How to Remove Your Google Web History Before The New Privacy Policy Change

Turning off search history is one of the top Google settings you may already know about anyway if you didn’t want Google recording any sensitive searches (health, location, interests, religion, etc.), but with Google becoming more like AOL these days, now’s as good a time as any to check if you’ve got your web history paused or not.

If you’re not logged into Google already, log in. Then, go to https://google.com/history. Click “remove all Web History” and “OK”. Doing so will pause the recording of your searches going forward until you enable it again.

How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect | Electronic Frontier Foundation

I’m about to do this – it’ll be interesting to see how my instant searches and location based stuff is affected. I consider myself very particular about monitoring my privacy controls, but honestly I’m one of the people who really trusts Google, and in my trust I’ve neglected to pay attention to the kidns of data they save from web searches and how it’s integrated. The pervasiveness of Google in my life definitely has me questioning exactly what they’re tracking, and if/how it makes my online life easier.

Beyond Facebook: The Rise Of Interest-Based Social Networks via @TechCrunch

while some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy. (Disclosure: BlueRun Ventures is an investor in Thumb and Foodspotting.)

The numbers tell the tale around users’ appetites for these new interest-based social networks. Pinterest, the increasingly popular virtual pinboard, crossed 10M monthly unique users in the US in January 2012, achieving 8 digits worth of monthly uniques faster than any site ever, comScore says. According to Silicon Valley uber-investor Ron Conway, Pinterest is growing like Facebook 5 years ago.

Called it!

It’s also more simple, than the author makes out: Facebook quickly aquired a somewhat sour odor with their handling of game-based updates. You could see how easily people were turned off by seeing the minutae of gamers’ online activities. “interest-based social networks” help people weed out the chaff, so the pictures I shoot of the food I love to eat/see/cook, are shared on Foodspotting, and only foodspotters – who express a similar interest to mine, by virtue of downloading and using the app – see them. I don’t post my Foodspotting pictures to Facebook anymroe, unless I think I’ve shot something that has a broad, general appeal (not very often).

Facebook on the other hand, still wants you to share all this minutae with everyone in your life. And that’s simply counter to our experience as social creatures — we select and share with people who share our interests, not spam everyone with everything.

Fb took a great leap forward by copying G+’s circles feature, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. I use Facebook less and less these days, because the most interesting content, the stuff that really grabs my attention, isn’t showing up in Facebook any more. It’s the lowest common denominator stuff that feeds my News Feed.

And that’s a good thing. More control, more curation, more power to appeal to the right target audiences. I love my social networks — from the geeky specificity of Foodspotting, to the new popular girl Pinterest, to that old standby networker Facebook.

Mountain Lion vs. Windows 8: Oh, So Very Different

Between Lion and Mountain Lion, Apple is cramming OS X with ideas borrowed from iOS: the Launchpad, the App Store, full-screen mode, AirPlay, Messages, Notes, Reminders and much more. It’s also making iOS-like gestures, which you perform on Macs’ oversized touch pads, more and more important.

But for all the sweeping iOS influence, Apple is leaving plenty of stuff alone. OS X’s Dock, desktop, menu bar and windows are largely untouched in Mountain Lion. That’s both good and bad: They remain utterly familiar, but you might be sorry that Apple didn’t give them more TLC if the company’s fascination with iOS-ification doesn’t appeal to you.

And then there’s Windows 8. With the touch-centric Metro interface, Microsoft is starting from scratch. It’s built a radically new look and feel and added new features, and expects developers and users to make a great leap forward. Support for old-school Windows is still there, but it’s been shunted off to one side. It’s a necessary acknowledgement that Microsoft couldn’t simply do away with the Windows we’ve known for 26 years overnight.

Pinterest not a pirate anymore, helps site owners disable pins

The acts of “pinning” and “repinning” (re-sharing a pin created by another user) have come under fire, especially in photographer circles, as tools for copyright infringement. Members can easily grab copyrighted works from photo-sharing or media sites and clip them to their boards. Pinned images often include attribution, but sources later get lost in the shuffle, and some members go on to use images on their blogs or websites. Plus, considering that Google is the second most popular source of pins, a sizable percentage images are likely misattributed.

