This Week in Google 262 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiG - This Week in Google. Gina has the day off, Matthew Ingram from Gigaohm joins Jeff Jarvis and me to talk about what happens to your accounts when you pass away. Trolls in the internet hood, and of course everything new from google including a new classroom project that looks pretty darn good. It’s all coming up next, on TWiG.
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This is TWiG - This Week in Google, episode 262, recorded August 13, 2014
I'm Not in The Moodle!
This week in Google is brought to you by Shutterstock.com, with over forty million high quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and video clips shutterstock helps you take your creative projects to the next level. For 20% off any new image file for your accunt, go to shutterstock.com and use the offer code TWIG814. It’s time for This Week in Google, TWiG, the show that covers Google, but not just Google... The cloud, the Facebook, the Twitter, all that stuff. Jeff Jarvis...
Jeff Jarvis: Anything that's irritating me, that's what we cover.
Leo: And anything that pisses off Jeff. If it’s in Germany, anywhere. He'll let you know. Jeff Jarvis is here, he is the professor of journalism in the City university of New York, book author - his most recent is called Public Parts. He's also a blogger at Buzzmachine.com, and a man about the world. World traveler, hey Jeff.
Jeff: Hey there, I sneezed.
Leo: And he's got allergies.
Jeff: I kept waiting for Chad to switch to me than thought... I made it...
Leo: Oh now I sneezed on my touch screen, that's terrible. Gina is swamped with work at ThinkUp.com, her start up. It happens from time to time, but good news, Matthew Ingram is here, so it’s great to have Matthew from Gigaom. You can tell he's at the cabin.
Jeff: Did you cut those logs yourself, Abe?
Mathew Ingram: No I did not. That was someone a hundred or so years ago.
Leo: It's beautiful up there.
Matthew: It’s hemlock, believe it or not.
Matthew: The whole of the cabin is in hemlock.
Leo: You're obviously in New England somewhere, yeah?
Matthew: No, Ontario. Northern Ontario.
Leo: Ontario? Doesn't everybody in Canada have a summer cabin?
Matthew: Not everyone, but...
Leo: Almost everyone.
Matthew: We certainly have enough room if everyone wanted one.
Leo: It’s like Sweden.
Matthew: Come on up.
Leo: It seems like everyone in Sweden has a summer cabin.
Jeff: In fact, Robertson Davies, the wonderful wonderful Canadian novelist always said that Canada is not like America, it’s like Scandinavia.
Leo: That's interesting.
Matthew: Very similar, yeah. It’s cold a lot of the time.
Leo: The people are friendlier. They're nicer. Yeah. They don't have mounties in Scandinavia, however.
Leo: But hemlock. Wow. Is that... I always think of hemlock as the poison that Socrates drank, but that's a tree also...
Matthew: So you don't want to lick the cabin.
Leo: In the chat room, Jeff tells us hemlock is the hardest of the softwoods.
Matthew: It’s true.
Jeff: You just learn all kinds of things when you're on TWiG.
Leo: If you see Heisenberg, say hi for us. Yeah, everybody in Michigan has summer camp. Michigan lake, going up to the lake in Michigan is a big thing. It’s beautiful, beautiful. I'm just jealous, I wish I had a summer cabin. So, what has been going on in the world of Google? They've invested $300 million in an underwater cable to Japan. Whaaaaat?
Jeff: I found that one interesting, because I've been doing some research on a project I'm kind of working on, panicky stuff. I went through lots and lots of old clips from the New York Times and from The Guardian and the Observer on the lane of the first atlantic cable. And I was just amazed at the jubilation when the first cable worked... The queen sent a message, but it wasn't the full message, they didn't know that. It took seventeen hours to get the whole message across by the time they fixed stuff. And then the president sent a message back and then the word got through the landline cable to New York and there were fireworks and parades, and jubilation, Elmira New York they were shooting off the cannons. The church bells rang the next day for an hour, because you could send a message across the Atlantic.
Leo: It was considered a huge breakthrough, it was the equivalent of putting a man on the moon.
Jeff: So I was thinking about this, and I was thinking that one of the mistakes that Google and Facebook and Twitter and all of our dear beloved tech companies we talk about are making these days is they're not making technology actually wow-y enough. I think there ought to be a Google World's Fair. What do you think about that?
Leo: What a great idea? Isn't that what the world's fair was originally? Was to show progress?
Leo: I remember going to the 1965 or 64 world's fair in New York City... If you're on your way out to JFK and you pass that giant globe, and some other stuff, that's leftover from the World's Fair... And then you and Canada you had a Expo 76.
Leo: 66, 67, 76... Expo 67, thats the last World's Fair I remember. Have there been some?
Matthew: I was only five.
Leo: You were only five.
Matthew: You know, if Google had something like that, wouldn't a lot of that stuff terrify people? If google had a world's fair and it had driverless cars and all sorts of futuristic stuff, you know a lot of that is kept...
Jeff: Yeah but if you think back to the stuff we saw, you know the GE home of the future, I think some of it is left at Disney World. I think we're just not being... I think we're allowing the scaremongers and technophobes to take over the discussion and we should be saying, at some point, "Wow."
Leo: The next World's Fair is coming up in Milan. It'll be expo 2015.
Jeff: Oh really?
Leo: Well, there you go. There's no, like... It’s not the Olympic committee. There's no world's fair committee, is there?
Matthew: No, I don't think there is.
Leo: According to Wikipedia they originated in the French tradition of national exposition and exhibit’s, the tradition that culminated with the French industrial exposition of 1844 in Paris. And they moved people in Europe and the United Kingdom did it... The best known first world expo was in the crystal palace in Hyde Park which still stands.
Jeff: Where the first TV station was set up in London.
Leo: In 1851?
Jeff: No, at the Crystal Palace.
Leo: Oh, I was going to say, wow. So there have been a number of these expositions, of course the Paris Eiffel tower was built, wasn't it, for a World's Fair, as was the first Ferris Wheel in Chicago, in 1893.
Jeff: So Matthew, how about this as a thought, yeah I think that if one says, "Oh look at all the scary stuff we can do," but instead it demystified things and explained things and showed you the benefit’s and wonders and showed you the better world because of it? Now it’s just mysterious technology these geeks are doing things that we don't understand, but if it brought it down into life more and said, "Here is where we're headed," with even things that are scaring people like health, with data and health, and here's how information is stored and searched today. And here's how sensors are going to change your life, and here's... I don't know... Maybe it’s not a big deal with the fair, but...
