Posts tagged with ‘google’

Google’s Lie-Detecting Neck Tat
Google patented a neck tattoo that can function both as a mobile-device microphone and a lie detector. 
According to the patent document, we need this quirky invention because it could “reasonably improve” communication; the throat tattoo could dampen “acoustic noise” — which would make it easier to communicate in loud environments. 
The lie detector or “galvanic skin response detector,” would assess the amount of sweat or “skin resistance” a person has, which would allow the tattoo to determine if he or she is “nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods.” When the person is lying, their tattoo will light up to let everyone in the room know.
Crazyyyyy.
The Atlantic:

Some caveats:
1) This is just a patent. Patents rarely become products. Most are worthless. Etc.
2) Though it is called a tattoo, the device is really more of a sticker applied with an adhesive. 
2a) Which is a good thing because everyone hates an obsolescent tattoo (see: tribal bands, frat letters, ex-spouses).
3) Other researchers are working on similar “tattoos,” but for different applications, mostly biomedical sensors. 
4) It’s not just for humans! “Here it is contemplated that the electronic tattoo can also be applied to an animal as well. Audio circuitry can also include a microphone for emitting sound corresponding to fluctuations of muscle or tissue in the throat.”


Image: The Atlantic

Google’s Lie-Detecting Neck Tat

Google patented a neck tattoo that can function both as a mobile-device microphone and a lie detector. 

According to the patent document, we need this quirky invention because it could “reasonably improve” communication; the throat tattoo could dampen “acoustic noise” — which would make it easier to communicate in loud environments. 

The lie detector or “galvanic skin response detector,” would assess the amount of sweat or “skin resistance” a person has, which would allow the tattoo to determine if he or she is “nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods.” When the person is lying, their tattoo will light up to let everyone in the room know.

Crazyyyyy.

The Atlantic:

Some caveats:

1) This is just a patent. Patents rarely become products. Most are worthless. Etc.

2) Though it is called a tattoo, the device is really more of a sticker applied with an adhesive. 

2a) Which is a good thing because everyone hates an obsolescent tattoo (see: tribal bands, frat letters, ex-spouses).

3) Other researchers are working on similar “tattoos,” but for different applications, mostly biomedical sensors

4) It’s not just for humans! “Here it is contemplated that the electronic tattoo can also be applied to an animal as well. Audio circuitry can also include a microphone for emitting sound corresponding to fluctuations of muscle or tissue in the throat.”

Image: The Atlantic

NSA Hacks Yahoo, Google Data Centers
Via the Washington Post:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.
According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.

As the Post notes, this program, called MUSCULAR, is unusual because while “the agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, [it] has not been known to use them routinely against US companies.”

In order to obtain free access to data center traffic, the NSA had to circumvent gold standard security measures. Google “goes to great lengths to protect the data and intellectual property in these centers,” according to one of the company’s blog posts, with tightly audited access controls, heat sensitive cameras, round-the-clock guards and biometric verification of identities.
Google and Yahoo also pay for premium data links, designed to be faster, more reliable and more secure. In recent years, each of them is said to have bought or leased thousands of miles of fiber optic cables for their own exclusive use. They had reason to think, insiders said, that their private, internal networks were safe from prying eyes.

Image: SSL Added and Removed Here! :). Slide from a NSA presentation demonstrating where an exploitation between the “Public Internet” and the “Google Cloud” can occur. Via Washington Post.

NSA Hacks Yahoo, Google Data Centers

Via the Washington Post:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.

As the Post notes, this program, called MUSCULAR, is unusual because while “the agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, [it] has not been known to use them routinely against US companies.”

In order to obtain free access to data center traffic, the NSA had to circumvent gold standard security measures. Google “goes to great lengths to protect the data and intellectual property in these centers,” according to one of the company’s blog posts, with tightly audited access controls, heat sensitive cameras, round-the-clock guards and biometric verification of identities.