Now, Pinterest is providing website owners a simple snippet of code, located in the updated help section of the site, to help them nip unwanted sharing in the bud.

I think a much more robust solution would be to somehow hard-code the original links / attribution into the pins, so there’s no way to accidentally strip away the source through repinning. One of the most interesting things about Pinterest is its ability to ‘curate’ material in a way that never claims its your own, but also gives some credit to the organizer of a board for their taste. If this anti-pinning technique really takes off, a huge value of the site would be squashed.

Congress Sends Letter to Apple Over Path Debacle

Having been the subject of  questions regarding its collection of user locations in the past, Apple has been sent a letter over concerns that developers may be accessing and storing user data on its products.

Congressmen have addressed a letter directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, regarding transmission of user data, and the privacy safeguards in the app store. This, in response to the recent Path privacy debacle, and realization that the problem is more endemic to the app industry than many users are aware of. Check out the extensive (if not terribly well written) list of questions, perhaps even demands, they propose, after the jump:

“Content Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink” via @parislemon

The problem with the content rush is twofold. First, no one — and I mean no one — can possibly be an expert in all the things they’re attempting to cover. Good writers in the space may know one company inside and out. Great writers may know two. The very best may know enough about three or four companies/topics to be an authoritative writer on them. 

And yet, we often see bloggers writing 7 posts a day about 7 different companies and/or topics. And people read these stories as if they’re definitive posts full of insightful information. Ha. Most of them are bullshit. 

Second, because the emphasis is on speed, even if a writer does know a lot about a company/topic, that takes a backseat. Writing a bland story with a few facts in 5 minutes is valued much higher than writing a good story in an hour. And that’s valued much higher than writing a great story over the period of a few days or god-forbid, weeks.

I hear over and over again things like, “did you read that post on FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-BLOG? — Interesting, huh?” No, it wasn’t interesting, it was bullshit. That author had no fucking idea what they were talking about. They probably wrote it in 20 minutes and never thought about it again. If you asked the author about it now, they probably wouldn’t even remember half of what they wrote. 

Just because a writer’s words appear on a popular site, people seem to think they are sterling bastions of sacred information. They’re not. They’re human beings that may not even know as much about a topic as you do. Whatever they do know, they probably know from reading one or two other posts by another writer who learned about the topic from reading one or two other posts.

Bloggers informing bloggers all the way down.

You cannot be an authority on 20 different topics. You just can’t. But people are trying to convey that they are. And there’s often a perception that they are. And this horribly broken system works from the perspective of the pageview machine.

Unfortunately, I ultimately agree with Siegler. Where he sees the ‘pageview machine’ as the culprit, I would point the finger to the erosion of traditional journalistic practices – like sourcing, forced disclosure of financial connections, and peer editing/review.

What’s even more alarming, is these trends seem equally as applicable to the political sphere – a stern focus on the lowest commopn denominator, the quick soundbyte, the headlines-grabbing phrase that really conveys very little about policy or a substantial thought process.

But I’m more optimistic – I think the trend he’s referring to is akin to what happens with tabloids; they will always be there, nagging your eye at the supermarket checkout line, but over time, people have learned easily enough not to trust the sensational. I agree that the line in blogging is often blurred, far moreso than the line between true journalism and yellow journalism, but I think eventually the market will begin to favor trustworthy content and sourcing as the most newsworthy trait any publication can have.

Komen learns power of social media: Facebook, Twitter fueled fury – latimes.com

Facebook and Twitter, take a bow. The head of Planned Parenthood on Friday credited the two social media platforms with forcing Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reverse course on its plan to withhold funding earmarked for breast health screenings.

Facebook and Twitter were the first to catch wind of the controversy — and that led the mainstream media to sit up and take notice, said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The social media giants then led the online world in delivering a furious barrage of criticism over a move that many saw as trying to politicize women’s health.

The unstioppable power of social media.

…with our powers combined!

