September 10, 2012
You may have heard of the deep extraction company Attensity. There is another company in a similar business with the name inTTENSITY. Not the playful misspelling of the common word “intensity.” What happens when a person looking for the company inTTENSITY get when he or she runs a query on Google. Look at what Google’s autocomplete suggestions recommend when I type intten:
The company’s spelling appears along with the less helpful “interstate ten”, “internet explorer ten”, and “internet icon top ten.” If I enter “inten”, I don’t get the company name. No surprise.
Is Google’s autocomplete a help or hindrance? The answer, in my opinion, is it depends on the users and what he or she is seeking.
I just read “Germany’s Former First Lady Sues Google For Defamation Over Autocomplete Suggestions.” According to the write up:
When you search for “Bettina Wulff” on Google, the search engine will happily autocomplete this search with terms like “escort” and “prostitute.” That’s obviously not something you would like to be associated with your name, so the wife of former German president Christian Wulff has now, according to Germany’s Süddeutschen Zeitung, decided to sue Google for defamation. The reason why these terms appear in Google’s autocomplete is that there have been persistent rumors that Wulff worked for an escort service before she met her husband. Wulff categorically denies that this is true.
The article explains that autocomplete has been the target of criticism before. The concluding statement struck me as interesting:
In Japan, a man recently filed a suit against Google after the autocomplete feature started linking his names with a number of crimes he says he wasn’t involved in. A court in Japan then ordered Google to delete these terms from autocomplete. Google also lost a similar suit in Italy in 2011.
I have commented about the interesting situations predictive algorithms can create. I assume that Google’s numerical recipes chug along like a digital and intent-free robot.
August 20, 2012
The incredibly wrong opinion piece by the former publisher was not the part of this story that is impressive. The fascinating part is that WSJ is not making any corrections, instead choosing to simply state, “A version of this article appeared July 23, 2012, on page A11 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Who Really Invented the Internet?” We learn more about the mishap in the TechDirt article, “WSJ Still Hasn’t Corrected Its Bogus internet Revisionist Story, As Vint Cerf & Xerox Both Claim the Story is Wrong.” The article states:
“That was a pretty minor correction, involving Crovitz being confused about how to understand how blockquotes work in HTML. But what about all of the other factual errors, including whoppers like saying that Tim Berners-Lee invented hyperlinks? Of course, considering the very premise of the article and nearly all of its supporting factoids were in error, it raises questions about how you do such a correction, other than crossing out the whole thing and posting a note admitting to the error (none of which has yet been done).”
We here at the goose pond love seeing real journalists in action. Considering how public the discussion about these errors has gotten, we are surprised that the WSJ is not doing more to remedy the situation. Which begs the question: why aren’t they?
Andrea Hayden, August 20, 2012
July 8, 2012
I was just pointed to an article in which a current Google Exec warns us that many of the world’s population are missing out on the advantages brought by the Internet.
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said that less than a third of the world’s population has Internet access and believes that the benefits of connectivity that are brought on by technology is lost on far too many global citizens. In an article on Phys.org, “Google Exec: Technology Wave Leaving Many Behind,” we learn about Schmidt’s recent conference in Israel, his thoughts on the current limitations of the Internet, and his optimistic views on the spread of technology. The article states:
“‘All of us are blessed with a capacity for innovation [and] connectivity will help unlock that potential,’ [Schmidt] said. He pointed to the Internet’s ever-widening reach and its educational potential, citing the Khan Academy’s 3,000 video lessons on YouTube. The Khan Academy, which receives funding from Google, is a nonprofit organization that offers free online lectures in subjects ranging from physics to American history and algebra.”
Perhaps this means Google realizes that its market is not “Googley” and, therefore, is more easily shaped with filtering, predictive outputs, and selective relevance?
Andrea Hayden, July 8, 2012
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July 7, 2012
No big deal, but I wanted to capture this news item. Outdoor Hub reports “Google Censors Firearms Products in Shopping Search Results.” I am not a person who searches for weapons. I am also not a person who turns to Google Shopping for products. I wonder if anyone has prepared a master list of the works and phrases which Google filters. If one of my two or three readers knows of such a list, please, post a link in the comments section of this blog. Here at the goose pond, we don’t want to undertake this task. We have added a new category to this blog; it is “infoshaping.” Stories which touch on disinformation or management of indexes will receive this category assignment. We practice infoshaping, and we think it is a wonderful method for presenting curated content. Infoshaping used to be called an “editorial policy” but that term is not popular among infoshaped millennials.
Stephen E Arnold, July 7, 2012
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