fbpx

In the popular consciousness, the dark web is mostly known as the meeting place of terrorists and extortionist hackers. While there are other, less malicious players afoot, corporations and organizations need to know the real dangers and how to protect against them.

Dark. Mysterious. A den of thieves. A front for freedom fighters. It is many things for many different kinds of people, all of whom by nature or necessity find themselves driven to the fringes of digital society. It is the dark web. 

There’s still plenty of misinformation floating around out there about this obscure corner of the internet. The average cyber citizen is unaware of its very existence. Even for those intimately familiar with the dark web, accurate predictions as to its behavior and future effect on broader internet culture have remained elusive; predictions foretelling its mainstreaming, for instance, seem less and less likely with each passing year. The problem is, this is one case where ignorance isn’t always bliss. Dark web relevance to the general population is becoming more painfully apparent with every breaking news story about yet another data breach.

The amount of personal information accessible via a web connection these days is staggering. Names, addresses, and phone numbers are only the tip of the iceberg. Credit card information, marital status, browsing histories, purchase histories, medical histories (a favorite target of hackers these days) and so much more—every bit and byte of this data is at risk of theft, ransom, exposure and exploitation. A person’s entire life can be up for sale on the dark web without them being any the wiser. That is until their credit card comes up overdrawn, or worse, a mysterious and threatening email graces their inbox threatening to expose some very private information.

But despite the fact that it is the individual being exposed, the ones who truly have to worry are those entities entrusted with storing the individual data of their millions of users. The dark web is a potential nightmare for banks, corporations, government bureaus, health care providers—pretty much any entity with large databases storing sensitive (i.e., valuable) information. Many of these entities are waking up to the dangers, some rudely so, and are too late to avoid paying out a hefty ransom or fine depending on how they handle the situation. Whatever the case, the true cost is often to the reputation of the entity itself, and it is sometimes unrecoverable.

It should be obvious at this point that the dark web cannot be ignored. The first step to taking it seriously is to understand what it is and where it came from.

The landscape

Perhaps the most common misconception regarding the dark web begins with the internet itself. Contrary to popular sentiment, Google does not know all. In fact, it is not even close. Sundar Pichai and his legions of Googlers only index pages they can access, which by current estimates hover in and around the $60 billion mark. Sounds like a lot, but in reality this is only the surface web, a paltry 0.2% to 0.25% of digital space.

Home for the bulk of our data, the other 99.75% is known as the deep web. Research on deep web size is somewhat dated but the conditions the findings are based on appear to point to a growing size disparity, if any changes have occurred at all.

Unlike the surface web, which is made up of all networked information discoverable via public internet browsing, the deep web is all networked information blocked and hidden from public browsing.

Take Amazon as an example. It has its product pages, curated specifically to customer browsing habits and seemingly eerily aware of conversations people have had around their Alexa—this is the Surface Web. But powering this streamlined customer experience are databases storing details for hundreds of millions of customers; including personal identifiable information (PII), credit card and billing information, purchase history, and the like. Then there are databases for the millions of vendors, warehouse databases, logistical databases, corporate intranet, and so on. All in all you are looking at a foundational data well some 400 to 500 times larger than the visible surface.

The dark web is technically a part of this deep web rubric, meeting the criteria of being hidden from indexing by common web browsers. And although microscopically small in comparison it can have an outsized effect on the overall superstructure, sort of like a virus or a cure, depending on how it is used. In the Amazon example, where the dark web fits in is that a portion of its members would like nothing better than to access its deep web data for any number of nefarious purposes, including sale, ransom, or just to sow a bit of plain old anarchic chaos.

Such activities do not interest all dark web users, of course, with many seeing anonymity as an opportunity to fight off corruption rather than be a part of it. The dark web is a complex place, and to fully appreciate this shadow war of villains and vigilantes, how it can affect millions of people every now and then when it spills over into the light, first you have to understand its origins.

Breaking down the numbers

Anonymity is not without its challenges when it comes to mapping out hard figures. The key is to focus on commerce, a clear and reliable demarcating line. For the most part, those only seeking anonymity can stick to hidden chat rooms and the like. However, if a user is looking to engage in illegal activity, in most instances they’re going to have to pay for it. Several past studies and more recent work provide workable insight when extrapolating along this logic path.