Facebook: Here Are the 35 Things That Could Kill Our Company

In other words, here is every single little worry that keeps Mark Zuckerberg up at night. We’ve bolded the ones that sound particularly troubling to us.

1. We could simply lose users, or fail to add new ones.
2. We could lose advertisers — and new technology may let users block ads.
3. Facebook’s mobile platform doesn’t show ads — so the more that grows, the worse for us.
4. The platform for Facebook apps might not be successful.
5. The competition from Google, Microsoft and Twitter could heat up — not to mention other social networks around the world.
6. More governments could restrict access to Facebook.
7. Users could turn their noses up at new products.
8. The Facebook culture is all about rapid innovation and getting users engaged — and that could come at the cost of profits.
9. Unspecified future events could tarnish our brand.
10. Bugs might give people access to users’ information that they’re not supposed to see.
11. The media could turn on us.
12. Our quarterly financial results could be difficult to predict.
13. Zynga accounts for 12% of our revenue. If we part ways, that could seriously hurt us.
14. Our revenue grew by 88% last year — and that’s simply not sustainable. Growth is bound to decline.
15. The U.S. laws and regulations we’re governed by could change or be reinterpreted.
16. If our patents and copyrights aren’t granted — or aren’t effective — it could seriously hurt us.
17. We have some patent lawsuits on our hands that could end badly.
18. We’re also involved in class-action lawsuits, and we could lose them too.
19. Mark Zuckerberg has a massive amount of shares, which concentrates power in the hands of one man.
20. There’s a complicated tax liability connected to a particular kind of stock unit we gave out — one that will be taxed at 45%.
21. If we need more rounds of investment, the terms might not be reasonable.
22. Costs might grow faster than revenue.
23. A lot of our servers are handled by third parties, and they might be disrupted.
24. We’ve started building a lot of our own data centers to handle traffic, and we’ve got limited experience doing this kind of thing.
25. Our software is incredibly complex and may have a lot of bugs.
26. We can’t say for sure that we’ll handle our growth effectively — we have more than 3,000 employees now, and that could spin out of control.
27. If we lose our leaders, like Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, that would really harm us.
28. People might sue us over all sorts of stuff posted on Facebook — intellectual property, copyright, defamation, and so on.
29. Viruses, hacking, phishing and malware. Oh my.
30. Payment systems in Facebook apps could mean new government regulations.
31. We’re continually expanding abroad, and we may not understand all the risks in new countries.
32. We’re planning to acquire lots of other companies, which could disrupt everything at Facebook.
33. We might default on our leases or our debt.
34. Our tax liabilities, in general, are bigger than we thought.
35. U.S. tax code reform, if it happens, might hit us where it hurts.

Signposts to be aware of for any major social-tech entity on the road to success.

I found their dependence on Znyga, the media, tax liability issues, and especially, the possibility of patent lawsuits ending badly the most interesting points they revealed.

None of this is particularly surprising, but it will be interesting to see how the company begins to change once publicly traded. And change, it definitely will.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Letter To Investors In Facebook’s IPO Filing

People sharing more – even if just with their close friends or families – creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others. We believe that this creates a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people get exposed to a greater number of diverse perspectives.

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph – a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

We have already helped more than 800 million people map out more than 100 billion connections so far, and our goal is to help this rewiring accelerate.

Adding to the deficit: Bush vs. Obama – The Washington Post

Adding to the deficit: Bush vs. Obama

Since President Obama became chief executive, the national debt has risen almost $5 trillion. But how much of that was because of policies passed by Obama, and how much was caused by the financial crisis, the continuation of past policies and other effects? For this analysis, we worked with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to attach a price tag to the legislation passed by Obama and his predecessor. George W. Bush’s major policies increased the debt by more than $5 trillion during his presidency. Obama has increased the debt by less than $1 trillion. Read related article
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Adding to the deficit: Bush vs. Obama

It’s especially disturbing in light of Romney’s yes-I’m-preparing-for-the-general-election speech last night, in which he quoted Pres. Obama saying, “Don’t forget how we got here,” saying, “You got elected!”

Clearly, the GOP has already forgotten.