Tag Archives: Google

Google Acquires Like.com, and its Facial Recognition Technology

It was confirmed last week that Google is acquiring Like.com, a visual search engine that focuses on helping people shop for clothing and accessories online. While most stories are spinning this as Google’s attempt to improve its product search engine and make inroads into the e-commerce marketplace, I see this acquisition differently. It is important […]

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Google on Wi-Fi Privacy Invasions: "No Harm, No Foul"

Recently we learned that Google’s Street View vehicles gathered people’s private communications on their home WiFi networks as they drove by snapping photos. Initially, Google denied it was collecting or storing any payload data, but later admitted that it had, in fact, collected private information that it should not have, information clearly beyond what any reasonable […]

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Google's "New Approach" to China isn't to End Censorship, But Simply to Leave

Starting today, users visiting Google.cn will be redirected to Google.com.hk, Google’s Hong Kong search portal, where search results will be provided free from the filtering Google had previously been performing on Google.cn. Google is touting this as ending censorship in China, but, as Siva Vaidhyanathan has pointed out, that really isn’t the case. It’s an end-around. A slight-of-hand.

While Google is trying to do the right thing here, and it hopes it can deliver unfiltered results to China from Google.com.hk (or force China to take some kind of action against the Hong Kong site). But I fear this move will instead result in further failure to serve the interests of Chinese Internet users, and another lost opportunity to fight oppressive online censorship.

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Google's Privacy Principles Fall Short

To celebrate Data Privacy Day, Google has published its 5 guiding privacy principles. The principles are something every organization should commit to and strive for. The problem is, Google hasn’t adhered to them quite as closely as they’d want you to believe….

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Google's Homepage Hypocrisy

[UPDATE: As of Jan 7, 2010, Google has now changed its homepage so the Nexus One ad fades in with the other content -- more below] Remember how hard we gad to fight to convince Google to include a link to its privacy policy on the Google.com homepage? Remember how Google argued “we do believe […]

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If You Trust Google’s Results, You Can Thank…“PigeonRank”?

Perhaps the greatest ethos surrounding Google’s success is its — and users’ — faith in the algorithm. Users trust Google, and have faith that the results provided are accurate and helpful. Sometimes, however, that trust can be misplaced. Recently, a student in one of my classes gave a presentation on Google, and proceeded to explain […]

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On Google's New Homepage, Privacy Fades Away

Google has announced a new “feature” to its homepage: upon loading, only the Google logo, the search box and the search buttons are visible. The links to additional products, advanced search function, and the privacy policy, only fade in if the user moves the mouse. This video shows it in action. Aesthetically, this isn’t without […]

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Google Adds Location History to Latitude: Feature Request, or Strategic Rollout?

When Google launched Google Latitude 9 months ago, they took steps to ensure users’ locational privacy was protected. Among the most important privacy-protecting features was the fact that Google didn’t keep a log of user locations on its servers; only the most recent locational ping was stored. Not even law enforcement could gain access to […]

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Google Shills for Droid on Homepage

Remember the hard battle fought to convince Google to include a link to its privacy policy on the Google.com homepage? Remember how Google argued “we do believe that having very limited text on our home page is important” and that it was pitched as some great sacrifice to include the word “privacy” and disrupt the […]

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Google Dashboard: Convenient? Yes. Transparency, Choice and Control? Not so much.

Google describes Dashboard as a simple way to view “the data associated with your account”, and that it will provide users “greater transparency and control over their own data.” Elsewhere, Dashboard has been described as a “big concession to users’ privacy rights“, as the answer to the question: “What does Google know about me?”, and as a place providing users “more control over the personal information stored in Google’s databases“.

Unfortunately, Google Dashboard is none of these things.

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