First, a 2013 study analyzing 2,618 services being offered found over 44% to involve illicit activity. That number jumped to 57% in a follow up study conducted in 2016. These studies alone project an accelerating upward trend. Short of a more recent comprehensive study, the tried and true investigative maxim of “follow the money” should suffice in convincing the rational mind that this number is only going to grow dramatically. Especially when comparing the $250 million in bitcoin spent in 2012 on the dark web with the projected $1 billion mark for 2019.

Origins and operation

It was the invention of none other than the U.S. military—the Navy, of all branches, if you’d believe it. Seeking an easy way for spy networks to communicate without having to lug heavy encryption equipment to remote and hostile corners of the globe, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) came up with an ingenious solution. Ditching the equipment, it created an overlay network of unique address protocols and a convoluted routing system, effectively masking both the source and destination of all its traffic. By forgoing the traditional DNS system and relying instead on software specific browsers like Tor and Freenet and communication programs like I2P among others, dark web traffic was rendered invisible to traditional crawlers. Furthermore, with these browsers routing traffic through multiple user stations around the world, accurate tracking became extremely difficult. This solution afforded both flexibility and mobility for quick and easy insertion and extraction of human assets while securing sensitive communication to and from the field.

There was only one element missing. As co-creator Roger Dingledine explained, if only U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personnel used the network it wouldn’t matter that source and destination were masked between multiple user stations. All users would be identifiable as part of the spy network. It would be like trying to hide a needle in a stack of needles. What the dark web needed was a haystack of non DoD users. And so in 2002 the software was made open source and anyone seeking the option to communicate and transact globally was invited to download it. Thousands of freedom-conscious people heeded the call and thus the dark web was born.

But freedom is morally ambiguous, granting expression to the best and worst urges of humanity. This is why security officers and senior executives in banks and businesses, insurance providers and intelligence agencies, all need to know who is using the dark web, what it is being used for, and how imminent is the threat it poses to their operations.

 [This article is originally published in calcalistech.com By riel Yosefi and Avraham Chaim Schneider - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Categorized in Deep Web

If you’re looking for data, your search should start here. Google’s Dataset Search just launched as a full-fledged search tool, and it’s about as good as you’d expect. Google does a masterful job of collating all kinds of datasets from all across the internet with useful info like publication data, authors and file types available before you even click through. From NFL stats from the ’70s to catch records of great white sharks in the northwest Pacific, it seems to have it all. There are about 25 million datasets available now — actually just “a fraction of datasets on the web,” Google told the Verge — but more will be available as data hosts update their metadata.

Is there a word for that? Last week, as I took what must have been my hundredth Uber or Lyft ride at the tail end of two weeks of travel, I publicly wondered if there was a word for the specific type of small talk you make with a rideshare driver. (There isn’t, but I tip my hat to my former editor, Anne Glover, for whipping “chauffeurenfreude” together.) Different languages often feature unique words that capture seemingly indescribable feelings or experiences that don’t translate well at all. Here’s a website that keeps track of them.

This messaging app will self-destruct in 10 seconds. Literally. Well, not literally. There’s no explosion. But with Yap, messages (between up to six people) exist only until you type your next message, taking “ephemeral” to a whole new level. It seems to me that this is more of a proof of concept that shows the internet doesn’t have to be forever (imagine that!) and less of an actual useful tool for journalists. But the folks who subscribe to this newsletter are smart cookies. Prove me wrong.

Facebook just gave you access to some more of what it knows about you. Because of multi-site logins and Facebook ads, Facebook receives all kinds of information about users’ activities on other apps and websites. With the new Off-Facebook Activity tool, you can see and control exactly where that happens. “You might be shocked or at least a little embarrassed by what you find in there,” writes Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler, and he couldn’t be more right — by piecing info together from my history, you can tell that I have a chronic bad habit of ordering late-night Domino’s pizza.

SPONSORED: Looking for an expert source for a story? Find and request an interview with academics from top universities on the Coursera | Expert Network, a new, free tool built for journalists. The Expert Network highlights those who can speak to the week’s trending news stories and showcases their perspectives on topical issues in short audio and video clips. Quickly and easily access a diverse set of subject matter experts at experts.coursera.org today.

