YouTube: Serving Consumers or Bullying?

July 26, 2021

Ycombinator included a comment from someone. That comment was flagged. However, the information in the original comment and the observations offered by Ycombinator users are interesting. The information reveals what I characterize as an escalating battle between those who view YouTube videos and YouTube itself. (I am not going to discuss the escalating tension between “creators,” YouTube, and the service Odysee.com.)

First, the Ycombinator item contains this statement:

YouTube is still not happy. Today when I opened the app on my phone, it still showed me an add. It is infuriating at least. This won’t probably make it, but I needed to share. https://imgur.com/a/BM7XoTe

So what? The flagged poster subscribed to YouTube and YouTube still displays advertisements.

Second, the comments include the tools which one can use to block YouTube’s charming and highly relevant, on point, information packed advertisements; for example:

Adguard

Arachnoid

Cercube

Invidious

SmartTube

Sponsorblock

uBlock Origin

Vanced

Third, the fact that YouTube is becoming a cable-tv like operation is interesting as well.

Net net: Do you hear that tick tock? Maybe it is spelled TikTok?

Stephen E Arnold, July 26, 2021

Google: What Is the Value of Fake News? What Did You Say?

June 18, 2021

I read a story which may be hogwash. (If you have ever cleaned a pig, you can recall the delights of that exercise on a 90 degree day in Poland China territory. Note to thumbtypers. Poland China is another name for a Warren County hog.)

The title of the write certainly caught my attention:

Nearly Half of All Ads on Fake News Sites Come from Google, Study Finds

Let’s be clear I am pointing you a second hand write up from a research outfit’s “study.” Frankly I can’t believe that the estimable Google, former employer of Timnit Gebru, and owner of the real artificial intelligence methodology would be engaged in this type of activity. Goodness.

The outfit doing the study was the University of Mich8igan School of Information. Didn’t one of the founders of the Google attend this institution? Here’s a sampling of data from the outfit which spawned really annoying pop up surveys on government Web sites in the 2000s:

  • 48% of ad traffic on “fake” news publishers is served by Google
  • 32% of “low credibility sites” like Breitbart, Drudge Report, and Sputnik News were delivered by Google
  • “The top-10 credible ad servers, like Lockerdome and Outbrain, make up 66.7% of fake and 55.6% of low-quality ad traffic.”

May I repeat what Google has oft repeated when the unpleasant but profitable subject of using whatever gets clicks to produce revenue? Here goes:

the search engine told Marketing Brew in a statement that the company removed ads from “more than 1.3 billion pages that breached” its policies in 2020. “We have strict publisher policies against promoting dangerous and misrepresentative claims,” it said.

Several questions:

  1. Will Google provide more funding to the Ann Arbor institution in order to provide input into research project plans before the study and the results are made public by real news outfits like Marketing Brew?
  2. Will Larry Page spend time on campus chatting with researchers and students about the importance of the Google and how to get an insider track to a job at the online ad mom and pop store?
  3. Will some MBA with time on his or her hands convert these percentages to revenue?

I, on the other hand, will continue to believe in the commitment to ethical business practices, ethical content filtering, and ethical AI just like the Google.

One final question: Will Marketing Brew experience an uptick in its Google “quality” score?

Stephen E Arnold, June 18, 2021

Google Encourages Competition: Our Way or No Way. Seems Fair

June 4, 2021

I get a kick out of the Google. First, there was the really embarrassing matter of the diversity director outputting a few years ago some spicy comments about a country. Here’s a rundown of what makes the Timnit Gebru affair like just another synthetic pearl in a long string of management jewelry at a flea market.

I found this story even more revealing. The context is that numerous legal eagles are slapping Googzilla with a wide range of legal documents. Many of these are related to alleged monopolistic practices. I am no lawyer, but I get the feeling that some people are concerned about Google’s ability to absorb online advertising revenues, control what information people can find via the universal search thing, and Google’s Amazon like arrogance. (Yep, Amazon is the new Big Dog, but you knew that, right?)

Here’s the key statement:

Today I Learned you can not advertise on  @GoogleAds if you use  @googleanalytics competitors like  @matomo_org

This seems reasonable. An “if then” statement for organizations that want to tap into Google’s billions of “users.”

An entity called @HashNuke added:

This is easily identifiable as anti-competitive practice. Wouldn’t this be illegal in many countries?

If these statements are accurate, isn’t being Googley just the best way to inspire individuals and organizations. Some of those legal eagles may find the information worth checking out.

Stephen E Arnold, June 4, 2021

Google Ads: Helping Users and Developers. Oh, and Maybe Google Too?

May 27, 2021

How is Google changing? Ads everywhere. “Google Will Soon Allow Developers to Advertise Their Android Apps on the Desktop Search” reports about a problem and a very interesting solution:

App developers can face a hard time while trying to advertise their apps on the Google play store and get people to download them, for new developers promoting their app can be a hard battle if they don’t have the right budget and tools for it.
Keeping this problem in mind Google was quick to come up with a creative and really well thought of ideas and tools that will make it easier for developers to advertise their apps much better across the Google eco system.