Matthew: No, I think that's a good point, I mean, they could definitely do, in fact all companies could do a better job of pointing out why you would even want to do these things. So why would you want to give all of your data to this company or why would you want to login every time you do X or Y... Why would you want sensors in everything? And to give you the kind of... People are always going to, you know, say well you could do this bad thing or this other bad thing, but at least if you talked about the positive reasons why you might want to, and how it could help your life, then you could kind of start the conversation off on the right foot.
Jeff: And that's my research that I'm working on, is that there are people who said bad things could happen with every technology we've seen, and so the telegraph and people will also say they form a paper tiger and say well it didn't bring world peace, not that anyone said it was going to... But the telegraph was ratcheted up that way and then shot down. The funny thing about the telegraph, after all this... Go ahead.
Matthew: I was just going to say when you mentioned the telegraph, it reminded me I had just seen a news story someone posted on Twitter, a sort of image of a news story from the early days of the Telegraph and they were criticizing it, as you know, speeding up information too much, and why would need all of this extraneous information from some far away place and couldn't we just deliver... Yeah, and it was exactly the same stuff people say about Twitter, so if you had just taken out the word Telegraph and put in Twitter it sounded exactly the same.
Leo: Apparently there is, there must be, some sort of need for higher speed connection between California and the west coast of the United States and Japan. This cable known as Faster will cost, in total, $300 million. I think this headline is wrong. Forbes says Google invests... Google invests IN the $300 million cable... Google's investment is not that high.
Matthew: And didn't they just invest in one a few years ago, didn't they? This is not their first.
Jeff: They invested in other underwater cables, yes.
Leo: If you're interested in the technology, it is a six fiber pair cable, and optical transmission technology. Initial capacity of sixty terabit’s per second, with six pairs. Because each pair is capable of a hundred wavelengths each, a hundred gigabit’s. Wow, that's really interesting. That's a lot of capacity. China Mobile international, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and Singtel, the other investors. Mostly Asian telecoms. NEC, I didn't know this, is it the same NEC, is the top vendor of submarine cable systems. They'll be the system supplier.
Jeff: They had to get out of the printer business.
Leo: Yeah really!
Matthew: Do they also sell the equipment that the NSA uses with the subs, where they tap into the cable?
Leo: Sure, well yeah. If you're going to build the cable you got to build that in, it’s a lot easier. Google subs... Not Google. NSA subs, do they actually go down to the cable, tap into it and come back?
Matthew: They drop a thing. They drop like, a device and it attaches to the cable and then they just...
Leo: Incredible. Incredible. At Google, this is Google's senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Google fellow, Earnest Itzel... Posts, "At Google we want our products to be fast and reliable, that requires a great network infrastructure, whether it’s for the more than a billion android users..." You got to get the plug in. "Or the developers building products on Google Cloud platform, sometimes the fastest path requires going through an ocean." Oh, I like that. That's why we're investing in faster and new undersea cable to connect the west coast, it’s to two coastal locations in Japan. And the capacity is ten million times faster than your cable modem... He threw that one in. To Chacura and China in Japan. There are already 200 fiber optic cables undersea, transporting internet data around the world, carrying more than 95% of transoceanic voice and data traffic. So you might think it’s satellite, but that's too slow. Underwater cables, they care 51 billion gigabytes a month. Facebook...
Matthew: So google invested in Unity in 2011.
Leo: Yeah, this isn't the first time.
Matthew: And SJCE.
Leo: Facebook has done the same, they have a stake in an underwater cable consortium between Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. It’s kind of interesting. I'm not sure why these big companies get involved in this, but it's kind of interesting. It will be lit up, second quarter of 2016. In the US it will connect to hubs in LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. It’s kind of neat. I'm not... It’s an interesting thing that they feel they need to get into this business.
Jeff: You know they're in both ends of it, fiber in the home business and fiber in Japan business.
Leo: I understand doing it in the US to kind of kick current ISPs in the butt. That makes a lot of sense.
Jeff: It’s working, too.
Leo: Time Warner Austin now has a hundred megabit symmetric. Austin really has benefitted.
Matthew: That's right. Would they ever have gone to that if it wasn't for Google?
Leo: No, of course not. I think Austin of all of the cities, has benefitted a lot. I guess because it’s larger than KC, I don't know.
Chad Johnson: You don't mind if I bump in, but you know what's that quote... To write great software, you need to make the hardware, it’s kind of how I feel with this in Google, they need to make sure they own part of the infrastructure.
Leo: That's Chad Johnson, our producer.
Matthew: When you think about it, the quality of their apps, the quality of their services... People notice a billionth of a second when they're loading pages, that's a huge part of their UI offering to people. It’s going to be fast, it’s always going to be there, it’s always going to work. And if you're using Google Now or something and it’s trying to get information and it’s slow because of someone else's network ,that looks bad on Google.
Leo: I was wrong. Time Warner and Comcast are also increasing speeds in Kansas City. I was wrong, so it is... It’s everywhere, right? Fascinating.
Jeff: I found that quote, Matthew. "So far the influence of the newspaper upon the mind and morals of the peoples concerned, there can be no rational doubt that the telegraph has caused mass injury. Superficial, sudden, unsifted, too fast for the truth must be all telegraphic intelligence. Has it not rendered the popular mind too fast for the truth? Ten days brings the mail from Europe. What need is there for the scraps of news in ten minutes? It snowed here, it rained there, one man killed, another hanged. Even the Washington letter has..." I can't read the word in the type. "Since the innovation, and I can conscientiously recommend my own pistols prior to 1854 in preference to those in later years, said the New York Times, Washington correspondent."
Jeff: He also says, "That it will be of great use cannot be questioned, but how will it’s uses add to the happiness of mankind? Has the land telegraph done any good? Has it banished any evil? Mitigated any sorrow? Is it of any consequence that you in New York should know on Tuesday instead of Wednesday that Jones smashed the nose of Thomson in Congress on Monday? Upon the whole, is any more money gained or lost by the cotton speculators of New York and New Orleans, because they know the variations of both markets five minutes, rather than five days, before their operations take into effect? Is not the anguish of relatives increased by hearing day to day that the wife or son has breathed his last, and by receiving ten days after the sad details of sickness and death?
