Posts Tagged ‘Google’

A free and open Internet, which I support, is frightening to most people. We all know the Internet’s a crazy place because many sites rely on their communities to police user-generated content. On social networking sites, we worry about predators and malware developers. And around every corner someone is trying to scam us out of our credit card number. We know this, but it’s still frightening.

There are two news items today that need some discussion.

pee-wee-hermanThe first comes from MySpace [via TechCrunch.] They’re boasting an increase in safety on their network, citing that 90,000 sex predators have been found and removed from the site. I’ve gotta say, that’s like me telling you that I cleaned out 90,000 rats from a mall… It’s a little disgusting.

Now, most of us view MySpace as a creepo stompin’ ground. But I think MySpace is doing the best job it can in the free and open Internet. Could it be more private like Facebook? Sure, but they don’t need to mimic Zuckerberg’s site.

Parents, your kids already think Fbook is infinitely cooler. If they don’t, introduce them to privacy settings.

Pervos, ugh, just take your stache somewhere else, or MySpace will find and remove you.

See? This free and open Internet isn’t too bad.

Now the second item is a stickier situation because it involves the saintly Google. If you don’t know, Google is on the vanguard of the battle against legislators who’d love to remove neutrality from the Internet.

It turns out that 4 Google executives are being accused of criminal activity. Now, we’re used to executives facing jail time for white collar crimes, but these four execs didn’t even commit a crime. A user posted a video on Google video of bullies teasing a kid with down-syndrome. The prosecutors intend to prove that the execs are to blame rather than the user.

It’s sticky. Is MySpace to blame if a sexual predator uses their service to create an improper relationship? If an airline sells a murderer a ticket that he will use to escape the crime scene, is the airline an accomplice? This case gets into the nitty gritty of community-regulated content.

YouTube can’t pull down all those naughty vids alone. They need help from the users. Just like Ebay can’t monitor all potentially fraudulent auctions. See, the execs can’t block all harmful videos, and they can’t monitor all videos because, let’s face it, the number of vids is in the millions.

Google released this statement:

As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What’s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.

Basically, Google’s service does a lot of good too. It’s a neutral platform that news organizations, entertainers, and teachers can utilize to spread information.

MySpace, on the other hand, is also a great service. It’s a neutral place to connect to your friends and their friends, as well as socially interact with music and television content.

If the Internet were to lose its neutrality we’d lose our ability to create new and exciting services. The big dogs would run the show, and the little startups wouldn’t have a chance. The Internet doesn’t favor one company, one idea, one country, one religion…it is a truly diverse place because of its neutrality. Let’s keep it free (er, with a few, minor conditions…)

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“Hey, dude. Wanna go drink? I just got laid off from Sprint.”

“Bro, don’t interrupt me right now. I’m trying to connect with my spiritual side.”

“What…on YouTube?”

“Yes. Yes, on YouTube. I’m watching the Vatican’s channel.”

“Cool, wanna watch Numa Numa after you’re done watching the Pope?”

“Um, hell yeah I do.”

This is definitely noteworthy. A month ago, the only holy grail on YouTube was on the official Monty Python channel. Now, we have the official channel for the Vatican. That’s right, everyone. We will have the Pope and everything Catholic amongst the other YouTube greats like the skiing squirrel and naked Vlogs.

The channel already has 20 videos, and the channel is one of the nicest I’ve seen in a while. There’s some saint pointing in the background pic. It’s funny because they use the same saint in the profile pic, and it looks like he’s some holy Fonz pointing at some dude.

See the featured video from the Vatican Channel below.

{via The Official Google Blog}

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imagesBoy, these are tough times for the American workforce. When we talk about layoffs, it’s bittersweet. I say that because layoffs can mean companies are prioritizing to face the hard times ahead. And, at the same time, layoffs mean thousands of families that must struggle to find new means of surviving. According to ABC news, this morning’s layoff total will climb past 40,000 [jump to the article]

Three search requests are dominating Google’s top 20: Caterpillar Layoffs[#8],  Sprint Layoffs [#10], and Home Depot Layoffs 2009 [#17]. The search terms Home Depot Expo [#4] and Expo Design Center [#6] comes with the news that, in addition to layoffs, Home Depot will be shutting all of its expo centers [source]. The list stores can be found here. Caterpillar has it rough, too. They will be cutting 20% of their workforce.

Missing from the trending is Pfizer, which will also be laying off employees after acquiring Wyeth for $68 billion dollars.

So, it’s tough to see Caterpillar and Home Depot having trouble, but also a telecommunication company? Sprint will be laying off 8,000 people. That’s 13% of its entire workforce.images-1

There is a stimulus package in the works; President Obama has been fiercely pushing for its approval. Today’s news only emphasizes the rising need for help. Also, it should be a signal to Obama that job creation is a priority above Iraq. I’m ready for the end of Iraq–get our soldiers home–but we definitely found the hole in the bottom of the boat. It’s jobs.

