Tag Archives: Google

How Google bought off Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah)

Link here. The facts are very damning, and illustrate once again that no matter how much these politicians claim they are there to clean up Washington, you cannot trust them. They can be bought, as Lee has been.

In 2011 and 2012 he was very opposed to the consolidation of the internet industry into the hands of a few companies like Google. Now, after receiving a lot of campaign support from Google, he is their biggest defender.

But today, as he presides as chairman of the Senate antitrust panel, Lee’s stance couldn’t be more different. With critics on both sides of the political aisle assailing big tech, Lee has questioned the need for congressional antitrust investigations, complained about big fines imposed on Google, and defended the tech industry against Republican charges of liberal bias.

From “strong concerns about Google’s…predominant position” to “Antitrust is not the answer”

Most recently, when the DOJ announced its own broad antitrust review of the leading online platforms in July 2019, Lee seemed to shrug, focusing not on the behavior of the tech companies, but on what he called the “institutional tug-of-war” between the Justice Department and the FTC.

Time to primary this former Tea Party conservative, now a Google shill bought and paid for.

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A review of Glenn Reynolds’ The Social Media Upheaval:
A Modern Call for Freedom

We have a free speech problem in America, and it isn’t because our government is trying to restrict our speech.

The problem exists because almost all our speech today is fed through a tiny handful of giant social media outlets, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, all of whom seem dominated by leftists and partisan Democratic Party ideaology.

Only last week we saw a perfect example of this problem. A mob of protesters had gathered outside the private home of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) because he refused to acquiesce meekly to draconian new gun control laws.

Several protesters shouted threatening obscenities against McConnell and his wife, with the leader of the local Kentucky chapter of Black Lives Matter, Chanelle Helm, screaming for someone to “just stab the mother-%#$&!&/!”

McConnell’s campaign office then followed the next day with the following tweet:

Last night, an angry left-wing mob of Amy McGrath supporters stormed Senator McConnell’s Louisville home screaming obscenities and hoping someone would “just stab the mother****** in the heart.”

The tweet then linked to a video showing this mob’s violent chants and death threats.

Twitter’s response? It suspended McConnell’s account, even though he threatened no one and merely wanted to highlight the vicious ugliness of his opponents. Meanwhile the tech giant continued to allow direct statements of violence against the right by many leftists, including one thread dubbed “#MassacreMitch,” with no consequences.

Only after the Republican Party threatened to pull all of its advertising from Twitter did that social media giant finally back down and reinstate the McConnell account, though it added a warning tag to the video.

Twitter, like Google and Facebook, has decided to take sides in the political battles that this country is now undergoing. And with their almost godlike total power over internet access, these tech giants are in a position to very effectively censor any opposition to their political goals.

So what do we do? In an effort to make an intelligent stab at this issue, Glenn Reynolds, law professor at the University of Tennessee and the manager of the internet site Instapundit, has recently written a book on the subject, The Social Media Upheaval (Encounter Books 2019). As the book’s Amazon page notes,
» Read more

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Whistleblower of Google anti-right bias goes public after being threatened by Google

Reason #3,427,934 for not using Google: The whistleblower who has given more than 900 Google documents to both Project Veritas and the Justice Department demonstrating the tech giant’s anti-right bias and its attempt to influence future elections has gone public after being threatened by Google.

Project Veritas has released hundreds of internal Google documents leaked by Vorhies. Among those documents is a file called “news black list site for google now.” The document, according to Vorhies, is a “black list,” which restricts certain websites from appearing on news feeds for an Android Google product. The list includes conservative and progressive websites, such as newsbusters.org and mediamatters.org. The document says that some sites are listed with or because of a “high user block rate.”

One document shows how Google is ranking various established news sites, routinely favoring left-leaning news sites — including the Russian government’s RT news site — over more conservative media.

Meanwhile, once Google found out what the whistleblower was doing it called the police on him, claiming he was “unwell.”

After having been identified by an anonymous account (which Vorhies believes belongs to a Google employee,) on social media as a “leaker,” Vorhies was approached by law enforcement at his residence in California. According to Vorhies, San Francisco police received a call from Google which prompted a “wellness check.”

Vorhies described the incident to Project Veritas: “They got inside the gate, the police, and they started banging on my door… And so the police decided that they were going to call in additional forces. They called in the FBI, they called in the SWAT team. And they called in a bomb squad. … T]his is a large way in which [Google tries to] intimidate their employees that go rogue on the company…”

There are other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo and Yippy. Use them. There are other email services. Get off of gmail. The more the market supports Google competitors the more likely the company will reform its ways. At a minimum its power will be reduced.