Leo: I just find it interesting that John C. Dvorak was writing even then.
Matthew: Yeah, it’s incredible!
Jeff: Well done!
Leo: You know, it’s fascinating.
Jeff: That's the New York Times, 1858.
Leo: I think though, I think back to my first trip to Europe as a kid. I was in fifth grade, it was in 1967. And I... We spent the summer there, and I was so interested in baseball at the time and I wanted to know the scores and you couldn't get the baseball scores until like 36 hours later when the Herald Tribune came out and they used telegraphs or something to send the baseball scores... And now everything is instantaneous everywhere. So it isn't even just from 1860, it’s from 1960. We've seen a huge revolution and I don't think anyone wouldn't agree at this point that faster information is worse, but we do have to learn how to sift through the faster information, in fact all you have to do... A number of people wrote after Robin Williams after untimely passing, earlier this week that Twitter is where people go to die, basically.
Jeff: Mathew, you have some things to say about that, didn't you.
Matthew: Dylan Byers was complaining about how twitter turns into the worst possible place when people die... People like Robin Williams and I argued that it’s actually the opposite. I find it the opposite. I know there's... You know there are horrible things like his daughter was basically driven off twitter by trolls and so on and I'm not saying it’s a paradise or that nothing bad happens, but I actually enjoyed seeing people talking about him, mentioning movies that I had forgotten about or mentioning roles that I remembered. It felt very much to me like standing around, at an actual funeral, talking to your friends or acquaintances or family members about that person. I enjoyed that. It helped me remember what I liked about him.
Leo: I feel so bad for his daughter, Zelda. But I think you're right. Trolls just... What are we going to do about this? This is so sad.
Matthew: There's no question.
Jeff: I guess Mathew I go through a cycle on it. On the one hand, what's going to happen when something horrible like that happens, and I thought I was a great fan of Robin Williams and remember him from his days on stage in San Francisco, and I couldn't read it. So at first I knew it was going to happen, it got bombarded as everyone discovers. Okay, we know, we don't need you to... Then there were personal reactions back, which like you I do appreciate. And then comes the media overdose, we couldn't go anywhere without a rehashing of the same thing. The single bit of news is the tragic moment he's dead.
Matthew: It got... I mean one of the things I mentioned that I didn't really get into, was after the, "Oh he's dead." And sort of mourning, then came the press conference, and police effectively giving really horrible details.
Leo: They gave out his street address, and details that were just not for public consumption.
Matthew: At one point Andy Carmen said basically, this is the police press conference is basically a how-to. It gave so many details about the suicide, which is generally frowned on.
Leo: This is not the way. One of the things social media did so well, Jenny Jardan on Boing Boing referred, and a lot of people subsequently referred to a document about how to communicate about suicide to try to minimize the contagion factor, because there's a strong contagion factor. I think in total, obviously there were some trolls, but the worst people were the media people, not the social media people. Mainstream media and the police were far worse. ABC sending helicopters over his house.
Jeff: That was ridiculous and on the morning show this morning they complained there was a story on ABC on family asked privacy is respected, and a link to go see video right now over their house.
Matthew: But the thing I did find interesting, apart from all the bad stuff was because he had fought depression and addiction for so long, and because he committed suicide there was a lot of people talking about depression, talking about suicide, talking about how to deal with those things. Talking about, you know, steps you can take or places you can go. That kind of thing is actually hugely valuable. It very rarely gets talked about in public, and so you know, I thought that was a big benefit.
Leo: There's hope.
Jeff: One issue of it, at the time of death is that we tiptoe. And the Guardian had a piece this morning saying that suicide is not a selfish act. And as I think about his children, I'm not sure that I agree with that, but one can't say that. Especially in America. There's a time of... In the UK they do pretty blunt orbit’s, that bring up people's faults. We don't believe in doing that in the US. In Canada you're always nice, because that's the way you are. And so there are some difficult things to talk about too, that you don't say because of the respect of the past.
Leo: All the 140 characters eulogies, on the one hand it’s really great to see the outpouring, right? And to hear other celebrities, their memories... But you can't say that much with 140 characters, but at least it’s something. It’s at least initially a chance for everyone to express how they feel about it, and to get together.
Matthew: I remember some of these issues came up, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine died. A close friend, of cancer. And he loved the media, was a heavy user of social media, and so I, on the spur of the moment at his funeral I decided to live tweet his funeral. And, in part it was an experiment, but actually in part it was a tribute to him because he was such a big user of social media and he was always experimenting with different ways to use it, and I got a lot of... The funny thing was I got a lot of support and I got a lot of criticism. A lot of people said it was not appropriate, and it was kind of just... Unseemly and then I had a lot of other people, including family members of his who couldn't' make it to the funeral who said, thank you for doing this because we weren't able to sort of participate. And so we got a window into those events through you tweeting. So it, to me, it was... It showed how there is still a lot of resistance to that sort of thing, but how there's also a lot of benefit’s that can come out of it.
Leo: You know if you may tweet... I want to go on record right now, Jeff and Matthew, you may tweet live or otherwise my funeral. I encourage you to do so. And we can have a live stream and... Just don't do Facebook. Wear Google Glass.
Jeff; You know here's the question about your digital will, and this has been talked about. I suppose one should put in a safe place, one's passwords and such and digital wishes so that one's family can... Blog what I want and get into my Gmail and such and so forth, yeah?
Leo: I... Aren't there sites that do this?
Jeff: There was one shown about a year ago, where if you didn't post something within a certain amount of time...
Leo: Brian Brushwood did that, right? Wasn't that a Brushwood? He has a site that if he...
Chad: And the idea is that if he...
Leo: If you don't hear from me...
Chad: What it'll start to do, is instead of giving out passwords it'll start to retweet and redo everything that he did the last year. It’s a digital ghost. It keeps him alive.
Leo: Daniel Suarez Daemon, which is a wonderful novel, the premise of which is that a brilliant programmer and game developer creates a demon, daemon that is inserted into the public internet upon his death and does all this stuff, it comes basically comes alive on the net. We don't yet have that technology.