Google and Yahoo also pay for premium data links, designed to be faster, more reliable and more secure. In recent years, each of them is said to have bought or leased thousands of miles of fiber optic cables for their own exclusive use. They had reason to think, insiders said, that their private, internal networks were safe from prying eyes.

Image: SSL Added and Removed Here! :). Slide from a NSA presentation demonstrating where an exploitation between the “Public Internet” and the “Google Cloud” can occur. Via Washington Post.

Google’s One Stop Shop for Journalists
via Journalism.co.uk:

Google has launched a site dedicated to highlighting the portfolio of its tools which can be of particular use to journalists, outlining the functionality of each.Effectively, the Google Media Tools site acts as a one-stop-shop which journalists can visit to not only get an understanding the technology on offer from Google, but also how it can be used to support or power their work, with links to industry examples for inspiration.According to its own description, the site aims to act as a “starting point to tap into Google’s suite of digital tools that can enhance newsgathering and exposure across television, radio, print and online”."Whether it’s refining your advanced search capabilities, improving audience engagement through Google+, or learning how to visualise data using Google Maps, this website is intended to guide you through all the resources Google offers to journalists".

Image: Screenshot from the Google Media Tools page.

Google’s One Stop Shop for Journalists

via Journalism.co.uk:

Google has launched a site dedicated to highlighting the portfolio of its tools which can be of particular use to journalists, outlining the functionality of each.

Effectively, the Google Media Tools site acts as a one-stop-shop which journalists can visit to not only get an understanding the technology on offer from Google, but also how it can be used to support or power their work, with links to industry examples for inspiration.

According to its own description, the site aims to act as a “starting point to tap into Google’s suite of digital tools that can enhance newsgathering and exposure across television, radio, print and online”.

"Whether it’s refining your advanced search capabilities, improving audience engagement through Google+, or learning how to visualise data using Google Maps, this website is intended to guide you through all the resources Google offers to journalists".

Image: Screenshot from the Google Media Tools page.

Google on Friday announced that it would soon be able to show users’ names, photos, ratings and comments in ads across the Web, endorsing marketers’ products.

New York Times, Google to Sell Users’ Endorsements, via thefutureofnews

"Facebook has been aggressively marketing social endorsements, which it calls sponsored stories. For example, if you post that you love McDonald’s new Mighty Wings on the chain’s Facebook page, McDonald’s could pay Facebook to broadcast your kind words to all your friends."

"Twitter also enables advertisers to show public tweets in their ads, but requires advertisers to get the permission of the original author of a message before using it in an ad."

Nothing to see here. This is just the natural movement of companies finding ways to monetize the personal information you give them. If you don’t want to be in an ad, don’t endorse products online.

FJP: To opt out of Google’s “shared endorsements,” head here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box.

Related: Citing lack of use of its universal privacy controls, Facebook announced earlier this week that it was doing away with them and instead asks Users to select privacy settings on a post by post basis.

The caveat, of course, is that when Facebook says only a few percent of its Users use something, we’re talking millions of people. 

Google Definitions: Now Visualizing Basic Etymology
If you use Google as your dictionary (type define:<some word> in the search box) you’ll start seeing some etymological visualizations in your results. Nothing too deep but something very nice to see. And while it’s not there for all words, we imagine time will come when it will be.
To learn that “news” would give you a Scrabble score of seven in both International and North American English, or that its first recorded usage was in 1382? Hit up Wolfram|Alpha.
Looking for some etymological learnings for tomorrow, Friday the 13th? We got you covered.

Google Definitions: Now Visualizing Basic Etymology

If you use Google as your dictionary (type define:<some word> in the search box) you’ll start seeing some etymological visualizations in your results. Nothing too deep but something very nice to see. And while it’s not there for all words, we imagine time will come when it will be.

To learn that “news” would give you a Scrabble score of seven in both International and North American English, or that its first recorded usage was in 1382? Hit up Wolfram|Alpha.

Looking for some etymological learnings for tomorrow, Friday the 13th? We got you covered.

