B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Archive for the ‘Google’ tag

Tim Cook blasts weaponization of personal data and praises GDPR

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Apple Rising
Apple Rising

BBC News reports:

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe.

Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”.

“We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.”

The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm’s chief executive.

Mr Cook also praised the EU’s new data protection regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.

He warned that the situation “should make us very uncomfortable, it should unsettle us”.

(click here to continue reading Tim Cook blasts ‘weaponisation’ of personal data and praises GDPR – BBC News.)

Kudos to Mr. Cook. As regular readers of this space know, I’ve been jealous of the EU and their fancy data protection policies for a while.

You Are Being Film
You Are Being Film

And this point is key:

And the trade in personal data served only to enrich the companies that collect it, he added.

Not only is our personal data being mined, processed and sold, but we don’t get compensated for it. Sure we get a place to look at photos of grandkids, and Russian-created memes, but at what cost?

Written by Seth Anderson

October 25th, 2018 at 8:00 am

Posted in Advertising,Apple

Tagged with , , ,

Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public

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Expanding the Parameters
Expanding the Parameters

WSJ:

Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.

A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident. A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.

(click here to continue reading Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public – WSJ.)

The cover-up is always worse. Google could have admitted to this during some Trump-Tweet-Tempest, and nobody would have paid much attention. 

Written by Seth Anderson

October 8th, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,

Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

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Google 500 error 

Bloomberg reports:

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

(click here to continue reading Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales – Bloomberg.)

Google has more efficient PR teams than Facebook, even though the two companies seem equally as cavalier about vacuuming up personal information without informed consent of consumers.

Google Express
Google Express

Written by Seth Anderson

August 31st, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Google expanding space in Fulton Market, this time on Randolph St

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 All That False Instruction

Chicago Tribune reports:

Google is planning a two-level store in Chicago’s Fulton Market district, its first known location for a retail flagship.

The technology giant is close to finalizing a lease for almost 14,000 square feet on the first and second floors of several connected, two-story brick buildings between 845 and 853 W. Randolph St., according to sources.

If completed as expected, Google’s deal will represent another milestone in the evolution of the longtime meatpacking district west of the Kennedy Expressway, where Google already has its Midwest office headquarters and more than 900 employees.

To date, Google’s only retail spaces have been pop-up stores and small shops within other stores.

Google’s lease will include former spaces of longtime area restaurants Jaipur and Perez.

Behind the connected buildings, an alley forms a pedestrian walkway between Peoria and Green streets. The property is directly across the street from the Nobu Hotel that is under construction.

(click here to continue reading Google expanding space in Fulton Market, this time with a flagship store – Chicago Tribune.)

I am very curious as to what exactly Google wants with a storefront. Are they planning to launch some new product? Expand the Next line? A new phone? Obviously, Alphabet has plenty of cash to throw around, but I’m puzzled as to what the point of this new endeavor is, other than being in the Hot West Loop1

Stoic Delicacy

Urban Melodrama

Footnotes:
  1. a phrase I hear too frequently []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 21st, 2018 at 10:39 am

Posted in Business

Tagged with , ,

Why Advertisers Won’t Rush to Delete Facebook But We Should

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Bowl of Lemons
Bowl of Lemons

The WSJ reports:

As frustrated as advertisers may be with Facebook  these days, a bigger challenge may be finding a suitable alternative.

Whether many will actually try to do so remains the $55 billion question. That is what Wall Street currently expects Facebook to generate in advertising revenue this year. It is a big number that also happens to be 37% higher than what the company generated in ad sales last year. For comparison’s sake, Google’s ad business was growing about half as fast when it was the same size.

Perhaps most notable is that the majority of analysts haven’t brought down their projections for Facebook’s ad business even as controversy has engulfed the company over the last two weeks. Many instead are taking a wait-and-see approach. Questions over Facebook’s handling of user data has sparked an online campaign to #DeleteFacebook. But little is known now about whether that is having any effect. Facebook’s next quarterly report—likely about a month from now—will be the first real opportunity to see if users are fleeing or largely sticking around.

In the latter case, most advertisers likely will too. As controversial as Facebook may be right now, its scale and reach make the platform unique among advertising channels. The social network ranked highest in terms of return on investment among online advertising platforms in a survey by RBC Capital Markets. Interestingly, most of the survey took place in the latter half of March as the negative headlines about Facebook piled up. RBC analyst Mark Mahaney noted that Facebook even managed to edge out Alphabet Inc.’s Google for the top ranking for the first time.