Matthew: Google has the built in, you can give an address, or an email address and phone number of the person you want to be notified if there's a lack of activity in your account. I think it’s Gmail.
Leo: That was new, yeah. Is it a lapse thing? Did you do it?
Matthew: Not sure... Yeah, I did. So if you don't log in for a certain amount of time it notifies some next of kin. Pretty sure that's how it works. I forget what it’s called though.
Leo: Yeah, I remember when they announced that.
Jeff: I want to leave my blog up, but turn off all the damn comments. I will not be trolled in death.
Matthew: They have a bot that can reply on your behalf.
Leo: Google Public Policy Blog. Plan your digital act of life, with the inactive account manager. It sounds like an April fool's joke. So search for Inactive Account manager.
Matthew: At least they didn't call it dead account manager, or...
Leo: It seems morbid and nobody wants to think about it, but you make a will and there comes a time when you, especially Jeff, you and I as we approach our later years, we start to think about this. Although it can happen to anyone as we know.
Matthew: I've got probably thirty gigs of data on Amazon's AWS and on a bunch of photo services and it’s all password protected, if my family wanted to get any of the photos that I've taken for the last fifteen years, you know, get the actual original copies, they'd have to get into those accounts.
Chad: So I'm looking at it right now, and you can either have it alert you, before they delete it...
Leo: Are you dead yet?!
Chad: Right. Your time out period can be a month, but you can set this...
Leo: A month of no mail, is that what it is?
Chad: Of you not logging in, you can set it up to eighteen months. You can add notifications so you can notify... And then optionally you can just delete your whole account, just get rid of it.
Leo: See I don't know if I want to do this, see I use Lastpass, so all I'd have to do is give my next of kin my lastpass password. Or maybe an attorney or if you're paranoid, split it up, half to the attorney, half to your next of kin. Put it in your will... And then in there you could have a lastpass secure note that would say what your last wishes are. I think the inactive account manager is not quite right. So the idea mostly of that is to delete your account after a... No?
Chad: It’s an optional. You can optional delete it, but you can notify all of your contacts.
Leo: You're so funny, they say what happens to your account when you stop using it?
Jeff: That's a nice way to put it.
Matthew: You can give a loved one access, basically.
Leo: Yeah, might just be in jail. My account will time out... You could add up to ten trusted friends or family members. This is good. And you could... You know, I wonder if... Can you create an email that could be sent out upon your death? That's what I want. If you're reading this, it’s because I haven't logged into gmail in a long time...
Jeff: You know what I want, Leo?
Jeff: I want a tweet funeral. I want a TWiT memorial service.
Leo: For me?
Jeff: For me or for you...
Leo: You would want that as well? We should get this all on record.
Chad: It is on the record.
Leo: It is on the record now, whatever... Actually it’s kind of depressing, Robin Williams did this with Louis C. K. If ever, whichever one of us pre-expires the other, the other will live tweet the funeral.
Leo: And don't... This is good Dr. Mom. You're thinking, she says, remind people not to deactivate the phone of the dead person in case of second path of authentication. Keep the dongle alive! I would imagine, I don't know, but that a lot of loved ones... I mean, look, when you pass away there's a lot of cleanup anyway. Right? Um, but I would imagine a lot of loved ones, this is just one more area of cleanup. Facebook has a process... Facebook actually I think handles it well, where if you pass away your next of kin can notify Facebook and they'll take your Facebook page and turn it into a memorial. Right? Yeah.
Matthew: Which is good because then it doesn't... This happened to me, with this friend who passed away, once it’s memorialized it doesn't show up in the sort of recommended things. Because, at one point... This friend's page showed up and it was like, "Your friend is having a birthday!" And I was thinking, I'm pretty sure he's not. So maybe you could stop showing me that.
Leo: I feel so bad for Robin's daughter. There were trolls posting unpleasant images and terrible comments. Initially she asked her supporters to report the trolls, but then she realized that was a mistake and decided it was better for her just to delete her social media accounts entirely. She did not. She posted on Twitter, "I'm sorry, I should have risen above. Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye." Can you imagine?
Jeff: It’s just awful, at a time when she should have received support...
Leo: Horrible, horrible people. And I'm sure most of the traffic was supportive and loving. But then these sad, bent people... It’s just... It’s...
Jeff: And the other thing that happens, I don't want to give the guy any attention, but I had an episode this week of trolling where someone used my identity to go after somebody else and I had to protect my reputation. What's really equally disturbing is the people who then egg it on. And take no responsibility for what they're doing.
Leo: That's just trolling, too.
Jeff: Exactly. There's someone from my... A very large important newspaper, and a very large important job there, who was gleeful about this trolling of this person. This prominent person who thought that I was...
Leo: Wait til it happens to you, big shot editor.
Jeff: Exactly. I went back at him today and I said, egging on the troll is trolling in it’self. You're an accessory to the crime. And I said, by the way, why don't you say the things that you just said straight to the face of this person and I put that person's twitter handle on there. Come on, big shot. You want to talk about how you don't like the person and how you're a troll, go ahead. You have any bazongas? You know it’s just depressing.
Leo: So so sad.
Matthew: A lot of these things start, you know, because it's seen as funny or it’s people just looking for lols as they call it, on 4chan. And then it just escalates, because everyone's trying to one up the other person. And then eventually it just... Descends into, you know... The most horrible thing possible.
Jeff: That's where Gina was talking about this problem and with twitter and I see some movement now, and I think you heard about this too Mathew or you linked to something about this, of having shared blacklists. That could turn ugly too. But... If the people you care about and you trust say, "I'm muting this person." And I would trust a list of who you two muted. You might have personal and individual reasons but probably that's a good indicator that says, "Let's just give them no attention." Because the one fuel to a troll is attention.
Leo: Even... Blocking them is fueling them to some degree, right? If they know they've been blocked.
Matthew: You're right about that. Flen Fleischmann wrote something about this idea and I was discussing it with him, and then wrote about it and it does have a lot going for it, I mean, the one big benefit is you don't have to rely on Twitter to figure out who to block or ban. You know, this is a much more sort of crowd sourced different groups can have their own shared lists. So it’s not like a master list of who's blocked, it’s different groups can come together and create their own. My theory is that those things can in, themselves, become tools of harassment. So, the, for example, someone wrote about being added to one of these block lists. I'm trying to remember her name now. Caroline... No, Create Perez, a British journalist. She was harassed on twitter and was quite critical of the way twitter handled it. She's actually on a blocked list, because she posted something that someone thought was offensive towards transgendered people.
