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Category Archives: Search Engines

This Tiny Website Is Google’s First Line of Defense in the Patent Wars

Wired: “TDCommons is a free space for inventors to lay claim to breakthroughs without having to file a patent. Why is it so off the radar? A trio of Google engineers recently came up with a futuristic way to help anyone who stumbles through presentations on video calls. They propose that when algorithms detect a speaker’s pulse racing or “umms” lengthening, a generative AI bot that mimics their voice could simply take over. That cutting-edge idea wasn’t revealed at a big company event or in an academic journal. Instead, it appeared in a 1,500-word post on a little-known, free website called TDCommons.org that Google has quietly owned and funded for nine years. Until WIRED received a link to an idea on TDCommons last year and got curious, Google had never spoken with the media about its website. Scrolling through TDCommons, you can read Google’s latest ideas for coordinating smart home gadgets for better sleep, preserving privacy in mobile search results, and using AI to summarize a person’s activities from their photo archives. And the submissions aren’t exclusive to Google; about 150 organizations, including HP, Cisco, and Visa, also have posted inventions to the website. The website is a home for ideas that seem potentially valuable but not worth spending tens of thousands of dollars seeking a patent for. By publishing the technical details and establishing “prior art,” Google and other companies can head off future disputes by blocking others from filing patents for similar concepts. Google gives employees a $1,000 bonus for each invention they post to TDCommons—a tenth of what it awards its patent seekers—but they also get an immediately shareable link to gloat about otherwise secretive work. TDCommons adds to Google’s long-standing, and far more vocal, efforts to carve out greater space for freewheeling innovation in an industry where patents can be used to hobble or extract cash from competitors. The site may be dowdy and obscure, but it does the trick. “The beauty of defensive publications is that this website can be pretty simple,” says Laura Sheridan, Google’s head of patent policy. “It needs to establish a date. And it needs to have documents be accessible. There’s not much more we need to do.” In reality, the experiment has struggled to cut through government bureaucracy and overcome competition from more robust archives. Sheridan acknowledges it’s a work in progress. TDCommons needs a bigger flow of uploads to become less peculiar and more vital. It offers a unique hope of expanding public access to the technical creativity happening inside corporate walls—and shifting more resources toward that work.”

Old’aVista

Remember the search engine Altavista? (I sure do). Via Wikipedia: “AltaVista was a Web search engine established in 1995. It became one of the most-used early search engines, but lost ground to Google and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003, which retained the brand, but based all AltaVista searches on its own search engine. On… Continue Reading

The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World

Films for Action: “Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels. Over the last [16] years, we’ve watched hundreds of social change documentaries and cataloged the best of them in this library. There are now so many that we realized we needed to… Continue Reading

DuckDuckGo’s privacy browser adds built-in password syncing

The Verge: “DuckDuckGo has added a new “Sync & Backup” feature to its privacy-first browser that will keep passwords, bookmarks, and favorites constant across all of your devices — without setting up an account. Falling right in line with its usual claims that it won’t track you or collect your data, the company says that… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, February 11, 2024

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, February 11, 2024 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on… Continue Reading

Google Scholar is manipulatable

arXiv preprint :2402.04607 – Google Scholar is manipulatable: “Citations are widely considered in scientists’ evaluation. As such, scientists may be incentivized to inflate their citation counts. While previous literature has examined self-citations and citation cartels, it remains unclear whether scientists can purchase citations. Here, we compile a dataset of ~1.6 million profiles on Google Scholar… Continue Reading

Google Gemini Cheat Sheet

TechRepublic: “(Formerly Google Bard): What Is Google Gemini, and How Does It Work? Everything you need to know to get started with Gemini, Google’s generative AI. Gemini is Google’s artificial intelligence ecosystem, including a chatbot that generates responses to user-provided natural language prompts. In response to a prompt, Gemini can pull information from the internet… Continue Reading

Bias, Skew and Search Engines Are Sufficient to Explain Online Toxicity

Association for Computing Machinery. Scholar One Manuscripts. Bias, Skew and Search Engines Are Sufficient to Explain Online Toxicity: “U.S. political discourse seems to have fissioned into discrete bubbles, each reflecting its own distorted image of the world. Many blame machine-learning algorithms that purportedly maximize “engagement” — serving up content that keeps YouTube or Facebook users… Continue Reading

Using Google Search to Find Software Can Be Risky

Krebs on Security: “Google continues to struggle with cybercriminals running malicious ads on its search platform to trick people into downloading booby-trapped copies of popular free software applications. The malicious ads, which appear above organic search results and often precede links to legitimate sources of the same software, can make searching for software on Google… Continue Reading