If you needed another reminder to use caution online, here it is. The Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns, was the latest news organization to be hit by a nasty ransomware attack. The Times reported that it is unclear how the attack was carried out, so I can’t give you specific tips for avoiding a similar fate, but it’s a good reminder that any organization is only as safe as its weakest link. There are tools that can help — a good password manager and a well-placed firewall, for starters — but exercising good internet safety hygiene is the best first step. Be skeptical of emails from unknown senders, especially those with attachments. Keep your operating systems and software updated. And don’t use weak passwords (and especially don’t use the same weak passwords across multiple websites).

Weird news is often harmful to the most vulnerable members of society. I cringe every time I see a “Florida Man” story (my colleague Al Tompkins lays out why that is here), but many stories labeled “weird” or “dumb/stupid criminals” capitalize on human misery. Some of these stories may seem funny, but at whose expense?

Here’s a tool that displays every road in a city. It’s an interesting way to look at any metropolitan area, town or hamlet — from the world’s biggest city of Chongqing, China (population: 30 million), all the way down to my humble hometown of Gasport, New York (population: 1,248). Plus, you can export each one as a .png or editable .svg file. (Just a warning: Smaller locales seem to take a long time to load, if they even do at all.)

Bookmark this publishing tool in case it’s the next best thing (it probably is). The founding CEO of Chartbeat, a ubiquitous realtime analytics tool for newsrooms, is back at it with new project. It’s called Scroll and it massively improves the reading experience by removing ads and loading pages faster. My colleague, Rick Edmonds, has more about its founder and the future of the platform.

WikiHow’s bizarre art has been plastered all over the internet since 2005. Many of its pieces feature odd scenes that would probably never happen in real life. You’ve probably seen them repurposed in meme form. Here’s the strange story about how they’re made (and yes, it features some human misery, though we’re not making fun of it here).

[This article is originally published in bleepingcomputer.com By Lawrence Abrams - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google has started testing a feature that will display the search query in the Chrome address bar rather than the actual page's URL when performing searches on Google.

This experimental feature is called "Query in Omnibox" and has been available as a flag in Google Chrome since Chrome 71, but is disabled by default.

In a test being conducted by Google, this feature is being enabled for some users and will cause the search keyword to be displayed in the browser's address bar, or Omnibox, instead of the URL that you normally see. 

enabled-search.jpg

Query in Omnibox enabled

In BleepingComputer's tests, this feature only affects searches on Google and does not affect any other search engine.

When this feature is not enabled, Google will display the URL of the search in the Omnibox as you would expect. This allows you to not only properly identify the site you are on, but also to easily share the search with another user.

experiment-disabled.jpg

Query in Omnibox Disabled​​​

For example, to see the above search, you can just copy the https://www.google.com/search?q=test link from the address bar and share it with someone else.

With the Query in Omnibox feature enabled, though, if you copy the search keyword it will just copy that keyword into the clipboard rather than the site's URL. If you want to access the URL, you need to right-click on the keyword and select 'Show URL'.

show-url.jpg

Google is eroding the URL

Google has made it clear that they do not think that the URL is very useful to users.

In a Wired interview, Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome's engineering manager. explained that Google wants to change how they are displayed in Chrome as people have a hard time understanding them.

"People have a really hard time understanding URLs. They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don’t think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity. So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone—they know who they’re talking to when they’re using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs. We want to challenge how URLs should be displayed and question it as we’re figuring out the right way to convey identity."

Instead of removing them in one fell swoop, Google is gradually eroding the various elements of a URL until there is nothing left.

We saw the beginning of this transition when Google Chrome 79 was released and it stopped displaying the www subdomain in URLs.

no-www.jpg

WWW subdomain removed from URL

In this next phase, they are testing the removal of URLs altogether from Google searches, which as everyone knows, is by far the most used web search engine.

What is next? The removal of URLs on other search engines or only showing a page title when browsing a web site?

All these questions remain to be answered, but could it be that Google is not wrong about URLs?

I was opposed to the removal of the WWW trivial subdomain from URLs for a variety of reasons and now I don't even realize it's missing.

BleepingComputer has reached out to Google with questions about this test, but had not heard back as of yet.