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Want to get off gmail? Behind the Black might provide an option

I am exploring the possibility of offering email services through my server for those who want to get off of gmail and google. However, before such a service can be offered, we need to know the amount of interest there might be. The demand will effect the cost, which means I can’t even give you an idea of what we might charge.

Regardless, if you are interested in having “your.name@behindtheblack.com” as your email address, please say so in the comments. There will be no obligations, by you or me or my server, but the response however will help us decide if we can do it.

And if we can do it, and many people sign on, we will then be taking the proper free enterprise approach for combating the corrupt business practices of giants like Google. Our federal government might still act to break Google up, but I think it would be far better if the free market did the job instead.

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Strike on July 4-5 against censorship on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc

A strike protesting the censorship of conservatives on social media giants Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, is being organized for July 4 and 5.

According to organizer Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia (who has since split with the project), “This means we will not use social media on those days, except to post notices that we are on strike. We’re going to make a lot of noise. Nobody will be able to ignore what’s happening. We’re going to flex our collective muscles and demand that giant, manipulative corporations give us back control over our data, privacy, and user experience.”

More details at the link.

I would love to join them, but since I do not use any of these corrupt social media, essentially striking against them continuously, there isn’t much I can do. However, if you use Facebook for example you might be able to have an impact.

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Google censors Project Veritas expose on Google censorship

Leftist fascism: While I have noted this in my earlier post about Google’s effort to block both Trump’s election and many conservative sites, it is necessary to highlight: Google, the owner of youtube, has removed Project Veritas’s video expose from youtube.

The only reason they could have to do this is to block people from knowing about Google’s partisan and fascist behavior. You can still watch the video at the Project Veritas site.

As I said, people have to stop using Google. Both DuckDuckGo and StartPage are viable search engine alternatives, though the former is preferred because the latter depends on Google’s search engine.

If you have gmail, find an alternative. There are many.

And as I have said numerous times in the past, I would love it if those suggesting evening pauses for this website could find alternative sources other than youtube for those videos.

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Google’s hidden agenda: Stop Trump’s re-election

Project Veritas strikes again! A whistle-blower at Google has revealed that the internet company that dominates all search engines has a conscious policy to oppose the re-election of Donald Trump while simultaneously suppressing conservative websites.

Jen Gennai is the head of “Responsible Innovation” for Google, a sector that monitors and evaluates the responsible implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. In the video, Gennai says Google has been working diligently to “prevent” the results of the 2016 election from repeating in 2020: “We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again.

“We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”

There’s more at the link. For example, Google is also working to adjust its search algorithms to automatically suppress conservative websites from those searches. The goal, to use Google’s own words, is to make the company “the single point of truth” for news, with a perspective that is decidedly leftist and partisan.

The public has got to stop using Google. There are plenty of viable search engine options, such as DuckDuckGo and Startpage. I’ve been using both for almost a decade.

Regardless, it appears that this information will likely fuel the political movement to have the government break this company, as well as Facebook, apart. Though I’d rather the market did the job, these companies are very clearly violating the law that treats them not as news sources but as objective utilities, and thus protects them in certain ways. They need to find out that breaking the law will have negative consequences.

I have embedded the Project Veritas video below the fold. Watch it. It will horrify you. Not surprisingly, the fascists at Google/Youtube have censored the video. If you wish to see it, you need to go the Project Veritas link above.
» Read more

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Google fires conservative for complaining about company’s leftwing bias

Reason 1,323,563 why I don’t use Google: Google has apparently fired a conservative employee, Mike Wacker, for complaining publicly about company’s leftwing bias, including what that employee called “outrage mobs and witch hunts.”

[Wacker] goes on to explain how leftists at Google weaponize HR complaints in order to shut down opposing viewpoints, chronicling a number of right-leaning statements or comments that were formally reported, prompting action. This included one employee’s defense of author Jordan Peterson’s opposition to government enforcement of pronoun-related language, and another’s criticism of the Women’s March over its anti-Semitism problem and lack of inclusivity toward pro-life women.

Meanwhile, Wacker writes, left-wing employees routinely engage in hateful, incendiary and bullying language with impunity (click through for several examples). Google’s Human Resources department has “completely abandoned any pretense of enforcing any sort of objective and impartial standard,” he warns. Wacker says that as a high-profile Republican at the company, he was a frequent target of HR harassment via frivolous complaints, resulting in formal admonitions, and even an offer of a severance package as an incentive to leave Google.

