10 Things We Didn't Know A Week Ago

by Ruud Hein October 26th, 2012 

1. Google delays executing crawled JavaScript up to 3 days. After making changes to their site MakeProjects.com wondered why they saw floods of AJAX errors come in; with the changes made, no-one should be executing those calls. Investigating showed it was Google Bot calling these AJAX-only URL's.

"Pretty quickly we came to the conclusion that the Goole bot must execute javascript separate from (and after) downloading web pages. It makes sense when you're doing things at Google scale; they must have a giant queue of downloaded pages whose javascript is waiting to be executed. But we didn't realize how long they waited in that queue.

It's now been 3 days and we're still seeing errors trickle through."
Daniel Beardsley (discussion at Hacker News)

2. Microsoft pulls a Google and nobody cares. Missed the uproar this week about Microsoft changing its privacy policies so all its products can use your data? You can't be blamed: the New York Times even did a piece on how nobody cared while a similar "all products in one privacy policy" by Google made waves earlier this year but Microsoft's change went virtually unnoticed.

"The difference in the two events illustrates the confusion surrounding Internet consumer privacy. No single authority oversees the collection of personal information from Web users by Internet companies. Though most companies have written privacy policies, they are often stated in such broad, ambiguous language that they seem to allow virtually any use of customers personal information."
New York Times

The article resulted in US Representative Edward J. Markey writing a letter to Microsoft. Microsoft responded Monday that they promise users not to use the data for online advertising.

On the European front meanwhile Microsoft was told it violated the 2009 antitrust agreements regarding browser choice. Europe is getting pretty tough here and there's some interpretation that its sending signals to Google as well.

3. When Martians invaded there was no Twitter on October 30, 1938, but with the radio news bulletins seemingly real people turned to the next best instant updates: the telephone operator.

"You see, it was not a case of answering a light and connecting them to somebody else — all they wanted was the operator. [...]  People were crying and yelling and wanting to know if there was a lot of gas, if there was a lot of destruction, were there fires, was there shooting, are there a lot of bodies around. [...] I think of the people who were begging us to get connections to their families, to their husbands, to mothers and fathers, before the world came to an end [...]"
– AT&T telephone operators

 

4. Opinion articles written by women get shared more. But not always.

"Readers of the Guardian and Daily Mail tend to share a greater percentage of women's writing than the proportion of what the newspapers publish. Guardian opinion articles by women are 35% of what gets shared, compared to 30% of what is published. Only 21% of the Daily Mail's opinion articles are by women but those women generated 35% of the opinion section's shares and likes.
Telegraph readers don't share articles by women as much as the other two papers. While women write 20% of its opinion articles, their articles are only 13% of what Telegraph readers choose to share."
The Guardian

5. 90% of Brazil's newspapers have pulled out of Google News following the recommendation of the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil.

"Staying with Google News was not helping us grow our digital audiences.

By providing the first few lines of our stories to internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our websites"
Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto, pres. ANJ

The newspapers want to be compensated for the use of their content. In France  a similar but government-backed struggle is going on, and Google is threatening to ban French media sites. Eric Schmidt is flying to France to discuss the government intervention. Google's resistance to paid licensing deals isn't always successful: in 2006 it made license agreement with Associated Press (AP), in 2007 with Agence France-Press (AFP).

6. Google Instant includes excerpted text from web pages.

"For example, when you search for [intel solid state drive toolbox], Google's list includes two strange suggestions: [intel solid state drive toolbox(intel ssd toolbox)] and [intel solid-state drive toolbox download]. It's really unlikely that many people search for [intel] or include redundant versions of the query."
Google Operating System

image

7. Your data is for sale and it's cheap: 1 million Facebook data entries cost $5.

"The information in this list has been collected through our Facebook apps and consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe. There are users from other countries as well but they are almost exclusively English speaking as well, as all the apps we provide are written in English and to use them properly one needs to read the instructions. The list is checked and validated once a month so you wont get a list full of invalid or duplicate email addresses. Whether you are offering a Facebook, Twitter, social media related or otherwise a general product or service, this list has a great potential for you. Finally, the list is in a zipped excel format split into 12 sheets, each sheet containing roughly 100,000 email addresses with name, last name and facebook profile information separated with comma."
– original offer made to digital rights activist Bogol Shopov

image

Not long after making the purchase public Facebook made contact with Bogol asking him to remove the file, the post, and not mention the telephone call; "…you are not allowed to disclose any part of this conversation; it is a secret that we are even having this conversation"

8. The Onion TED Talks. Because it's brilliant.

"Behind every great achievement is a visionary. I'll be your visionary — and you do the things I come up with."

9. Porn sites steal and use sexually suggestive images from young people,  a UK study demonstrated and quantified by finding 12,000 examples in just 48 hours.

"…this is the first time we've been able to demonstrate the extent to which this occurs. [...]

It also highlights the problem of control of these images. Once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account."
CBC

10. Craig's Lists crowds strip house bare. The problem where an innocent announcement draws havoc causing crowds is no longer limited to Facebook parties.  Wanting to do some good a family whose house was being foreclosed ran a Craig's Lists announcement to give away some stuff for free. Instead, crowds gathered, broke their way into the property and took whatever they wanted.


11alive

 

PS:  See something we should include in the 10 Things TGIF? Tweet it @ruudhein or use the hashtag #10thingsTGIF.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy The 15 Greatest Google Autocomplete Fails

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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9 Responses to “10 Things We Didn't Know A Week Ago”

  1. Adi J says:

    It is a really interesting article :)
    I didn't know this a week ago… until now…

  2. Hey Ruud,
    It's great to read your post. I really enjoyed the strange info your provided and the way you provided it. You write very good. As for the information, don't you think everything you shared clearly shows that capitalism is way more rampant in the cyber-world than anywhere else? Aren't we being held captive by the giants of the online market?
    I'm a school teacher in Pakistan and an enthusiast of internet. Since the beginning of this year, surfing internet has added only to insecurity and fear for me.
    Anyways, thank you for letting us know what is going on and say what we feel about it!

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Thanks Raheel.

      I think capitalism isn't specifically "rampant", either online or offline. Capitalism is simply a system where everybody participates because everybody can benefit. And because everybody and anybody can benefit, it's something many people work at. We all want to get ahead, we all want something for ourselves. There are many downsides to the system too — maybe over time we find other systems to counter those or to tweak what we have now.

  3. Bram says:

    Cool article. The facebook data list was very interesting. Though it was offered extremely cheap. Who wouldn't buy it at $5 :P I wonder through which website it was offered. Perhaps I should google :)

  4. Jon says:

    Goole bot? Oh, its Halloween!
    :)

  5. Alex Rascanu says:

    Thanks for this post, Ruud. 1 million Facebook data entries costing $5, and adult sites stealing and using sexually suggestive images from young people stood out to me as particularly sad news…