Tag Archives | Google

The Origins Of Google Earth

Via the Guardian, Oliver Burkeman on Google and Apple’s quests to map the world in ever greater detail, and how our maps’ creators shape how we engage with the world:

[Almost a decade ago], Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been fascinated by the zooming satellite imagery used by US news networks to report on bombing raids in Iraq. Those terrain graphics were provided by Keyhole, Inc, a software company that the CIA had helped to fund. Unlike the rest of us, Page and Brin had the wherewithal to act upon their fascination: they bought Keyhole, repackaging and releasing the firm’s software as Google Earth in 2005.

“They say they bought it because it looked cool,” says Brotton. “But my view is that they absolutely knew what they were buying. They marketed it in this touchy-feely way, as an environmental thing, and they called it ‘Earth’ – ‘Google World’ would have sounded imperialist.

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Google Maps Introduces Pyramid-View

Amazing, the Mayans’ breathtaking pyramids can now be wandered remotely. The Los Angeles Times reveals:

For travelers who’ve never been to the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza, a virtual window into the site’s pyramids and plazas is available online, among 30 archaeological zones in Mexico now mapped by Google Street View. A viewer can almost feel like they might tumble into the Sacred Cenote, or natural sinkhole, where Maya priests practiced ritual sacrifice. Or imagine cavorting on the Plaza of the Thousand Columns.

Google and Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, announced the new maps last week. Using a 360-degree camera mounted on a bicycle, Google captured “street views” of other major archaeological sites in Mexico, such as Monte Alban in Oaxaca and Teotihuacan outside Mexico City.

Lesser-known Mesoamerican sites are also now mapped by Google Street View, including Tula in the state of Hidalgo and Xochicalco in Morelos.

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Do Evil: Google Admits it ‘Failed’ to Delete Wi-Fi Data

Via The Telegraph:

It came to light in 2010 that search engine giant Google had collected information from open WiFi networks via its Streetview mapping cars. Google had assured the public that the sensitive information – passwords, email, etc. – had been destroyed. Well, that may not have been the truth after all:

Google has admitted that it did not in fact delete all the data, which could include passwords and emails, collected over open WiFi networks by its Streetview mapping cars in 2010 in a number of countries around the world.

The news means that Britain’s recently reopened investigation into the so-called WiFi snooping could be bolstered by an opportunity to re-examine evidence that the ICO had asked to be destroyed.

Read more at The Telegraph.

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Google’s Virtual Brain Goes On YouTube And Looks For Cat Videos

Kaibara87 (CC)

Sounds like Google’s virtual “brain” consisting of 16,000 networked computers does a pretty good job of enjoying the same dumb stuff that humans do. John Markoff reports for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Inside Google’s secretive X laboratory, known for inventing self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses, a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain.

There Google scientists created one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the internet to learn on its own.

Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats.

The neural network taught itself to recognise cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Google Calls Its Report on Government Takedown Requests “Troubling,” “Free Expression Is At Risk”

Via Google’s Official Blog:

About two years ago, we launched our interactive Transparency Report. We started by disclosing data about government requests. Since then, we’ve been steadily adding new features, like graphs showing traffic patterns and disruptions to Google services from different countries. And just a couple weeks ago, we launched a new section showing the requests we get from copyright holders to remove search results.

The traffic and copyright sections of the Transparency Report are refreshed in near-real-time, but government request data is updated in six-month increments because it’s a people-driven, manual process. Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011.

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers.

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Google’s Moog Doodle

Doodle_Quick_StartBack in 1999 when The Disinformation Company was just a couple of years old, we released a compilation CD called “Best Of Moog: Electronic Pop Hits From The 60′s & 70′s.” The project allowed us to collaborate with inventor of the Moog synthesizer (and many would say the founder of electronic music), Robert Moog, who wrote the liner notes and MC’d our release party in New York.

Bob passed away in 2005, but today Google is honoring his 78th birthday with one of its famous doodles, this time an interactive virtual Moog synth.

It’s lot of fun, check it out at Google, and for a guide to playing it, visit Moog Music’s Quick Start Guide.

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SAGE: A New State-Corporate Nexus In U.S. Democracy Manipulation

Propaganda_UPR3New Left Project on a new model of propaganda creation and dissemination:
The increasingly close relationship between Google and the US “democracy promotion” apparatus recently took a new turn with the launch of a new, private, non-profit organization designed to manipulate democratic movements in (initially) four nations: Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Russia. Strengthening America’s Global Engagement (SAGE) marks the latest permutation of the long-established nexus of US foreign policy and the interests of capital. It represents a new blueprint for US “strategic communication” which promises to create a new arm for US propaganda. The plan, released late last month, is remarkably candid. Describing SAGE as “primarily...a grant-making organization”, it promises to “leverage the power of the private sector – where the bulk of American ingenuity, creativity, technological innovation and resources rest – to strengthen communications with foreign publics, in support of U.S. national interests.”
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Telling The Story Of My Life In AdWords

Artist Erica Scourti chronicles the ad-triggering keywords embedded within her daily existence -- the hidden fuel driving the "free" internet economy:
Every day, I write and email my diary to my Gmail account and copy over the list of suggested keywords linking to clusters of relevant ads, making visible the way we and our personal information are the product in the ‘free’ internet economy. The video covers March 2012.
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James Cameron & Google’s Eric Schmidt Plan To Mine Space

RCW 86Space: The final frontier. Hollywood and Silicon Valley superheroes Cameron and Schmidt plan to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before… Emma Rowley reports for the Telegraph:

Power players including Eric Schmidt, the Google chairman, and James Cameron, the film director, are planning to mine the final frontier: space.

They are among the backers of a new venture that will reach for the riches lying elsewhere in the solar system. Planetary Resources will be a “space exploration company to expand Earth’s resource base” according to scant information released ahead of the start-up’s launch in Seattle on Tuesday.

“The company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP,” was the bold claim. “This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.”

Mr Schmidt and the internet giant’s co-founder Larry Page are listed alongside Mr Cameron, the director of Titanic and Avatar, among the venture’s investors and advisers.

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Google Will Now Pay You To Track Everything You Do Online, Via A Black Box

Would you sell off your privacy in return for a $5 gift card every three months? Ars Technica reports:

Google quietly started up the Screenwise data collection program Tuesday night, taking the e-mail addresses of people interested in “add[ing] a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them.” For their participation, Google offers users a $5 Amazon gift card for every three months they stay with the program. Less publicly, Google also started looking for people who would install a piece of hardware on their network to do more extensive monitoring.

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