Tag Archives: Google

Ohio is for Lovers, Montana is For Badasses

27 Feb

Ohio is for Lovers HatI love autocomplete and the insight it gives you into the zeitgeist of the internet.  I purposely take my time when entering search terms so that Google will throw inadvertently amusing (and sometimes racist) suggestions at me.

Recently @mattshirley41 decided to explore what his fellow netizens think about the United States and mapped the results.  The United States Is… maps autocomplete suggestions for the 50 states. Continue reading

I like my Sketchers, but I love my Prada backpack. Can Facebook Tell the Difference?

7 Aug

Or, The Difference Between What You “Like” and What You Like

Facebook like sign by afagen

Photo credit to afagen

Increasingly, the web shows us what it thinks we want to see.  Our Google results and our social media feeds are no longer a real reflection of what the hive mind or our friends have to say on a given topic, but what the powers that be think we want to see about that topic.

Most of the time, they’re right.  As much as we might like to think so, we’re not enigmas.  As we traverse the web, we leave behind digital footprints.  Our likes, our shares, even the pages we view, give Facebook et al insight into what we want to see.

But, sometimes, liking something doesn’t really mean that we like it.  With only the one button to express a myriad of sentiments, a like can mean, “Congrats,” “Cool picture,” “Aww, that sucks,” or many other things.  A like doesn’t actually mean, “I enjoy this and want to see more of it on my newsfeed.” But that’s how Facebook sees it. Continue reading

In Soviet Google, image tags you

14 May

Or, Why we still need image curators

Piccry Release Version 2.0Today I got an e-mail inviting me to join Piccsy, a social media service that goes live later this week.  It’s clearly a challenge to Pinterest, but combines some of the channel type features of FlipBoard.  Piccsy, the brain child of one of the vizualize.me founders, is aiming for a piece of the visual content curation space.  Why there?  It’s not a very blue ocean – but it is a very big ocean.  Why so big?  Because it’s one of the last areas of search that still requires a human touch. 

Images are a realm where computers haven’t yet caught up to people.  Google image search works because of the tags that people manually add to photos, or because of the way that people name their pictures.  The Great and Powerful Wizard of Google can’t (yet) look at an image and know what it’s a picture of.  (I know, I know, don’t end a sentence with a preposition; but “know of what it’s a picture” makes me sound like a sophomore English major.)  Google can’t read images the way it can read text.  So, while search can help us to discover images, we still need that human element.  We still need people to act as curators, telling us what an image is of, tagging it in a way that helps us to find just the perfect image to match our search terms. Continue reading

Don’t be Evil – Oops, too late

29 Aug

Or, Google doesn’t care if you think they’re creepy.

Close up on physical Google logo

Photo credit to halilgokdal

Google’s corporate policy is don’t be evil, but sometimes in their quest for power (um, I mean information, yeah, that’s it…), they sometimes lose sight of that.  Recently, Google’s come under a lot of fire for enforcing a real name policy on Google+.  (Basically, Google requires you to use your name that you go by in real life, not any sort of handle or screen name.  For more on the Google+ real policy and the debate behind it, read my earlier post “Publicness, Persistence, and the case against Real Name policies”.)

Hello my name is Bob happy trees

Photo credit to sashafatcat

In their enforcement of the real name policy, they’ve made a lot of mistakes: not accepting people’s actual real names because they didn’t fit into a common western name paradigm, disabling users’ accounts for violating the policy, not being flexible in borderline cases …  But, generally, they’ve acted pretty conciliatory about their actions.  The party line was: this is for users’ benefit, people want to be in an environment where they know who their talking to, etc. Continue reading

Google+ and the future of search

17 Jul

SparksIs G+ a killer app?”  Oh, come on that’s what everyone’s wondering.  Some people think that it’s going to rival Facebook.  Others think it’s here to challenge Microsoft.  I’m wondering if it’s here to change search.

You may not have heard about it, but G+ has a feature called Sparks, which brings content from around them web to you through your Google+ account.  Sparks features streams (to use Google speak) of information on a variety of topics.  It’s preloaded with some topics when you join G+, but you have the ability to add others.

Although Sparks hasn’t received nearly as much press as some other G+ features (like Hangouts and Circles), it may be the one that has the biggest impact on how we use the internet.  By bringing content directly to us, Sparks has the potential to change the way we get information, specifically the way we search.  Continue reading

What G+ is really about (pst!!! it’s not social)

14 Jul

Google+ CirclesI’ll admit, I’ve been a bit down on Google+.  I rushed to join and then struggled to find anything that interested me.  (Thus the “Google+ is… crickets?” post the other day.)  Well, I finally found something there that piqued my interest.  Or, more, someone there that piqued my interest.  Vincent Wong is a techie, an economist, and the first person that I’ve found to have a real perspective on G+ that’s not “OMG guys it’s the new Facebook!” Continue reading

Download your Facebook contact list — before it’s too late

5 Jul

Facebook vs. Google, Sword Fighting Social Media SitesThe battle for control of your personal network is on.

In case you missed it, Google+ officially rolled out last week, which had social media junkies like me all excited to get on it as soon as possible to see what it was all about.  So, we get our coveted invites and made it there and… crickets.  A social media sites are no fun when there’s no one there to socialize with.

Immediately I, and apparently lots of other people, too, thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just bring my download my Facebook friend list and bring all by friends over to Google+ with me?” We’ve spent all this time building our digital personal networks and want them to travel with us wherever we go.  After all, their our contacts, not Facebook’s.  Seems logical, right?  Continue reading

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