Googling Longform →

The News:

When big news breaks, readers clamor for updates — but they also yearn for context. For example, when word got out Monday afternoon that Jeff Bezos had spent $250 million to become the new owner of The Washington Post, there was suddenly a demand for all kinds of information. Who are the Grahams? How long have they owned the paper? What kind of leader has Bezos been at Amazon? What’s the status of other historic newspapers — have any others been purchased recently?

Some of this information would have been clear after a quick Google search, but piecing together a full portrait of the significance of what happened would likely have taken a combination of queries and resources — maybe a Wikipedia article, some breaking blog posts, a couple of company biographies — to put it all together.

Google wants to change that. Today, they announced a new search feature that aims to put in-depth and longform coverage of people, places, events and themes at your fingertips.

Why It Matters:

One possible result of the new search might be that more eyes are turned toward content produced by journalists in newsrooms rather than the aggregators we have come to rely on when looking for background information — Wikipedia, IMDb, or WebMD. It also suggests that Google is aware of an information gap that others are also trying to fill, a centralized hub for background and context on an issue. 

Thoughts on the potential of this sort of search engine:

As a journalist and seeker of content-specific longform, this is a dream come true. When writing a story, you want to know what’s come before, you want to know what excellent journalists have grappled with in executing stories before yours. Digging through the archives of publications and asking people for recommendations should not be the only way to discover this content.

As a news consumer and citizen of the world, my relationship with literary and longer form stories has been entirely serendipitous; I’ve relied on the magazines and journals I love to read great stories, and more recently, on apps like the one by Longform to find writing and writers I don’t know of. But if one is looking to learn about a topic, get lost on the internet, or deep dive into the life and times of their favorite celebrity, search engines pointing to great writing (as opposed to say, the Wikipedias of the world), has the potential to change consumption culture. Granted the content isn’t guaranteed to be great, but it could help us discover more “writing” as opposed to more “content,” which has the potential to get us used to reading and experiencing longer, well-thought-out, well-researched stories again. And that is something that really excites me, because that’s the sort of world I want my kids to grow up in.—Jihii

 

What Google Knows
Via the Wall Street Journal:

Every hour, an active Google user can generate hundreds or thousands of data &#8220;events&#8221; that Google stores in its computers, said people familiar with its data-gathering process.
These include when people use Google&#8217;s array of Web and mobile-device services, which have long collected information about what individuals are privately searching for on the Web. It includes the videos they watch on YouTube, which gets more than one billion visitors a month; phone calls they&#8217;ve made using Google Voice and through nearly one billion Google-powered Android smartphones; and messages they send via Android phones or through Gmail, which has more than 425 million users.
If a user signs in to his or her Google account to use Gmail and other services, the information collected grows and is connected to the name associated with the account. Google can log information about the addresses of websites that person visits after doing Google searches.
Even if the person visits sites without first searching for them on Google, the company can collect many of the website addresses people using Google&#8217;s Chrome Web browser or if they visit one of millions of sites that have pieces of Google code, such as its &#8220;+1&#8221; button, installed.
Android-based phones and Google Maps can collect information about people&#8217;s location over time. Google also has credit-card information for more than 200 million Android-device owners who have purchased mobile apps, digital books or music, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Somewhat related bonus: The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership, via Bloomberg.
Image: What Google Knows, via the Wall Street Journal. Select to embiggen.

What Google Knows

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Every hour, an active Google user can generate hundreds or thousands of data “events” that Google stores in its computers, said people familiar with its data-gathering process.

These include when people use Google’s array of Web and mobile-device services, which have long collected information about what individuals are privately searching for on the Web. It includes the videos they watch on YouTube, which gets more than one billion visitors a month; phone calls they’ve made using Google Voice and through nearly one billion Google-powered Android smartphones; and messages they send via Android phones or through Gmail, which has more than 425 million users.

If a user signs in to his or her Google account to use Gmail and other services, the information collected grows and is connected to the name associated with the account. Google can log information about the addresses of websites that person visits after doing Google searches.

