Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Data is gold – 91,000 terabytes of uncharted web: welcome to the dark side

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

So, you use the internet? Congratulations, you have a couple of thousand terabytes of charted web @ your disposal: company websites, twitter streams, the magic Kingdom of Facebook, and the wondrous tentacles of Google land. But all of this mindboggling information is only a tiny percentage of what the internet really is: a gargantuan monster…

Picture this: The World Wide Web is rather huge, really… Google found more than a 1 trillion (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web, and is still trying to index all of those ( in 2006, 25 billion sites were fully indexed). However, most experts refer to this “visible” part of the web as the “surface web”.

Surface web is an adequate term, if you currently draw your nets  in the ocean of online info; you’re barely scratching the surface. The Dark Web, or Hidden Web is approximately 540 times bigger than the web you experience daily. Apart from secret military streams, long lost and forgotten early-day-experiments, over machine-to-machine botnets and criminal set-ups, there are whole sections of the web (like freenet for instance) that are concealed from the normal user.

While big players as Google, Bing and Facebook desperately try to chart, map, reach and index this Deep Web or Dark Web, none of them are making remarkable progress: the Dark Web is still uncomfortably dark, and “hidden”.  However, in this Dark Web, people are storing data, having conversations, expressions, opinions… that are now mostly lost for the indexing, tracking and measuring giants.

Michael Bergman is an American academic, specializing in this Deep Web. He found the deep web to be approximately 550 times larger than surface world wide web. His study says that: “The deep web is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet … The value of deep web content is immeasurable … internet searches are searching only 0.03% … of the [total web] pages available.”

Tim Berners-Lee, CERN scientist who stood at the very cradle of the world wide web has a compelling vision: “I have a dream for the web in which computers become capable of analyzing all the data on the web – the content, links, and transactions between people …” His dream of a Semantic, indexed and holistic web is still a distant dreamy thought however… But the key to a better understanding of knowledge, sentiment and vision might be found in the dark web.

Content is Gold. Measuring is knowing. 99% of the web remains unexplored. Leave the charted waters, Go West. Again ;-) .

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Ronald Reagan fathered Foursquare

Originally posted on Heliade by Danny Devriendt

There, did that get your attention? I thought it might… :-) Tim O’Reilly caused quite a stir @ #SxSW when he proclaimed that Ronald Reagan was the mental father of Foursquare.

But he has a point. Let’s go back into history: while the Beatles were working on their White Album, the U.S. Navy and Air Force slotted together a system that would enable navigation on a plethora of applications. A set of incompatible systems was developed, until the US Department of Defense decided in 1973 to unify the existing systems. With atomic clocks carried on geostationary satellites (predicted by Arthur C. Clark) , the Navstar Global Positioning System became a huge success. In the beginning, military use had priority, and accurate positioning was not possible for civilian systems.

The disaster with Korean Flight 007 in 1983, a mortal tragedy that could have been prevented with more accurate location awareness, made President Ronald Reagan decide that accurate GPS signals would be available worldwide and at no charge. Reagan’s directive angered quite a lot of military decision makers, but stood at the cradle of the location driven social media that is so popular today.

The military not only got us the backboned, dynamic rerouting internet (and an internet of things by that), but also stood at the very beginning of Google places, Gowalla and Foursqaure. Not to mention Augmented Reality, that made it directly from the cockpit of the Apache fighting helicopter into the smartphones. Presidents and generals at the roots of social media, a slightly disturbing thought….;-)

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Google sponsoring the future of digital news

by Danny Devriendt (this post was originally posted here)

I’m getting a bit tired of it. Too many journalists I know go all dismissive over digital media. Too many bloggers I know think that having 16 readers (and a horsehead) visiting their blog occasionally makes them directly eligible for the Pulitzer Prize. *sigh*

As the old adagio says: “Ignoti nulla cupido” – you cannot love what you do not know. I think the current journalist generation needs to understand digital media better. A growing number of people, including a whole upcoming generation, are consuming a big part of the news through digital channels. Insufficient knowledge on these channels, inadequate presence on these channels, and a defensive reaction to a new medium from the news-professionals would be catastrophic for the quality of the current and future news. Though I see a growing number of journalists toe-dipping in social media, most embrace it in a worrying way: mostly as an extra listening channel, or broadcasting opportunity. Most journalists are not trained into public dialogue and engagement possibilities. A lot of them also do not possess the necessary data processing- and analytical skills to process crowdsourcing in a safe way.

On the other hand, it worries me that a whole wide range of bloggers reached “God-Credibility” status amongst a broad audience. But most of these online writers do not use (or know) the journalistic deontological codes and practices.  Source controlling, second opinions, and balanced viewpoints are most often ripped out of the equation, leaving a very biased and unverified opinion piece.

The non-critical online consumer is –unfortunately- unable to distinguish quality content from doubtful or false information. It’s time to cross-train as well journalists and bloggers on each other’s skills and possibilities. I would love to see bloggers adhere more to a journalistic code of conduct and I think journalists should understand (and respect) the online environment more.

The future is going to be a net based information society. I was intrigued and positively surprised to see that search giant Google is spending a 2.7 million dollar grant to the International Press Institute to explore the future of digital news. This money comes on top of an earlier donation of 5 million dollar for investigating the new way of journalism.

Journalism is changing fast. And as news businesses experiment with new ways of creating and delivering journalism in the digital age, Google is keen to play its part. (-) We seek to find and fund breakthrough ideas that will have a lasting impact on the future of digital news in communities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” says Peter Barron, director of external relations for Google EMEA.

I just hope that the institutions, media corporations and schools that work with, or educate/form journalists will do a similar effort. Though I applaud Google’s initiative, I’d rather have a critical blogger/journalist generation investigating and taking up the role of the fourth power that is NOT Google funded…. :-)

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You are your Avatar

I’m amazed how many people still think that there is a clear, solid, protecting wall between their real world, and the digital world that they use on a daily base. For an alarming high number of internet users, the virtual internet world is not yet perceived as “real” or touching their “real life” in any way.

The fact that employers, future employers, co-workers, clients, friends and family have a fluid access to their online lives is something that is too easily forgotten. The barriers between 3D life and onscreen life are quickly eroding away, and will increasingly continue to do so.

Google and other search tools give an online profile of just anyone in a nanosecond. Accessible to everyone that has internet access. More often than not, reputations are made or broken based on this first digital check-out. And some people just see way too late that too much of their live is for grabs out there…

You are what you are, the sum of your real self and that of your digital Avatar…

by Danny Devriendt

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