Tag Archives: Google

Google Finds a Predator

Cross posted from the Child Abuse Survivor site

The tech world is alive with news that Google has helped locate and charge a predator based on scanning their email for child pornography images.

Obviously, this is a case of a stupid criminal, if you’re going to share illegal images, using a cloud service provider that already admits to scanning email contents for keywords as part of their advertising plan probably isn’t the most private place to do it.

On the other hand, it is also a sign of the times. Letting third party companies hold your data on their servers puts some legal obligations on them to prevent you from putting certain kinds of data on the service. Simply put, once you attached a known CP image to an email it was stored on Google’s server. Google could be charged with possession by simply leaving it there, negligence for not knowing it was there, and possibly even more if they allowed this person to keep sharing it with their service. So, they kind of have to scan their own servers for known images. Once found, that information has to be turned over to the authorities, which is as it should be. Anyone who works with technology, especially other people’s technology, would be required to do the same.

As someone who is very interested in making sure child pornographers are caught and charged, I like the fact that cloud services are attracting them. Rather than shut down services that allow people to trade images on the internet for fear of letting a few of them do something illegal, I’d rather have this type of thing going on, where they use the technology, but the technology helps the authorities find them too.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Flipboard Magazines as Google Reader Replacement

Since I’ve been playing around a bit with creating a Flipboard magazine, I’ve been giving this some thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, at it’s core Google Reader was an RSS reader, and there’s no way I could replace the simplicity of following 200+ feeds in Reader with following 200+ magazines on Flipboard. Reader also had a very popular feature, well back before Google killed it off in order to get everyone to start using Plus, called Shared Items.

Shared Items were a great way to follow a handful of people, who had similar interests to you, and see what kinds of things they were sharing. I could see Flipboard magazines being a similar way to follow a handful of magazines, and see what those folks are sharing.

I’ve been creating a few of my own to match up with my own websites. The thought process, again, is that if mobile users won’t come to the website, because they don’t browse the web, we’ve got to share content with them in the apps they use. Flipboard is one of those apps. So I can share, not only my own blog posts, but lots of other content as well, all within the app or from the web, and you, as a Flipboard user, can “follow” the magazine and get a glimpse at what I’m sharing.

View my Flipboard Magazine.View my Flipboard Magazine.View my Flipboard Magazine.

What about you, have you started “flipping” items to your own magazine in Flipboard? Share a link so we can check it out!

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Smartphones Are Changing How People See The Internet

Reading this latest article about the future of the mobile web, Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it, I’m struck by the difference between how young people interact with the web, and how us old veterans do it.

Young people don’t use tablets because they don’t see them as necessary for accessing the internet, since their perception is that apps are what makes up the internet. They’ve grown up primarily using their phones, not using laptops with Web browsers. To this generation, it seems slow, purposeless even to go from website to website in a single, sub-par Web browser environment when they can get rich app experiences right from their home screen.

Of course, this sort of information intrigues me in two ways. One, is that part of the reasoning behind using apps instead of a web browser has to be because using a web browser on a phone sucks. Partially that is because sites don’t look good at all at that size even with a mobile theme like the WordPress option I use for this site. It’s better, but not great. Another reason it sucks is because we’ve become so good at redirecting people using phones to an app instead of the website. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to click a link in a blog post on my phone to a news story, and have that site take me to the iTunes store to download their app, or redirect me to the mobile home page of their site instead of the link I wanted to read. It degrades the experience of using my phone to browse the web, so it’s no wonder people are much more likely to use an app instead.

This leads me to the second reason this intrigues me. If it’s true that more and more of the internet “audience” is using mobile devices, and only accessing the web through apps, what’s a website owner to do? As an independent, and unpaid, site owner I can’t pay to have someone develop an app for me. I’ve looked at some of the free “create your own app” services, and frankly, between very limiting licensing and very limited features, they didn’t really provide much of a resource. Not to mention that you still have to pay to be an Apple developer or Google Play developer if you want your app to be available in either of those places.

So it would seem that the only way to get your content in front of this growing mobile audience who doesn’t use a web browser, is to get your content into the apps they do use. This is why I’ve been toying around with various social networks, trying to get my content, and the other content I want to share, in front of this audience. I’ve been using the more traditional routes, posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, but recently I’ve also started to dabble on Tumblr and Flipboard, which seem to be a bit more popular among that younger, smartphone-using, audience. Over at my child abuse blog, I’ve already added a Flipboard magazine, and a tumblr blog. Both are an effort to get that content in front of smartphone users, and hopefully to get them to likewise share it. Over the next few weeks, I suspect I will be doing similar types of things here and on my other sites.

The bottom line is that I have my website in order to share ideas and information with other people, whatever the topic might be. If they won’t come to the site, I should try and get that same information to them another way. Developing my own app isn’t really an option, but getting the content into the apps they already use, is.

The trick is being able to also interact with people in those apps as well so that you don’t appear to just be auto-posting to a social network and dropping out like some spammer, which takes some time and effort, but ultimately that is the goal of all this sharing isn’t it, to spark conversations? So what if they happen in Tumblr instead of in the comments.

As I develop other tools for this site and others, I will be sharing that information, so if you want to use those services to get the content I’m sharing on your smartphone, or know someone who does, they’ll be able to do that.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Is Google Killing Off Plus?

If this report is true, this is huge news on the social networking front.

It sounds pretty similar to the beginning of the end of Reader, and would actually make those who considered Plus destined to turn out just like Google Wave.

We’ll see if it turns out to be true but it would be a pretty abrupt change in direction for Google, and I’m not sure where they’d be headed in the aftermath.

What do you think?

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If They Sell Advertising We Aren’t Their Customers

I found much of what Doc Searls wrote about Mozilla to be true of just about all of the services we use online these days.

By becoming an advertising company (in addition to everything else it is), Mozilla now experiences a problem that has plagued ad-supported media for the duration: its customers and consumers are different populations. I saw it in when I worked in commercial broadcasting, and I see it today in the online world with Google, Facebook, Twitter… and Mozilla. The customers (or at least the main ones) are either advertisers or proxies for them (Google in Mozilla’s case). The consumers are you and me.

This is what we’ve been seeing with Google’s pushing their users toward their social network, Facebook pushing business pages towards becoming customers and buying advertising, and we will continue to see it more and more. These companies, much like broadcast radio and the old days of broadcast television, only create products that will assist in selling advertising.

So, yes, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, etc. have an interest in creating popular products that people like to use. After all, without the users, there’s no advertising market. But it’s not quite that straightforward. Because there’s always that third party involvement, the relationship between the user and the company is never a direct relationship. The company has another master to satisfy and sometimes, that master’s interests will be in direct contrast to the user’s interest. When two master’s interests are in competition, it’s usually going to be the one who signs the checks who wins.

You might not think that’s fair, and maybe it isn’t. There’s definitely a line that companies probably can’t cross with their users before they lose them and thus lose the advertisers as well, but we’ve gotten pretty entrenched with these products. It will hurt to walk away from using Facebook, probably more than it costs to continue using it, but there’s always a line in the sand, or at least a point where the law of the land and government agencies would step in and protect consumers.

Then again, with Google taking up lobbying the government as an arm of their business, I wouldn’t count on that.

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This Week’s Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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