 [This article is originally published in bleepingcomputer.com By Lawrence Abrams - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Dana W. Jimenez]

Categorized in Search Engine

Michael struggles to find the search results he’s looking for, and would like some tips for better Googling

 Want to search like a pro? These tips will help you up you Googling game using the advanced tools to narrow down your results. Photograph: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images
Last week’s column mentioned search skills. I’m sometimes on the third page of results before I get to what I was really looking for. I’m sure a few simple tips would find these results on page 1. All advice welcome. Michael

Google achieved its amazing popularity by de-skilling search. Suddenly, people who were not very good at searching – which is almost everyone – could get good results without entering long, complex searches. Partly this was because Google knew which pages were most important, based on its PageRank algorithm, and it knew which pages were most effective, because users quickly bounced back from websites that didn’t deliver what they wanted.

Later, Google added personalisation based on factors such as your location, your previous searches, your visits to other websites, and other things it knew about you. This created a backlash from people with privacy concerns, because your searches into physical and mental health issues, legal and social problems, relationships and so on can reveal more about you than you want anyone else – or even a machine – to know.

When talking about avoiding “the creepy line”, former Google boss Eric Schmidt said: “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Google hasn’t got to that point, yet, but it does want to save you from typing. Today, Google does this through a combination of auto-complete search suggestions, Answer Boxes, and “People also ask” boxes, which show related questions along with their “feature snippets”. As a result, Google is much less likely to achieve its stated aim of sending you to another website. According to Jumpshot research, about half of browser-based searches no longer result in a click, and about 6% go to Google-owned properties such as YouTube and Maps.

You could get upset about Google scraping websites such as Wikipedia for information and then keeping their traffic, but this is the way the world is going. Typing queries into a browser is becoming redundant as more people use voice recognition on smartphones or ask the virtual assistant on their smart speakers. Voice queries need direct answers, not pages of links.

So, I can give you some search tips, but they may not be as useful as they were when I wrote about them in January 2004 – or perhaps not for as long.

Advanced Search for everyone
Advanced Search for everyone.jpg
 Google’s advanced search page is the tool to properly drill down into the results. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The easiest way to create advanced search queries in Google is to use the form on the Advanced Search page, though I suspect very few people do. You can type different words, phrases or numbers that you want to include or exclude into the various boxes. When you run the search, it converts your input into a single string using search shortcuts such as quotation marks (to find an exact word or phrase) and minus signs (to exclude words).

You can also use the form to narrow your search to a particular language, region, website or domain, or to a type of file, how recently it was published and so on. Of course, nobody wants to fill in forms. However, using the forms will teach you most of the commands mentioned below, and it’s a fallback if you forget any.

Happily, many commands work on other search engines too, so skills are transferable.

Use quotation marks
4759.jpg
 Quotation marks can be a powerful tool to specify exact search terms. Photograph: IKEA

If you are looking for something specific, quotation marks are invaluable. Putting quotation marks around single words tells the search engine that you definitely want them to appear on every page it finds, rather than using close matches or synonyms. Google will, of course, ignore this, but at least the results page will tell you which word it has ignored. You can click on that word to insist, but you will get fewer or perhaps no results.

Putting a whole phrase in inverted commas has the same effect, and is useful for finding quotations, people’s names, book and film titles, or particular phrases.

You can also use an asterisk as a wildcard to find matching phrases. For example, The Simpsons episode, Deep Space Homer, popularised the phrase: “I for one welcome our new insect overlords”. Searching for “I for one welcome our new * overlords” finds other overlords such as aliens, cephalopods, computers, robots and squirrels.

Nowadays, Google’s RankBrain is pretty good at recognising titles and common phrases without quote marks, even if they include “stop words” such as a, at, that, the and this. You don’t need quotation marks to search for the Force, The Who or The Smiths.

However, it also uses synonyms rather than strictly following your keywords. It can be quicker to use minus signs to exclude words you don’t want than add terms that are already implied. One example is jaguar -car.

Use site commands

2618.jpg
 Using the ‘site:’ command can be a powerful tool for quickly searching a particular website. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Google also has a site: command that lets you limit your search to a particular website or, with a minus sign (-site:), exclude it. This command uses the site’s uniform resource locator or URL.

For example, if you wanted to find something on the Guardian’s website, you would type site:theguardian.com (no space after the colon) alongside your search words.

You may not need to search the whole site. For example, site:theguardian.com/technology/askjack will search the Ask Jack posts that are online, though it doesn’t search all the ancient texts (continued on p94).

