“Right to be forgotten” – Yes or No?

Here is a thoughtful examination of the issues that underpin the “right to be forgotten” and Google’s response. It’s not black and white – the many aspects make the questions we need to address quite complex.

How Google determined our right to be forgotten, Julia Powles and Enrique Chaparro, The Guardian (Feb 18)

Google doesn’t show well.

“Nine months after the European ruling, it is clear that Google’s implementation has been fast, idiosyncratic, and allowed the company to shape interpretation to its own ends, as well as to gain an advantage on competitors and regulators forced into reactive mode. It avoided a broader and much deeper reflection on digital public space, information sedimentation, and the exploration of collaborative solutions between public and private actors – such as a joint request service across different search engines, with processes for getting confidential advice from publishers and public officials.”

And we need to learn to distinguish between public and private.

“So, if we concede that the internet is public space, that the web is the public record, then Google, on its logic, is the custodian and indexer of our personal records. We must be careful to distinguish the offerings of a handful of internet services from the real public record guaranteed by law, from archives, and even from human memory itself – which will all continue to be available when the amusement park closes.”

Reading Level in Google Search

Google Operating System has reported a Google Reading Level Bug (Feb 18). Reading level is a hard-to-find and therefore easy-to-forget search feature on web searches. Find it by picking Search Tools > All Results > Reading level. When it works it helps you zero in on content that is “advanced” or scholarly, vs basic / elementary or intermediate.

Google is still identifying the advanced items but isn’t capturing them in the graph.

google-readinglevel-2015

Pinterest’s Guided Search

If you have some time for pictures and serendipity, this guide to using Pinterest’s Guided Search might be just the ticket.

How to get the most out of Pinterest’s Guided Search, Amy-Mae Elliott, Mashable (Feb 16)

The author says, “Guided Search is a clever yet easy way to sift through Pinterest’s 750 million boards and 30 billion pins to find what you’re looking for.” Posting has a short video and several screenshots. Can’t go astray.

Age of Misinformation

Lies, Damm Lies and Viral Content by Montreal journalist Craig Silverman reveals online news for what it often is – misinformation through careless and sometimes opportunistic reporting. Study was sponosred in part by the Tow Centre of Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Huffington Post has a summary of the points.


Toward Trustworthy News: ‘Lies, Damn Lies, and Viral Content’
, Craig Newmark, Huffington Post (Feb 11)

Quoted: “News websites dedicate far more time and resources to propagating questionable and often false claims than they do working to verify and/or debunk viral content and online rumors. Rather than acting as a source of accurate information, online media frequently promote misinformation in an attempt to drive traffic and social engagement.”

Travel consolidation

Expedia snapped up Orbitz.

Now It’s Expedia Vs. Priceline As Orbitz Swallowed For $1.6 Billion by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Feb 12)

It’s not clear whether there will be any sort of antitrust review in the wake of this announcement. But there will now effectively be two major companies controlling online travel in the US and much of the rest of the world: Expedia and Priceline, which owns Kayak among other travel brands.

Patterns in Google’s Autocomplete

Next time you search Google watch the suggested searches that pop up – especially those for the first letter you enter. Host Advice has analyzed the autocompletes and created an alphabet according to Google. The letter A, as an example, is surely going to show Amazon first – likely worldwide; and there is a pretty good chance that E will be eBay.

The Phonetic Alphabet according to Google – 2015 by Eliran Ouzan, Host Advice (Jan 25)

There will be some variations depending on where you live. In Toronto, C is for Canadian Tire. These auto completes are influenced by current local search activity – how else would J be for Jian Ghomeshi? ut this will pass, and J might change to Joe Fresh, at least in Canada. Anyway – fun to watch.

Memex from DARPA

DARPA, in the US Department of Defense, has launched a new search engine named Memex, which is intended to expose the “dark” web of hidden content.

Darpa Is Developing a Search Engine for the Dark Web by Kim Zetter, Wired (Feb 10)

The search engine was described and demoed on 60 Minutes. Only 5 minutes, you can view it from CBS – DARPA: Nobody’s safe on the Internet. Mind – the objective is to help law enforcement track down crime – and to do so through data mining.