Apple brought back Braun design, but Google is bringing back Olivetti

1960s/70s Italian industrial design was led by Olivetti, featuring products with "touches of joy that enliven everyday tasks" featuring bright color and playful forms, very different from the Braun look of minimalist, "Snow White" gadgets that are the precursor to Apple's design language. Read the rest

Study measuring IQ of various AI puts Google's at 47.28

Google's AI scored more than twice as high as Apple's Siri in a comparative analysis designed to assess AI threat. Read the rest

Former female employees sue Google for paying them less than men

Three former employees of advertising giant, and free maps, enterprise Google have filed suit against the giant for gender inequality and discrimination.

Via itpro.co.uk:

Former employees at Google recently filed a lawsuit against the company on the basis of gender inequality and discrimination. The plaintiffs, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri suggest that Google systematically keeps women in lower compensation levels than men with equal or lesser skills and education even though they do similar work.

Due to the extensive records that Google is required to keep regarding pay, job classifications, and other employment records, the plaintiffs hold that although it currently does nothing to fix the situation, the company should be well aware the discrimination occurring.

For example, Ellis, who had four years of previous experience, was hired as a software engineer at a Level 3 job position, a level at which Google typically hires recent college graduates. Meanwhile, a man who was hired at a similar time with similar experience, was hired at a Level 4 position.

Pease, who had worked for the company for several years, was kept on the lower “non-technical” ladder which holds less opportunity for promotions and less compensation than the “technical” ladder despite her multiple leadership positions and experience at managing those on the “technical ladder”.

Holly Pease is a fantastic engineer and a wonderful senior executive manager of engineering groups. I know, I worked for her. Read the rest

Comments from people who think Google's Facebook page is the search engine

A lovely song from Hot Dad; but I Really, Really, Really Like This Image is even better.

Welcome to the new world order, ! Read the rest

Forbes removed article critical of Google after it asked nastily

[UPDATE 9/1/17 1:50pm PT: Read this email from Google’s vice president of global communications, Rob Shilkin, to Hill, which is at the bottom of the Gizmodo article. In the email, Shilkin tells Hill that Google "had nothing to do with removing the article from the cache...we couldn’t and wouldn’t engage in this type of behavior - never have, never will."]

Google's influence at a supposedly independent think tank it funds was exposed this week when staffers critical of the company were fired. But Kashmir Hill reports that there's nothing new about Google's ruthless treatment of critics in the press.

...I was pressured to unpublish a critical piece about Google’s monopolistic practices after the company got upset about it. In my case, the post stayed unpublished.

After joining Forbes as a writer, she learned from a meeting with Google salespeople that sites refusing to add the Google Plus +1 buttons to their sites would "suffer" in search results.

After the meeting, I approached Google’s public relations team ...The press office confirmed it, though they preferred to say the Plus button “influences the ranking.” They didn’t deny what their sales people told me: If you don’t feature the +1 button, your stories will be harder to find with Google. ...

Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes.

Read the rest

An in-depth look at Castle, Waymo's fake city for testing self-driving cars

Alexis Madrigal got a chance to visit the fascinating town of Castle, a roads-only city constructed by Waymo for the sole purpose of developing self-driving cars. Read the rest

Google researchers reveal automated process for removing watermarks from stock images

Businesses like Adobe Stock use large, visible watermarks to deter copyright infringement; a new paper presented by Google Researchers to the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition shows that these watermarks can be reliably detected and undetectably erased by software. Read the rest

Google Manufacturing Robot isn't sure humans belong in tech

That now-ex-Googler who published a memo explaining why it's a fact that women are biologically unable to be good tech workers had a point, but honestly, the problem isn't ovaries: it's organs. Read the rest

Guide to finding and erasing your online data doppelganger

The New York Times rounds up direct links to several services surveillance opt-out screens, including some I'd never thought to look for (Amazon), as well as instructions for installing tracking blockers and no-script extensions that will limit the data trail you exhaust behind yourself as you traverse the net. Read the rest

"Big Browser is watching"

Coming after improvements to Firefox and continued unease at Google's life-pervading insight, this image is outperforming the ███████ ████ Virality Control Group today (via).

It got me thinking about all the promises that were made. Here's the earliest article in Google News to contain "Big browser" in its headline, published by Time Magazine on Nov. 18, 1994.