There are several similar commands. For example, inurl: will search for or exclude words that appear in URLs. This is handy because many sites now pack their URLs with keywords as part of their SEO (search-engine optimisation). You can also search for intitle: to find words in titles.

Web pages can include incidental references to all sorts of things, including plugs for unrelated stories. All of these will duly turn up in text searches. But if your search word is part of the URL or the title, it should be one of the page’s main topics.

You can also use site: and inurl: commands to limit searches to include, or exclude, whole groups of websites. For example, either site:co.uk or inurl:co.uk will search matching UK websites, though many UK sites now have .com addresses. Similarly, site:ac.uk and inurl:ac.uk will find pages from British educational institutions, while inurl:edu and site:edu will find American ones. Using inurl:ac.uk OR inurl:edu (the Boolean command must be in caps) will find pages from both. Using site:gov.uk will find British government websites, and inurl:https will search secure websites. There are lots of options for inventive searchers.

Google Search can also find different types of file, using either filetype: or ext: (for file extension). These include office documents (docx, pptx, xlxs, rtf, odt, odp, odx etc) and pdf files. Results depend heavily on the topic. For example, a search for picasso filetype:pdf is more productive than one for stormzy.

Make it a date

1700.jpg
 Narrowing your search by date can find older pieces. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

We often want up-to-date results, particularly in technology where things that used to be true are not true any more. After you have run a search, you can use Google’s time settings to filter the results, or use new search terms. To do this, click Tools, click the down arrow next to “Any time”, and use the dropdown menu to pick a time period between “Past hour” and “Past year”.

Last week, I was complaining that Google’s “freshness algorithm” could serve up lots of blog-spam, burying far more useful hits. Depending on the topic, you can use a custom time range to get less fresh but perhaps more useful results.

Custom time settings are even more useful for finding contemporary coverage of events, which might be a company’s public launch, a sporting event, or something else. Human memories are good at rewriting history, but contemporaneous reports can provide a more accurate picture.

However, custom date ranges have disappeared from mobile, the daterange: command no longer seems to work in search boxes, and “sort by date” has gone except in news searches. Instead, this year, Google introduced before: and after: commands to do the same job. For example, you could search for “Apple iPod” before:2002-05-31 after:2001-10-15 for a bit of nostalgia. The date formats are very forgiving, so one day we may all prefer it.

 [Source: This article was published in theguardian.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Carol R. Venuti] 

Categorized in Search Engine

Earlier today, Google  announced that it would be redesigning the redesign of its search results as a response to withering criticism from politicians, consumers and the press over the way in which search results displays were made to look like ads.

Google makes money when users of its search service click on ads. It doesn’t make money when people click on an unpaid search result. Making ads look like search results makes Google more money.

It’s also a pretty evil (or at least unethical) business decision by a company whose mantra was “Don’t be evil”(although they gave that up in 2018).

 

Users began noticing the changes to search results last week, and at least one user flagged the changes earlier this week.

There's something strange about the recent design change to google search results, favicons and extra header text: they all look like ads, which is perhaps the point?

Screenshot 1
EO0MQcEU0AAGtVR
 
Google responded with a bit of doublespeak from its corporate account about how the redesign was intended to achieve the opposite effect of what it was actually doing.

“Last year, our search results on mobile gained a new look. That’s now rolling out to desktop results this week, presenting site domain names and brand icons prominently, along with a bolded ‘Ad’ label for ads,” the company wrote.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) took a break from impeachment hearings to talk to The Washington Post about just how bad the new search redesign was.

“We’ve seen multiple instances over the last few years where Google has made paid advertisements ever more indistinguishable from organic search results,” Warner told the Post. “This is yet another example of a platform exploiting its bottleneck power for commercial gain, to the detriment of both consumers and also small businesses.”

Google’s changes to its search results happened despite the fact that the company is already being investigated by every state in the country for antitrust violations.

For Google, the rationale is simple. The company’s advertising revenues aren’t growing the way they used to, and the company is looking at a slowdown in its core business. To try and juice the numbers, dark patterns present an attractive way forward.

Indeed, Google’s using the same tricks that it once battled to become the premier search service in the U.S. When the company first launched its search service, ads were clearly demarcated and separated from actual search results returned by Google’s algorithm. Over time, the separation between what was an ad and what wasn’t became increasingly blurred.

