Faster access to Google Hangouts If you find the process of setting up a Google Hangout a bit confusing, this will make it a bit easier for you. Simply click on the button to start and then you're pretty much there.
Faster access to Google Hangouts If you find the process of setting up a Google Hangout a bit confusing, this will make it a bit easier for you. Simply click on the button to start and then you're pretty much there.
Pexels · Free Photo Search with over 800 Photos And that's really its main disadvantage; a very small number of images. Having said that, they are exceptionally good quality, with an emphasis on computers and sports. It's worth a look, just to see what's out there, but you'll be lucky to find exactly what you're after.
If you're looking for somewhere to photograph, try ShotHotspot which pulls together images from Flickr and Panoramio onto a map for you to take a look at them. Searchers choose a location, see all of the images and check out what interests them, based on keywords/icons. It's an interesting tool, and it's global in nature. There's an advanced search feature to limit the type of images returned to subjects such as people, water, buildings and so on.
I was slightly surprised to find a few of mine when I did a search on where I live; they had been pulled from my Flickr page without my knowledge. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this - I'm happy for people to look at my images, and it does lead people back to my photostream if they click through, but on the other hand, I wasn't asked for permission, and the images themselves were not Creative Commons. They say of themselves on this point: "ShotHotspot is an alternative Flickr and Panoramio viewer, and like many other websites it simply displays photos using their respective APIs. Photos that appear on ShotHotspot are not hosted by ShotHotspot - we're a viewer on to Flickr and Panoramio. As such, ShotHotspot fully complies with the terms of service of both the Flickr and Panoramio API, and does not violate the copyright of any photograph." You can also opt out from having your images included and they will remove them within 24 hours - which is great as long as you know that this service exists! Perhaps I'm being a little picky here, and they make valid points.
So how can you use this? Well it's great if you're a photographer of course - you can look for places that you can visit to take your own images. You can search for photogenic places to go on holiday, look for appropriate images that you then may be able to use having checked with the original photographer. I was looking for something specific to my area; it was a stream but I was uncertain of the spelling of the location, so I used the tool to bring up images within a 2 mile radius, chose water images and I was quickly able to identify a specific stream, which turned out to be the place I was looking for. Of course if you're a photographer yourself you can upload your own images for people to look at as well.
All told I liked this particular tool - it's quick and easy to use, and is very helpful. I'll certainly be using it in the future and will join and pop up some of my own images as well.
For once I can report on an excellent initiative from Facebook! I know that they are few and far between, but this is really helpful. When you see an article on Facebook that you want to read later, there hasn't been much that you can do about it, other than share it privately to your own timeline. Then of course you have to remember to go back and read it later, and how many of us do that? However, there's now a 'save' function, which will come in very handy.
If you take a look at your timeline you'll see the down arrow in the top right hand corner, and you can click on that (as you know), and there's now a new option:
If I click on the 'Save' option very little actually appears to happen - the dialogue box just closes. However, if I go back to the menu on the left hand side, there's a new choice for me:
Simply click on the 'Saved' link and you'll see everything that you've saved for later:
There's also apparently a 'Save' option in the bottom right of posts, but I'm just not seeing that. You can't save everything - it really seems to just be articles and posts that are attachments, rather than a person's status update, but it's really helpful.
If you're looking at Google Maps and thinking 'WTF?' you're not alone. It's only just appeared in the last couple of weeks for me, so you may not even have seen it yet, but if you're like me, you may be less than impressed. Of course if you like it, dismiss the rest of this blog posting! Luckily, you can revert to the older version, but I don't know how long it will remain, so make the most of it while it's there.
Go to Google maps at https://www.google.com/maps
In the bottom right hand side of the screen click on the floating ? symbol and you'll get a dialogue box thus:
Click on the last option, and Google will switch back for you, and will also ask for your feedback.
The law that couldn't work is already fundamentally flawed. I've previously written about the insanity of being forgotten in a previous blog entry, and the results, now that we're seeing them in action are even more laughable than I was expecting. The short version is: it doesn't work. The longer version:
Google is attempting to work out when someone searches for a name, and when it finds what it thinks is one, in the .co.uk version we're seeing a message at the bottom of the results page which says "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe." The first problem is that Google doesn't know what is a person's name, and what isn't. Take for example 'Gay Summer'. It's a perfectly acceptable name of a person, but Google has decided that it isn't, so it doesn't trigger the message. Even if I re-word it as "Gaye Summer", we still don't see it. Apparently therefore as far as Google is concerned it seems that 'Gay' or 'Gaye' isn't a first name. Neither is 'Mary Christmas', although 'Mary Jones' is regarded as a name. "Bradley Brown" is a name, but "Brown Bradley" isn't. "Phil Bradley" is a name, but "Bradley Phil" isn't. More appropriate, a Scottish referee, whose name triggers the warning, "Dougie McDonald" doesn't get triggered if you search for "McDonald Dougie" Now, admittedly that last example is a slight stretch since newspapers are not in the habit of writing surname, first name, but it still indicates a level of inconsistency with search functionality that's annoying, or amusing, depending on your viewpoint.