(click here to continue reading Why Advertisers Won’t Rush to Unfriend Facebook – WSJ.)

Cash rules everything around me…

Facebook plans on riding out this wave of bad PR, just as they have in the past. As long as people continue to use Facebook, and willingly be the product that is sold to advertisers, Facebook will continue profiting off your clicks. 

Google Express
Google Express

As Vox writer Matthew Yglesias notes, Google collects as much or more information on us, yet they in return give something useful. Google search is the best search engine, usually, and Gmail is a good, free mail. What does Facebook offer in return for selling your data? A place to share photos of your children? A place to argue about politics? Why can’t that be done in the same way it was done before Facebook? The main selling point of Facebook is that it has a built-in audience for your content. But is it really worth it? Maybe because I’m a cynical Gen-Xer who wrote most of my college papers on a typewriter, but I wouldn’t miss Facebook if it vanished, especially if Twitter survived. I’m comfortable emailing people, if I needed to communicate with them. Maybe this sucky blog would start to get decent traffic again? 

Vox:

 

That Facebook’s relentless growth threatens the existence of news organizations is something that should make the architects of that relentless growth feel bad about themselves. They are helping to erode public officials’ accountability, foster public ignorance, and degrade the quality of American democracy.

 

Google, of course, poses similar threats to the journalism ecosystem through its own digital advertising industry. But Googlers can also make a strong case that Google makes valuable contributions to the information climate. I learn useful, real information via Google every day. And while web search is far from a perfect technology, Google really does usually surface accurate, reliable information on the topics you search for. Facebook’s imperative to maximize engagement, by contrast, lands it in an endless cycle of sensationalism and nonsense.

 

 

(click here to continue reading The case against Facebook – Vox.)

Remember ideas become things
Remember, ideas become things.

Facebook is actually bad for our media infrastructure, the media infrastructure which is an essential pillar to our democracy. 

 

Meanwhile, Facebook is destroying the business model for outlets that make real news.

 Facebook critics in the press are often accused of special pleading, of hatred of a company whose growing share of the digital advertising pie is a threat to our business model. This is, on some level, correct.

The answer to the objection, however, is that special pleaders on behalf of journalism are correct on the merits. Not all businesses are created equal. Cigarette companies poison their customers; journalism companies inform them.

 And traditionally, American society has recognized that reality and tried to create a viable media ecosystem. The US Postal Service has long maintained a special discount rate for periodicals to facilitate the dissemination of journalism and the viability of journalism business models. Until last fall, the Federal Communications Commission maintained rules requiring licensed local broadcast stations to maintain local news studios.

The association between Facebook and fake news is by now well-known, but the stark facts are worth repeating — according to Craig Silverman’s path-breaking analysis for BuzzFeed, the 20 highest-performing fake news stories of the closing days of the 2016 campaign did better on Facebook than the 20 highest-performing real ones.

Rumors, misinformation, and bad reporting can and do exist in any medium. But Facebook created a medium that is optimized for fakeness, not as an algorithmic quirk but due to the core conception of the platform. By turning news consumption and news discovery into a performative social process, Facebook turns itself into a confirmation bias machine — a machine that can best be fed through deliberate engineering.

In reputable newsrooms, that’s engineering that focuses on graphic selection, headlines, and story angles while maintaining a commitment to accuracy and basic integrity. But relaxing the constraint that the story has to be accurate is a big leg up — it lets you generate stories that are well-designed to be psychologically pleasing, like telling Trump-friendly white Catholics that the pope endorsed their man, while also guaranteeing that your outlet gets a scoop.

 

 

(click here to continue reading The case against Facebook – Vox.)

MES  Chicago Sun Times
MES (Chicago Sun-Times)

I like this final point:

 

 

For a better path forward, it’s worth looking at the actual life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

 

He likes to do annual personal challenges, and they are normally sensible. One year, he set about to learn Mandarin. Another year, he challenged himself to run 365 miles. He visited all 50 states and met and spoke face to face with people in each state he visited. He committed to reading a book cover to cover every two weeks.

 

This year, his challenge is to try to fix Facebook. But he ought, instead, to think harder about those other challenges and what they say about what he finds valuable in life — sustained engagement with difficult topics and ideas, physical exercise, face-to-face interaction with human beings, travel. This suggests a healthy, commonsense value system that happens to be profoundly and fundamentally at odds with the Facebook business model.

