Posts tagged they

Oh No They Didn’t: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google

Today many Americans are busy preparing Thanksgiving meals or getting ready to travel to the homes of friends and family to celebrate the holiday. But Google certainly won’t be giving thanks for the European Parliament’s vote in favor of a resolution to “unbundle”…

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“Big Data Ethics” Sound Great, But They Won’t Stop The NSA—Or Facebook

It was worth a shot. At the recent Strata Conference in Barcelona, Hadoop founder Doug Cutting took to the stage to argue for a new era of Big Data ethics.

“It’s time for us to reflect as we enter this new data age on how we want it to work,” Cutting declared. “This is the time when the practices and policies we want will be set for the coming decades.”

Cutting is right, of course. But he’s also too late. By open sourcing Hadoop under a liberal license, Cutting gave the world the rope to save or hang itself.

On the data privacy front, we seem hell bent on the latter.

Spying On The Elephant

While Big Data bad behavior isn’t remotely exclusive to government, it is the U.S. government that has turned data into a cause for concern. Against this backdrop of widespread data (mis)use, Cutting told Strata attendees that the time is now to establish principles of transparency and ethics for the coming decades of Big Data adoption and use.

“In science fiction, the people who collect the data are the bad guys,” he laughingly noted. “I don’t want to be one of those bad guys.”

Few, perhaps, do aspire to misuse data. But one person’s misuse is another’s fair use. And given that all the best Big Data technology is open source, there’s really nothing to prevent governments or private corporations collecting and using data however they see fit. 

As one Quora commentator puts it, “Open source is open source and people will use it for whatever and however they want to use it. It’s hard to make a morals call.”

And why shouldn’t they? After all, not only are organizations like the NSA and CIA feverishly using Hadoop, they’re also actively helping to develop Hadoop and other Big Data technology. In fact, while the NSA used to try to build its own data tools, it now has turned to Hadoop for much of the heavy lifting on analyzing data sets on its citizens.

Some of the NSA’s modifications to Hadoop are being contributed back. Some almost certainly are not. Regardless, both jeopardize trust in government to the point, as Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt posits, “We’re going to wind up breaking the Internet.”

The People Fight Back

Concern over government and corporate spying has given rise to new open-source projects like Detekt to help consumers fight back. Detekt, launched by Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other non-profits, aims to uncover “commercial surveillance spyware that has been identified to be also used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.”

It’s a nice step in the right direction, though it’s hobbled by being a Windows-only executable. Running on Windows is irony at its finest, given that Windows has long offered U.S. spy agencies a back door

What, Me Worry?

But it’s probably not fair to single out the U.S. government—or any other—for Big Data malfeasance. After all, private corporations are only too happy to use data to fight competitors and rope in consumers.

As I’ve written before, I’ve watched my own son get hammered by data-hungry gaming companies, and I have friends whose lives have been decimated by data-mad porn companies. 

Cutting wants a new era of responsibility, but the temptation to use data will almost certainly prove irresistible for companies and governments to resist. The only solution seems to be an uprising, not from the tech industry but rather from ordinary folks whose data is misused. 

But for that to happen, we need to lose our addiction to free services like Gmail or Facebook (powered by Hadoop), which encourage us to contribute data so that we can have free storage, free socializing, free everything. Evgeny Morozov calls out this “disturbing trend whereby our personal information—rather than money—becomes the chief way in which we pay for services—and soon, perhaps, everyday objects—that we use.”

In sum, it’s nice to wish for a new era of Big Data ethics, whereby corporations and governments respect our privacy, but it’s hard to square that vision with the consumer’s willingness to sell her data for a mess of free services.

Lead image by takomabibelot 

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What They Don’t Tell You in School About Being an Entrepreneur by @LarryKim

Past generations might find today’s vision of the American dream unrecognizable. While the American dream was once composed of white picket fences and a comfortable home in the suburbs, today “making it” looks quite different. Many individuals would gladly sacrifice the 9-5 grind for a chance at becoming an entrepreneur, with the promise of becoming your own boss, developing a business of your own creation, and watching it grow and thrive. Starting WordStream and witnessing it develop from a startup into a truly successful company has been a wild and rewarding experience, but there are definitely some aspects about being […]

The post What They Don’t Tell You in School About Being an Entrepreneur by @LarryKim appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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AdWords Callouts – How Are They Performing to Date?

