Google, the EU, and a Tap on the Nose

July 15, 2020

One of the DarkCyber research team spotted this article: “Google Fined $684,000 over Right to Be Forgotten Failure.” The idea is that an individual in the EU can ask Google to remove links. The write up reports that the Google was not playing “Right to Be Forgotten” by the rules. The failure to ignore the EU citizen’s request was allegedly “particularly negligent.” The Google will have an “obfuscation” of legal eagles (too bad crows have the “murder” collective noun and the stupid lark has “exaltation”).

Not surprisingly, according to the write up, the Google has been working hard. Good to know.

Stephen E Arnold, July 15, 2020

Orkut Version 6, Maybe 7?

July 15, 2020

Alphabet Inc. had a dismal failure with Google+, but the company is ready to try again with a new social media platform says the Bandwidth Blog in: “With Its Experimental ‘Keen’ Service, Google Hopes To Tackle Pinterest.” Google’s new social media platform is called Keen and it is impossible not to make the assumption they are playing me too with this innovation. Can it even be called innovation?

Pinterest has its devoted users, who post everything from dream wedding albums to their favorite fanart. Google wants Keen to one up Pinterest, but its description sounds innocuous:

“Launched under the auspices of Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, Keen is a Pinterest-like social network that is designed to marry Google’s machine learning strengths, user data hoarded, and insights from its existing Google Alerts system to craft together a smorgasbord of content that evolves as its users interests take shape.”

Google has developed powerful AI that collects user data and successfully makes personalized recommendations. Google also sells user data to advertisers, so it is not a stretch for them to use it for another social media project.

Keen is already available on Android. Users’ Keen pinboards feature content based on recent Google searches. The content includes YouTube videos, purchase suggestions, and articles. The biggest thing is that when a user becomes interested in a topic, Keen will recommend more content for deeper dives. Users can pin their items to create their own ‘Keen’ interest, then share them with others.

The experience is similar to Pinterest, except the topics on Keen are generated by Google searches and other activity. It would be easy for Google to add Keen to its other free services, especially making it an Apple app or a browser extensions on Chrome. Unlike Google+, Alphabet is not concentrating as much on Keen. It is hard to say if Keen will emerge beyond Android, but anything is possible.

Whitney Grace, July 15, 2020

Google and Social: Peanut Butter and Jelly?

July 10, 2020

We read with interest “Google+ Rebranded as Google Currents: Check New App Features.” Google’s Orkut was a fascinating service. Certain interesting users in Brazil made it a semi-hit, particularly among law enforcement officers. Then there were other social services, most notably Google + or Plus. Searching for symbols was clever. Close enough but I wrote out the plus. A word. Easy to search.

Google Plus bit the dust, but the write up points out that Google Plus is now Currents. Either electric chair type or flowing water. Maybe berries?

We noted this statement in the article:

Google+, although never exactly a successful platform, was marred by two major data leaks, potentially exposing data of tens of millions of users to outside developers. One leak that was kept secret for months, and the other one, which leaked the data of 52.5 million people, prompted Google to prepone [sic] the shutdown by four months.

“Prepone” caught our eye, but the write up does remind one about Google’s security capabilities.

The killer factoid in the write up warranted a blue circle with a pen and one exclamation point:

Google has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged that Google+ has not been able to meet the expectations. In a blog post in October, Google’s Ben Smith wrote that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds long.

Five seconds. Interesting. Definitely not sticky.

Stephen E Arnold, July 10, 2020

Google and the Middle Kingdom

July 10, 2020

Remember when Google nosed into China and suggested that the country change how it approached life, business, and online? Few do. Suffice it to say that Google’s Silicon Valley inputs did produce one reaction: A small dish of day old sweet red bean dumplings. Yummy.

Flash forward to the present. “Google Shuts Down Cloud Project, Says No Plan to Offer Cloud Services in China” reports that Google

has shut down its cloud project named ‘Isolated Region’ and added that it was not weighing options to offer its cloud platform in China.

The article states:

The search engine giant, however, said that the project’s shutdown was not due to either of those two reasons and that it has not offered cloud platform services in China.

Perhaps Google became impatient waiting for China to modify its methods?

Stephen E Arnold, July 10, 2020

How Many Ads Can a YouTube Video Hold? Answer: Never Enough

July 10, 2020

We spotted a HackerNews post wondering if the YouTube (free version) was getting more ad love from the merrie band of Googlers.

The answer is, “Absolutely.”

The Google bean counters are well aware of the cost of the “free” video service. Thus, the free video service has to generate cash and more cash so the system can produce infinite cash. That’s logical in a Googley way I think.

In the comments to the original question on HackerNews, an entity named Operyl wrote:

If I understand correctly from a friend, the problem is YouTubers (and YouTube/Google) are currently making _much less_ money per ad. It sounds like more are getting shoved per video to make up for it (iirc, it’s up to YouTube to determine this?).

I don’t know what iirc means, but the rest of the post is clear. More money is needed.


  • YouTube ads are more and more annoying. The fix obviously is to pay Google money. Most of the annoying ads go away. Google is discovering subscriptions. Undoubtedly Google will think subscription revenues for other services just like BMW and its heated steering wheel stroke of genius. German logic, of course. Ever read Kant? Congruent indeed.
  • The YouTube ads are increasingly irrelevant when I check out some YouTube videos. I love the tours of the Incan ruins. Ads about all sorts of things unrelated to Peruvian stone work appear. Therefore, the famous smart algorithm is just spewing ads to burn up inventory is one thought which crossed my mind.
  • The autoplay of post viewing content are interesting as well. How many of those ads are viewed BEFORE the YouTube user identifies which tab is playing the pitch to go Adobe? My hunch. Zero if these startled views are like me.