However, the really big flaw, which I can't actually believe is true, but I've checked it now dozens of times, is that this only works if you search for a name "in double quotes as a phrase". Here's an example of what I see when searching for "Phil Bradley" in quotes:
Without quotes - no warning message. I'm not sure if it's just me who sees this; please try it yourself and let me know in the comments - are you seeing a difference between names in quotes and without?
Now, let's turn to the next element - if I do a search with quotes and one without, does it actually change the results that I get? In other words, has the right to be forgotten worked and it's only the message warning that's not been tripped. Let's try with the referee. These are the ten results with the name in quotes and the warning message:
Using the same browser (Firefox) and the same IP address, the results for the name without quotes and no warning message are:
There is a slight difference in results, but nothing spectacular. So what happens if I run the same search on Google.com and see what we get? Once again, the results are really not that different.
The issue gets more and more confusing. The Daily Mail is complaining that Google.co.uk has taken down some results including one titled 'Scottish referee Dougie McDonald quits with a stinging blash at the SFA and his critics'. Looks a bit similar to a couple of articles that are already up there. This gets even more messy because you can follow the link to the DM site and the article is slightly different. A search on the Mail site brings up the article but under an entirely different title - 'Out with a bang! Ref McDonald quits with a stinging blast at the SFA'
I then ran a search for the guys name over on DuckDuckGo, and although the results were different, which you'd expect, there was a link to the DM article, and no mention of any Guardian articles, which they have been complaining about as being blocked. Now, one of these is entitled 'Referee at centre of Celtic penalty incident escapes with...'. If I do a search for the name it's perfectly true that the article doesn't appear in the Google index. However, if I instead search on "referee at centre of celtic penalty incident" the Guardian article is the very first one listed. (Click on the link and try it yourself).
So let's now try and put the two together - and what do we get? Why the self same article in #1 spot as you can see:
So what happens when I try and play around with the search? Removing the double quotes around both name and phrase - same result (with no warning message). Name in double quotes - same result as #1 but with the warning message at the bottom. Reducing my search to "Dougie McDonald" penalty incident still brings up the apparently unlisted article:
Also interestingly we've still got the Daily Mail article that they claim has been taken out of the Google index; clearly it hasn't. Now, in the Guardian article, they're claiming that their story, entitled "Referee at centre of Celtic penalty incident escapes with a warning" has been removed from the Google index, and they're showing a screenshot of this, and comparing it to the results that you get in Google.com. Now, if I do the same search that they did "Dougie McDonald" guardian, they're quite right - the article doesn't appear. However, if I'm slightly more subtle and do a search for "Dougie McDonald" site:theguardian.com then the article comes straight back.
So what are we to make of all of this? It seems clear that Google isn't actually removing articles from its index at all. I tried the search with the Daily Mail article as well, and it's still readily available.
The Guardian says that you can find the article 'Doubie McDonald penalty saga exposes need for SFA' in the .com version, but not in the .co.uk version. Indeed, over at .com it's the 2nd result. In .co.uk it's not available - UNTIL I re-run the search with site:theguardian.com when it reappears as the 4th result.
In summary then, my conclusion is that Google is NOT removing results; they are not being removed from the index - just made harder to find. Except that all you need to do is to remove the double quotes from the name, and perhaps add in some more terms:
This really isn't quite the same as removing links from their index at all! The only thing that's required is a bit of search savvy, there's no problem. That's to say nothing of the fact that you can of course go straight across to Google.com.
It's also interesting to see that Google is contacting the mass media to tell them when an article has been removed, because that then becomes a new story in its own right as we've seen, and it's something that they can write about, and then get indexed. So I'm guessing that Mr McDonald is going to be having a fine old time going back to Google to get THOSE articles removed from the index as well, which continues the insane merry go round.
[EDITED TO ADD] Another thought struck me - if you search for the name of the referee, and the newspaper, then look at the image results, not the web page results, it's possible to pull up the supposed un-indexed articles using that method. The Guardian says that this article "Dougie McDonald penalty saga exposes need for SFA transparency" has 'been swept clean' when it is actually still there. Try this search and click on the first link, then go to the page, and voila! There it is.
