercise considerable restraint in granting remedies that have international ramifications.”
    https://www.theguardian.com/technolog...net-database-of-ruin?CMP=share_btn_tw
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-20)
    Voting 0
  4. We’re losing trust in numbers, especially statistics. Their sheer volume and variety can be overwhelming. In Politico’s recent roundup of Trump’s popularity figures, for example, the approval numbers among nine polls ranged from 36 percent to 54 percent. Add the hangover that many still suffer from the misleading presidential election predictions, and it's not surprising that people are starting to tune out data altogether, or simply interpret them in ways that support their beliefs.

    I don’t know whether this will lead to a full-blown crisis of democracy, but I think it’s already fair to place at least some of the blame on big data. Algorithms developed by companies such as Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. enable partisan confirmation bias. They tailor our online environments not to the truth, but to the specific information we search for or click on. This can undermine our understanding of, and trust in, objective scientific and historical facts.

    Here’s an extreme example: Dylann Roof claimed in his manifesto that it was a Google search for “black on white crime” that led him to massacre nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015. Think about that search term. What kinds of texts will perfectly match “black on white crime," as opposed to, say, “statistics on crime rates by race?” Naturally, Roof got links to racist web sites with their own alternative facts -- just as a search for “who really killed JFK” will, more often than not, lead to conspiracy sites.

    When I typed the phrase “Was the Hol” into Google, the search engine auto-completed to “Was the Holocaust real?” Of the top six search results, four were Holocaust-denying sites.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articl...t-big-data-try-googling-the-holocaust
    Voting 0
  5. The FT reports on Wednesday that “Facebook and Google have announced they will restrict advertising on online platforms with fake news, after a furore over the role of such stories in last week’s US presidential election.”

    The following is a personal view and thus not representative of the wider views of the FT, so no doubt biased to whatever cultural norms impacted my formative years — among them being of Polish descent, being brought up Catholic, having staunchly anti-communist parents, experiencing a youthful rebellion against that framework and later moderating to a middle ground. With that out of the way…

    Surely having Facebook and Google restrict advertising on subjective grounds is the worst possible outcome of this entire affair?

    The idea all-powerful platforms like Google and Facebook should be charged with the responsibility of strategically filtering and determining what constitutes fake news is not just questionable but frightening in the Orwellian Newspeak sense of the word.


    Habermas’ most profound observation is that the formation of the public news arena is intimately connected to the rise of the coffee houses and stock exchanges. This is because it is only on the stock exchange that the full range of conflicting views collide to forge a clearing price. Repression or manipulation of information flow, meanwhile, only ensures that the clearing price will be off to someone’s advantage and to someone else’s disadvantage.

    Interestingly, back in the 90s and noughties, when the internet was first becoming a thing, media academics would often ponder whether this new form of information exchange represented the reconstitution of a public sphere in a digital form (especially in light of Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent critique, which argued the advertising funding model had skewed the public debate and turned the industry into a corporate propaganda outlet). Mostly, they erred towards the notion it did not precisely because it captured a small slice of the population and had a tendency to compartmentalise discussion rather than broaden it.

    Based on all that, if Facebook and Google moves to filter “fake news” it will only exacerbate the problem because these institutions will always be governed by commercial interest not public duty. That as a whole makes them inequipped to judge what news is fit for publication and which is not. What it does do in the long run is open the door to an even more sinister advertising propaganda model than that which inspired Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacture of Consent.

    In that light, here’s some commentary from Habermas about what aspects of salon and coffee-house culture constituted a public sphere (and which I’d argue are lacking today):

    However exclusive the public might be in any given instance, it could never close itself off entirely and become consolidated as a clique; for it always understood and found itself immersed within a more inclusive public of all private people, persons who- insofar as they were propertied and educated — as readers, listeners, and spectators could avail themselves via the market of the objects that were subject to discussion. The issues discussed became “general” not merely in their significance, but also in their accessibility; everyone had to be able to participate.

    What of the uneducated and unpropertied or too poor to engage in the market for objects, you ask? According to Habermas, they were brought into the public sphere by way of festival gatherings, theatre performances and the music halls, all of which spurred public debate.

