There was a time when you could get the smartest people at Google to do the stupidest things you could imagine by getting Yahoo to do them first; thankfully that era ended -- only to be replaced by an era in which every stupid thing Facebook did became a bucket-list item for Google management.
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Thinkgeek's new $30 Hi-Voltage Toric Generator Ring is a copper-plated pewter fancy that looks a tiny power-plant on your finger. Read the rest
Google's dropped its dumbass Real Names policy for social media, but don't worry, the adorable little fella found a welcome home in China, where bloggers and other social media users are now prohibited from using aliases or parody names. Read the rest
Google's spent four years frog-marching its users into G+, its faltering social network, even tying company-wide bonuses to G+ performance, thus ensuring that all of Google's offerings did everything they could to cram us into G+ -- but it hasn't worked. Read the rest
Google has changed the commenting system on YouTube so that you need to be a Google Plus user to post; the new system uses algorithms to promote some comments above others, and has the perverse effect of making trolls more visible. Vi Hart, the incomparable math-vlogger (and a regular favorite around here) describes how Google's decision to double down on its flagging Facebook-alike G+ service by ramming YouTube users into it has made her lose faith in the service: now her regular, good commenters comments hover at the bottom of the pile, while hateful trolls whose messages generate a lot of replies are judged "good" by G+ and promoted to the top.
The promise of G+ in the beginning was that making people use their real names would incentivize them to behave themselves. It's abundantly clear now that there are more than enough people who are willing to be jerks under their real names. In the meantime, people who have good reason not to post under their own names -- vulnerable people, whistleblowers, others -- are now fully on display to those sociopaths who are only too happy to press the attack with or without anonymity. Read the rest
"Boom! Blood stem cells generated from skin cells." — From the Google+ feed of Erik Westin, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Read the rest
Here's a pair of great (JWZ) posts (Kevin Marks) on the Nym Wars, in which Googlers, net users, and sensible people try to convince the G+ team that it's insane to tell people that they must socialize using their "real names," and to then try to adjudicate what a "real name" is. Both link out to the canonical essays produced to date on the subject, such as EFF and boyd, and add a lot of good context. Read the rest
If you're using Google+, you can find a number of Boing Boing contributors there. Maggie Koerth-Baker, Rob Beschizza, Dean Putney, Mark Frauenfelder, and Xeni Jardin, for starters. When Google+ rolls out support for businesses and organizations, you'll be able to find Boing Boing there, too. Read the rest