 
Screenshot 2

Color fade: A history of Google ad labeling in search results http://selnd.com/2adRCdU 

CoOOsx WAAAgFhq
 
“Search results were near-instant and they were just a page of links and summaries – perfection with nothing to add or take away,” user experience expert Harry Brignull (and founder of the watchdog website darkpatterns.org) said of the original Google search results in an interview with TechCrunch.

“The back-propagation algorithm they introduced had never been used to index the web before, and it instantly left the competition in the dust. It was proof that engineers could disrupt the rules of the web without needing any suit-wearing executives. Strip out all the crap. Do one thing and do it well.”

“As Google’s ambitions changed, the tinted box started to fade. It’s completely gone now,” Brignull added.

The company acknowledged that its latest experiment might have gone too far in its latest statement and noted that it will “experiment further” on how it displays results.

 [Source: This article was published in techcrunch.com By Jonathan Shieber - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Categorized in Search Engine

It’s a known fact that Google, along with other major tech players like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, is increasingly trying to grab a slice of the $3 trillion dollar healthcare industry. Now, the search giant is flexing its cloud muscle to team up with healthcare providers to make further inroads.

To that effect, Google has announced a partnership with Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, in a deal that gives it access to personal health datasets that can be used to develop AI-based tools for medical providers.

The collaboration — dubbed “Project Nightingale” — comes a week after the company’s acquisition of fitness wearable maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion. It also corroborates earlier reports that it’s working on a Google Flights-like search tool to make it easier for doctors to find medical records.

A data-sharing partnership

Interestingly, the partnership was mentioned in Google’s July earnings call, but it came under scrutiny only on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google would gain detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states.

The report also said the data involved in the project includes patient names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses, and hospitalization records, along with their complete medical histories.

The partnership “covers the personal health records of around 50 million patients of Ascension,” the Journal wrote.

Google confirmed the deal, adding the arrangement adheres to HIPAA regulations regarding patient data and that it will meet the necessary privacy and security requirements.

As the Journal noted, HIPAA laws make it possible for hospitals to share data with its business partners without the consent of patients, provided said information is used only to help the entity meet its clinical functions.

Healthcare as a service

“Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” Google said.

Ascension, for its part, said it aims to explore AI applications to help improve clinical quality and patient safety. It’s worth pointing out that the company is not paying Google for these services.

For the Mountain View company, the data-sharing project comes with another objective: design a searchable, cloud-based platform to query patient data, which it could then market to other healthcare providers.

The legality aside, it’s not fully clear why the sharing terms would include names and birthdates of patients. But this would also mean adequate safeguards are in place to anonymize the information before it could be used to develop machine learning models for personalized healthcare.

Health privacy concerns

This is far from the first time Google’s cloud division has gone after healthcare providers. It has similar relationships with a number of hospital networks, including Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, the Chilean Health Ministry, Mayo Clinic, and the American Cancer Society.

Still, the development is bound to raise concerns about health privacy, what with the Journal stating that 150 Google employees may have access to a significant portion of the medical data from Ascension.

That’s not all. The tech giant has been scrutinized for improperly sharing patient data in the name of AI research, and has drawn flak for merging Deepmind Health with Google despite the company’s earlier promises to keep its health initiatives separate.

Given this checkered history, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise if Google — and other big tech companies — grapple with the privacy and security implications associated with handling health information when they are already in possession of enormous amounts of data about their users.

Update on Nov. 13, 9:00 AM IST: Google’s data deal with Ascension is now being investigated by the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Wall Street Journal reported. The OCR said it “will seek to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records to ensure that HIPAA protections were fully implemented.”

[Source: This article was published in thenextweb.com By RAVIE LAKSHMANAN - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google Gravity:

Almost all of us use Google in our day to day life. Without Google we can imagine our life as easy as now.

But many times, we get bored with Google Home Page. So, if you want creative and funny Google Homepage, this article is for you.

If we compare Google with other Search Engines, we will notice that Google have number of interesting tricks which other Search Engines doesn’t have.

We will talk about the top 6 Google Magic Tricks which you can use in your spare time and amaze your friends with it as well.

Here are the Top 6 Funny Tricks of Google Gravity by which you can play with Google Home Page and make it more interesting:

1. Google Gravity


With this trick, you can move each and every element of your Google Homepage, with the help of mouse.

