Google---sorry divegeek

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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby FrankenHollow » Thu 28 Jun 2012 10:41 pm

Google is unpredictable, when it comes to reversing decisions like this. I'm going to hold out until about mid-July, before I start transitioning to other options.
Plus, I need to figure exactly how many products I'm using right now. ...Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google+, Adwords, Search, Books, Scholar, Picasa, Earth, Sketchup, Maps, and I know that's not all of them....

This sucks. I really hope they change their minds, or I'll feel like I'm compromising my morals every time I have to use Scholar or Books (sometimes they're the only way to find hard-to-find articles and publications).
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby quychang » Thu 28 Jun 2012 10:49 pm

Google is unpredictable, when it comes to reversing decisions like this. I'm going to hold out until about mid-July, before I start transitioning to other options.
Plus, I need to figure exactly how many products I'm using right now. ...Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google+, Adwords, Search, Books, Scholar, Picasa, Earth, Sketchup, Maps, and I know that's not all of them....


[/quote]

Can't argue with your reasoning, as I still use Android and Gmail...but I still say....their main source of revenue is advertising generated by their search results. You can continue to use the peripheral products which are by and large not revenue generating. Boycotting their main search engine, which generates the lion's share of their revenue stream is easy...lots of options... and if enough of us do it, they will notice. If not, we've already transitioned to alternate providers and they can go .....well, I'll leave that to your imaginations.

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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby quychang » Thu 28 Jun 2012 11:53 pm

FYI, I just uninstalled Chrome. It comes with a very nice questionaire regarding why you're uninstalling. Spend 5 minutes telling them what you think, if enough people do, it will get their attention.

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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby gravedancer » Fri 29 Jun 2012 6:33 am

quychang wrote:http://bing.com
http://ask.com
http://yahoo.com
http://altavista.com

Just to name four of the many alternatives to google, I quit using Google for everything but email over a year ago. Oh, I "do" have chrome installed, but I may fix that.

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Unless its changed in the last couple of years, Yahoo (and I think alta vista) actually piggyback their search results through Googles database, so even if you start on one of those sites you are in effect still using Google.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby quychang » Fri 29 Jun 2012 6:53 am

Unless its changed in the last couple of years, Yahoo (and I think alta vista) actually piggyback their search results through Googles database, so even if you start on one of those sites you are in effect still using Google.
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Entirely possible. Yahoo search used an algorithm that was really marginal. Just keep looking, I'm going to check out duckduck.go toay and see how it is..There are dozens of search engines you just need to do some research and find something that meets your needs. Or just keep using Google if thier actions don't bother you.''

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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby divegeek » Fri 29 Jun 2012 7:06 am

This is actually not a policy change, but a long-standing policy which for some reason wasn't enforced on Google Shopper. It has been Google's policy for quite some time not to allow sales of guns or related stuff via Google Checkout (now called Google Wallet -- not to be confused with the Android Google Wallet app).

It sucks, but it's essentially a result of Google being a CA-based company. I don't know the details, but there are some legal implications for CA companies who are "on-line gunsellers". This doesn't affect selling of training classes or similar, or gun-related stuff like targets, etc., just guns, parts and ammo, and it only applies to selling gun stuff. So Shopper, Wallet, Offers and I'd guess ads as well. It doesn't affect search, or gmail, or anything else.

As for the data-mining, Google provides a comprehensive set of options for opting out of all tracking, and Google does honor those opt-outs. Google truly does not want to track you if you don't want to be tracked -- but Google believes that it can add enough value to your life by working to anticipate your needs and pro-actively meet them that you'll actually want to be tracked. We'll see how that works out, but web search personalization (adjusting your web search results based on past web searches, Google+ relationships, etc.) has already significantly improved search accuracy for most people, and is a big contributor to why Google search gives you better results than Bing or DuckDuckGo.

Perhaps the best example of what Google intends with this pro-active personalization is the "Google Now" feature of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which was announced day before yesterday: Android uses information from your calendar, web searches, location history, etc. to:

  • Figure out where you live and work, and to pro-actively notify you of traffic problems or other delays on your route to work (in the morning) or route home (in the evening). It will also suggest alternative routes based on current traffic conditions.
  • Notice when you have appointments on your calendar that indicate you need to be some other place at a given time, and pro-actively notify you when you need to leave. I've actually been alpha-testing this feature for a couple of months and it is awesome. I just make sure that my calendar entries include a location, then 15 minutes before I need to leave my phone lets me know it's time to go. It even works for mass transit, taking into account bus schedules, walking time, etc. (if you put it in transit mode). It doesn't yet offer biking or walking mode, or mixed-mode (I often mix biking and transit), but I'm sure it'll get there.
  • Your phone will notify your of changes in the weather forecast.
  • If you've searched for a flight, your phone will pro-actively notify you of any changes in that flight status.
  • If you've searched for a sports team, your phone will notify you of scores, etc.

