Tag Archives: MIT

Android Device Makers Are “Mutinying”

Android Robot. Français : le logo d'android 日本...

There is an interesting article that appeared on the MIT Technology Review which claims that manufactures are getting increasingly annoyed with Google’s limitations on what they can do.

Google doesn’t actually make its own smartphones, in the same way Apple does, the company just produces the software and lets handset makers use it for free. Google makes money off its Android operating system from advertising. By producing their own operating system and getting into the market, Google is securing they maintain a presence on mobile devices.

But now, according to the article, manufactures want to break free from Google’s restrictions on them. In order to be considered an official Android phone, device manufactures must satisfy very specific requirements and get permission from Google. They cannot uniquely alter the Android software in any way – if they do Google will not grant them license or consider their device compatible.

Manufactures are complaining that there is nothing that sets them apart from all the other device makers who have Google’s operating system running. They say it’s hurting their business in some areas and are fed-up with being mere vehicles for Google’s Android.

Some of these manufactures are planning to distinguish themselves from everybody else by altering the Android software to make it their own. It will not satisfy Google’s requirements or make them part of the official Android lineup, but it will make them stand out from the rest.

The manufactures seem to be emboldened by success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet which has its own custom operating system build on modified Android software.

Uh oh – the manufactures are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore…

For more information:

Technology Review, “Android Device Makers Are Mutinying, Says Insider” – click here

Fudzilla, “Android makers tell Google to fork off” – click here

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New Search Engine DuckDuckGo Soars Thanks To Google’s Lack Of Privacy

Image representing Duck Duck Go as depicted in...

There is a new kid on the block and he’s giving Google a run for its money. The search engine DuckDuckGo has seen a huge spike in search queries. The little search engine that could has been experiencing a surge in traffic since January and things keep getting better for it. If you recall, Google announced that it would be introducing its new more intrusive privacy policy back in January.

DuckDuckGo is only four years old and it’s gaining popularity among many people who want to keep their searches private. DuckDuckGo promotes itself as being very respectful of the privacy of its users. Its founder, Gabriel Weinberg, knows that this is what people want – people are desperate for privacy on the Internet nowadays, especially since Google has been recently exposed as a massive violator of the privacy of its users (and even Apple Safari users).

Mr. Weinberg earned two honors degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has worked in the tech world for some time now and has been really successful. He started DuckDuckGo in 2008 because he wanted to do something useful for the public.

DuckDuckGo traffic is up 227% and reaches nearly 1.5 million unique daily searches. This is really impressive for such a small search engine. It obviously doesn’t exactly present an imminent threat to Google yet, but DuckDuckGo is comfortable with their improving numbers.

DuckDuckGo vows to continue to respect the privacy of its users and is constantly working on ways to improve their search engine. Google better watch out 🙂

Thomas the Tank Engine

For more information:

The Toronto Star, “Search engine DuckDuckGo soars on un-Google-like privacy policy” – click here

TPM, “DuckDuckGo Aims To Beat Google With New Search Features” – click here

The Next Web, “Look at that DuckDuckGo! Daily search traffic is ballooning…” – click here

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Google Needs To Tell Its Users The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

In response to the increasing pressure on Google to become more transparent with its policies and protect its users, Google often claims that it does not want to violate your privacy. After congress, EU regulators, the news media, privacy advocacy groups, and average everyday users strongly voiced their concerns over Google’s plans to combine all the personal data it has of you into one unified profile, Google responded by saying that they aren’t collecting any additional information of you. Google claims that they are simply just combining your data from across its many services so that users get a better experience online.

This claim is obviously a load of garbage – nonsense. Although, Google loves to spew out the same old PR talking points to defend consolidating our personal information – the fact is that it certainly does not make for a better user experience at all. What it does do is that it makes for a better and clearer picture of exactly who you are so that Google can sell that information to advertisers. The newest craze in advertising is the obsession with personalized and targeted advertising. The days advertisers used to blast out their ads to the general public are pretty much over with. Now they want to get more efficient with how they position their advertisements by making sure that the people who see a particular ad are the right people who are supposed to see it – people who are more likely to purchase the product. That’s why Google, the biggest advertising-based business in the world, wants to know every little detail about you. A Google spokesman even admitted that the company’s desire is to combat “the faceless web”.

Your personal data is as good as gold to Google. The more they can gather of you and make it more efficient to organize that data, the easier it is to monetize it.

It is important to note that protecting our privacy should not be simply limited to ensuring that certain bits of us do not get exposed. The protection of our privacy, especially in the context of this emerging virtual world, should also be about knowing how our information is shared and to whom. In 2010, Danah Boyd, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, wrote an article called “Why Privacy Is Not Dead“. She writes,

“The reason for this disconnect is that in a computational world, privacy is often implemented through access control. Yet privacy is not simply about controlling access. It’s about understanding a social context, having a sense of how our information is passed around by others, and sharing accordingly. As social media mature, we must rethink how we encode privacy into our systems.”

Ms. Boyd wrote that before the launch of Google Plus, but it can definitely be applied to Google too. She’s absolutely correct. We need to not only be worried about whether or not Google is collecting more information of us, in an attempt to control just how deep Google can intrude into our lives, but we should be equally be concerned about how Google is disseminating our information and who gets to see our data.  

Also, keep in mind that the combining of data IS collecting more information of us. Google does not necessarily need to dig deeper into our lives to know more about us – the intrusive act of piecing together bits and pieces of us to create a completed puzzle image of us IS, indeed, new information. Therefore, the act of consolidating our personal data is an attempt to retrieve more information about us and further destroy any trace of anonymity.

So the next time you read about or hear another Google employee spewing out the same old lines about how we shouldn’t worry because they aren’t collecting any additional information of us but only combining information – you should be concerned. Red flags should immediately be going off.

The way Google uses information of you and what they collect of you should be made crystal clear. All we get from Google now is ambiguity, confusion, and disingenuous comments. Google needs to come clean and speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth – and yes, lying by omission is still a lie!

I highly recommend you read all three of these fantastic articles below. They all relate to one another. All three articles bring up another important point against the combining of personal information. The consolidation of our personal data does not let us modify our behavior based on where we are.  In life, we don’t just have one persona, we have multiply personas. The way you speak and act changes to adapt to different people and environments. Combining our information is an attack on personal freedom; it limits how one can express herself/himself and how one can reinvent herself/himself:

Slate’s “The Real Problem With Google’s New Privacy Policy” – Click Here

Danah Boyd’s “Why Privacy Is Not Dead” – Click Here

New York Times “T.M.I.- I Don’t Want To Know” – Click Here

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