 

To simply walk away from it, shut it down, salt the earth, and move on to doing something entirely new would be an impossibly difficult decision for almost anyone. Nobody walks away from the kind of wealth and power that Facebook has let Zuckerberg accumulate. But he’s spoken frequently about his desire to wield that wealth and power for good. And while there are a lot of philanthropists out there who could donate to charities, there’s only one person who can truly “fix” Facebook by doing away with it.

 

 

(click here to continue reading The case against Facebook – Vox.)

 

If Zuckerberg did this, he’d become a hero to many, and for sure would be immortal in the business school textbooks… 

Written by Seth Anderson

March 30th, 2018 at 10:15 am

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with ,

Google now data mining credit card data

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Cougle Comission - Fulton Market
Cougle Comission – Fulton Market

Inevitable, and yet still creepy

Google has begun using billions of credit-card transaction records to prove that its online ads are prompting people to make purchases – even when they happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores, the company said Tuesday.

The advance allows Google to determine how many sales have been generated by digital ad campaigns, a goal that industry insiders have long described as “the holy grail” of online advertising. But the announcement also renewed long-standing privacy complaints about how the company uses personal information.

To power its multibillion-dollar advertising juggernaut, Google already analyzes users’ Web browsing, search history and geographic locations, using data from popular Google-owned apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store. All that information is tied to the real identities of users when they log into Google’s services.

The new credit-card data enables the tech giant to connect these digital trails to real-world purchase records in a far more extensive way than was possible before. But in doing so, Google is yet again treading in territory that consumers may consider too intimate and potentially sensitive. Privacy advocates said few people understand that their purchases are being analyzed in this way and could feel uneasy, despite assurances from Google that it has taken steps to protect the personal information of its users.

(click here to continue reading Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff – The Washington Post.)

Of course it buys happiness
Of course it buys happiness

especially since all this data is vulnerable to hackers

Paul Stephens, of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy group based in San Diego, said only a few pieces of data can allow a marketer to identify an individual, and he expressed skepticism that Google’s system for guarding the identities of users will stand up to the efforts of hackers, who in the past have successfully stripped away privacy protections created by other companies after data breaches.

“What we have learned is that it’s extremely difficult to anonymize data,” he said. “If you care about your privacy, you definitely need to be concerned.”

Such data providers have been the targets of cybercriminals in the past. In 2015, a hack of data broker Experian exposed the personal information of 15 million people.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 24th, 2017 at 10:05 am

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with ,

Thursday Leftovers – Plate 4

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Some morsels you’ve maybe already sampled…

 Urban Roses

Urban Roses. 

What an asshole…

Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday slammed his colleagues’ efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.”

Cotton, who has been an outspoken critic of the bill in Congress that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences, smacked down what he called “baseless” arguments that there are too many offenders locked up for relatively small crimes, that incarceration is too costly, or that “we should show more empathy toward those caught up in the criminal-justice system.”

“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed,” Cotton said during a speech at The Hudson Institute, according to his prepared remarks. “Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”

(click here to continue reading Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. has ‘under-incarceration problem’ – POLITICO.)

https://i1.wp.com/farm8.staticflickr.com/7702/27089637486_79e83f1a3c_z.jpg?resize=640%2C307&ssl=1

Good for Google, doing something notEvil…

In its first five years, the Google Cultural Institute scanned and archived 200 works of art in super-high-resolution gigapixel images. Now in just the past few months, it has managed to scan another 1,000.

The sudden expansion is thanks to a new camera developed by Google, simply called the Art Camera. It’s designed to be far simpler to use than other camera setups, making it easier for museums and other institutions to start digitizing the art and documents in their collection. And critically, it’s also much faster.

“The capture time has been reduced drastically,” says Marzia Niccolai, technical program manager at the Cultural Institute. “Previously it could take almost a day to capture an image. To give you an idea, now if you have a one meter by one meter painting, it would take 30 minutes.”

(click here to continue reading Google made an insanely high-res camera to preserve great works of art | The Verge.)

Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn
Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Gee, that’s great news, LinkedIn. Remind me why I even have a LinkedIn account?

Hey, do you remember back in 2012 when hackers hit LinkedIn, stole a few million passwords, and released them online? It was a while ago, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. LinkedIn simply can’t leave the breach behind, though: there are now another 117 million e-mail addresses and passwords for sale on an underground marketplace.

…Sure, the data is old, but people do tend to use the same password from one site to another, which means that the credentials might still be useful for accessing other sites, even if users have already changed their passwords, or LinkedIn reset them.

After an initial report on Motherboard that the the cache was for sale for 5 bitcoin ($2,285), LinkedIn confirmed that the leaked information is genuine. “We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords,” the company said in a post on its official blog. “We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach.” Well, that’s… still not comforting.