Leo: You should be allowed to collude who they don't like.
Matthew: Sure they should. My only fear is that it’s, if it’s... It’s a double edged sword, I guess is my point. It makes me nervous.
Leo: I liberally use the block feature on Twitter. It’s the best thing in the world, and yes I know others are seeing these, but I'm not. And you know, out of sight out of mind.
Jeff: That was the problem with my episode was that I blocked this person and then I saw that there was notoriety going on. If it hadn't reached a level of notoriety I wouldn't have realized how this troll's victims, thought that I was such a terrible person.
Leo: Knowing what's going on, that's the argument against blocking. YOur ignorance is bliss but you don't know what's going on.
Jeff: Right so I immediately tweeted that prominent person and I said that this person is not me, and he was gracious and came back and acknowledged it so that I know he now knows. I know someone, we have common friends, this prominent person. It’s just... Goes over the line.
Leo: It’s interesting. He understood, immediately though what was going on though right?
Jeff: No. No he didn't. That's the point. See that's the problem. He was attacking back saying, what a slimeball you are to say these horrible things. And people said, well you can see that's not the real account. There's no obligation from him to look for my green check.
Leo: He's not sophisticated enough to know that these things happen.
Jeff: He's going after me, I just want to get away. I don't want anybody on me, so I'm not going to go spend time to investigate. That's a bogus standard. And it was just played out someone trolling, attacking this person and this person thought it was me, and you know, it goes over the line and I've just had it. I've more than had it now. And you know, fun. Have fun, and accuse us of having no sense of humor and so on, but you know trolling people... Someone said that this prominent journalist said of this important person, somebody deserved to be trolled. Did someone deserve to be hit and run? No one, no one deserves to be trolled, full stop.
Leo: But what do we do about it? I like this idea of collaborative lists. There's no facility that... There's no feature of twitter that facilitates this, but we can easily just do it.
Jeff: I think Matthew is good, it shouldn't be universal blacklists because then...
Leo: Glen and Mathew want to send me a list of people that you don't follow. I'll send you a list of people I don't follow. That's a good start, right?
Matthew: there's a service called the Block Bot. Which is those most developed, and then there are a couple of other projects that are trying to do similar things, so you can share a block list and it would integrate with Twitter or with Tweetdeck, and so if you agreed to opt into this list then certain people would be automatically be blocked.
Leo: I always... Look for a technological solution to these kinds of problems that were spawned in fact, by the new technologies that allowed people to do things they couldn't do, or couldn't do as effectively before. I'm sure there've always been trolls. But that's a good way to handle it.
Jeff: Another way is on comments on disgusts and on Wordpress as well, they'll give you a high level submission index. I almost want that. If I see somebody who's being an a-hole in twitter and if I can see a little mark that says how many of your friends are blocking this person...
Leo: Join the block but, that sounds like a really... Well done idea here. And it has a list of a lot of blocks... Oh you can see who's blocked on here. Holy cow. That's the problem... This is just... You're never... It’s so easy to create a new account on twitter. Sorry, I just closed it. It’s so easy to create a new account on twitter that this is only of limited value...
Jeff: But this is also a universal list, right?
Jeff: I got a problem with that, because that can be gamed so easily.
Leo: I don't want to block people just because they don't like Jeff Jarvis. I want to block people that don't like me. Alright. Well, good conversation as usual. We are... This is the... This is the show for deep philosophical discussions.
Jeff: Oh jeez, yeah, death and trolling. Jeez.
Leo: And the influence thereof. The intersection of death and trolling. That's something I didn't think we'd be talking about.
Matthew: There's the internet.
Leo: There's the internet in a nutshell.
Jeff: Let’s talk about Chromebooks.
Leo: I don't know if you noticed, but I'm using a Lenovo Chromebook right now. This is something we're reviewing.
Jeff: How much is that one, do you know?
Leo: You know, this is one of the cheap ones. The only difference is it has a touch screen. Which is okay. It’s not... The problem with cheap hardware, it’s not responsive enough to be a satisfactory experience. And so what I did, I sat down last night I was using it, and I switched back to the pixel just to experience... And this is why I think you like Chromebooks so much, Jeff Jarvis, you're using the Pixel. That you can't even buy anymore, even if you wanted to spend $1200 you can't.
Jeff: It’s still for sale.
Leo: $1200, right?
Jeff: With LG, $1500.
Leo: More than a Macbook pro.
Jeff: Mmm. But it’s a damn fine machine. I didn't have to buy anymore software for it, don't forget.
Leo: Well as an example, we were looking for a machine that had keys that light up. The only Chromebook with keys that light up is the Pixel.
Jeff: Why do you need keys that light up?
Leo: I don't know. The person likes to type in the dark?
Jeff; Oh, okay.
Matthew: I find it really handy.
Leo: Lisa wants to give the Chromebook as a gift to an adult friend and that's one of the criteria.
Jeff: Oh, you shouldn't Leo, I already have one.
Leo: You feel the Jeff needs more Chromebooks. But the problem is that right now, except for the Pixel, all of these are pretty much cheap netbooks and you... Don't have a great experience.
Jeff: The Acer one is a...
Leo: This new Acer 13, it’s not available yet. I pre-ordered it. It’s 1080P, eleven hours battery life, that's the best I've ever seen on a Chromebook. It’s not that expensive, it’s $379.
Jeff: That's the higher end of $279...
Leo: That's the higher end. It has four gigs of ram, and it’s using this new Tegra K1 processor, which is not only 64bit, but desktop class. It’s a fast processor.
Jeff: The video shows it’s pretty fast stuff, yeah.
Leo: I've never, I mean even this less expensive, it’s running on a Celeron, it’s snappy enough. It’s just the touch screen that's not that snappy.
Jeff: The problem that I had in my original Samsung, but the two gigs it’s just slowed to molasses at some point. Four gigs, found it and emailed me yesterday, I just said four gigs, four gigs, four gigs.