World Wide Web die-hard surfers -- many of whom tend to be privacy-rights absolutists -- have been horrified to learn that the software that guides them through the Internet could pose huge Orwellian problems. Over the last week or so, a growing number of heads-up E-mail dispatches have warned that some "browsers," including free and commercial copycats of the popular Mosaic program, quietly supply the Internet E-mail addresses of Net site visitors. These lists, critics argue, could soon be sold to the highest bidder --or even to government snoopers. "You'll go into a bulletin board that has an ad, and in a little bit of time, the manufacturer can start sending you junk mail," David Farber, a University of Pennsylvania computer science professor, told TIME Daily. The next step, Farber and others theorize, is a credit-card-like record of what you've bought over the Net and which political discussion groups you've perused. Web programmers, who never intended such consequences, are now talking about creating either "privacy buttons" or warning labels.

The concerns isolated:

• Browsers secretly collect and share personal data. • Aggregated data could be sold or shared to marketers and the government. Read the rest

Algorithms try to channel us into repeating our lives

Molly Sauter (previously) describes in gorgeous, evocative terms how the algorithms in our life try to funnel us into acting the way we always have, or, failing that, like everyone else does. Read the rest

EU fines Google €2.42B for anti-competitive behaviour

The EU had been expected to fine Google a little over €1B for its anti-competitive practice of promoting its own shopping service over competitors' in search results: today's €2.42B comes as a surprise, as does the ongoing fine if it fails to change its behavior within 90 days -- up to €10.6m a day, or 5% of parent company Alphabet's total daily earnings. Read the rest

Netflix app will no longer run on rooted Android devices

Netflix has become one of the main forces for DRM in the world, a driver behind the W3C's dangerous, web-scale DRM project, and now they've announced that their app will no longer run on rooted/bootloader unlocked Android devices, because these devices can run code that overrides Google Widevine DRM (Widevine doesn't work well under the best of circumstances, and it harbored unpatched, showstopper bugs since its very inception). Read the rest

Google order its secretive "raters'" hours cut, so now they're going public

Google often boasts about the 10,000 skilled raters who test its results, reporting weird kinks in the ranking algorithms and classifiers that the company uses for everything from search results to ad placement to automated photo recognition. Read the rest

Google asked a website for its data, then just took it anyway

CelebrityNetWorth.com was a popular, data-driven website whose 12 staffers led serious efforts to research public figures and give a credible estimate of their fortunes. Google liked the look of this, so it made site founder Brian Warner a proposition: let Google include the Big Number as a featured "snippet" atop relevant search results, in return for the snippet linking to the website.

Warner, though, knew that the link offer was worthless and said no. Mysteriously, Google started "answering" questions about celebrities' net worth anyway, only occasionally disclosing the source; he seeded his database with a few fake celebrities to prove Google was using CelebrityNetWorth.com's data. The result was just as he predicted when he said no: his site's lost most of its traffic, even as Google depends on it to provide accurate answers.

Google’s push into direct answers has wide-reaching consequences for more than just small business owners who depend on search traffic. The email Google sent Warner in 2014 gives some insight into how Google selects reputable sources. Google wouldn’t answer questions about this, but based on the emails, the vetting was pretty thin; Google seemed more interested in whether the data was machine-readable than whether it was accurate. And the bar for featured snippets — the answers culled algorithmically from the web — is even lower, since it appears that any site good enough to rank in search results is good enough to serve as the source for Google’s canonical answers. That’s how you get erroneous answers that claim Barack Obama is organizing a coup, or that the Earth is flat, or that women are evil...

Read the rest

Google tries to define a valid family. Predictable awfulness ensues.

Ten years ago, a group of engineers and media executives sat down to decide what was, and was not, a real family. The results were predictably terrible. Read the rest

Google: Chrome will no longer trust Symantec certificates, 30% of the web will need to switch Certificate Authorities

In 2012, Google rolled out Certificate Transparency, a clever system to spot corrupt "Certificate Authorities," the entities who hand out the cryptographic certificates that secure the web. If Certificate Authorities fail to do their jobs, they put the entire electronic realm in danger -- bad certificates could allow anything from eavesdropping on financial transactions to spoofing industrial control systems into accepting malicious software updates. Read the rest

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