And now he has been fired.

This follows Youtube’s action, a subsidiary of Google, to block conservative Steven Crowder from making any money on his youtube videos.

As I’ve said before, they’re coming for you next, and that time is not far away.

I should note again that it looks like they are already coming for me, based on the strange ebb and flow of hits my website gets from Facebook. Every time my Facebook traffic starts to grow significantly, indicating increasing interest in my site among Facebook users, the hits suddenly drop to zero, as if someone had noticed and decided to block that interest. This has happened several times, and never in conjunction with any specific post. And the only reason I can come up with is that someone at Facebook did not like the conservative-leaning posts I sometimes put up here, and decided to prevent others from reading them.

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Google considered burying conservative outlets in search results

Evil: After Trump’s 2016 election victory, Google management seriously considered rigging search results so that conservative news outlets would not show up.

They never did it, but instead created a short-lived fact check feature that was clearly aimed at discrediting conservative sites.

“We’re working on providing users with context around stories so that they can know the bigger picture,” chimed in David Besbris, vice president of engineering at Google. “We can play a role in providing the full story and educate them about all sides. This doesn’t have to be filtering and can be useful to everyone,” he wrote. Other employees similarly advocated providing contextual information about media sources in search results, and the company later did so with a short-lived fact check at the end of 2017.

Not only did the fact-check feature target conservative outlets almost exclusively, it was also blatantly wrong. Google’s fact check repeatedly attributed false claims to those outlets, even though they demonstrably never made those claims.

Google pulled the faulty fact-check program in January, crediting TheDCNF’s investigation for the decision.

Forgive me if I remain suspicious about how they rig search results these days. There are too many indications that the culture at this company is tyrannically liberal and willing to destroy anyone who dissents from that political position.

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Google wants to monitor our movements, moods, and children

Another reason to dump Google: Google has been issued patents outlining its plans to establish monitors throughout each customer’s home, monitoring movements, moods, activities, and even their children, with the ability to even control behavior.

But there’s even more. According to The Atlantic:

A second patent proposes a smart-home system that would help run the household, using sensors and cameras to restrict kids’ behavior. Parents could program a device to note if it overhears ‘foul language’ from children, scan internet usage for mature or objectionable content, or use ‘occupancy sensors’ to determine if certain areas of the house are accessed while they’re gone— for example, the liquor cabinet. The system could be set to ‘change a smart lighting system color to red and flash the lights’ as a warning to children or even power off lights and devices if they’re grounded.

The language of these patents makes it clear that Google is acutely aware of the powers of inference it has already, even without cameras, by augmenting speakers to recognize the noises you make as you move around the house. The auditory inferences are startling: Google’s smart-home system can infer ‘if a household member is working’ from ‘an audio signature of keyboard clicking, a desk chair moving, and/or papers shuffling.’ Google can make inferences on your mood based on whether it hears raised voices or crying, on when you’re in the kitchen based on the sound of the fridge door opening, on your dental hygiene based on ‘the sounds and/or images of teeth brushing.’

The key aspect of this is that, at least right now, Google cannot force its way into your home unless you agree to let it. That any free American is not sickened by this invasion of privacy and is even considering allowing it into their home illustrates how different a country we are from only a half century ago. In my youth, for any company to publicly consider these actions would have guaranteed its bankruptcy, within weeks. No one would want anything to do with it.

No longer. Too many Americans are now sheep, wedded to their technology to a point of foolishness.

Update: I realized it will help to add that I have managed to eliminate almost all use of Google in my computer work now for more than a decade. For browser searches I use either Startpage or DuckDuckGo. For awhile I was using gmail as a backup email source, in case my main isp went down, but I dumped it about four years ago. With both Google and gmail I then wiped my history so as to reduce the odds of Google retaining it (something I can’t guarantee as Google has already been caught retaining data it does not own).

The only areas I am still using any Google resources is with youtube and Google Maps, and with both I am constantly looking for alternatives. We should all be doing the same. If anything the competition will force Google to reconsider some of its more odious policies.

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Google lied when it said it would allow you to block it from tracking you

Reason #1,238,435 for not using Google: Google lied when it said you can shut off its location tracking functions on your smartphone. Even if you do so, numerous Google applications ignore that instruction and track you anyway.

Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so. Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request…

Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.

The article at the link outlines numerous other examples where Google tracks and records your location, even if you have set your privacy functions to prevent that.