(click here to continue reading Remember That LinkedIn Breach Back In 2012? It May Have Been Bigger – Consumerist.)

 Familiar Ground

Familiar Ground

Still waiting for Ted Cruz to admit he’s told lies, you know, sinned. Oh that’s right, for Ted Cruz’s brand of Christianity, lying your ass off is fine as long as you lie to attack liberals.

Last year liberals took a break from attacking veterans, unborn babies, and Christmas to wage war on cops. Like all the other wars that didn’t actually happen, this one was deserving of a full-court press on Fox News and became a centerpiece of the Cruz campaign. … Cruz, of course, blamed Obama. And complained about Obama’s “complete silence” following the shooting of a deputy—a silence in which Obama had already made comments, issued a statement, and called the deputy’s relatives. But faster than you can repeat “Obama won’t say radical Muslim terrorists,” the entire right was singing the chorus of how liberals hate cops, cops were getting massacred, and it was all the left’s fault for backing horrible, life-threatening ideas like not shooting unarmed 12-year-olds, and accountability. In New York City, the police union went so far as to insist that officers shouldn’t conduct arrests because of “wartime” conditions.

The narrative continued through the year, but now that all the numbers are in …

Data released by the FBI on Monday shows that 2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades. …
Every one of the 41 police officers killed on the job is a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero. Oh, and every one of the at least 1,186 people killed by police in the same period is also a tragedy, and every effort should be made to bring that number to zero.

The number of officers killed on the job was down almost 20 percent from 2014. However, even in 2014, being an active duty police officer was number 15 on the list of dangerous jobs.

(click here to continue reading The ‘war on cops’ leads to … one of the safest years for cops on record.)

Back to You in the Studio…
Back to You in the Studio…

For news organizations, Trump is good for business, so expect the cable news flunkies to line up to kiss his ring

And it’s clear Trump is good for business. According to one Fox News producer, the channel’s ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs. A Fox anchor told me that the message from Roger Ailes’s executives is they need to go easy on Trump. “It’s, ‘Make sure we don’t go after Trump,’” the anchor said. “We’ve thrown in the towel.” Similarly, the New York Post has staked out a pro-Trump position in the marketplace while its rival the Daily News remains one of Trump’s loudest critics. The Post endorsed Trump last month and dubbed him “King Don!” after he won the New York primary. (The outlier among Murdoch’s properties is The Wall Street Journal. “They’re stupid people,” Trump told me back in March).

(click here to continue reading Hullabaloo- Rupert’s game plan .)

Pink Tv
Pink Tv

Case in point: Megyn Kelly is no journalist, but people still pretend she is…

“You are so powerful,” Megyn Kelly, of Fox, said to Donald Trump, with a note of wonder in her voice, as she interviewed him for her special on Tuesday night. They were sitting in a conference room on a high floor, with a view of Central Park behind them, the proper backdrop for an interview characterized by a soft deferral to the grandeur of Trump. Kelly had, in the moments before, remembered his angry response, after she asked a question at the first Republican Presidential debate about his past comments disparaging women. It had caused a “firestorm,” and Trump was the fire. Did he understand the profound effect that he had on people?

And what did Megyn Kelly know? When the special returned to Trump Tower, the Donald let it slip that, in the period when he was loudly claiming to be boycotting her on Fox News, he had, perhaps, peeked at her show. The other big news was Kelly’s unveiling of her new book, “Settle for More”—not a good slogan for the G.O.P. at the moment—which will go on sale after the election and in which, she said, “For the first time, I will speak openly about my year with Donald Trump.” So what did we just watch? “Well, that is it,” Trump tweeted after the broadcast ended. “Well done Megyn—and they all lived happily ever after! Now let us all see how ‘THE MOVEMENT’ does in Oregon tonight!” Trump won the Republican primary in Oregon with about sixty-seven per cent of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich were still on the ballot, but Trump was, effectively, unopposed—just like he now is on Fox.

(click here to continue reading Megyn Kelly’s Guide to Surrendering to Donald Trump – The New Yorker.)

Written by Seth Anderson

May 19th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

Would You Believe was uploaded to Flickr

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1000 N Morgan, Fulton Market, West Loop

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/w9CGi3

I took Would You Believe on July 19, 2015 at 11:56AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on July 24, 2015 at 08:14PM

Written by eggplant

July 24th, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Publishers Weigh Ways to Fight Ad Blocking

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ATM$ Inside
ATM$ Inside…

Adblocking software is a default installation for any browser on any computer I set up, usually using Ghostery. I am frequently amazed at the sheer amount of tracking code a typical publisher uses. Dozens and dozens of third party cookies, sometimes even more.