There are probably some others that I've forgotten. All of this is configurable, of course, and it's very easy to turn off notifications you don't use, or adjust their priority. And it's also just the beginning. The goal is to provide an intelligent personal assistant that knows what information you need and gives it to you exactly when you need it.

Google's goal with advertising (how Google currently makes 95% of its money) is to make advertising something that's actually useful to people by only providing ads for things that people are actually interested in. If Google shows you an ad that you don't click on, that is considered to be a failure -- you should have been shown an ad that was interesting or else nothing at all. So Google's eventual goal is to dramatically reduce the amount of advertising you see, narrowing it to stuff that you actually want to see.

BUT Google understands that not everyone wants all of that, and that some people will not find enough value in the personalization to justify the loss of privacy, whether or not the loss of privacy has any negative impact (and Google wants to make sure it doesn't, which is why Google does not sell your data to anyone, because then Google would lose the ability to manage how it's used). So, you can opt out of all tracking, and the most "invasive" tracking options are all opt-in.

Web history (complete history of all web sites you visit) and location history, for example, are opt-in. Unless you've specifically turned them on, Google does not track all of that, even if you're using Chrome. Chrome has an optional feature to enable Google Instant Search from the "omnibox" (the Chrome location bar). If you turn it on, then Google will be informed of each character you type in that box, so that Google can better predict what you're trying to find and get you there faster -- but it's turned OFF by default. So by default if you type something that looks like a URL into Chrome, Google doesn't know about it. You can also configure Chrome to use a different search engine, in which case Google won't know anything about searches you type into the omnibox, either.

You can also opt out of all tracking for either ads or analytics purposes, through Google's privacy tools. Because this opting out is done by installing a cookie in your browser, and cookies can get lost, Google provides extensions/add-ons for Chrome, Firefox and IE that will enforce your opt-outs, re-installing the cookies if they ever get deleted. I know one of the engineers who works on the opt-outs stuff and his team is very serious about enforcing those opt outs and about making sure there's no way any other group at Google can work around them.

There is some stuff you can't really opt out of, of course, except by not using Google's services. You can't avoid seeing ads on Google search results unless you don't use search. You can turn off all personalization of search results, though (but you'll miss out on some very useful features which are coming down the pipe, I can't say more). You can't avoid seeing ads in Gmail unless you don't use the Gmail web interface. If you use a mail client and get your mail via POP3 or IMAP4, though, you can avoid seeing those ads. Google's position on those things is that those ads, tailored based on your search or your e-mail content, are the price for using the services.

Finally, if you want to see everything Google is tracking about you, you can do that through the privacy dashboard. And you can delete your information from there.

All of the Google privacy tools are available at http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/tools/. You can also get to that page with two clicks from google.com. Or search for it :-)

Back to the subject of Google and gun stuff... yeah, that sucks, and it's not likely to change unless CA becomes less hoplophobic. By all means let Google know you're annoyed by it, but the policy comes from Google's legal counsel, so it's very unlikely to change. However, it does only affect Shopper, Wallet and Offers.

As far as the rest of the Google-fear goes, I think it's somewhat overblown, that Google is and will be responsible with your data, and that Google provides people with ways to protect themselves from Google even while using Google, which to me shows a high level of respect for users' preferences.

My experience as a Google employee over the last 1.5 years has substantially raised my previously-high opinion of the company's integrity and commitment to doing the right thing for users. That's not to say there are never any mistakes, such as the Street View wifi packet logging, or the Safari privacy override, but they are viewed by the employees and the management as mistakes to be corrected and avoided in the future. Google really is a different sort of company, and really does try to adhere to "Don't Be Evil". Maybe someday that will change, but it would require a major culture shift.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby divegeek » Fri 29 Jun 2012 7:07 am

gravedancer wrote:Unless its changed in the last couple of years, Yahoo (and I think alta vista) actually piggyback their search results through Googles database, so even if you start on one of those sites you are in effect still using Google.

Yahoo uses Bing as the underlying search engine. I'm not sure about Altavista, but it's owned by Yahoo, so I'd expect it's also Bing underneath.

DuckDuckGo uses multiple engines, but the primary is Yahoo, so it's also ultimately Bing.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby Daeyel » Wed 04 Jul 2012 11:20 pm

Interesting - I predicted digital personal assistants replacing real ones in 1998. I said in 10 years. I was off by 4.