Love that Chrome and its variants, don’t you? Here’s how the new ad centric revenue maker works:

The Ad campaign feature uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to evaluate and improve the advertisement campaigns, Google machine learning algorithm learns user behavior, location and previous searches which helps targeting the right audience for the advertisements. Now for the very first time Google will be releasing this feature on the desktop version of Google browser.

Web search continues to get better and better at providing Google with clever ways to generate revenue. Do developers have a choice? Sure, there’s the friendly Apple app store. You may not know much about it. Heck, Tim Apple doesn’t know much about how the business works either.

Google? Much simpler. Everything may become an ad. How about relevance? How about bias in smart software? How about that free search system and its super duper results?

Stephen E Arnold, May 27, 2021

Googzilla Rising: This Is a Surprise?

April 21, 2021

It looks like Google is currently at the top of the digital marketing heap, but Facebook delivers the best quality to advertisers. Marketing attribution firm AppsFlyer regularly assembles data on the top media sources that partner with advertisers around the world. For this, its 12th edition, the firm analyzed 580 media sources, 29-billion installs, and over 16,000 apps in the second half of 2020.  IT-Online summarizes the results in, “Google Tops Media Performance Index.”

We learn:

“In this edition, Google extended its lead over Facebook at the top of the Retention Index’s Universal Power Ranking, which ranks media sources by their ability to drive loyal users at scale. Google’s share in the global non-organic app install pie also increased by 15%. This was driven by the search giant’s continued growth in Android, especially in emerging markets such as Africa. In contrast, Facebook’s share of the global non-organic app install pie dropped 10% in Index 12, mostly due to iOS losses (as part of an overall drop in iOS). However, when it comes to quality, the social network reigns supreme. It is ranked second in the average of quality metrics across all of the different indices. Facebook’s retention score, (which looks at the percentage of users who still use an app over a period of time after installing it), is 16% higher than Google’s, mostly the result of a growing divide in Android and among non-gaming apps. The social network continues to dominate the remarketing index, while Google has significantly grown its share of app remarketing conversions by 65% in the second half of 2020.”

So overall, Google and Facebook seem to be neck and neck. As for Apple, its performance at the end of last year was affected by its upcoming AppTrackingTransparency framework. The framework, which  regulates how mobile apps collect user data, will be enforced later this year. Between the increased attention to privacy and a pandemic-related rise in demand, the cost per install on iOS jumped by 30% (compared to Android’s increase of just 10%). Apple saw a 20% drop in non-organic installs on iOS compared to the first six months in 2020. Wasn’t there a game called Google? No, I am thinking of Monopoly.

Cynthia Murrell, April 21, 2021

Has Google Smart Software Become the Sad Clown for AI?

April 20, 2021

“Is Google’s AI Research about to Implode?” raises an interesting question. The answer depends on whom one asks. For the high profile ethical AI Googlers who are now Xooglers (former Google employees), the answer is probably along the lines of “About. Okay, boomer, it has imploded.” Ask a Googler who still has a job at the GOOG and received a bonus for his or her work in smart software and the answer is probably more like, “Dude, we are AI.” With matters Googley, I am not sure where the truth exists.

The write up states:

in making certain “corrections” to large datasets, for example removing references to sex, the voices of LGBTQ people will be given less prominence. The lack of transparency and accountability in the data makes these models useless for anything other than generating amusing Guardian articles (my words, not the authors). But they have substantial negative consequences: in producing reams of factually incorrect texts and requiring computing resources that can have a major environmental impact.

Ah, ha, the roots of bias.

Google has not made enough progress is making its models neutral. Thus, human fiddling is required. And where there are humans fiddling, there are discordant notes.

The write up concludes with this statement:

What concerns me is that when Google’s own researchers start to produce novel ideas then the company perceives these as a threat. So much of a threat that they fire their most innovative researcher and shut down the groups that are doing truly novel work.

Right now, I think the Google wants to squelch talk about algorithmic “issues.”  Smart software appears to be related maximizing efficiency. The idea is that efficiency yields lower costs. Lower costs provide more cash to incentivize employees to find ways to improve, for example, ad auction efficiency. Ethics are not an emergent phenomenon of this type of system. The result is algorithmic road kill, a major PR problem, a glimpse of the inner Google, and writers who are skeptical about the world’s largest online ad vendor’s use of “smart” technology.

Stephen E Arnold, April 20, 2021

The Google Is Busy: Use the Maps to Buy from Advertisers Already

April 15, 2021

Talk about ungrateful. Australia is annoying a US tech giant with unwarranted criticisms. Just because a highway has a petrol station every 500 or 600 miles, what difference does it make if the data on a free map are incorrect. That electric vehicle should have solar panels. Carbon fuel machines need to have auxiliary gas tank.