Essentially, the large software companies such as Google and Facebook have no ethics. They are not trustworthy partners, which is why I do not use them. And if an alternative to youtube existed, I would switch from that in a nanosecond.

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People object to Google’s robot call technology sounding just like a human

In creating its new Google assistant, called Duplex, and designing it to be able to make phone calls to schedule appointments, the company made it indistinguishable from a human and successfully hid the fact that it was a robot.

The company was then surprised that many were horrified by this and objected.

The demonstration of the technology at the conference was both impressive and startling. The first example showed Duplex calling a hair salon and scheduling an appointment. The second example involved an even more complex conversation, with the system calling a restaurant to try to make a reservation. In the course of the conversation the system is told it wouldn’t need a reservation for that many people on that particular day. Understanding this, Duplex thanks the person on the other end and hangs up.

These examples of a human-sounding AI interacting with a real person are undeniably impressive, but the technology’s ability to so blatantly fool another human being into thinking it is real has left many unnerved. From suggestions Google had failed at ethical and creative AI design to more explicit accusations that the company was ethically lost, rudderless and outright deceptive, it seems something had gone drastically wrong.

You can watch the demonstration at the link. The robocall technology is quite amazing, and it is also incredibly dishonest and morally bankrupt. Google makes no effort to identify its robot to the listener, and is actually proud that it successfully fools them into thinking they are talking to a human.

The article notes that the company has gotten a lot of negative response to this, and has since said it will always make full disclosure in the future. I have my doubts. I also expect that politicians and survey companies will soon take advantage of this as well. I now routinely hang up on surveys that use robots. To discover that they can fool us makes me want to hang up on all surveys, in all cases.

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Google and Amazon patent 1984-style devices that spy on you in your home

Another reason to dump these companies: Google and Amazon have both patented devices that are designed to spy on you at all times in your home.

The description of Google’s devices is particularly vile, and almost matches precisely the spying devices George Orwell created in 1984 that allowed the government to monitor its citizens 24 hours a day.

Google’s patent application outlines how audio and visual signals could be used to better understand a speaker’s mood or medical condition, according to the New York Times. The devices could listen to the ‘volume of the user’s voice, detected breathing rate, crying’. They could also detect a user’s coughing and sneezing.

The same patent applications reveals a device that could ‘recognize a T-shirt on a floor of the user’s closet’ with Will Smith’s face. It could then combine this with a browser history that shows searches for Mr Smith. This would allow Google to ‘provide a movie recommendation that displays, ‘You seem to like Will Smith. His new movie is playing in a theatre near you.’

In a separate patent application, Google describes a device that would give advice to parents for ‘areas of improvement’ such as spending more time with their children at supper. When children are near a drinks cabinet or are in their parents’ bedroom alone, the system may infer that mischief is likely to be occurring’, the patent read. On detecting mischievous behaviour, the smart device could even hand out punishments such as restricting mobile phone use.

Both Google and Amazon have made it clear in the past year that they are are increasingly partisan, strongly leftist with agendas favoring the Democratic Party. You therefore have to be a simpleton to think that this information will never be used by them for political reasons someday.

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The massive data Facebook and Google collect on their users

Link here. The article is frightening, and illustrates once again why I have nothing to do with Facebook, and as little to do with Google as I can. (I wish someone would come up with a competitor to youtube. There’s money to be made there!)

What was especially disturbing was this tidbit about Google that the author discovered:

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails. [emphasis in original]

In other words, if you use Google to store any documents, no matter how private, they keep those documents even if you decide to delete them. Or to put it another way, Google steals them. Worse, the author also found that Google was keeping every email he’d ever sent or been sent to him, “including the ones [he] deleted or were categorised as spam.” [emphasis mine]

These corporations have compiled databases that can be misused very easily, and I expect someone in their company to do so, repeatedly. Worse, their users seem oblivious to the personal vulnerability that these databases create, and continue to nonchalantly use both Google and Facebook without thought.

I recognize that both companies provide services and need to make money by doing so. I just think they have overstepped the bounds of morality in how they compile and use the information they obtain.

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Users blocked from files by Google Docs

Reason 4,320,333 why I do not use Google: Some users of Google Docs yesterday were blocked by the company from their files because of “terms of service violations.”

In response to some of these reports, a Google employee tweeted that the team handling Google Docs was looking into the matter. Later Tuesday, Google said in a statement that it had “made a code push that incorrectly flagged a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which caused those documents to be automatically blocked. A fix is in place and all users should have full access to their docs.”