Lots of clients have adopted Google callouts as part of their copy strategy, but how are they performing so far?

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Google On How They Know When To Slow Or Stop Crawling Your Web Site

Today at SMX East, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes shared with the audience two technical ways Google determines when GoogleBot, their crawlers, should slow down or stop crawling your web site. One of the more important factors with SEO is to ensure the search engine crawlers…

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In The EU, Lots Of People Are Asking Google To Forget Content That They Authored

Here’s one from the “shaking my head” department: If you assumed that all of the “Right To Be Forgotten” (RTBF) requests that people in the European Union are sending to Google are for unflattering or inaccurate web pages written by third parties, you’d be wrong….

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Sitelinks: What They Are and Why They’re Important for SEO – Business 2 Community

Sitelinks: What They Are and Why They're Important for SEO
Business 2 Community
However, you can indicate that a sitelink is not important or relevant by demoting it. Sitelinks are created through good content marketing and SEO practices, both on and off site. The process of creating sitelinks may sound like website development

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7 Objections Against SEO (And Why They Aren’t True) – Forbes

Business 2 Community
7 Objections Against SEO (And Why They Aren't True)
Whether you run a local business, an ecommerce store or small service company, it is crucial that you focus on increasing organic presence and traffic. What follows however is a list of the 7 most common objections against SEO along with explanation
Get Back To the Basics When It Comes To SEOHuffington Post Canada
SEO is a Journey, Not a Destination: How to Implement an Ongoing SEO Hospitality Net
Negative SEO Extortion Emails: Are Your Concerned?Search Engine Roundtable
Entrepreneur (blog) –Business 2 Community
all 15 news articles »

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Link Building and Content Marketing: How They Work Together – August 5th Webcast

Digital Marketing Depot presents “Link Building and Content Marketing: How They Work Together” on Tuesday, August 5th at 1 PM EDT. Jon Ball of Page One Power will discuss how link building and content marketing work together. He’ll also why links are still relevant, how to…

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Interns Tell Us What They Would Change At Silicon Valley’s Top Companies

I saw the massive line of interns long before I could see the venue. The young crowd waiting outside Broadway Studios in San Francisco on Tuesday chatted with friends and checked their phones, eagerly awaiting to get inside.

Interns line up outside of Internapalooza 

Approximately 2,000 interns from around the Bay Area signed up to attend Internapalooza, an industry-sponsored event for Silicon Valley’s interns to meet each other, chat up potential employers, and hear some of the tech industry’s finest give advice and share experiences from their younger, soul-searching years.

Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, and top tech journalist Kara Swisher were among speakers. Overall, the lineup  included eight white men, one man of color, and two white women, which spoke volumes about the current state of tech’s not-so-diverse demographics.

Scanning the Internapalooza audience, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of gender and ethnicity. Examining Silicon Valley’s young generation of interns can tell us a lot about the future of technology and about the new faces of leadership. 

While there is a lack of diversity among tech’s current leaders, the Internapalooza attendees suggest just how multifaceted the future of Silicon Valley may be. 

The fresh faces of Internapalooza

Waiting in line to get into the sold-out event  felt worse than waiting in line to get into a club. 

Interns stood shoulder-to-shoulder inside the steamy venue. A few wore business casual, but many were decked out in the true tech wear of t-shirts, jeans and backpacks. The aroma of free hot dogs didn’t help the claustrophobia, nor with the nostalgic feeling of filing into college orientation.

Many of the interns in attendance were  college students or recent college graduates—50% of attendees were rising seniors at their universities. One hundred attendees were interns at Salesforce, 90 came from Google, 50 interned at Facebook and another 50 at Apple. Close to 200 interns hailed from UC Berkeley, and more than 150 attendees studied either at Harvard, Stanford or MIT.