Google Maps Under Fire for Incorrect Information, Outdated Imagery” is grousing and to the really busy Google. The write up asserts:

The errors on Google Maps go as far as claiming that the town of Eromanga is some 85 kilometers from its actual location, so drivers who may use the navigation to drive to this city could end up in a completely different place.

Like the Googzilla has time to figure out where a dirt road goes in Eromanga? Ho ho ho. Buy an ad. The Google may add Eromanga to its customer database. Well, maybe.

The write up continues:

Furthermore, according to local reports, the local Street View imagery is more than a decade old…

I have concluded that the article in auto Evolution has been assembled by individuals who are not Googley. The fix is directly from a Crocodile Dundee film; to wit:

As a result, the authorities recommend people stick with the traditional way of navigation and use the street signs to find a specific location. “If you see a signpost saying a town is ‘this way’ and Google Maps is telling you something different, don’t trust Google Maps,” Quilpie Shire Council Mayor Stuart Mackenzie said.

Australia. Consistently annoying. Eromanga, really? Just buy some ads. The Google cares about ads even if these messages are for enterprises in where was it? Oh, right, Eromanga.

Stephen E Arnold, April 15, 2021

Google: Its Feedback Loop Explained

March 23, 2021

I read “Google Profits from Spreading Fake News — Here’s How.” Google’s been leveraging its “inspiration” from Yahoo-GoTo-Overture ad innovations for decades. Imagine my surprise when the “truth” of feedback was finally revealed. (Yep, it took decades for whiz kids to crack the somewhat high-school auditorium sound system concept.)

Here’s a passage I found revelatory about how little awareness “expert” Google watchers know about the systems and methods of the online ad giant:

When you click on a search result, the search algorithm learns that the link you clicked is relevant for your search query. This is called relevance feedback. This feedback helps the search engine give higher weight to that link for that query in the future. If enough people click on that link enough times, thus giving strong relevance feedback, that website starts coming up higher in search results for that and related queries. People are more likely to click on links shown up higher on the search results list. This creates a positive feedback loop – the higher a website shows up, the more the clicks, and that in turn makes that website move higher or keep it higher.

What other Google magic awaits discovery?

Remarkable. That feedback has baffled for so long.

Stephen E Arnold, March 23, 2021

Google and Cookies: Crafting Quite Tasty Bait

March 19, 2021

I read “Alphabet: Five Things We Know about Google’s Ad Changes after Cookies.” I approached the write up with some interest. Cookies have been around for a long time. The reason? They allowed a number of interesting functions, including tracking, cross correlation of user actions, and a covert existence.

Now, no more Google cookies.

The write up explains what Google wants keen observers, real journalists, and thumbtypers to know; to wit:

  1. Privacy is really, really important to Google—now. Therefore, the GOOG won’t support third party cookies. Oh, shucks, what about cross site tracking? Yeah, what about it?
  2. Individuals can be targeted. Those with a rifle shot orientation have to provide data to the Google and use the Google software system called “customer match.” Yeah, ad narrowcasting lives.
  3. Google will draw some boundaries about its data leveraging for advertisers. But what about “publishers”? Hey, Google has some special rules. Yeah, a permeable membrane for certain folks.
  4. FLOC makes non-personalized ad targeting possible. I want to write, “You’ve been FLOC’ed” but I shall not. Yeah, FLOC. But you can always try FLEDGE. So “You’ve been FLEDGED” is a possibility.

How’s this work? The write up does not shed any light. Here’s a question for a “real news” outfit to tackle:

How many data points does a disambiguation system require to identify a name, location, and other personal details of a single individual?

Give up. Better not. Oh, the bait, pivoted cookies. Great for catching prospects I think.

Stephen E Arnold, March 19, 2021

What Makes the Web Slow? Really Slow?

January 28, 2021

I read “We Rendered a Million Web Pages to Find Out What Makes the Web Slow.” My first reaction was the East Coast Internet outage which ruined some Type A workers’ day. I can hear the howls, “Mommy, I can’t attend class, our Internet is broken again.”

Here’s a passage from the “Rendered a Million Web Pages” which I found interesting:

Internet commentators are fond of saying that correlation does not equal causation, and indeed we can’t get at causality directly with these models. Great caution should be exercised when interpreting the coefficients, particularly because a lot confounding factors may be involved. However, there’s certainly enough there to make you go “hmm”.

Yep, I went “hmm.” But for these reasons:

  • Ad load times slow down my Web experiences. Don’t you love those white page hung ads on the YouTube or the wonky baloney on the Daily Mail?
  • How about crappy Internet service providers?
  • Are you thrilled with cache misses?
  • Pages stuffed full of trackers, bugs, codes, and spammy SEO stuff.

Hmm, indeed.

Stephen E Arnold, January 28, 2021

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