Browsing the web without ads is actually kind of nice. No popups stealing your screen. No autoplaying video ads making the page load as slowly as if it were being dialed up through America Online circa 1999. And millions of people seem to agree. They’ve installed extensions to their web browsers that delete the ads from most, if not all, of of the sites they visit. One popular ad blocker, AdBlock Plus, claims that it’s been installed on people’s browsers more than 400 million times and that it counts “close to 50 to 60 million active users,” said Ben Williams, communications and operations director at Eyeo, the company that makes AdBlock Plus.

Ad blocking isn’t a new issue. People have been installing these extensions for years. But those people were considered a fringe group. But that group is getting closer to the mainstream as kids who grew up browsing the web on their parents’ computers are getting their own laptops that they can customize all the way.

And advertisers’ target audience du jour — millennials — appear to be more likely to use ad blockers than any other age group. Of the survey respondents who were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, 41% said they use ad blockers. As further evidence ad blocking isn’t abating, Mr. Williams said AdBlock Plus has averaged 2.3 million downloads a week since 2013.

(click here to continue reading Publishers Weigh Ways to Fight Ad Blocking | Media – Advertising Age.)

Nelson Muntz Furniture
Nelson Muntz Furniture

If the trend continues, the ad-supported model of web publishing will die soon. I’m not sure what will replace it – a subscription model I guess – but web publishers did themselves no favors by making ads increasingly more obnoxious. Autoplay videos are evil, and I cannot wait until Apple allows ad blocking software on iPhones and iPads.

Ad blocking extensions have been possible on Safari for Mac for a long time, but plugin architecture for Safari on iOS is much more limited. With iOS 9, Apple has added a special case of extension for ad blockers. Apps can now include ‘content blocker’ extensions that define resources (like images and scripts) for Safari to not load. For the first time, this architecture makes ad blockers a real possibility for iOS developers to make and iOS customers to install and use.

The inclusion of such a feature at this time is interesting. Apple is also pushing its own news solution in iOS 9 with the News app, which will include ads but not be affected by the content blocking extensions as they only apply to Safari. There is also clearly the potential for Safari ad blockers to hurt Google, which seems to be a common trend with Apple’s announcements recently…

(click here to continue reading iOS 9 lets app developers make ad blockers for Safari | 9to5Mac.)

Blocking ad tracking is also parenthetically about user privacy, and Apple is more likely to increase capabilities for its customers to opt out of the massive marketing databases of contemporary corporations like Acxiom, with the exception of inclusion in Apple’s own massive database of course. Apple is not a benevolent grandmother, but at least they are being more open about their marketing and data collection practices than some of their technology company peers.

Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, who was onstage to present new “proactive” artificial intelligence features of the next iPhone operating system, paused before one of the slides to make the company’s devotion to privacy clear.

Yes, he said, the new software will try to anticipate your information needs, based on things like your calendar and location — something that its rival, Google, already does. But, Federighi added, “we do it in a way that does not compromise your privacy. We don’t mine your email, your photos, or your contacts in the cloud to learn things about you. We honestly just don’t wanna know.”

He continued: “All of this is done on [the] device, and it stays on [the] device, under your control.” And Apple says that if it does have to perform a lookup [online] on your behalf, it’s anonymous, it’s not associated with your Apple ID, and it’s not shared with third parties.

In case you missed that point, Federighi immediately repeated: “You are in control.”

(click here to continue reading Walt Mossberg: Apple’s Latest Product Is Privacy | Re/code.)

Waste Your Time and Money
Waste Your Time and Money

We are talking significant revenue at stake already:

“Consumers want a faster web, significantly less tracking by unknown third parties and clean, well-lit media experiences. [Apple’s mobile ad-blocking plan] just accelerates it, and opens up a significant share of the marketplace,” said Jason Kint, CEO of online publisher trade group Digital Content Next. That significant share would significantly cut into publishers’ revenues. Take the biggest digital ad seller — Google — as a proxy. PageFair has estimated that Google, which made $59.1 billion from advertising in 2014, lost $6.6 billion that year because of ad blocking. As Vice’s chief digital officer Mike Germano said at an industry conference in New York earlier this month, “I love my audience, but fuck you, ad blockers — 20% of my revenue is gone.”

