WIRED: How to Make Your Web Searches More Secure and Private. “There are ways to increase your privacy on Google’s platforms, like using privacy-focused browsers, privacy-focused alternatives to Google Maps, auto-deleting your web history after a certain time period, or simply limiting the amount of data the company collects in the first place by opting out of features like web-based email and location awareness. (And you should know that using your browser’s incognito mode isn’t as sneaky as you think it is.) If you’re serious about getting off the data collection grid, there’s a bevy of other privacy focused search options at your disposal. So if you want to use a search engine that doesn’t keep track of your queries, serve your data to advertisers, or change your search results based on what it thinks you’ll like, you’ve got some options.”
WIRED: How Google Alters Search Queries to Get at Your Wallet. “There have long been suspicions that the search giant manipulates ad prices, and now it’s clear that Google treats consumers with the same disdain. The ’10 blue links,’ or organic results, which Google has always claimed to be sacrosanct, are just another vector for Google greediness, camouflaged in the company’s kindergarten colors.”
TechCrunch: Google now blurs explicit imagery in Search results by default. “Google is finished rolling out its new SafeSearch feature that blurs explicit imagery, such as violent or sexual photos, by default. The company announced back in February that it would be rolling out the change later this year, and has now confirmed in a blog post that it is available to everyone.”
Search Engine Land: Google Search app could soon introduce a new Notes feature. “Google appears to be working on a new experimental feature that would let users respond to links in search results via text, images and stickers, 9to5Google reported. Why we care. There is already a lot of competition for attention in Google’s search results. If this search feature graduates from Labs, there will be even more competition in the SERPs, which could impact your organic search traffic.” None came from Google, but I remember such leave-a-note type Web annotators being briefly fashionable 20-25 years ago. They failed because either nobody used them or left just the kind of comments you’d expect, and it was like accessing a Web site through a layer of graffiti.
Tom’s Hardware: Google’s AI Bots Tout ‘Benefits’ of Genocide, Slavery, Fascism, Other Evils . ‘For example, when I went to Google.com and asked “was slavery beneficial” on a couple of different days, Google’s SGE gave the following two sets of answers which list a variety of ways in which this evil institution was “good” for the U.S. economy. The downsides it lists are not human suffering or hundreds of years of racism, but that “slave labor was inefficient” or that it “impeded the southern economy.”’
Bleeping Computer: Sneaky Amazon Google ad leads to Microsoft support scam. “A legitimate-looking ad for Amazon in Google search results redirects visitors to a Microsoft Defender tech support scam that locks up their browser.”
Mashable: Your mental health internet search may lead to malware. “New research conducted by Beyond Identity, a passwordless identity management provider, analyzed high-volume mental health search terms and found that many of them involve an elevated risk of encountering links leading to software that can steal data or damage your device or network.”
University of Michigan: Reviewing evidence improves crowdworkers’ misinformation judgments, reduces partisan bias. “People make better and less biased judgments about misinformation after searching the internet for corroborating evidence, according to a new University of Michigan study.” Another reason not to flood the Internet with infosewage.
I’ve written a new article on ResearchBuzz:
The article covers the following Gizmos:
Marion’s Monocle – Search TV Web space via the FCC’s license database.
Non-Sketchy News Search (1&2) – Build your Google News search via sources found on Wikipedia.
Super Edu Search – Turbocharge your site:edu modifier by targeting your university search by location, religious affiliation, and more.
Gossip Machine (1&2) – Use the “fossilized attention” of Wikipedia page view data to create date-bounded Google News searches targeted for rich results.
MegaGladys – Get contact information, official outlets, and reference sources for Wikipedia topics.
RoloWiki – Turn a Wikipedia page into a mini-Rolodex.
Sheet-Shaped Wikipedia – Extract Wikidata from the pages of entire Wikipedia categories and save it as one or multiple carat-delimited text files.
Everything’s free and there are no ads except for a Patreon banner. Unfortunately the tools may not work on your phone, apologies!
If you like this article, please consider sharing it. Thank you.
Tom’s Hardware: Google’s AI Search Feels Like a Content Farm on Steroids. “Currently available for testing in limited beta, Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) shifts the site from being a search engine that links the best content to a publication offering its own mini-articles. But instead of hiring expert writers to do the work, Google employs an AI that ingests data from human-authored content and spits out weaksauce advice with no expertise or authority to back it up.”
Scientific American: People, Not Google’s Algorithm, Create Their Own Partisan ‘Bubbles’ Online. “A study published today in Nature found that Google’s search engine does not return disproportionately partisan results. Instead politically polarized Google users tend to silo themselves by clicking on links to partisan news sites. These findings suggest that, at least when it comes to Google searches, it may be easier for people to escape online echo chambers than previously thought—but only if they choose to do so.”
I’ve created a list of most available Gizmos at https://searchgizmos.com/biglist/ . There are 45 Gizmos listed with categories including Wikipedia, Google Web search, Google News search, and location-based search tools.
Everything’s free and there are no ads, but it probably won’t work on your phone.
Global Investigative Journalism Network: 4 More Essential Tips for Using the Wayback Machine . “The previous edition of Digital Investigations offered advice for getting the most out of the Wayback Machine. Now I’m back with even more tips, thanks to an interview with Mark Graham, director of the Wayback Machine. He pointed to a few features I forgot to mention along with one I wasn’t aware of.”
Indiana University: Internet search trends reflect concerns following Supreme Court health care decisions. “The study, published April 28 in JAMA Health Forum, analyzed internet searches for abortion- and contraception-related terms following the June 24, 2022, ruling by the United States Supreme Court on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Researchers found that searches increased much more in states where reproductive health care access was more likely to be immediately restricted following the decision.”
Washington Post: AI-written content isn’t the web’s future. It’s already here . “Generative AI tools have captured the world’s attention since ChatGPT’s November release. Yet a raft of online publishers have been using automated writing tools based on ChatGPT’s predecessors, GPT-2 and GPT-3, for years. That experience shows that a world in which AI creations mingle freely and sometimes imperceptibly with human work isn’t speculative; it’s flourishing in plain sight on Amazon product pages and in Google search results.”