Posted on

Google My Activity shows everything that company knows about its users – and there’s a lot


The new site collects every website you’ve been on, everything you’ve searched and many of the things you’ve done with your phone

Andrew Griffin

Google has launched a new site that shows absolutely everything it knows about its users. And there’s an awful lot of it.

The new My Activity page collects all of the data that Google has generated by watching its customers as they move around the web. And depending on your settings that could include a comprehensive list of the websites you’ve visited and the things you’ve done with your phone.

Google has long allowed its users to see the kinds of information that is being generated as people use the company’s products,including letting people listen in on automated recordings that it has made of its users. But the new page collects them together in a more accessible – and potentially more terrifying – way than ever before.

Posted on

‘If this is true, it is a disgrace’: Donald Trump responds to viral video claiming Google’s search is biased


Allan Smith

Donald Trump took aim at Google on Friday afternoon after a viral video claimed to show the web giant’s autocomplete search function manipulated results to favor Hillary Clinton.

“If this is true, it is a disgrace that Google would do that,” Trump wrote in a statement sent to Business Insider by his campaign. “Very, very dishonest.”

“They should let it float and allow people [to] see how crooked she really is,” he continued.

The video, created by SourceFed, showed multiple autocomplete search results for “Hillary Clinton” that it claimed proved that Google “has been actively altering search recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Posted on

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has accused Google of making a deal with Hillary Clinton.


“Google is directly engaged with Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Assange said via video link at the international media forum “New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream” hosted by Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.

Assange: Clinton is ‘Hawk’ With ‘Tools of Legal Interventionism’ Seeking Wars
Moreover, the Internet giant Google is heavily integrated with the US establishment and is allying with the US exceptionalism campaign, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday.

“Google is heavily integrated with Washington power, at personal level and at business level… Google which has increasing control over the distribution channels… is intensely allying itself US exceptionalism,” Assange added.

Speaking about about Hillary Clinton as presumptive presidential nominee from the US Democrat party Assange said that she “seemingly” wants to start wars, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday.

Read more:

Posted on

Google’s “knowledge panels” materialize at random, as unsourced and absolute as if handed down by God:


Betty White is 94 years old.

The Honda Civic is 2016’s best car.

Taipei is the capital of — ahem — the “small island nation” of Taiwan.

If you’ve ever Googled a person, place or thing — which, survey suggests, you almost definitely have — then you’ve encountered these aggressive, bold-faced modules, one of Google’s many bids for your fleeting attention. Since their quiet, casual introduction in 2012, knowledge panels and other sorts of “rich answers” have mushroomed across Google, appearing atop the results on roughly one-third of its 100 billion monthly searches, not only in response to simple, numerical queries like “Betty White age,” but also to more complex, nuanced questions like “capital of Israel” or “D.C.’s best restaurant.”

Posted on

Google Ad Business Under Scrutiny as EU Said to Revive Probe


EU officials quizzed firms involved in advertising market
Escalation comes as Google CEO Pichai set to meet with EU

The European Union is reviving a probe into Google’s advertising practices with an inquiry that adds to active EU antitrust investigations into the company’s mobile operating system and shopping search services.

The EU has been quizzing companies involved in online advertising in recent weeks about Google’s behavior, according to three people with knowledge of the investigation who asked not to be named because the process is confidential. Officials are seeking data that may be used to build a so-called statement of objections listing areas where they suspect Google breaches antitrust rules, they said.

Google’s $1 billion payment to Apple Inc. to keep its search bar on the iPhone is one of the kind of exclusivity agreements regulators are looking at, one of the people said. The EU move rekindles part of a probe they first announced in 2010 into contracts with websites that shut out non-Google advertising services and deals with computer and software vendors that prevent them using other search tools.

Posted on

Scary New Ways the Internet Giants Profile You


Facebook, Google, and the other Internet titans have ever more sophisticated and intrusive methods of mining your data, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The success of the consumer Internet can be attributed to a simple grand bargain. We’ve been encouraged to search the web, share our lives with friends, and take advantage of all sorts of other free services. In exchange, the Internet titans that provide these services, as well as hundreds of other lesser-known firms, have meticulously tracked our every move in order to bombard us with targeted advertising. Now, this grand bargain is being tested by new attitudes and technologies.