It is really amazing experience to play with Google Homepage.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Gravity” page, move your mouse and all the elements of the Google Homepage will start falling down. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse. 

2. Google Anti Gravity


Google Anti Gravity is the most funny trick in which every element of the Google Homepage start floating.

You can move every element of the Homepage like – button, search box with the help of mouse click. This is really amazing trick.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Anti Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are floating like – they are on the space. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

3. Google Zero Gravity


Google Zero Gravity is the trick which is similar to Google Gravity but unlike it, the element of the Google Homepage will be displayed in opposite manner, like – they are displayed in mirror.

To use this trick, you have to perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Zero Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Zero Gravity” page, you will notice that all the element are in mirror position like – they are displayed on mirror and every element will start falling as well. You can move every element of the Google Homepage with your mouse.

4. Google Underwater


The Google Underwater trick will amaze you for sure.

In this trick, the Google Homepage will be floating on the sea water and you can generate the wave on to the water with the help of your mouse.

To make this trick work, you just have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Underwater”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Underwater” page, you will notice that all the element of Google Homepage are floating on the water. You can use your mouse to move every element of the Google Homepage.

5. Google Sphere


With this trick, you can play with Google Homepage in a really great and amazing way.

With the help of your mouse you can make each and every element of Google Homepage to revolve around Google Logo and make a sphere with it.

It is really fun to use this trick and you should definitely use it.

To perform this trick, you have to do the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Sphere”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: Now that you are on the “Google Sphere” page. When you will move your mouse, you will notice that every element of the Google Homepage will start revolving around Google Logo.

6. Google do a barrel roll


This is the trick which is not for Google Homepage but for Google index section, where we get the results for our query.

This is really amazing trick in which you can make a Google to do a barrel roll. So, you must try it.

All you have to do is just perform the following steps:

Step #1: Visit “www.google.com”.
Step #2: Inside Google Search box type “Google Anti Gravity”.
Step #3: Click on “I’m Feeling Lucky”, instead of “Google Search”.
Step #4: After this, you will see that Google is doing a barrel roll and it is really amazing to see that.

 

Hope, you like these funny trick on Google with Google Gravity, Google Anti Gravity and Google Zero Gravity.

[Source: This article was published in thecoderpedia.com By CoderPedia - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google to offer users the option to auto-delete location history and web search data that it harvests

Google is to give users the choice of being able to automatically delete their search and location history after three months.

It announced the auto-delete tools for location history data, as well as web browsing and app activity, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Last November Google was accused of misleading about location tracking after consumer groups from seven European nations asked their privacy regulators to take action against the search engine giant.

google logo mountainview 011

Location tracking

Consumer groups from the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden, all filed GDPR complaints against Google’s location tracking.

They alleged that Google is tracking the movements of millions of users in breach of the European Union’s privacy laws.

Google, of course, is already facing a lawsuit in the United States for allegedly tracking phone users regardless of privacy settings.

That lawsuit was filed after an investigation by the Associated Press found that a number of Google services running on Android and Apple devices determine the user’s location and store it, even when Google’s “Location History” setting is switched off.

It should be remembered that Google had already allowed users to manually delete the data it harvests when they use its products such as YouTube, Maps and Search.

But now it trying to give users more control by offering auto-delete tools.

“And when you turn on settings like Location History or Web & App Activity, the data can make Google products more useful for you – like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search,” wrote David Monsees, product manager of search in a blog posting.

Auto-delete

“We work to keep your data private and secure, and we’ve heard your feedback that we need to provide simpler ways for you to manage or delete it,” Monsees added.

“You can already use your Google Account to access simply on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose – to delete all or part of that data manually,” he wrote. “In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data.”

Essentially, the user will give a time limit to choose for how long you want your data to be saved. This could be 3 months or 18 months.

Any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis.

“These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks,” Monsees wrote. “You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you–and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.”

It should be noted that there will be no auto-delete of YouTube watch history or voice commands issued via Home and Assistant.

[Source: This article was published in silicon.co.uk By Tom Jowitt - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Categorized in Search Engine

Ever had to search for something on Google, but you’re not exactly sure what it is, so you just use some language that vaguely implies it? Google’s about to make that a whole lot easier.

Google announced today it’s rolling out a new machine learning-based language understanding technique called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT. BERT helps decipher your search queries based on the context of the language used, rather than individual words. According to Google, “when it comes to ranking results, BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches in the U.S. in English.”