Today Tim Geithner, Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary, will face the Senate again for approval. For those out of the loop, the Senate is concerned over Tim Geithner’s past failure to pay his taxes. He is also proposing a 700 billion dollar program to help the economy, one that also concerns the Senate.

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//Update 11:05 A.M. JAN 16

Here is a great video of the plane.

Plus a good example of a vlog on flight 1549. I hope you’re out there sharing your opinions via vids, and the comments on the following vid are a great read.

//UPDATE 10:55 A.M. JAN 16


As I’ve said before, we’re all now fans of Capt. Sullenberger. Now you can show that respect and admiration via Facebook groups. There is one tribute group that already has 2,000+ members. It’s called “Pilot of Flight 1549 Chesley B. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger III.” Folks have posted their thanks on the group’s wall, and some have joined the few discussions. One jumped out to me: “GIVE MONEY TO THE HERO?” People debate whether Sully should receive an award for his heroism, and I promise some great things have been said. Jump to the group>>


This story has started to make an impression on the photo-sharing site Flickr. If you search “Flight 1549” you can find some interesting pictures of the crash site, like the one above. There are also photos of the flight path and survivors. Click here to jump to the search>>

Below, you can find a picture of the plane pre-crash.


U.S. Flight 1549 took off from La Guardia Airport this afternoon only to crash land moments later into the freezing Hudson River. Everyone is alive. That is, except for some geese (we think.)

Apparently, the smallest object can destroy the engine of a plane. Most of the time, pilots are on the look out for birds. A single bird can seriously damage that engine – so it stands to reason that a flock of geese could’ve caused 1549 to make an emergency landing.

So let’s see how it’s trending.


People normally use Twitter to send their followers short reports on major news events. You can still find some of those, but a large group of twitter-ers are sending their thanks to the pilot Captain Chesley Sullenberger. He saved the day, and he deserves every bit of thanks.

picture-3In a very interesting move, Captain “Sully” is using Twitter sort of. A fan set up an account to honor him.


And as you can see below, the event has dominated Twitter.



Google shows that the plane crash is the hottest trend right now. All top 10 spots are search terms related to to the crash:


In fact, it dominates nearly the entire top 100 search terms. People are looking for sites with coverage, and Google is certainly helping.


Here’s one blog with a picture of the plane moments before its landing.

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was taking into custody today.


The hot search today is for the governor’s arrest. Political junkies will have been watching the governor very closely because he was the person who chooses Obama’s successor in the Senate. The best candidates for the job have been the governor’s harshest critics.

Now it’s a good thing he’s out of the picture. It turns out that he was actually trying to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder. What a dirty crook! In fact he said that the Senate seat “is a valuable f*cking thing. You don’t just give it away for nothing.” POTTY MOUTH!

So, we are all now interested to see how this will affect the Senate appointment.{info via National Post’s….post.}

Let’s see how this embarrassing story is trending:

He takes up 5 slots in the top 10 on Google Trends.  And I bet he’s trying to buy the other slots, the stinking thug.

The governor’s stats are interesting on Google. Today is actually not his busiest day of search traffice…hm…



On Twitter, the governor also takes 5 spots (probably bought off all those twitter-ers, ugh!) Here is an example of what people are saying:


Jump to read more tweets about the the jailbird>>

And he’s got 1000+ Diggs for the Chicago Tribune story (which you can read right here.)


Here is the Wikipedia article on Gov. Blagojevich>>

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Google Friend Connect allows Developers to make sites social without PHP & JavaScript.

Google just announced that your personal site can be a social network thanks to Google’s Friend Connect.

As someone who wants to design for arists, this new feature will be great for actors and artists that want an easy way for people to connect with them.

People can add you as a friend via OpenID (?), and you can add other friends from other websites. You can also have a wall for friends and clients to post on as well as a review function. More gadgets are on their way, and you can already use OpenID custom gadgets.

I tested it on my website (you can find the test at http://michaeltobias.com/connect.html) It’s really easy to add to any site. And you can customize the gadgets by color and size.


I added it to my website in 20 minutes, using the simplest color screens available. I only needed to copy and paste code into 3 files, making the process hassle-free.

I even tested how easy it is to add yourself to a website’s social gadget. SUPER EASY. I went to another computer, and went to my site. I clicked to add myself, and Google detected that I was logged into my Gmail account. I added myself using that. Done.

Here’s a video from Google on Friend Connect:

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Where most companies would never post anything about transgendered people, Google steps up to show that they are a bolder company. On its blog, Google posts a note about Transgender Rembrance Day and how we should oppose the violence and prejudice against these fellow human beings.

Google has employees that are transgendered, and it makes sure to give them a nod. They deserve it. The post shares a disturbing fact that transgendered people are 16% more likely to be killed than people from the non-transgendered population. This is a little startling, knowing that the statistic is an effect of hatred.

I’m so proud of Google as it represents the a better society. I know one transgendered person, and I personally witnessed others give her a bad time. It’s not a disease, it’s not a mental disorder,  a transgender person is just a human being.

Here some links on the issue:

Parents and transgender children>>

ACLU and transgender rights>>

Documentary of a transgendered woman sharing her life with us:

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