Leo: We bought for Michael at school a Chromebook, the Acer C720, which is highly recommended. It’s fine for him, he doesn't know the difference. He's happy.
Chad: He watches Pewdiepie on youtube though.
Leo: Yeah but he's got his Macbook pro to play games on.
Jeff: I was talking to a friend of mine today, they bought one for her daughter at school and just said the advantage of knowing one, if the computer got stolen, no big deal, number two they had forgot to put the thing on black board, nope. It’s all in the cloud. There's no, "I left my homework at school..." For a student it makes a lot of difference, I think. But I'm tempted by the thirteen inch just because I want the $279 version has 13 hour battery promised. The $379 version with the screen has eleven hours promised. But, that's a long flight.
Leo: I want the battery life. So we've said, we've issued the call before. People need to do mid-range Chromebooks. Pixel I think, everyone agrees is too much. It’s hard to recommend somebody spend $1299 on a Chromebook.
Jeff: I would spend $600 or $700 for a good one...
Leo: I think you could do a good one for $500, I really do. But I don't think you need to get that expensive.
Jeff: If you took all the features... What does the Chromebook give you? It gives you touchscreen, you could do LG, it gives you high res...
Leo: I think you need to have a better GPU. Because I think you need to have the screen be responsive.
Leo: I don't know.
Jeff: I don't even know what this thing is built on. What's the Pixel built on?
Leo: I think it’s HI5, I'm not sure. I don't know.
Jeff: It wouldn't mean anything to me anyway. It’s like me looking under the hood of a car.
Leo: It looks like you got four on the floor and a reverse shifter in there. I don't know...
Jeff: So I got a question for you, Leo. I opened it.
Leo: Oh, One Plus! But you have a question, yes?
Jeff: I do, I do. I went through... It took me two thirds of a day to get this working.
Leo: What? Why?
Jeff: Trying to get... I went to the Apple store... It was the wonderful Alex Hugo, a fan of TWiG...
Leo: You took it to the Apple Store?
Jeff: No. I took it to an AT&T store, and a guy looked up the AVN, APN...?
Leo: APN. Mine worked right out of the box. You had a problem with the...
Jeff: Yeah, it didn't work, and then... There were changes, I don't know what finally got it working and there were changes done to this and Alex, a wonderful wonderful TWiG fan...
Leo: So you weren't getting data because you had the wrong APN settings.
Jeff: We thought that was it but that still wasn't getting it, but it turns out my account wasn't provisioned for 4G. I don't know how that happened.
Leo: You were using a Nexus 5...
Jeff: So then, now, okay, it’s working. But here's the problem, I think... It doesn't fail down below 4G for data.
Leo: No it does. Jeff... You're... I don't know. You have problems that are unique to you.
Jeff: I have a kind of...
Leo: I have had this. I have had this on 3G, I have had this on 2G...
Jeff: Is it a AT&T or TMobile?
Jeff: Oh, so the data...
Leo: I think they're trolling you.
Jeff: No, the cloud I live in, Leo, it’s dark.
Leo: You live in a dark cloud.
Matthew: And rain.
Jeff: It’s not just over my head, I'm in the dark cloud.
Leo: First of all, you could have screwed things up by changing the APN settings. Mine worked out of the box.
Jeff: I think it’s okay. What's the name of your APN?
Leo: Oh, I have to figure that out.
Jeff: Go into your mobile networks and then access point names.
Leo: Prefered network type 4G recommended, I have WAP.Singular, which is correct, by the way.
Jeff: It works on the WAP? It shouldn't!
Leo: Yeah. Your mistake was trying to fix something that wasn't broken.
Matthew: Uh oh.
Leo: Yeah, WAP.Cingular.
Jeff: That's the one that works.
Leo: Well it does on mine! My username is WAP@singular...
Jeff: They're all the same, they're all the same. Yours fails down to 3G. I'll have full bars at 3G, but no 4G and no data...
Leo: It even says preferred network type, 4G, 3G, 2G.
Jeff: I did that too.
Leo: I don't know. I think somebody messed with you, dude.
Jeff: There's the other issue with the One Plus, if you couldn't get it working he'd buy it, he'd buy it. He was very nice about it, he was a TWiG fan. I'm not trying to live on your misfortune Jeff, go talk to Gina and try to get it working, but if not... And then he just tweeted me yesterday saying I'm not sure I want anything from them, did you see the sexist campaign they were doing...?
Leo: I've got something to say about that.
Jeff: Okay, hit it.
Leo: And in their defence, I agree it’s a bad idea... What they said is, the whole way One Pluses work, which is weird to begin with is that you have to somehow either participate in a contest or request an invite or get an invite from an existing customer. To get this phone, it’s in very very short supply. The reason we all use it and like it is because it’s a very high end flagship phone for $350 bucks, 64 gigabytes of storage. So that's, you know, it’s a good price for a very nice phone. Five and a half inch phone. They've gotten in trouble their first contests, that was dumb. They asked people to destroy the phone, send them a video and then people pointed out, well you're destroying something that's perfectly useful, it could be handed on to someone that could use a phone.
Jeff: You're going to throw it in the garbage and pollute the...
Leo: So they said, yeah, we're stupid sorry. What we should have said is, you know, I don't know. They changed it, they modified the contest. The most recent contest... I agree, ToneDeff said Ladies first, send us a picture of yourself, it didn't have to be with your old phone... But send us a picture of yourself, but this is another contest right? And we'll put you in a drawing for one of these phones or whatever.
Jeff: No, they had to write something on their body and then we're going to take...
Leo: I didn't hear the write something on your body.
Jeff: And then we're going to vote on... I'm sorry. You're right, that's horrible. No, no, no, no. I misunderstood though. I didn't know they had to do something more than send in a selfie. Write something on their body...?
Jeff: Or they could hold a sign. But if you're going to be voted on, clearly the less you wore, the better... Um.
Leo: Let me read... Let me, I didn't see that. Okay... Then there's no...
Jeff: Put the logo on a piece of paper or their body. Guess who's going to win. And then the top fifty most like to win this would earn a t shirt and the opportunity to pay full price for the phone.
Leo: Yeah you're right.
Jeff: That's bad, that's bad.
Leo: Would it have been okay if they'd said, ladies first, send us a picture and we'll have a drawing for an invite and a t-shirt.
