Google removed journalist MG Siegler's avatar because of the posture of his middle finger. Representative Alex Joseph explained why:
As the first point of interaction with a user’s profile, all profile photos on Google+ are reviewed to make sure they are in line with our User Content and Conduct Policy. Our policy page states, “Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content.” Your profile photo was taken down as a violation of this policy.
Fair enough. Google Plus isn't a public platform. It's Google's platform.
But Google describes Plus as "sharing in real life". It describes it as an "identity service". The middle finger, pointed at no-one in particular, is hardly a scandalous gesture; here it triggers a vaguely-defined policy that's being applied to a service marketed heavily as a public venue for free expression.
Google could be more honest about Plus being no such thing, or it could allow Plus to become what it claims to be. The former seems an odd proposition, given that it's so huge. But here we are, with the finger-detection squad in fine form. But is the latter really so hard? The present dissonance between representation and reality gives life to a caricature--that Plus is a sterile marketing research zone--which already seems to lurk widely in the imagination.
1. Unlike here, where if you say I look like a Brad Dourif muppet, I will replace the comment with a Nancy Reagan quote, then ban you.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.
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