Although the error appeared to be a technical glitch, the fact that Google is capable of identifying “bad” Google Docs at all is a reminder: Much of what you upload, receive or type to Google is monitored. While many people may be aware that Gmail scans your emails — for instance, so that its smart-reply feature can figure out what responses to suggest — this policy extends to other Google products, too.

Here’s what this story reveals: Google monitors the content of the files that people store on Google Docs. Google has also developed software that can decide if some of that content is acceptable or unacceptable, to Google. Google can then block access to those supposedly private files, thus giving it the power to silence the work of anyone the company doesn’t like.

Sounds peachy-keen, doesn’t it?

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Google appears to favor liberal sites in its searches

Link here.

The author tries to quantify the suspected bias of Google against conservative and climate-skeptic websites, and is successful in showing that these sites definitely show up much less in Google search results. In some cases he labels the search results so low he calls it blacklisting.

The results show that Google Search is heavily biased against conservative domains, and some respectable conservative domains seem to be blacklisted: thegatewaypundit.com, pjmedia.com, americanthinker.com, redstate.com, powerlineblog.com, drudgereport.com

The numbers for Drudge are especially damning, as they come up in Google searches less than any other site measured, despite having routinely more traffic than anyone, conservative or liberal.

It is still possible that the differences here are just a reflection of society, and that conservative sites simple get less traffic, but I increasingly do not believe this and this paper adds weight to the growing conclusion by many that Google has its thumb on the scale.

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How the “internet of things” robs us of our rights

Link here. Key quote:

One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside. The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It’s as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.

This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don’t really own their tractors but just license the software – so they can’t fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop. The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.

How long will it be before we realize they’re trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?

This is once again why, when I buy something, I try to find the stupidest version I can. It is why I don’t use a smart phone, since all the companies that work with them do not respect my privacy. It is why I avoid Google and Facebook, for the same reasons. In every case, there is an immoral component to the actions of these companies, and it is the personal responsibility of each individual to not participate in or endorse such behavior.

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A memo from Google advising employees on correct thought

Link here. This memo clarifies for everyone what is expected of Google employees. I especially find this quote informative:

Please remember, as you no doubt read in the Employee Handbook, Google’s commitment to diversity is complete and unequivocal. Any variance from diversity is not permitted and will be dealt with immediately. It is only when all of us think exactly the same thoughts that we can achieve perfect diversity.

Of course, Google is also completely committed to the advancement of science and human knowledge. If history has taught us anything, it is that science can only flourish where the allowable topics of discussion are highly circumscribed. Approved subjects of conversation are posted throughout the campus, so please look before you speak.

I believe some of the problem lately has been a simple misunderstanding of my last memo. Unfortunately, I mistyped that Google “approves of free speech.” I meant to write that Google must “approve free speech.” I want all of our employees to feel perfectly free to express themselves however their political, moral, or religious beliefs impel them; provided of course that they receive prior written authorization.

Read it all. It really explains everything.

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The fifteen most popular search engines

Link here. Considering the increasingly fascist attitude of Google towards its employees and its users, I thought it worthwhile to provide this list of alternatives. I use Startpage, which isn’t listed because it is actually a slightly different version of Ixquick.

There is no reason to blindly and mindlessly depend on Google. There are many choices out there. Use your freedom and choose. It is our own personal responsibility to do so.

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The Google Gulag

Link here. The essay contains a nice collection of links documenting Google’s increasing leftwing fascist bent. The key quote however is this:

Damore [the man Google fired] was working on Google’s search infrastructure. And there’s little doubt that he was wasted there. Google’s search has grown more useless even as the company’s search revenues have grown. Google’s goal is to streamline and shape search results for a mobile environment by giving users what it thinks they want rather than what they are actually searching for. Google isn’t just politically left-wing, its product mindset has become all about forcing users to do what it thinks they should be doing. [emphasis mine]

In other words, Google’s approach to providing a search engine is now aimed at shaping all searches to go where they want them to.

If you use Google, it is time to find another search engine.

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Google unveils new slogan

News you can use! Google unveils new slogan. Trust me, it is worth it to click on the link.

And this also: New Google technology autocorrects users’ thoughts

At a special press conference held at the technology giant’s sprawling campus Tuesday, Google engineers revealed exciting new technology that autocorrects any errant thoughts its users are having, replacing them with positions approved by the company.

