Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Google'

Network Neutrality, Anon

October 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Network Neutrality, Anon

…back to blogging, and with October break here plenty of blogging time. Network Neutrality is back in the news…a few weeks back we mentioned Network Neutrality here and linked to Edward Felten’s fine guide to what it is.  Network Neutrality is back in the news with a number of prominent Republican Senators asking FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s decision to create new network neutral rules, note here and here. Which perhaps caused the appearance of a few interesting commentaries on the whole thing–Preston Gralla details how Network Neutrality issues are playing out between Google and AT & T, and  interesting commentary in the Wall Street Journal by Holman Jenkins Jr. on how hand held digital technologies may turn the whole issue on its head.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · The Academic Internet

Facebook’s Future, more on the Google Opt Out

April 13th, 2009 · Comments Off on Facebook’s Future, more on the Google Opt Out

…an interesting (if long) piece on Facebook by Vanessa Grigoriadis on Facebook which comments on, among other things, how people use and misuse it, what it really sells, where it is going as a business, what it sells, how it might fail. Also some interesting commentary on how web 2.0 has conquered the “old web” and what that means.   For interesting commentary on that see Jonathan Zittrain’s wonderfully titled book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It (ODY TK5105 875 I57 Z53 2008).

Quite a bit of editorializing on Google last time out, and I will stop to return to more properly bibliographic posts, but one more shot at Google and the idea of “opting out.” What Google has done, most importantly, is turned copyright responsibility on its head. Rather than asking permission of authors, they ask the author whose book is in Google Books or the home owner whose house is in Google Street View to tell them “no” and then they’ll comply. While Google would invoke necessity (we can’t possibly ask everybody), the fact they don’t ask, that they feel inclusion is a right, a normalcy, makes the hairs on the back of the neck tingle.  It’s rude, for starters. Secondly, there seems to be a serious case of overreach here. While there is precident, I realize, with things like the phone book or census, Google’s approach relies on a self-generated and self-venerated sense of their innate goodness (the whole Don’t Be Evil, after all), but, can’t one think about “opt out” has being the same as my neighbor helping themselves to my vegatables in my vegatable garden because I haven’t asked them not to and then only stopping when I catch them red-handed with a beet.  It’s cooperation by self-justification…and well, it’s rude.

Google is rude, this is what we’ve learned…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Google

Friday Blogging, Google Street View

April 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Google Street View

…it has been widely reported today that villagers in a small English hamlet turned back a car out taking pictures for Google Street View–the service within Google Maps that allows one to actually see what a street looks like. Yet another break through for Google managing data, and yet another Google tentacle that touches on privacy issues.  Interesting commentary on the whole thing here, here, and here. Siva Vaidhyanathan on the Googlization of Everything has much interesting commentary on Street View.

Google’s response to all of this is its usual “opt out.”  There is simultaneously calming and cloying about Google’s postion. Calming in that Google seems to be suggesting that life has a Edit/Undo command after all, and it’s opting out of Google.  It’s cloying to in that there is indenablely a taunt in Google’s promise. “Go ahead, opt out, see where that gets you.” They are going on with their plan to digitize the world, opt out and marginalize yourself (or so I hear Brin and Page snickering somewhere in California).  It reminds me of the subtle and not so subtle taunts in books and papers like those written by Bill Gates or Marc Prensky which suggested that anyone who resisted conforming their institution or life to digital technologies risked marginalization and, well, being on the wrong end of creative destruction.  One really can find one’s way without Google Maps, without Google Street View, without having every molecule of one’s life digitized without every having to opt in.

That’s it I guess, this time next year we’ll have “opt out” day when we read books, use print maps, road atlases, talk on a rotary phone, etc…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google

Google News

March 25th, 2009 · Comments Off on Google News

…according to published reports (now there’s a way to start a blog post) Google has altered it’s basic search.  The LA Times reports Google has incorporated Orion search technology which, PC World explains, means Google is trying to expand into being a semantic search. Semantic search is something of an El Dorado of web searching…given that in theory a semantic search would search for concepts through the constructs of language. It would be, effectively, talking one’s way through a search. One small step, one wonders…

…although PC World also notes that as a company Google is taking a very conservative approach on other things…

Tags: Google · The Academic Internet

E-Books Everywhere You Look

February 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on E-Books Everywhere You Look

…over the last week or two there have been quite a number of articles (that is, quite a number in the streams of news through which I wade) on e-books. Notably the viability and curious lack of traction that e-books have had up until this point and time.  E-books are curious in that they evoke such strong reactions in some people. Even twenty-somethings I’ve met who invest a huge amount of time in Facebook, e-mail, and such might very well react with a wince when faced with the prospect of e-books–I’m not going to suggest that we don’t have our share of nonreading twenty-somethings, but a number I’ve met who’ll invest time in reading just don’t want anything to do with e-books. Could this change? Rob Horning in his blog makes the case that Kindle may not kindle any excitement, largely because ripping e-books doesn’t make sense in the way ripping music does. His point is that hard copy books are just to easy to lend…Bobbie Johnson at the Guardian makes the case that the Kindle’s slow development (and market share) have to do with the fact that noone is hacking it, and on Britannica Blog Nicholas Car worries that Kindles will make writing history “provisional” not “permanent.”

Google books has also been in the news. In a long New York Times Piece Robert Darnton thinks about the role of libraries and the public good in the age of Google Books (and for Mr. Darnton it’s pretty clearly a history dominated by Google books). He looks back to the enlightenment to suggest ways in which libraries can continue to have a role, be a public good (good Sunday morning reading!) Paul Courant responds to the article by cautioning that Google’s domination may be a monopolistic one, and, in a like vein, on “Books Do Furnish A Room” the case is made that Google now holds all the cards in the wake of their recent copyright settlement. Google has the arbitor of all digital books is, to say the least, an unappleaing idea…

Tags: Books · Essay on Bibliography · Google

Friday Blogging

January 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging

…one of the great traditions of Friday afternoon blogging is…kicking someone when they’re down.  The relentlessness of the current recession can now be proved by the fact that Google is retrenching, AP has the story.  If it can happen to Google it can happen to…

Recently the SLU IT Department concluded another successful Techfest, a gathering of people from across the SLU community to discuss and explore applications of networked information technologies in the curriculum. It got me remembering this short piece by Phil Agre on “How to Help Someone Use a Computer.”  Dr. Agre has published a number of works on institutions and networked information technology, and for a long time ran an e-mail update service on said called The Red Rock Eater that was wonderful.  This little essay on helping someone with a computer is eloquent, and right on the money. Worth a read with the students returning Monday…

Tags: Google · Information Studies · The Academic Internet

Firefox Add-Ons

January 8th, 2009 · Comments Off on Firefox Add-Ons

Friday January 9th (Tomorrow) Paul Doty of the SLU Libraries (and author of this blog) will be giving a presentation on Firefox add-ons for the Northern New York Library Network.  In the past Odyssey Online has touched on Firefox add-ons (or as they are sometimes called, extensions), which are small utilities Firefox users have created to further the functionality of the browsers. The notes for the presentation on the 9th are available online. Add-ons are on of the big reasons that Firefox is the better browser…although, interestingly, Google’s new browser Chrome is dipping a metallic toe into the add-on pond (wow, there’s a metaphor).  Add-on support and functionality are in the very preliminary stages for Chrome, but it is interesting to see that Google is thinking along these lines.  Firefox add-ons are simply put: very good things.

In a side note CNN is reporting that Microsoft may already be rethinking Vista

Tags: Google · SLU Library Event · The Academic Internet

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