How to Get Your Business To Show Up On Google
How to Get Your Business To Show Up On Google

Written by Seth Anderson

June 19th, 2015 at 8:23 am

Posted in Advertising,Apple,Business

Tagged with ,

Spain’s Google News Shutdown Is a Silly Victory for Publishers

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Daily News
Daily News.

As we suspected, having traffic to Spanish news sites drop by 5%-15% is kind of a big deal…

We call it the “Google News bump.” When a story on WIRED.com gets a link on the front page of Google News, traffic skyrockets. Readers click. Ads are served.

But in Spain, at least, the Google News bump is no more. On Tuesday, Google shut down Google News in Spain in response to a law that requires news aggregators to pay a fee for the right to post snippets of stories. Big Spanish publishers pushed for the law, but their math is hard to fathom. Without Google News, they get no bump, nor do they get any fee. Trying to stick it to Google is an understandable impulse, a resentment fed by the company’s monolithic influence over the web. But all the shutdown really shows is how powerless traditional publishers really are.

But where I work, at least, a 5 percent traffic dip wouldn’t exactly be something to celebrate, much less lobby lawmakers to effectively codify. And as GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram says, the damage could be worse. The chief data scientist at Chartbeat, a web service many publishers use to monitor real-time reader traffic, told Ingram that the average falloff in the hours since the Google News shutdown was more like 10 to 15 percent.

(click here to continue reading Spain’s Google News Shutdown Is a Silly Victory for Publishers | WIRED.)

and as many people have noted: removing all Google News traffic benefits the larger media companies at the expense of the smaller media companies. Google News links to both: sites you’ve heard of, and sites you haven’t. If you don’t regularly visit the websites of smaller news organizations, you probably won’t.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 18th, 2014 at 11:14 am

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with ,

Google Shutting Google News in Spain

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Ride Smarter
Ride Smarter on the Google Train.

I wonder how this new development will play out. Will the traffic plummet for Spanish publications? Or will it not matter? And how exactly does Google News move past this trend of European countries1 demanding Google pay for fair use inclusion? Does this relate to blogging Fair Use?

Google Inc. said Wednesday it will shut its Google News service in Spain because a new law will require the company to pay publishers for displaying any portion of their work.

In a blog post, Google said it also will remove Spanish publishers from the service.

The legislation, which takes effect in January, requires Spanish publishers to charge services like Google News for showing excerpts or snippets from their publications, Google said.

“As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable,” Richard Gingras, head of Google News, wrote in a blog. He said the service will close Dec. 16.

(click here to continue reading Google Shutting Google News in Spain – WSJ.)

From Google’s Europe Blog:

[Google News is] a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain. It’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues.

But sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.

For centuries publishers were limited in how widely they could distribute the printed page. The Internet changed all that — creating tremendous opportunities but also real challenges for publishers as competition both for readers’ attention and for advertising Euros increased. We’re committed to helping the news industry meet that challenge and look forward to continuing to work with our thousands of partners globally, as well as in Spain, to help them increase their online readership and revenues.

(click here to continue reading Google Europe Blog.)

Daily News
Daily News

Germany already has some data on how well it works, we’ll soon see if politicians are getting angry phone calls from media websites:

A German law now requires Google to secure the rights to publish any content other than links to articles and headlines. Google refused to pay for those rights, but gave publishers a choice: offer them free or face the removal of snippets and thumbnails from its services like Google News.

German media giant Axel Springer , a Google critic, demanded payment from Google for a time this fall. But Axel granted Google a free license when traffic from Google News and Google’s search engine plunged.

“I imagine the news outlets for which the law was designed will start to miss the traffic that Google sent their way,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at R.W. Baird.

I’ve long used Google News as a primary jumping off point to read news sites, for what it’s worth…

Footnotes:
  1. and Rupert Murdoch companies []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 10th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Sign in To YouTube Using an iOS Device Like an iPhone

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Illinois Central

Electric Shocking Power!

For perhaps the five hundredth time this decade,1 I spent a long time trying to login to YouTube to upload a video, and my password was not accepted, even though I’d copied it right out of 1 Password. After wasting about ten minutes trying to figure it out, I remembered that because I have set up a 2-Step Verification for my Google account, I have to generate an App specific password for logging into YouTube. I’m not sure why YouTube is different than other 2-Step Verification services2, but at least the solution is easy enough, once you remember that is why your password keeps failing. You’d think Google could update YouTube to at least give a hint that enabling 2-Step verification means a user can’t login simply with email and password. I mean, would it be that hard for the YouTube iOS App to add a footer to the login page? Or at least a suggestion to look to the App passwords page if a password fails a few times?

