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Category Archives: Search Engines

Revealed: Google’s ‘two-tier’ workforce training document

The Guardian – Exclusive: internal document shows how Google employees are trained to treat temps, vendors and contractors

Google staff are instructed not to reward certain workers with perks like T-shirts, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training, an internal training document seen by the Guardian reveals. The guide instructs Google employees on the ins and outs of interacting with its tens of thousands of temps, vendors and contractors – a class of worker known at Google as TVCs. “Working with TVCs and Googlers is different,” the training documentation, titled the The ABCs of TVCs, explains. “Our policies exist because TVC working arrangements can carry significant risks.” The risks Google appears to be most concerned about include standard insider threats, like leaks of proprietary information, but also – and especially – the risk of being found to be a joint employer, a legal designation which could be exceedingly costly for Google in terms of benefits. Google’s treatment of TVCs has come under increased scrutiny by the company’s full-time employees (FTEs) amid a nascent labor movement at the company, which has seen workers speak out about both their own working conditions and the morality of the work they perform. American companies have long turned to temps and subcontractors to plug holes and perform specialized tasks, but Google achieved a dubious distinction this year when Bloomberg reported that in early 2018, the company did not directly employ a majority of its own workforce….”

The long, tortured quest to make Google unbiased

The Verge – Can a search engine ever be meaningfully neutral: “[December 11, 2018], Sundar Pichai will try to reassure Congress that Google’s search engine isn’t rigged. The Google CEO is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday [The Hearing is titled – Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and… Continue Reading

Measuring the “Filter Bubble”: How Google is influencing what you click

Duck Duck Go: “Over the years, there has been considerable discussion of Google’s “filter bubble” problem. Put simply, it’s the manipulation of your search results based on your personal data. In practice this means links are moved up or down or added to your Google search results, necessitating the filtering of other search results altogether.… Continue Reading

Google officially rolling out new search bar with sticky header, rounded search bar

Search Engine Land: “Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that they have begun rolling out a new search results page design that has the a rounded search bar that sticks to the top of the page as you scroll through the search results. Google began testing this new design back in August and is… Continue Reading

How China Made Its Own Internet

The New York Times – Today, China has the world’s only internet companies that can match America’s in ambition and reach. It is years ahead of the United States in replacing paper money with smartphone payments, turning tech giants into vital gatekeepers of the consumer economy. And it is host to a supernova of creative… Continue Reading

Google News may shut over EU plans to charge tax for links

The Guardian – Search engine is lobbying hard to stop proposed tax, aimed at compensating news publishers – “Google’s top news executive has refused to rule out shutting down Google News in EU countries, as the search engine faces a battle with Brussels over plans to charge a “link tax” for using news stories. Richard Gingras,… Continue Reading

Google outage pushed traffic through Russia, China and Nigeria

CNet – Traffic got rerouted Monday through ISPs in countries known for internet surveillance. “Google suffered a brief outage and slowdown on Monday, with some of its traffic being rerouted through networks in Russia, China and Nigeria. Incorrect routing instructions sent some of the search giant’s traffic to Russian network operator TransTelekom, China Telecom and… Continue Reading

Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-To Lessons

“An analysis of videos suggested by the site’s recommendation engine finds that users are directed toward progressively longer and more popular content…A majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups are YouTube adopters, with younger Americans standing out as especially avid users of the site. A new Pew Research Center survey of U.S.… Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning

The New York Times – Machine learning algorithms don’t yet understand things the way humans do — with sometimes disastrous consequences. “…As someone who has worked in A.I. for decades, I’ve witnessed the failure of similar predictions of imminent human-level A.I., and I’m certain these latest forecasts will fall short as well. The challenge of… Continue Reading

Your State’s Biggest Stereotype, According to Google Map

TravelPulse – “You may not be aware, but there’s a secret hidden inside the popular Google Maps navigation app. Every time you cross a border, a tiny icon pops up at the bottom, welcoming you to that particular state or country with a cartoonish representation of the type of citizen you may encounter during your… Continue Reading

Paper – Browser history re :visited

Browser history re:visited. Michael Smith, Craig Disselkoen. Shravan Narayan, Fraser Brown, Deian Stefan. Abstract  – “We present four new history sniffing attacks. Our attacks fit into two classical categories—visited-link attacks and cache-based attacks—but abuse new, modern browser features (e.g., the CSS Paint API and JavaScript bytecode cache) that do not account for privacy when handling… Continue Reading

Comparison of Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo

Business Insider: “Switching your search engine is not something to be taken lightly — it’s our internet lifeblood. We rely daily on algorithms we don’t understand to surface the exact article we’re looking for. And if for some reason it’s not at the top of our results — even if the search we entered was… Continue Reading