Jeff: Drawing, yes.
Leo: Having the forms was a mistake...
Jeff: Beauty contest, no.
Leo: I misunderstood. I didn't realize that you had to do that, that's ridiculous. And by the way, you don't get a free phone, you just get the opportunity to buy a phone, which is already weird. Um.
Jeff: This is like the American Apparel of phone companies.
Leo: Remember though, they're in China. Maybe there's a cultural gulf.
Jeff: You're being so charitable.
Leo: I like the phone.
Jeff: it feels good, it doesn't feel too big. The size is about right.
Leo: There's been a lot of backlash, I think a lot of the... By the way, this is a good one, lady sends a picture of herself flipping them off with the OnePlus logo on her hands, hahaha. I'm not going to show it.
Jeff: She writes something on her hand, right?
Leo: Yes, that's why I'm not going to show it. Yeah, that's rude. Nevermind. But you know they've also incurred a lot of wrath just because how they're doing this.
Jeff: Tony is saying, on the rundown, cultural differences.
Leo: Tony is Taiwanese.
Chad: And he says they're trying to get more female owners, cultural differences.
Jeff: But, Tony, beauty contest...?
Leo: They did say no nudity.
Jeff: But that's kind of the far end of the boundary. Anything up to that... You're going to get more votes.
Leo: No, you're right. You're right.
Jeff: But it’s a nice phone, and the battery, you're right, is phenomenal.
Leo: Yeah, I think your problems are unique to you and I think your big mistake was bringing it to the AT&T store.
Jeff: But it wouldn't work. It wouldn't work. The guy at the AT*T store should have done what Alex did. Thank you Alex. By the way, just a fan that works in the store and online. And he helps me out because I need help. But the guy at the AT&T store here should have checked my account, I guess. But it wasn't until the provision of 4G I got no data.
Leo: Well that's something wrong with your account, it sounds like.
Jeff: By the end there were so many variables I couldn't figure it out.
Leo: But the five does 4G right?
Jeff: I have one on my lock screen.
Leo: Why do you have Lennon on your screen?
Jeff: I don't know, marxton angles on my screen.
Leo: Commie! You really want to rub it in, huh? Now we know your real sympathies!
Jeff: My last trip to Berlin.
Leo: You know, when we were... Where were we? We were in... LA, there is a... They took all the statues of Lenin down in Russia. But there's a statue of Lenin in LA, the caveat of the point is that is the only statue of Lennon, I don't know how many more... He was Armenian, he wasn't happy about the Russians. So, Mister Dark Cloud... Good news is that they are upgrading this now to 4.4.4. and they're fixing a lot of the issues. One of the issues with the OnePlus that Jason had when he reviewed it, is it was turning itself on in his pocket. And they've realized that was a problem, they fixed that and they updated. There's a significant update coming, any minute now.
Jeff: How do you get updates?
Leo: Just get it, it will automatically let you know.
Jeff: I would just say this, I think that the battery goes with me on the nexus 5, but as a whole... It’s not a quantum leap past the nexus 5.
Leo: Okay. Um. Camera is a quantum leap past a Nexus 5, the screen is a quantum leap, the speed is a quantum leap.
Jeff: I understand this... A non TWiGy kind of person asked me today, she said my phone is dying. I said go android, she said what phone should I get, but I said get a Nexus 5.
Leo: Oh, I wouldn't get a nexus 5 now. It’s a year old.
Jeff: Oh, excuse me.
Leo: It’s crazy talk. Yeah, I mean I would say the M8 is very good. The LGG 3 I hear good things about. The Nexus 5 is old.
Jeff: They have now paired down the play editions to two.
Leo: I saw that. What are the two?
Jeff: It’s the MOtoGP, and the... What is it... LG? I think?
Leo: There you go. Those are the GTE versions, that looks like an HTC One and the MotoG, the LG. The M8 is still great, and I think the Google Play edition of the M8 would also be an excellent choice. The good news about the Nexus 5 is that it’s cheap. Can you get it still, are they still selling it? Or is it out of stock? It’s in stock. The price is right on that... I just... It’s a year old phone and I feel like there are better choices out there. Chad would you buy a new Nexus 5? Yours is cracked...
Chad: No. I'm gonna say the same thing, if you wait... Basically unless someone needs a phone today, then I would suggest the Nexus 5 or the M8.
Leo: There's going to be great stuff coming out in a month.
Chad: That's the thing. If you can wait until the end of September, you're going to be so much happier with the selection.
Leo: Where is the Nexus, it wouldn't be the 6, because... Well, it could be the 6... Where is the next Nexus?
Chad: There's been rumors only. Um. It’s what we know.
Leo: Good rumors, not reliable rumors. Alright, let’s take a break, we'll come back with more. Actually I'm going to do the changelog, we're going to do the changelog minus Gina. It’s going to be very quick, very quiet. We'll just play the trumpets then play the drums, that'll be it. Our show today brought to you by the best place to get stock photos, illustrations, videos, of course I'm talking about shutterstock, with good lord... Forty million images, now! They add a quarter of a million every week. Forty million, five hundred and seventy nine thousand five hundred and forty nine royalty free stock images. Two hundred and eighty four thousand new ones this week, most of them from professional photographers and artists, each individually reviewed for quality, and with their great search engine you're guaranteed to be able to find anything at this point. Forty million, I think you can safely say anything you search for, the great thing about the search engine as I've mentioned before, you don't just search for things, you can add emotions, you can add color, you can drill down by subject, by gender, by the number of people or no people in the image. And they're all royalty free, which means, that's your phone right there. They're all royalty free, what did you search for... Broken phones?
Chad: Cracked screen.
Leo: Cracked screen, yep. Great for bloggers. Actually, filmmakers use it too. I noticed Shutterstock got a credit in the Guardians of the Galaxy when I was there. So I mean, it really is great. Go to Shutterstock.com. You don’t need a credit card. You can just create an account right now. Start using their search tool, their light box to save images you like for inspiration, to share with colleagues and clients. It’s a great tool, and if you do decide to buy and image, we’re going to get you 20% off on your new account. Go to TWIG814. That’s the offer code. TWIG814. Shutterstock.com. Free to try though and try the app. They have an Android and iOS app that’s just spectacular, just great. Shutterstock.com. Remember, when you go to buy an image, use the offer code TWIG814 to save 20%. A little thank you and a welcome to Shutterstock.com. All right, let’s try this. Jeff, we can tag-team the Changelog together. You want to do that?