I'd welcome comments and observations - are you seeing things similar to me? Or are your results totally different, and if so, how?
ttwick is a multisearch engine for social media content. It searches through a large number of sites, including Twitter, G+ Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube and Vimeo, with the option of searching other sites as well. It's fairly straightforward - just type in what you're interested in, and ttwick will present you with various options (when I searched for my name I was given alternatives such as Author, Actor, Baseball player, porn star etc) and it then attempts to pull up content for you.
You start with a nice little bar chart of where it's found material:
If you click on the options such as Twitter it opens a new tab and runs the search there for you. Alternatively you can click on a little right facing icon to move through results, but I found this on the whole to be very poor - it was a series of large blocky images that I wasn't able to move around, so there were results that I could just about peep at, but couldn't properly see, which was irritating. Moreover, there seemed to be little sense in the way it was pulling up content for me - material from Amazon books was mixed in with unrelated video for example. I also wasn't impressed with the fact that video started playing automatically - this isn't going to help in an open plan office!
They did have a heat map however, which was quite useful, showing me where people had an interest in the subject that I was researching, and tiny links through to people who were talking about it in social media environments, which I found less helpful.
Is it valuable? I'd have to say not really. Sure, it's a great way to bring varied content together in one place, but it does a terrible job of doing so. Search was also limited - while I could search for 'Phil Bradley' it completely refused to look for @philbradley for example. Not something I'll be using myself, but obviously try it out, and see if it works for you. You have to request access at the moment, but it only took a couple of minutes for me to get an invite. Oh, and you have to type in the password character by character, don't cut and paste, because it indicates that you've done something wrong with your email address - again, very sloppy and a poor implimentation.
(Oh, and if you're wondering the name “ttwick” is derived from putting a social media “twist” on a market “tick.”)
The EU ruling on the right to be forgotten seems to have opened up a rather nasty little can of worms, and I can't see that it's going to be getting any better in the near future. The Supreme Court of British Columbia issued a temporary injunction last week, ordering Google to delete websites not only from the Canadian version of Google, but across the world as well. (The background to this story is about a company that wants to stop a rival selling gadgets that were created as a result of stolen trade secrets. This company wants Google to stop linking to the rival sites - more than 300 of them.)
This is of course an attempt to impose Canadian law on the rest of the world, but it didn't appear to bother the judge in the slightest. It's been suggested her decision was inspired at least partly by the European ruling ordering Google to abide by requests from people to be forgotten in the search results.
So we're entering difficult waters here; could the Russian courts for example rule that Google should delete all of the gay and lesbian sites because they don't like them? What about a Middle Eastern country demanding that Google remove all references to Jewish websites? This whole issue is very quickly turning into a mess - results from search engines are already full of holes for one reason or another, and this isn't going to make searching for content any easier in the future.
There are of course plenty of times when websites have to be taken down because of the material that they have published, but the point here is that it's the website that is targetted, not the search engine. Once the search engine - the pointer to the content is attacked (and I know that's strong language, but I think that it's appropriate), what next? Will libraries have to do the same thing - it's not too much of a stretch to put Google and a library in the same boat here. Thankfully the BBC has already taken something of a stand in their blog "Should the BBC unpublish any of its online content?" I'll quote from the blog: "Today, the BBC is publishing Editorial Policy Guidance about when we remove or amend BBC online content. Essentially, this says that material on the BBC website which is not available for a limited time period will become part of a permanently accessible archive that we are reluctant to remove or change and that we will only do so in exceptional circumstances. We are also reluctant to remove or alter programmes available on BBC iPlayer during the catch-up period."
It's great that the BBC are doing this, but I wonder how long they'll be able to hold that particular line. Don't forget the requirement on ISPs to filter and block content unless requested otherwise - now that this is in place the technology can allow the Government to effectively block what we can see in the UK, though of course, that only works well if you don't know how to get around the blocks. Are we heading towards a two tier system of information delivery, with those who don't understand how to search privately are missing out information from those that do? (Clearly the answer to that is already yes, but it's going to get worse).
What's the situation going to be like for people who decide that they need to archive specific types of content, such as the Internet Archive, aka the Wayback Machine. How about the UK Web Archive? The next step in this process would surely be for courts to demand the removal of that data as well.
And what is the role of the library in all of this? Should we move towards using browsers such as TOR, which protect our privacy, and direct users towards search engines that don't track us? To what extent should we be advising our library members on this issues? If we have a responsibility to find and present information, how far do we actually take that? If we can, for example get content that Canadian colleagues can't, and they ask us for the information that legally they can't get themselves, what do we do?