Most of us know that Google usually responds to words, rather than to phrases — and Google’s aware of it, too. In the announcement, Pandu Nayak, Google’s VP of search, called this kind of searching “keyword-ese,” or “typing strings of words that they think we’ll understand, but aren’t actually how they’d naturally ask a question.” It’s amusing to see these kinds of searches — heck, Wired has made a whole cottage industry out of celebrities reacting to these keyword-ese queries in their “Autocomplete” video series” — but Nayak’s correct that this is not how most of us would naturally ask a question.

As you might expect, this subtle change might make some pretty big waves for potential searchers. Nayak said this “[represents] the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.” Google offered several examples of this in action, such as “Do estheticians stand a lot at work,” which apparently returned far more accurate search results.

I’m not sure if this is something most of us will notice — heck, I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t read Google’s announcement, but it’ll sure make our lives a bit easier. The only reason I can see it not having a huge impact at first is that we’re now so used to keyword-ese, which is in some cases more economical to type. For example, I can search “What movie did William Powell and Jean Harlow star in together?” and get the correct result (Libeled Lady; not sure if that’s BERT’s doing or not), but I can also search “William Powell Jean Harlow movie” and get the exact same result.

BERT will only be applied to English-based searches in the US, but Google is apparently hoping to roll this out to more countries soon.

[Source: This article was published in thenextweb.com By RACHEL KASER - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dorothy Allen]

Categorized in Search Engine

The new language model can think in both directions, fingers crossed

Google has updated its search algorithms to tap into an AI language model that is better at understanding netizens' queries than previous systems.

Pandu Nayak, a Google fellow and vice president of search, announced this month that the Chocolate Factory has rolled out BERT, short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, for its most fundamental product: Google Search.

To pull all of this off, researchers at Google AI built a neural network known as a transformer. The architecture is suited to deal with sequences in data, making them ideal for dealing with language. To understand a sentence, you must look at all the words in it in a specific order. Unlike previous transformer models that only consider words in one direction – left to right – BERT is able to look back to consider the overall context of a sentence.

“BERT models can, therefore, consider the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it—particularly useful for understanding the intent behind search queries,” Nayak said.

For example, below's what the previous Google Search and new BERT-powered search looks like when you query: “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa.”

2019 brazil

Left: The result returned for the old Google Search that incorrectly understands the query as a US traveler heading to Brazil. Right: The result returned for the new Google Search using BERT, which correctly identifies the search is for a Brazilian traveler going to the US. Image credit: Google.

BERT has a better grasp of the significance behind the word "to" in the new search. The old model returns results that show information for US citizens traveling to Brazil, instead of the other way around. It looks like BERT is a bit patchy, however, as a Google Search today still appears to give results as if it's American travelers looking to go to Brazil:

current google search

Current search result for the query: 2019 brazil traveler to USA need a visa. It still thinks the sentence means a US traveler going to Brazil

The Register asked Google about this, and a spokesperson told us... the screenshots were just a demo. Your mileage may vary.

"In terms of not seeing those exact examples, the side-by-sides we showed were from our evaluation process, and might not 100 percent mirror what you see live in Search," the PR team told us. "These were side-by-side examples from our evaluation process where we identified particular types of language understanding challenges where BERT was able to figure out the query better - they were largely illustrative.

"Search is dynamic, content on the web changes. So it's not necessarily going to have a predictable set of results for any query at any point in time. The web is constantly changing and we make a lot of updates to our algorithms throughout the year as well."

Nayak claimed BERT would improve 10 percent of all its searches. The biggest changes will be for longer queries, apparently, where sentences are peppered with prepositions like “for” or “to.”

“BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches in the US in English, and we’ll bring this to more languages and locales over time,” he said.

Google will run BERT on its custom Cloud TPU chips; it declined to disclose how many would be needed to power the model. The most powerful Cloud TPU option currently is the Cloud TPU v3 Pods, which contain 64 ASICs, each carrying performance of 420 teraflops and 128GB of high-bandwidth memory.

At the moment, BERT will work best for queries made in English. Google said it also works in two dozen countries for other languages, too, such as Korean, Hindi, and Portuguese for “featured snippets” of text. ®

[Source: This article was published in theregister.co.uk By Katyanna Quach - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media