Even if the person visits sites without first searching for them on Google, the company can collect many of the website addresses people using Google’s Chrome Web browser or if they visit one of millions of sites that have pieces of Google code, such as its “+1” button, installed.

Android-based phones and Google Maps can collect information about people’s location over time. Google also has credit-card information for more than 200 million Android-device owners who have purchased mobile apps, digital books or music, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Somewhat related bonus: The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership, via Bloomberg.

Image: What Google Knows, via the Wall Street Journal. Select to embiggen.

11 Alternative Search Engines →

Via BBC News Technology

'At one time Google was clearly a better search engine - now we can debate that point,' said Greg Sterling, a tech analyst who writes for the Search Engine Land news website.

A very tempting and comprehensive list of search engines from around the world. 

The Magic Behind Google Maps Street View

Six years ago, Google Maps began the street view experiment:

When we first started Street View as an experimental project, we packed several computers into the back of an SUV, stuck cameras, lasers, and a GPS device on top, and drove around collecting our first imagery. Since Street View launched for five U.S. cities in May 2007, we’ve expanded our 360-degree panoramic views to include locations on all seven continents.

We then moved to a van for a brief period, before switching to a fleet of cars that would allow us to scale the project throughout the US and around the world. We went from a rack of computers to one small computer per car, and then set to work refining our camera system to capture higher-resolution panoramic views.

Over the years, they graduated their equipment vehicles from trike to trolley to snowmobile. Now, they’re recruiting trekkers to capture every inaccesible corner of the world with the Street View Backpack.

And you can apply to become a trekker

Images: Selected images from Google Maps Street View - Cars, Trikes and More

Interactive: What does your country ask Google to censor? 
Sebastian Sadowski visualized data from Google&#8217;s Transparency Report and put it into an interactive graph sorted by country.
Image: Screenshot of the Transparency Report by Sebastian Sadowski.

Interactive: What does your country ask Google to censor? 

Sebastian Sadowski visualized data from Google’s Transparency Report and put it into an interactive graph sorted by country.

Image: Screenshot of the Transparency Report by Sebastian Sadowski.

Find Yourself A Reader
Come July 1, otherwise known as Monday, Google Reader is shutting down. If this puts a shudder in your steps, we&#8217;re with you.
Back in March we offered these alternatives for your aggregated bliss. Today, we let others take it away.
GigaOm, Life after Google Reader: GigaOM’s guide to the best options
ReadWrite, The Race To Replace Google Reader
MarketingLand, The Big Comparison Of Google Reader RSS Feed Alternatives
For what it&#8217;s worth, FJP headquarters uses Feedly as our reader of choice.
Image: Reader of Novels/La liseuse de romans, via Wikimedia Commons.

Find Yourself A Reader

Come July 1, otherwise known as Monday, Google Reader is shutting down. If this puts a shudder in your steps, we’re with you.

Back in March we offered these alternatives for your aggregated bliss. Today, we let others take it away.

For what it’s worth, FJP headquarters uses Feedly as our reader of choice.

Image: Reader of Novels/La liseuse de romans, via Wikimedia Commons.

Google Streetview Comes to the Galapagos
There are some good gigs in the world. Say, for instance, being part of the Google Streetview or Charles Darwin Foundation teams that are collecting panoramic images of Galapagos islands for inclusion in Streetview later this year.
Via the Google Lat Long Blog:

It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity. Today we’re honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we’ve collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker. These stunning images will be available on Google Maps later this year so people around the world can experience this remote archipelago…
…Our 10-day adventure in the Galapagos was full of hiking, boating and diving around the islands (in hot and humid conditions) to capture 360-degree images of the unique wildlife and geological features of the islands with the Trekker. We captured imagery from 10 locations that were hand-selected by CDF and GNPD. We walked past giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, navigated through steep trails and lava fields, and picked our way down the crater of an active volcano called Sierra Negra.
…Life underwater in the Galapagos is just as diverse as life on land. We knew our map of the islands wouldn’t be comprehensive without exploring the ocean that surrounds them. So for the second time we teamed up with the folks at the Catlin Seaview Survey to collect underwater panoramic imagery of areas being studied by CDF and GNPD. This imagery will be used by Catlin Seaview Survey to create a visual and scientific baseline record of the marine environment surrounding the islands, allowing for any future changes to be measured and evaluated by scientists around the world.