My idea was a device that would hear 'meeting 10 am Tuesday', and automatically schedule you. Are we that advanced yet?
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby gobbly » Thu 05 Jul 2012 4:44 pm

SteelSlapper wrote:It's really pretty easy to go about your internet life without Google, I have done it for years. Knowledge is power my friends. Google is easily avoided and your internet experience only depends on Google if you make it that way. There are a hundred alternatives for every service Google offers (yes I know that is exaggerated, but you get what I am saying).


I would say it's hard to go about your internet life without supporting google. Most of the time you can't even tell if the site you're on is paying google or not... you'd have to check the source for every add you see, do IP/DNS research to determine who is hosting them, [auto-filtered] stuff like that, and you still can't tell what sort of back end API's are being used, or who is hosting persistent resources in their cloud... The site that the OP linked is, at the very least, using google as their mailserver.

It's easy to avoid www.google.com or their shopping site, but as far as a boycott, good luck. I do question if it's even warranted, since a google search still brings up the best gun related results out there, youtube is full of great firearms video's, blogger still has plenty of pro firearms content, out of the plethora of sites google runs, this only effects one of them meaning they won't sell them to you. I would see this being as silly boycotting walmart because they don't sell guns in every single store they own...
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby IchBin » Tue 10 Jul 2012 5:27 pm

Daeyel wrote:Interesting - I predicted digital personal assistants replacing real ones in 1998. I said in 10 years. I was off by 4.

My idea was a device that would hear 'meeting 10 am Tuesday', and automatically schedule you. Are we that advanced yet?


Droids and iPhones can already do this. I use it all the time to create reminders, setup appointments, and even setting an alarm.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby mgsbigdog » Tue 10 Jul 2012 6:22 pm

IchBin wrote:
Daeyel wrote:Interesting - I predicted digital personal assistants replacing real ones in 1998. I said in 10 years. I was off by 4.

My idea was a device that would hear 'meeting 10 am Tuesday', and automatically schedule you. Are we that advanced yet?


Droids and iPhones can already do this. I use it all the time to create reminders, setup appointments, and even setting an alarm.


I think that was his point. 1998 + 10 = 2008. Its now 2012 so he's off by 4 years 2012-2008=4.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby quychang » Tue 10 Jul 2012 6:52 pm

I would say it's hard to go about your internet life without supporting google. Most of the time you can't even tell if the site you're on is paying google or not... you'd have to check the source for every add you see, do IP/DNS research to determine who is hosting them, [auto-filtered] stuff like that, and you still can't tell what sort of back end API's are being used, or who is hosting persistent resources in their cloud... The site that the OP linked is, at the very least, using google as their mailserver.

It's easy to avoid www.google.com or their shopping site, but as far as a boycott, good luck. I do question if it's even warranted, since a google search still brings up the best gun related results out there, youtube is full of great firearms video's, blogger still has plenty of pro firearms content, out of the plethora of sites google runs, this only effects one of them meaning they won't sell them to you. I would see this being as silly boycotting walmart because they don't sell guns in every single store they own..


I'd say it's more like impossible to completely avoid supporting google. I still choose to not use their search engine, because I don't care for the way they handle url forwarding. I know that all search engines do similar things, just some are better at putting it in the back ground. It's easier for me to live with. I continue to use gmail, and don't anticipate changing unless they start charging for it. However, I make a point of not clicking on any advertising links in gmail, or on the rare occasions when I resort to google search. I have found that Bing is getting better all the time, google simply had a huge head start on them in amassing their databases and predictive searches based on previous searches made by millions of customers. I get almost the same results now using bing, and find I've come to prefer it.

I'm not suggesting a boycott, I think that's senseless with the momentum they have, they would have to do something a lot more stupid than blocking gun sites on their shopping page to derail them. Google is not stupid, they've proved that again and again. More power to them, and best of luck to them and their employees...even Dive Geek :lol3: .

I'm not hurting them with my decision or actions, but I feel better about the way I use the net, it works for me.

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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby divegeek » Tue 10 Jul 2012 8:19 pm

IchBin wrote:
Daeyel wrote:Interesting - I predicted digital personal assistants replacing real ones in 1998. I said in 10 years. I was off by 4.

My idea was a device that would hear 'meeting 10 am Tuesday', and automatically schedule you. Are we that advanced yet?


Droids and iPhones can already do this. I use it all the time to create reminders, setup appointments, and even setting an alarm.

Yeah, but only if you actually trigger it. And I don't think the iPhone can actually do "meeting at 10 am on Tuesday". My wife's won't interpret the reference to the future day, at least. Timers and alarms work well.

quychang wrote:I still choose to not use their search engine, because I don't care for the way they handle url forwarding.