Anyway, after I did the proper Google search, I ended up here, with these instructions.

Sign in using App Passwords

An App password is a 16-digit passcode that gives an app or device permission to access your Google Account. If you use 2-Step-Verification and are seeing a “password incorrect” error when trying to access your Google Account, an App password may solve the problem. Most of the time, you’ll only have to enter an App password once per app or device, so don’t worry about memorizing it.

  1. Visit your App passwords page. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. At the bottom, click Select app and choose the app you’re using.
  3. Click Select device and choose the device you’re using.
  4. Click Generate.
  5. Follow the instructions to enter the App password (the 16 character code in the yellow bar) on your device.

 

(click here to continue reading Sign in using App Passwords – Accounts Help.)

That’s pretty clear, and simple, once you know that is what you are required to do.

Perhaps since I’m writing a post about this procedure, I’ll remember next time I’m uploading a video from a new iOS device, or a new app that uses YouTube.

Also, the video was pretty dark, I’ll have to retry with better lighting next time I have a can of Nuclear Winter beer by Finch’s Beer…

My app specific list looks like this3

Screen Shot 2014 12 03 at 9 22 36 PM
Google App specific passwords, a partial list

Vimeo version…

Nuclear Winter Boilermaker- Finch’s Beer from Seth Anderson on Vimeo.

With a name like Nuclear Winter, what else could I do?


update, damn, this post became a spam comment magnet so we’re disabling comments for a while. Sorry.

Footnotes:
  1. every time I get a new iPhone or iPad, or Apple TV basically. Though some apps use YouTube as well, I’m guessing this has happened more than three million times since I’ve enabled 2-Step Verification []
  2. for instance, I use 2-Step Verification for Tumblr, for Twitter, for Buffer, and probably some others too []
  3. not all shown []

Written by Seth Anderson

December 3rd, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Apple

Tagged with , , ,

Google Experimenting With Removing Google Ads for a Fee

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Cougle, Google's neighbor
Cougle, Google’s neighbor in the West Loop.

Almost sounds a little back-alley-ish: “hey, I’ve been deluging you with these ads for decades, but for a small fee, I’ll remove them, in certain circumstances…”

On Thursday, Google started experimenting with a new way to let users contribute to web sites in exchange for removing – or at least reducing – the number of ads. The service, called Contributor by Google, has users give between $1 and $3 a month to sites like The Onion and Mashable.

Once they pay, the ads that normally show will be replaced with a banner that says “Thank you for being a contributor.”

For Contributor, Google is only working with 10 sites, and it will take a small cut of the contributions. The sites may not be completely ad free: Google only has the power to remove ads it has served, so it should probably be described as a way to see “fewer ads” rather than no ads.

(click here to continue reading Google Experimenting With Removing Ads for a Fee – NYTimes.com.)

The only way I could see this working would be for low-traffic websites with a loyal leadership – it seems Google shares a slice of that fee with the publisher. I notice Google doesn’t disclose what the percentages actually are, it could be a 90-10 split for all we know, with Google retaining $2.70 of a $3 contribution. I doubt I’d ever use Contributor By Google, but you never know. Is the occasional visit to Urban Dictionary or The Onion worth $36 a year? Meh. Especially since I use Ghostery to block most ads in the first place, so the savings would be negligible, plus Google would be able to accumulate more data about me for their data mills.

Sophism Becomes You
Sophism Becomes You

I used to have Google Ads displayed over there on the right column, and when this blog sucked less1 and got more daily traffic, the ads paid me a few hundred dollars a year. That was quite a while ago though, certainly before Twitter and other social media soaked up my bandwidth, and the tumbleweeds started accumulating here. In fact, I removed the Google Ads several years ago, probably when Google started frequently being a bully and a thief.2

Footnotes:
  1. when Bush was in the White House []
  2. In the eyes of Steve Jobs at least []

Written by Seth Anderson

November 21st, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with ,

Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff

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Apple Store in Soho
Apple Store in Soho.

Apparently this ridiculousness is still going on, we blogged about it last month, and previously

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

 …

Apple executives thought the dead-child scenario was inflammatory. They told the government officials law enforcement could obtain the same kind of information elsewhere, including from operators of telecommunications networks and from backup computers and other phones, according to the people who attended.

Technology companies are pushing back more against government requests for cooperation and beefing up their use of encryption. On Tuesday, WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc., said it is now encrypting texts sent from one Android phone to another, and it won’t be able to decrypt the contents for law enforcement.