Utilizing advanced retinal scan and proprietary telepathic scanning technology, the new automatic thought correction algorithm is now live for users of Google’s search engine, Android operating system, Chrome OS, and the hundreds of other apps and services the company provides. “Let’s say you start thinking there may be some kind of inherent biological difference between men and women,” Google employee Ryan Vo said in a live demo of the new tech. “Immediately, the thought suggestion program in any nearby Google device, app, or service will scrub the idea of inherent gender differences and replace them with the sure knowledge that there are at least three hundred different genders in existence, and always has been.”

For the background see this story.

And people wonder why I do not use Google, got rid of gmail years ago, and wiped my history at both as soon as I could.

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UC-Berkeley and Google looking for amateur images of upcoming August eclipse

In the hope of producing a long movie of the August eclipse that will cross the entire continental United States, the University of California-Berkeley and Google have teamed up to put together a project that will gather images taken by amateurs.

The Eclipse Megamovie Project is seeking more than a thousand amateur astronomers and avid photographers to record the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse and upload their photos to be stitched together into a movie documenting the path of totality from landfall in Oregon until the moon’s shadow slips over the Atlantic Ocean off South Carolina.

While no one on the ground will see the total eclipse for more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds, depending on how close they are to the center of the path of totality, the images collected by the Megamovie’s volunteer team will be turned into a 90-minute eclipse movie unlike anything seen before. Even an airplane flying along the path of totality can only capture at most a four- to five-minute movie, since the moon’s shadow moves along the ground at up to 1,500 miles per hour. The last time anyone tried to stitch together eclipse images like this may have been in the 1800s via hand-drawn sketches, without the benefit of today’s modern digital technology.

While I think this is a great idea, I must state my reservations about UC-Berkeley. This university is hostile to free speech, and actually encourages violence against conservatives who either attend the university or come to speak there. To work with it on this project would be a kind of endorsement of that behavior.

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Google and Facebook cancel satellite plans

The competition cools down? Facebook and Google have both cancelled their plans to build satellite systems to provide global internet access.

It appears Google pulled out earlier this year, while Facebook’s decision was revealed today. Google however remains a partner in Skybox, a space imaging company, as well as O3b, which is trying to provide internet using satellites.

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SpaceX confirms Google deal

The competion heats up: SpaceX has confirmed that Google as well as a second investor, Fidelity, have committed $1 billion for the company’s satellite project.

In its blog post, SpaceX wrote that the funding would “support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing.” But Google’s involvement has led many to believe that the funding will primarily back SpaceX’s new satellite venture, which SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced late last week. At the time, Musk gave some indication as to the epic scope of the project that lies ahead. He seeks to create a network of hundreds of satellites that could not only connect people on Earth to the web, but also people on Mars—if and when people get there. The total cost of such an audacious project? $10 billion.

The satellite venture calls for more than 4,000 satellites. The SpaceX announcement suggests that the capital will also be used for other things, however.

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Google and SpaceX team-up?

The competition heats up: A news report today claims that Google will invest $1 billion of the $10 billion SpaceX plans to spend to build a space-based internet system.

More here. Whether true or not, this story illustrates the growing buzz for the idea of investing, building, and making money in space. Increasingly, the biggest and most innovative capitalists in the world want a piece of that endless pie.

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Use a smart phone? Google knows where you’ve been

If you use a smart phone or tablet, Google is very likely tracking all your movements.

Go to this website with your smart phone and you will see your travels for up to the past month. Which is why I don’t use a smart phone, and my own tablet has as few identification settings activated as possible. This information is no one else’s business, unless I say so.

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Is Google negotiating to become an investor in Virgin Galactic?

Is Google negotiating to become an investor in Virgin Galactic?

Several stories today say yes, but neither company is commenting. I suspect that if this is true, it is partly because Branson needs to find more investment capital because of the many delays in getting SpaceShipTwo off the ground.

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For half a billion dollars Google has purchased satellite company Skybox Imaging.

The competition heats up: For half a billion dollars Google has purchased satellite company Skybox Imaging.

Google plans to use Skybox’s satellites to make better maps with “up-to-date imagery,” the company said in a statement. “Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief—areas Google has long been interested in.” Skybox has only a single satellite in orbit right now but plans to fly a fleet of them to cover the entire globe at all times. Constantly updated satellite images would be of interest to everyone from agricultural companies and hedge funds to hardware stores. A demonstration earlier this year showed how Skybox satellites could be used to monitor oil reserves from space.

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