    In a highly atomised and compartmentalised culture, however — where even workplace gatherings don’t bring people together because everyone is being encouraged to “work for himself” in the gig economy or from home — there seem to be ever fewer occurrences where we, the public, have no choice but to interact with those who disagree with us.

    This in turn encourages the cultivation of safe spaces, which in turn twists our perception of reality into something it simply is not.
    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/11/1...cebook-and-the-manufacture-of-consent
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  6. Nel 2007 Google ha acquisito DoubleClick, società che raccoglieva dati di navigazione web, assicurando che mai avrebbe incrociato tali risultati con le informazioni personali possedute grazie all'utilizzo dei propri servizi. Tuttavia, a distanza di quasi 10 anni ha aggiornato le proprie condizioni per l'uso dell'account Google, informando che adesso avrà la possibilità di effettuare tale incrocio. Nel documento si legge adesso: "A seconda delle impostazioni dell'account utente, la sua attività su altri siti e app potrebbe essere associata alle relative informazioni personali allo scopo di migliorare i servizi Google e gli annunci pubblicati da Google". La modifica alle impostazioni deve essere approvata, ed infatti Google richiede specificatamente, una volta effettuato l'accesso al proprio account via browser web, di accettare tali nuove condizioni. L'utente ha la possibilità di mantenere le impostazioni attuali e continuare ad utilizzare i servizi Google allo stesso modo, mentre per i nuovi account invece le nuove opzioni sono abilitate di default. Coi nuovi termini, se accettati, Google potrà unire i dati di navigazione acquisiti tramite i servizi di analisi o tracking alle informazioni già ottenute dal profilo utente. Tutto ciò permetterà alla casa di Mountain View di comporre un ritratto completo dei propri utenti composto dai dati personali, da ciò che viene scritto nelle email, dai siti web visitati e dalle ricerche effettuate, facendo cadere definitivamente il principio di anonimato del tracciamento web.
    http://www.saggiamente.com/2016/10/ad...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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  7. These investments, which give these companies dedicated capacity on these undersea cables, represent a big shift in how these cables are built and managed. Earlier this year, Jonathan Hjembo, a senior analyst at Telegeography, told us that private networks now account for about 60 percent of the capacity of trans-Atlantic traffic.
    https://www.wired.com/2016/10/faceboo...ble-la-hong-kong/?mbid=social_twitter
    Voting 0
  8. On a related note, this is a made-in-america problem. The EU has ruled in the last 10 years that not only does Microsoft need to document their API's for use by competitors for interoperability, but provide them for use. It is very disappointing that this sensible direction was not adopted in the USA, but goes to show you that most lawyers in the technology field have little knowledge regarding coding or how technology works.

    COMMENT: On a related note, this is a made-in-america problem. The EU has ruled in the last 10 years that not only does Microsoft need to document their API's for use by competitors for interoperability, but provide them for use. It is very disappointing that this sensible direction was not adopted in the USA, but goes to show you that most lawyers in the technology field have little knowledge regarding coding or how technology works.
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/...ory-might-kill-gpl-oracle/?comments=1
    Voting 0
  9. A few years ago, the database company Oracle sued Google, arguing that Google's Android operating system infringed the copyright of Oracle's Java technology. On Friday, a federal appeals court sided with Oracle in the long-running dispute.

    The decision seems to reflect a fundamental lack of understanding of how software works. And it could create serious headaches for companies that want to make their software compatible with that of competitors.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/5/9/5699960/t...-a-disaster-for-the-software-industry
    Voting 0
  10. Oracle v. Google is the revenge of the normals, bringing a hammer down on the customs and practices that the nerds decided for themselves. After all, something can’t be copyrightable just because all the nerds agree it is; so why should something be unable to be copyrighted just because the nerds think it is?

    But Oracle v. Google does nothing to disabuse the nerd of the conviction that they are right, and that the copyright law forged by the normals is an unrigorous wishy-washy piece of nonsense. Because in this case, the law really is completely out of touch with what the technology actually is, with reality itself. Just look at the Federal Circuit opinion that ruled that APIs are copyrightable, where they say, “Google was free to develop its own API packages and to ‘lobby’ programmers to adopt them.” A federal appeals court actually proposed that in some alternate universe, Android launched and told developers to write apps in a language they’d never encountered before.
    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/in-g...-v-oracle-the-nerds-are-getting-owned
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