AT&T Inc. on Monday challenged the legal framework investigators have long used to collect call logs and location information about suspects.

In a filing to a federal appeals court in Atlanta, AT&T said it receives an “enormous volume” of government requests for information about customers, and argued Supreme Court decisions from the 1970s “apply poorly” to modern communications. The company urged the courts to provide new, clear rules on what data the government can take without a probable cause warrant.

(click here to continue reading Apple and Others Encrypt Phones, Fueling Government Standoff – WSJ.)

Law enforcement officials are clever, they can find ways to get data in other ways, like this, for instance…

PRISM
PRISM

And good for Tim Cook – he suggests that Apple Inc. should not be in the business of enabling the police in their quest to snoop on our phones without first getting warrants. You know, like if we were living in a constitutional Democracy with a Bill of Rights again?

In June 2013, Mr. Snowden provided reporters with documents describing a government program called Prism, which gathered huge amounts of data from tech companies. At first, tech-company executives said they hadn’t previously heard of Prism and denied participating. In fact, Prism was an NSA code word for data collection authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Tech companies routinely complied with such requests.

 More than a year later, tech executives say consumers still mistrust them, and they need to take steps to demonstrate their independence from the government.

Customer trust is a big issue at Apple. The company generates 62% of its revenue outside the U.S., where it says encryption is even more important to customers concerned about snooping by their governments.

These days, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook stresses the company’s distance from the government.

“Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it,” he said at The Wall Street Journal’s global technology conference in October. “It’s not for me to do that.”

In early September, Apple said the encryption on its latest iPhone software would prevent anyone other than the user from accessing user data stored on the phone when it is locked. Until then, Apple had helped police agencies—with a warrant—pull data off a phone. The process wasn’t quick. Investigators had to send the device to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, and backlogs occurred.

 

Written by Seth Anderson

November 19th, 2014 at 11:10 am

Facebook, Google Face Backlash Over Logins

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Cougle, Google's neighbor
Cougle, Google’s neighbor

Personally, I never, ever use logins that depend upon Facebook. I have run across a few iOS apps that insist upon Facebook logins, and I deleted them rather than give up my information. I have on rare occasion used the Google login, but I’d much prefer using my own login credentials, even if it involves creating yet another password. Since I use 1Password these days, creating and maintaining unique passwords isn’t as much of a burden as it used to be.

Facebook and Google are battling to be the gateway through which users connect to websites and mobile apps. But users and businesses may be losing interest in such “social login” services.

Consumers worry about broadcasting their preferences and habits to companies and across their social networks. Businesses are torn between making life easier for users and letting Facebook and Google see the resulting data.

“A few years ago, there was a frenzy, but the interest has peaked,” says Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research who studies social login. “There’s the fear of, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to click something and God knows what’s going to show up on my Facebook wall.’ ”

The social login buttons allow consumers to log in to other websites and apps using their usernames and passwords, for example, from Facebook Login or Google+.
But a Forrester survey of 66 large and midsize companies finds that only 17% use social-login buttons, and more than half have no plans to do so. Forrester hadn’t previously done a similar survey, but Ms. Mulpuru-Kodali says social login offerings are no longer appealing to retailers and users.

(click here to continue reading Too Much Information? Facebook, Google Face Backlash Over Logins – WSJ.com.)

The One Chord Song Lasts A Lifetime
The One Chord Song Lasts A Lifetime

I think also more consumers are realizing that Facebook and Google are not creating these tools to make consumers digital lives easier, but instead to enable Facebook and Google to collect data on consumers that they will then sell to businesses. Why make the process any easier for Big Data? Especially since Google and Facebook have repeatedly made errors that benefit their own business practices, and only apologize when the “error” becomes public, or the FTC files a complaint.

One reason users hesitate is privacy — the fear that logging in to the real-estate website Zillow through a Facebook button, for example, might inadvertently reveal the house you looked at, and its price, to your social network. Facebook says this can’t happen without a consumer’s express permission. But many users are wary because of the social network’s mixed record on privacy.

Some large brick and mortar retailers are concerned that letting Facebook or Google put code on their website might lead to the Web giants collecting their purchase data. Google says it doesn’t collect this information1.

(click here to continue reading Silicon Valley Is Waging a War Over Your Online Identity. But Is It Worth It? – Digits – WSJ.)

Footnotes:
  1. but won’t swear to it in court []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 22nd, 2014 at 8:14 am

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with , ,