Net net: Those grousing about Google’s monetization quest have not seen anything yet. Why? The cost hole for the Google is probably close to infinite as long as there are former TikTok users looking for a home. Infinite costs can only be offset by infinite revenue. That too is logic worthy of a Google flashing logo pin.

Stephen E Arnold, July 9, 2020

YouTube Deletes Raw Videos of Aged Electronics Repair

July 9, 2020

A loyal fan of DarkCyber sent me a link to a video called “Youtube DELETED Jordan Pier’s Electronics Repair Channel!” For those hip to the zippity dippity world of Silicon Valley and Googley decisions, the decision makes perfect and logical sense.

Jordan Pier and his disgusting old electronics represent the past which must be removed. I think of vintage electronics in the same terms I frame statues of people whose names I don’t know.

Imagine. Rip open a wooden box. Expose disgusting and old fashioned capacitors. Wires have fabric on them some time. Bare wires should be sealed in epoxy so an independent repair person can just watch YouTube videos, not make them.

DarkCyber understands that digital and unrepairable electronics are the future. What if your beloved smart Pixel phone goes to the digital grave yard. Throw it out. Don’t even think about repairing that device or your MacBook Air or your friend’s father’s John Deere tractor.

Take those offensive repair videos down. Snuff out information about the past. Stalin would be proud. Naked electronics require revisionist action.

Stephen E Arnold, July 8, 2020

Scam Ads: Easy to Do Apparently

July 8, 2020

A somewhat shocking assertion appears in “Easy for Fraudsters to Post Scam Ads on Facebook and Google.” The article reports that researchers posted fake ads on Google:

They found that Google did review the adverts submitted, but failed to verify whether the business was real and did not ask for ID. In under an hour, the adverts were approved by the search engine firm for both dummy businesses, gaining almost 100,000 impressions over the space of a month. The fake advert for Natural Hydration was displayed above the official NHS Scotland pages when users searched for “hydration advice”.

A Facebook ad was given similar treatment:

using a personal Facebook account, Which? created a business page on the social network for Natural Hydration and produced a range of posts with pseudo health advice to promote it. A paid promotion of the page gained some 500 likes in the space of a week. Facebook responded to the investigation saying the page set up by Which? does not violate its community standards and is not currently selling products.

Are these data accurate? Regulatory authorities seem to lack tools to influence the large online advertising monopolies.

Stephen E Arnold, July 8, 2020

Secrets of Popular YouTube Videos Revealed. Are You Excited!

July 8, 2020

We found “Analysis of YouTube Trending Videos of 2019 (US)” amusing. Here are several of the chucklers we spotted:

First, hot YouTube videos use CAPITAL letter in TITLES.

Second, here are the words you need to use in your YouTube titles and descriptions:

Third, use emojis. The fire emoji is a “hot” addition.

Fourth, rely on “official” as in “official video.” What if the video is not official? Hey, what is this a courtroom. You just need to pass Judge Google, and you are good to go with rehab ads, wonky food info, and nifty fashion ideas.

Fifth, your video title must be 36 to 64 characters. Something like “Macbeth” would suck as a YouTube click magnet.

Sixth, when do you publish your video? Saturday is for losers, gentle reader.

There’s more astounding insights. You are officially ON YOUR OWN.

Stephen E Arnold, July 8, 2020

Google: Thwarting Nation States Is Getting Easier

July 7, 2020

“Europe’s Failure to Tame Google Is a Lesson for the US” makes an interesting point:

Two years after a record fine and an order to give Europeans more choice, Alphabet Inc.’s Google retains a vice-like grip on this business. In May 2018, just before the European Commission acted, Google had 97% of the mobile search market in the region, according to StatCounter. Its share for May this year was even higher.

If accurate, it means that punishing the US online ad giant increased its market control.

What’s the secret to Google’s success in converting a disaster into a benefit:

The EU ordered Google to stop bundling its search and browser apps with Android. Google reacted by charging phone manufacturers to license Android. It also opted to appease regulators by offering choice to users — but only on new Android phones from March 1 and only via a “choice screen” of three alternative search apps shown once when people switch on the handsets for the first time.

Google out played the regulators.

Regulators deal by looking backwards. Google operates by looking forward. The result is that the EU and others who want to trim the sails of the monopoly are in a vulnerable position. Google changes tactics, and the regulators are slow or unable to respond. In the meantime, Google continues to control the market for search.

Regulators know they are failing. The article includes this information:

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s top antitrust official, has voiced frustration about her inability to increase competition in tech markets. During a recent webinar, she blamed the pandemic for the initial poor results of the choice screen remedy, saying “very few Android phones have been shipped due to the Covid crisis.”

Net net: Who is in control? Government officials or US technology companies?

Stephen E Arnold, July 7, 2020

Quote to Note: A Father of the Internet and a Googler to Boot

July 7, 2020

DarkCyber spotted this quote from Vint Cerf. I once introduced him at a conference and he displayed a T shirt with the message “I TCP on Everything!”

Here’s the Cerf quote from Diginomica:

When you see a phenomenon like the Internet, which is rich in its evolution, new ideas, new applications, it is a very open architecture and invites people to invent new ways of using it. But this introduces new kinds of governance concerns: what we do about misinformation, about malware which is propagating through the network, about someone in one country who is harmed by someone in another.  For anyone who is interested in governance, there is simply a wide open space here for hard work and for international agreements, in order to manage this very complex and very rich environment that we call the Internet, and the World Wide Web.

Interesting phrasing. We noted the words misinformation, malware, and governance.

Governance is particularly interesting; for example, what does governance mean in this sentence:

But this introduces new kinds of governance concerns.

Yes, that is true if the quote is accurate. If any company knows anything about governance, I would submit it is the Google.

Stephen E Arnold, July 7, 2020

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