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The Week We Searched For- July 30, 2010

Facebook’s Advice Column

Facebook started rolling out its ‘Facebook Questions’ [1] service on Wednesday, which enables users to pose questions to and seek advice from Facebook’s community. According to the site’s official blog post, questions asked will be “public and visible to everyone on the Internet.” [2] The service mirrors  Yahoo Answers and Aardvark [3], the latter of which Google purchased earlier this year, and is designed to connect specific questions with users who have expressed interest or knowledge in the topic.

Google Cleared of UK Street View Privacy Charges

The British data-protection agency, the Information Commission’s Office (ICO), cleared Google of all charges of collecting personal information with their Google Street View Cars. According to a statement issued by the ICO, “The information we saw does not include meaningful personal details that could be linked to an identifiable person. There is also no evidence as yet that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment. Nevertheless, it was wrong to collect the information.” [4]

Amazon and Facebook Team up for Social Shopping

Amazon and Facebook began their social shopping integration this week, enabling Amazon users to share recommendations, favorites and ‘likes’ with their friends. This service, with its sharing of information across platforms, is bound to make privacy defenders squirm.

In response to eWeek [5]’s questions about use privacy and security, Gianna Purini, the vice president of Amazon Worldwide Deisgn and Community, stated that, “We are continually working on behalf of our customers to improve the personalized recommendations experience on Amazon.” Although vague, Amazon has a very good track record over the last fifteen years of providing good customer service.

Facebook User Security Breach

According to the New York Times, Ron Bowes, a security researcher with Skull Security, released a file on Wednesday, “containing the names, profile addresses and unique identification numbers of more than 100 million Facebook users.” [6] Mr. Bowes has written about Facebook’s privacy policy in the past  and has argued that personal information is not protected against hackers. According to a blog [7] post, Bowes wanted to demonstrate the dangerous state of Facebook’s privacy policy.

Facebook responded [6] to these accusations via email to NYTimes, stating:

This information already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook. No private data is available or has been compromised. Similar to the white pages of the phone book, this is the information available to enable people to find each other, which is the reason people join Facebook. If someone does not want to be found, we also offer a number of controls to enable people not to appear in search on Facebook, in search engines, or share any information with applications.

Suggested Articles:

The Google Sewage Factory, In Action The Chocomize Story [8]

Danny Sullivan takes a look into how Google itself promotes the Internet ‘cesspool’ Eric Schmidt so infamously coined.

The Truth About Facebook Revenues, User Numbers, And Its IPO [9]

Nicholas Carlson discusses the ‘truth’ about Facebook’s revenue in his recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which he argues that Facebook is trying to ‘set the bar low’ not only in terms of its annual revenue, but also in regards to the number of its active users and intended time span for going public.

Google Music Will Reportedly Include Free Music, Pandora Style [10]

Eliot Van Buskirk discusses the most recent rumors regarding Google’s music service. It appears that the music service will be both a subscription based, paid on-demand service, as well as, a Pandora-style music streaming service, which will naturally be funded by Google Ads.

Googlethink [11]

In this month’s Atlantic Magazine, Nicholas Carr’s op-ed piece confronts the idea of a Google that could predict what we are thinking.

About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [17]