Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Search Engines

The long, tortured quest to make Google unbiased

The VergeCan 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 Filtering Practices] answering questions about “potential bias and the need for greater transparency” in Google’s business practices. It’s Republican lawmakers’ latest move in a series of hearings over Silicon Valley political bias. “Google has created some of the most powerful and impressive technology applications,” wrote House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the announcement. “Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially. Its business practices may have been affected by political bias.” We don’t know exactly what questions will arise during Pichai’s testimony. But this summer, President Donald Trump caused a brief uproar by claiming (without evidence) that Google suppressed positive news about him. Reports indicated Trump might even direct regulators to investigate Google and other platforms for bias. But that proposal hadn’t come from one of Silicon Valley’s many ideological enemies — it was supposedly promoted by recommendations site Yelp, which has spent years protesting what it calls unfair demotion of its search results.

That investigation never came to pass. But it highlighted a major underpinning of the current anti-Google backlash: a decade-long fight over how search engines, which have become many people’s primary gateway to the internet, should treat the websites they list.”

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

TinEye Reverse Image Search

“Using TinEye, you can search by image or perform what we call a reverse image search. You can do that by uploading an image or searching by URL. You can also simply drag and drop your images to start your search. TinEye constantly crawls the web and adds images to its index. Today, the TinEye… Continue Reading