TechCrunch: The sudden death of the website . “Now, almost every website looks the same — and performs poorly. Offline, brands try to make their store experiences unique to differentiate themselves. Online, every website — from Gucci to the Gap — offers the same experience: a top nav, descriptive text, some pictures and a handful of other elements arranged similarly. Google’s rules have sucked the life out of unique online experiences. Of course, as e-commerce has suffered, Google has become more powerful, and it continues to disintermediate the consumer from the brand by imposing a terrible e-commerce experience.”
Hongkiat: How to See Shortened URLs Without Opening Them. “If you ever come across a link in email or on a website, always hover your mouse cursor over it to see the destination URL at the bottom of the browser to ensure it’s safe. But, this trick doesn’t work with shortened URLs that are quite common these days on social media websites. However, this also doesn’t mean you have to facecheck every short URL and risk your security. There are multiple ways to check what’s behind a shortened URL without opening it. And in this post, I’ll show you how to do it on your PC and your smartphone.”
The Register: Web searching died the day they invented SEO. “Rather than showing what you’re searching for, search results show you links that marketeers want you click on instead. The whole point of SEO today is to direct you to content you don’t want and didn’t ask for. As a result, I go hunting for a little bit of old zombie satellite code and all I can find are 47,000 links to George A Romero video clips and Walking Dead fan pages. Ho hum, does anyone have any old Fortran manuals?” Funny but some truth in there as well.
Digital Trends: Google wants to peer into your past to predict your future browsing habits. “In a patent filing revealed on February 1, Google outlined a system that aims to shave precious seconds off of your everyday web browsing. By looking into your past behaviors, Google’s proposed system for ‘predicting user navigation events’ would begin pre-loading links it thinks you’ll click on. This doesn’t sound new, Google has been doing search prediction ever since its early days, but the method here is novel.”
Freedom of the Press Foundation: Archiving the alternative press threatened by wealthy buyers. “Freedom of the Press Foundation is launching an online archives collection in partnership with Archive-It, a service developed by the Internet Archive to help organizations preserve online content. Our collection, focusing on news outlets we deem to be especially vulnerable to ‘billionaire problem,’ aims to preserve sites in their entirety before their archives can be taken down or manipulated.”
TechRadar: The best free privacy software 2018: top tools for anonymous browsing. “If you’re looking for the best free privacy software to help you browse the web anonymously, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the top choices to help protect your privacy.”
Oh man, is this important. From Tim Bray: Google Memory Loss. “I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better. Evidence · This isn’t just a proof, it’s a rock-n-roll proof. Back in 2006, I published a review of Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll Animal album. Back in 2008, Brent Simmons published That New Sound, about The Clash’s London Calling. Here’s a challenge: Can you find either of these with Google? Even if you read them first and can carefully conjure up exact-match strings, and then use the ‘site:’ prefix? I can’t.”