Interns take their seats to hear from more than 10 leaders in tech

The Silicon Valley culture of interns is unlike the Devil Wears Prada, fetching-coffee type of industry jobs, or the kinds of cheap labor positions that are pervasive within Manhattan and Los Angeles’ media-based internships.

Here in San Francisco’s tech industry, companies actively seek interns as potential full-time employees, and not just semester-by-semester rotations of unpaid staff. It’s a competitive market and the statistics of the attendees at Internapalooza are proof. Over half of the interns in attendence major in computer science, and 80% have studied something related to engineering.

Re/code’s Kara Swisher telling it like it is

Speakers hit the stage around 7 p.m, giving life advice in an almost believable, I was a kid once too! fashion. Quick words were said about the necessity of figuring out the rest of their lives. These pieces of advice must have seemed daunting and unreachable coming from the leaders who have already made achievements in technology.

For the many interns looking to break into Silicon Valley, their personal stories were a little more raw.

Cori Shearer, Intern at Pandora

Hearing about Internapalooza from a Bay Area interns group on Facebook, Cori Shearer attended, wanting to be inspired.

“I’m always on the hustle and grind, so sometimes I need events like this to reinvigorate my energy and to remind myself why I’m here in the first place,” says Shearer.

An intern at Pandora, Shearer works in sales technology and on building ad products.

She is also quick to discuss the need for more diversity in tech—noting that many startup’s lack of gender and racial variety occurs when founders look only towards their friends to build their company.

“You need to be in business with people who aren’t like you, and take risks to start your own company. As a female minority, I really want to do something innovative and helpful in the future,” says Shearer.

The Pandora intern hopes to see more people of color on stage at events like Internapalooza.

“Not seeing people on stage that looks like you has an effect because you want to be able to look up to someone,” says Shearer. “This affects future generations, but I am hopeful for change.”

Brian Clanton, Intern at Zynga

Developer Brian Clanton is a first-time intern at Zynga, and hopes one day to become a development lead.

Clanton says he finds it difficult to set himself apart from other interns in Silicon Valley’s ultra-competitive race towards tech employment. This feeling is made all too real while standing amongst the hundreds of interns gathered in the venue.

“In order to set myself apart I need to do well in school, gain lots of work experience, and just work on different projects,” says Clanton.

We awkwardly shuffle amongst groups of interns and gawk at the sheer number of people in attendance. I ask him about the fanaticism surrounding Silicon Valley. What makes the tech industry such an appealing place to work?

“Kids want to work in Silicon Valley because there’s an image projected out there that it’s a lot of fun, and that all of these companies have great working environments. They have hammocks! It appeals to a younger generation,” says Clanton.

Meron Foster, Intern at Captûre Wines

Meron Foster says that she wants to pursue technology because that’s where the future lies. An intern at Captûre Wines, Foster works in sales and events, but not being a technically-inclined person often leaves her feeling left out of the tech bubble.

“It’s tough to find jobs in Silicon Valley. It’s a tight-knit circle, and if you’re not ‘a techie’, it’s intimidating to break into that culture. But I’m good at sales and marketing. It’s just hard to portray that to the tech industry without any tech skills,” says Foster.

Like Shearer, Foster wants to see more people of color working in tech. Although the hundreds of interns at Internapalooza are diverse in gender and ethnicity, the leaders of tech companies often are not.

“Events like this have a lot of young people of color here. Tech has lots of folks of Asian descent, but that’s still a specific color that tech indulges in. This will change with time. There are so many different people, and tech is not closed off to us,” says Foster.

Bay Area interns gathered together

As I leave the venue, the doorman tells me more than 60 interns who could not initially enter waited throughout the night to get inside. With such overwhelming interest, the tech industry is clearly not hurting for qualified candidates. The draw of Silicon Valley for these interns may be as superficial as hammocks and nap pods, or perhaps it’s the in desire for inclusion and for more diverse representation. 

The students at Internapalooza overall were intelligent, driven, and hopeful for positive change.  We are in good hands. 

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