Consumers who were not long ago blithely dismissive of privacy issues are increasingly feeling that they’ve lost control over their personal information. Meanwhile, Internet companies, adtech firms, and data brokers continue to roll out new technologies to build ever more granular profiles of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of consumers. And with next generation of artificial intelligence poised to exploit our data in ways we can’t even imagine, the simple terms of the old agreement seem woefully inadequate.

In the early days of the Internet, we were led to believe that all this data would deliver us to a state of information nirvana. We were going to get new tools and better communications, access to all the information we could possibly need, and ads we actually wanted to receive. Who could possibly argue with that?

Posted on

Study Suggests Google Harms Consumers by Skewing Search Results


Yelp-sponsored research examines Google’s practice of promoting its own search services

June 29, 2015 4:18 a.m. ET

BRUSSELS—New research by two U.S. academics suggests thatGoogle Inc. is harming Internet users and violating competition laws by skewing search results to favor its own services, a potentially significant twist in Europe’s long-running antitrust investigation of the U.S. search company.

The research combines statistical testing with detailed legal and economic analysis to examine the ramifications of Google’s practice of promoting its own specialized search services, such as for local restaurants or doctors, at the expense of rivals such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

It was sponsored by Yelp, which has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust authorities over Google’s search practices. It was presented to EU regulators on Friday.

Posted on

Google faces European charge it abused search dominance


by Stephen Shankland
April 15, 2015 4:03 AM PDT

The European Commission opens a legal case that could change how Google search works — and impose a massive fine. It also begins an inquiry about Android.

Europe’s antitrust regulator dramatically escalated its case against Google on Wednesday, accusing the US tech titan of abusing its search-engine dominanceby favoring its own shopping services and also opening in-depth scrutiny of the company’s Android operating system.

Google’s actions show its own comparison-shopping results even when they’re less relevant than results from competitors, curtailing innovation at those rivals and hurting consumers, said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a press conference.

“Dominance as such is not a problem,” Vestager said. “However, dominant companies have a responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition either in markets where they’re dominant or in neighboring markets.”

The EC’s action, called a statement of objections, opens the door for potentially massive fines such as those the European Commission levied against Microsoft and Intel after findings of antitrust abuses by those companies. Enforcement actions could include changes to Google’s way of doing business and a penalty as high as 10 percent of its global revenue. Given Google’s $66 billion ($62 billion euros) in revenue in 2014, that could mean a fine of up to $6.6 billion.

What’s at stake is not just a very big fine for a very wealthy tech company, though. Closer to home for consumers is the question of whether Google search will lead us to products and services from other companies or instead keep us hemmed in within Google’s ever-expanding universe of commercial activities.

Posted on

How Google Skewed Search Results



How Google Skewed Search Results

FTC staff report details how Google favored its own shopping, travel services over rivals

By Rolfe Winkler And
Brody Mullins
Updated March 19, 2015 7:25 p.m. ET

A previously undisclosed report by staffers at the Federal Trade Commission reveals new details about how Google Inc. manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals’, even when they weren’t most relevant for users.

In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and “scraping” content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.

For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google’s shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn’t click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.

Posted on

Google Goes Off the Climate Change Deep End


Google Goes Off the Climate Change Deep End
by Paul Driessen
December 29, 2014

Paul Driessen Co-authored this article with Chris Skates.

In a recent interview with National Public Radio host Diane Rehm, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said his company “has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. We should not be aligned with such people. They’re just literally lying.”

While he didn’t vilify us by name, Mr. Schmidt was certainly targeting us, the climate scientists who collect and summarize thousands of articles for the NIPCC’s Climate Change Reconsidered reports, the hundreds who participate in Heartland Institute climate conferences, and the 31,487 US scientists who have signed theOregon Petition, attesting that there is no convincing scientific evidence that humans are causing catastrophic warming or climate disruption.

All of us are firm skeptics of claims that humans are causing catastrophic global warming and climate change. We are not climate change “deniers.” We know Earth’s climate and weather are constantly in flux, undergoing recurrent fluctuations that range from flood and drought cycles to periods of low or intense hurricane and tornado activity, to the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD) and Little Ice Age (1350-1850) – and even to Pleistocene glaciers that repeatedly buried continents under a mile of ice.

What we deny is the notion that humans can prevent these fluctuations, by ending fossil fuel use and emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, which plays only an insignificant role in climate change.

The real deniers are people who think our climate was and should remain static and unchanging, such as 1900-1970, supposedly – during which time Earth actually warmed and then cooled, endured the Dust Bowl, and experienced periods of devastating hurricanes and tornadoes.