Regarding Your Lack of Privacy Online

 Posted by on July 26, 2011
Jul 262011
 

What is a bigger waste of time: Surfing the internet or keeping track of what each individual surfs on the internet?

Tucked quietly away in Section 4 of H.R. 1981, a provision lurks that turns what should have been a no-brainer bill both parties could agree on into a way to track every U.S. internet users’ activity for the last 18 months. And despite the recent spree of data breaches in the both the public and private sectors, subsection (b) amusingly calls for this data to be stored securely.


No worries if you don’t have anything to hide?  You are five steps from having something to hide:
1. Pick any of your social/political/religious beliefs.
2. Note that there are people out there who think you are wrong.
3. Consider the odds those people could attain a position of power in your life (family, boss, police, government).
4. Image those people getting really pushy about things they don’t like.
5. Go visit a website about your belief.

We all have a reason to hide if the wrong people are looking.  And why stop with internet activity?  Storage is cheap, let’s make the phone company record every conversation.  While we’re at it, you’re probably sitting in front of a video camera reading these very words.  Mind if we record your expression for posterity?

Say cheese.  Then go tell your representative this bill takes one giant leap too far.

Google’s Six-Front War Visualized

 Posted by on July 14, 2011
Jul 142011
 

Inspired by the launch of Google+, here’s a visualization of some of Google’s competition, as laid out in the TechCrunch piece, Google’s Six-Front War:

(click for larger version)

Of course, that leaves out video/photo hosting, blogging, desktop OS, music, TV, eBooks, driverless cars, philanthropy, other stuff we know about and whatever we don’t know about yet.

How is Google doing in all of these battles?  For the more mature products in the top half, very well.  In Search and Mobile, they are number one.  Among browsers Chrome is in third place, moving in the right direction.  It’s the bottom half where Google has their work cut out for them.  Google+ is estimated to have brought in 10 million users in the first two weeks with a chance of doubling it by the weekend.  Although that only amounts to 1-3% of Facebook’s crowd, it nonetheless puts Google+ at about 7th place in the Social sphere right out of the gate.

Let’s the games begin!

Update: How’s Google+ doing a month later?  While this ranking puts it in 6th place with 32 million users, it would seem that the honeymoon is over, due largely in part to Google’s awkward stance in the “real names” vs. pseudonyms debate.   After years of using Google products pretty much any way we want, suddenly there is a rule that has left an unknown number of deleted profiles in its wake. Meanwhile, Google is facing some serious challenges in the patent wars and falling behind in at least one stat related to their crown jewel, search.  My, how quickly the weather can change…