Now, I've already been criticised for my concerns over the insane European ruling, and I've been called 'shrill' but I honestly think that we're beginning to go down a slippery slope and we're not going to be able to climb back again. This situation is going to happen again and again, with corporates squabbling in the courts and using search engines as the battle grounds, with the people who need the information being the victims. If this isn't a case for a strong public library system then I'm not entirely sure what is.
New Google functionality makes it easier to search for hashtag content on Twitter and Facebook. But not every time, because that would make life too easy. If you include a hashtag Google provides new search options that it's keeping fairly out of the way. Over in the right hand menu you may see something like this:
You can then click on the appropriate link (Google+, Twitter or Facebook) and get taken directly to the site to run a search. What's particularly noteworthy is that you're running the search on Google, it's actually ON Facebook/Twitter. In this respect Google is almost acting like a traditional multi search engine, giving you different options that you can run a search on.
Of course, it's not that simple. I didn't consistently get the option coming up; the second time I tried #ipad as a search I was playing with, there was nothing to see. If you add in other terms (hashtags or not), this feature doesn't seem to appear. Just adding in a hashtag didn't always work - my #CILIP search didn't give me anything extra. So - another useful idea from Google, badly let down by their usual incompetent and slipshod approach.
The European Court of Justice has just told the world that they are clueless, inept and embarassingly short of knowledge on how the internet works. As you're almost certainly aware, they have ruled that Google is a data controller” under the 19-year-old European law on data protection, and as such could be required not to display links to information that is “inadequate, irrelevant...or excessive”.
There is no world in which any of this makes sense at all. However, let's break it down into various elements, because it's more fun that way.
Do people have a right to be forgotten? There's plenty of material out there on people which is less than complimentary, and much of it is also wrong. A lot of that data is also historical in nature, but unlike incorrect information that just sits inactive in a book or journal, this information can still remain very active. Take the example of Max Mosley, who was involved in a scandal some time back. For most of us, that particular episode is already forgotten, but if you do a search on Google you may (and I stress the word may) see that Google is giving you auto suggest options which relate to the incident. I'm not seeing them on my searches as you can see:
However, other people may. Now, there's not an awful lot that Google can do about that, since Google reflects what the rest of the world does, and if lots of people write about a particular issue, it's going to pick up on that. The real issue is that the content is already out there and will continue to remain out there, whatever Google does. Does Mr Mosley have a right to some sort of protection? Sure he does, but that protection needs to come from him talking to the original publishers of content, not the people who are providing it. Besides, when I see that material, I can also read the entire story and make up my own mind. So whose rights are more important - his to try and make it more difficult for me to find publically available information on him, or mine, to allow me to easily find that information? You may well have some sympathy with the man, which is fine. How about when we look at other people who are requesting that information about them is removed from Google's indexes, such as people with a criminal past, drunk drivers, sex abusers and so on. Do they have the right to be forgotten, or do I have the right to know that they might be living across the road from me? A lot of the people requesting the 'right to be forgotten' are doing so because of their criminal convictions. In the course of every day life many of those people will have the right to have their conviction 'spent' under current UK law, but that's a rather different issue. So the first point - who has the stronger right?
The 'right to be forgotten' isn't a right at all - since they are NOT being forgotten, just not indexed by Google. It would perhaps be more sensible to call it a 'right to censor material about me that I don't like without actually contacting the original publishers of the data'. Moreover, Google intends to indicate in search results if material has been removed as a result of this requirement. Now - if you do a search for 'Phil Bradley' and Google tells you that it has been required to remove material, isn't the first thing you do going to be to go to another search engine? Or if you can't be bothered to do that, go from google.co.uk to google.com since the ruling only applies to the UK version of the search engine.
Why just Google? As we all know, there are plenty of other search engines out there (and if you need them, I've got a list of over 200 search engines), and although Bing is attempting to create a right to be forgotten feature, that's 2 down, 198 to go. And what about new search engines? Who is going to monitor those? No-one, as far as I can tell. So the ruling doesn't actually work on these grounds either.
Next up - who makes the decision on what is in the public interest, as opposed to an invasion of privacy? It's not going to be the courts. Google is going to create a panel who will sift through these requests, and it's got a number of high profile people on it, but they're not going to be wasting their valuable time doing it day after day. It's going to get passed onto some lowly Google employee who makes decisions based on... well, I'm really not sure. Who is going to represent the public interest? What is the 'court of appeal' over this? Deafening silence.
So we've reached a stage when the European Court of Justice is handing over control of information (or at least partial control) to an American corporate. In what world does this make any sense at all?
So there isn't a single sensible reason for this ruling. This will not protect people, either the ones who want to be forgotten, or anyone else. It's ineffective because it doesn't appear to relate to all search engines, and it doesn't even cover all Google search engine variants. It's an abrogation of control to an unaccountable, unelected body. Insane.