Image: Shooting a group of Sea Lions at Champion Island in Galapagos. Via Google Lat Long and Catlin Seaview Survey.

Google Streetview Comes to the Galapagos

There are some good gigs in the world. Say, for instance, being part of the Google Streetview or Charles Darwin Foundation teams that are collecting panoramic images of Galapagos islands for inclusion in Streetview later this year.

Via the Google Lat Long Blog:

It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity. Today we’re honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we’ve collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker. These stunning images will be available on Google Maps later this year so people around the world can experience this remote archipelago…

…Our 10-day adventure in the Galapagos was full of hiking, boating and diving around the islands (in hot and humid conditions) to capture 360-degree images of the unique wildlife and geological features of the islands with the Trekker. We captured imagery from 10 locations that were hand-selected by CDF and GNPD. We walked past giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, navigated through steep trails and lava fields, and picked our way down the crater of an active volcano called Sierra Negra.

…Life underwater in the Galapagos is just as diverse as life on land. We knew our map of the islands wouldn’t be comprehensive without exploring the ocean that surrounds them. So for the second time we teamed up with the folks at the Catlin Seaview Survey to collect underwater panoramic imagery of areas being studied by CDF and GNPD. This imagery will be used by Catlin Seaview Survey to create a visual and scientific baseline record of the marine environment surrounding the islands, allowing for any future changes to be measured and evaluated by scientists around the world.

Image: Shooting a group of Sea Lions at Champion Island in Galapagos. Via Google Lat Long and Catlin Seaview Survey.

What Our Words Tell Us →

This is interesting. 

David Brooks sifts through findings based on Google’s database of books published between 1500 and 2008 to see how frequently particular words were used at different epochs and then tells a story about how this reflects society’s cultural changes over time.

For example:

The first element in this story is rising individualism. A study by Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell and Brittany Gentile found that between 1960 and 2008 individualistic words and phrases increasingly overshadowed communal words and phrases.

That is to say, over those 48 years, words and phrases like “personalized,” “self,” “standout,” “unique,” “I come first” and “I can do it myself” were used more frequently. Communal words and phrases like “community,” “collective,” “tribe,” “share,” “united,” “band together” and “common good” receded.

And:

A study by Pelin Kesebir and Selin Kesebir found that general moral terms like “virtue,” “decency” and “conscience” were used less frequently over the course of the 20th century. Words associated with moral excellence, like “honesty,” “patience” and “compassion” were used much less frequently.

The Kesebirs identified 50 words associated with moral virtue and found that 74 percent were used less frequently as the century progressed. Certain types of virtues were especially hard hit. Usage of courage words like “bravery” and “fortitude” fell by 66 percent. Usage of gratitude words like “thankfulness” and “appreciation” dropped by 49 percent.

FJP: Granted the narrative he constructs based on these findings—that society has becoming more individualistic and less morally aware, for example—is prone to confirmation bias (which he admits), but it’s interesting to think about nonetheless.

Bonus: Explore the Google Books Ngram View here.

Since <Blink> won’t blink in Blink, Firefox would be the only remaining browser that allows text to actually flash using the <Blink> element.

Vijit Assar, The Evolution of the Web, In a Blink, The New Yorker.

FJP: It must have been really fun to write that sentence. The whole piece is worth a read if you want an easy enough 101 on the history of internet browsers and what’s coming next. Which, if you use a web browser, you should. And it’s in The New Yorker, so you can show this to your grandma and maybe she’ll read it too.