I'm not sure what you're talking about there... do you mean that when you click on a search result you're actually hitting a google URL, which redirects you to where you're actually going? Every search engine will do that, because noticing which results people use is a powerful indicator of which are the best results for a query. It's especially useful to know out of a page full of links which one is the last one the person uses, because odds are good that one gave them what they were looking for. And search is entirely about figuring out which results are the best.

I've noticed lately that there's a really nice synergy going on between my desktop and mobile searches. I search for something on my computer and find it. Then an hour or two later, I start to search for the same thing on my phone, and not only does the exact search query come up after only two or three letters, but when I tap it, the link I found most helpful in my desktop search is usually the very top result in my mobile search. I've taken to searching for stuff on my laptop that I know I'm going to need to search for on my phone later, just so that the phone search will be fast and easy. Though there's another service coming out that will make that less necessary.

quychang wrote:I have found that Bing is getting better all the time, google simply had a huge head start on them in amassing their databases and predictive searches based on previous searches made by millions of customers. I get almost the same results now using bing, and find I've come to prefer it.

Actually, third party search quality measurements show it's going the other direction... Google is better than Bing, and has been widening the gap steadily for the last couple of years. It's also quite likely that the combination of Google's enormous knowledge graph and hints from social data will continue to improve Google's results significantly, as will better personalization.

However, I think it's actually a good thing Bing is around, and I've heard the same comment from people on the search team. Google may have been getting a little complacent with search improvements for a while, but Bing's presence has pushed them into high gear for the last two or three years, and it's beginning to show... and should show even more soon.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby jktseug » Tue 10 Jul 2012 8:39 pm

I actually liked what you had posted about some of the features.
I have had a few ideas for applications for my android but being a single person who works full time, I haven't had much time to work on it and almost just want to find someone like Google that I can pass my idea off to and hope they run with it.

divegeek wrote:
quychang wrote:I still choose to not use their search engine, because I don't care for the way they handle url forwarding.

I'm not sure what you're talking about there... do you mean that when you click on a search result you're actually hitting a google URL, which redirects you to where you're actually going? Every search engine will do that, because noticing which results people use is a powerful indicator of which are the best results for a query. It's especially useful to know out of a page full of links which one is the last one the person uses, because odds are good that one gave them what they were looking for. And search is entirely about figuring out which results are the best.


I know duckduckgo does not do that with their URLs, and I have found it kind of annoying lately that it isn't just a link. Mostly because if i am just copying the link it makes it more complicated and i have noticed it taking a little bit of time lately to redirect instead of just taking me to the URL. I can live with it because they often have the best results, but I have liked some of the results duckduckgo gives, better than bing or yahoo, or many other search engines other than Google.

The problem is a lot of people don't understand all the information they are always passing and that can be available from your computer from any website through things like webjacking. Google is at least honest and open about their policies. It would have just been nice to see some information about why they removed their guns and ammo from shopping and an input for feedback and complaints about it.
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Re: Google---sorry divegeek

Postby quychang » Tue 10 Jul 2012 9:28 pm

I'm not sure what you're talking about there... do you mean that when you click on a search result you're actually hitting a google URL, which redirects you to where you're actually going? Every search engine will do that, because noticing which results people use is a powerful indicator of which are the best results for a query. It's especially useful to know out of a page full of links which one is the last one the person uses, because odds are good that one gave them what they were looking for. And search is entirely about figuring out which results are the best.


Yes, what I'm talking about is all the meta data that google appends to the link. I KNOW that Bing does the same thing, but they do it without making the original link longer than your arm. It's a minor annoyance if you just want to go to that page, but a pain if you want to post the link somewhere else. Picky, I know. And I used Google for years before I decided it bothered me enough to switch. And I'm not disputing, sometimes I still fall back on Google if I don't get the results I want from Bing. But it's less often than it was a year ago, regardless of third party testing.

I was a tech supervisor for AOL when Google launched. I taught more people than you can count to use google and stay the <censored> away from webcrawler....I wish I had had the foresight to dump my AOL stock options and buy Google, several of my co-workers did, and they don't work anymore. But that's water under the bridge. Companies (aol) fade away, and others change policies and ways of doing business. I still like Google, I just choose to use Bing. In part because I have personal ties to Microsoft, and feel some loyalty to the company, in part because I prefer the way Bing handles search results on the surface.

I've been known to use http://www.wolframalpha.com/ if I wanted something very specific in the science/math realm. The reason that there continues to be a variety of search engines, is because some work better for some people than others. The beauty of the 'net is that we have choices.

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