Jeff: Hot dandy.
Leo: All right, play the trumpets.
Announcer: The Google Changelog.
Leo: Time to see what’s new, new features in the Googleverse. Why don’t you take that first one—?
Jeff: Since that’s the only one I know (laughter).
Jeff: So now motherboard says that legally satellites are now allowed to get twice the res, to go to 25 centimeter resolution, twice as detailed as the previous limit of 50 centimeter
Jeff: The U.S. government has relaxed restrictions.
Leo: So the government images are that clear, but they’ve never allowed Google to publish them.
Jeff: Right. So the joke here was watch out, Google will soon see your face from the sky. Actually, though that’s only if you’re looking up at it.
Leo: (Laughter) I see.
Jeff: I figure what it’s going to see is you bald spot.
Leo: Yeah. My uncle—
Jeff: But you know, I was thinking—
Leo: Yeah? See, there’s some guy talking.
Jeff: I was thinking about this the other day. I’m in one of the skyscrapers in New York because we have them, and I’m looking out and you see all the—well, that’s where it would be the underlife of buildings. The tanks and the air conditioners and the ugly stuff. It’s weird how we don’t have aesthetic requirements for the tops of buildings.
Jeff: And now we have drones and satellites and everything else.
Leo: I guess maybe we will. Yeah.
Jeff: I think we need prettier tops of buildings.
Leo: I think people should plant flowers on their buildings.
Jeff: Yes. I think we need a top-down beautification campaign.
Leo: Oh, that’s so funny.
Jeff: I’m going to be the Ladybird Johnson of the skies (laughter).
Leo: Oh, you crack me up. All right, Ladybird. Well, I think you should keep America beautiful and make the rooftops beautiful.
Jeff: And make the NSA happy.
Leo: Make the NSA happy. So Google changed things with Gmail a little while ago. They added support for non-Latin characters in email addresses, but you can’t create an account that way, but at least if somebody sends you an e-mail in Cyrillic, you can get it. However, it turns out scammers are starting to use this by using non-native letters to fool you into trusting a message’s contents. So they’re not tossing out e-mail with odd combinations of letters that look like they represent phishing attempts. So if they use let’s say an alpha instead of an “a” in the word bank. You know, Bank of America (laughter), you’ll know and Google will—they’ll know more importantly and they’ll filter that out.
Mathew: Oh, I see how it works.
Leo: Yeah, Bonk of America. I guess because there’s some code characters that just don’t appear on the screen, you can even have invisible characters stuck in there, but of course, the computer knows. The computer can see that. Oh, my God! They’re scanning my mail for non-Roman characters. Oh, my God!!
Leo: Pardon me.
Jeff: I’m sorry.
Leo: Go ahead. We didn’t rehearse. We should have rehearsed. Go ahead.
Jeff: (Laughter) Takes two guys to replace Gina.
Leo: And not well at that.
Jeff: No. Android says that Google Play Music is quietly introduced a four device limit per account per year.
Leo: No, four device deactivization.
Jeff: Right. So what’s the difference?
Leo: Right? You have ten devices, okay? Still, that hasn’t changed.
Jeff: Oh, so you can’t switch—I see.
Leo: But remember, for a while one brief shining moment, you were able to deactivate at will anytime you wanted.
Jeff: You could have 20 devices.
Leo: Yeah. Well, no, you could have 10 devices, but if you got to 10—which I do all the time—this hits me a lot because I have so many phones and I try to activate a phone on Google Play Music. And they say, “Well, you’ve got 10 devices.” Well, I can just easily deauth some old devices. Now, you’ll only be able to do this four times a year. So quickly deauthorize everything.
Chad: It’s retroactive.
Leo: Oh, crap.
Chad: So even if you’ve deauthorized stuff already, it’s taking effect.
Leo: Most people this probably doesn’t bother, but it really affects me because I have so many devices like this notebook, this new Chromebook. I’ll have it for five minutes, for a week to review it, and then send it back. So I authorize it for Google Play Music, and now I can’t Deauthorize it. So I guess the real takeaway from this is be very careful when you authorize it because you’re not going to be able to deauthorize more than four a year. And I would guess—
Jeff: I have a confession.
Leo: Yes, go ahead.
Jeff: I haven’t used Google Play Music (laughter). I don’t use any—
Leo: Oh, I love it.
Jeff: Which one do you like best.
Mathew: Yeah, it’s great.
Leo: Well, there’s some really good choices, and we were playing with Beats Music the other day, Apple’s newest acquisition. They actually do a very interesting job, but depends what you’re looking for. Basically all of them, Spotify, Beats, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play, Amazon Play, have access to the same 20 million-song library. As far as I could tell, they’re pretty much the same. There’s a few areas where maybe they might have an exclusive one artist or whatever, but it’s pretty much the same music. Prices are all the same, 10 bucks a month. That’s pretty much the standard. It’s more the features, so one of the things I like about Google is I can upload my entire collection, so up to what is it? Twenty-five thousand songs? I can’t remember what the limit is.
Mathew: I think so.
Leo: But that’s nice because I have stuff in my collection that isn’t on Google Play Music, isn’t in that 20 million song set, so I have access to that. And, of course, I have access if I pay the 10 bucks a month to every other song, and I can listen. They have very good radio. I really like Google. Careful, careful.
Chad: I’m not going to use the Kyocera Hydro again, so I might as well deauthorize it.
Leo: I guess you should.
Chad: I’m at nine, so...
Leo: You see where we are? You see the problem for people like you and me?
Chad: Yeah, and I don’t review as many phones as you do, and I’m hitting my limit. This is absurd. And I wish there was a way that I could call and say, “My situation’s a little different than the normal person.”
Leo: Right. So I think the music industry enforces this. Apple has the same kind of restriction. Once a year, you can deauthorize everything, but if you call them, sometimes they’ll be nicer about it. Audible does the same thing. I think these are restrictions placed by the content creators, not by these companies.
Mathew: Wouldn’t surprise me.
Leo: Yeah, so I like Google Play Music. On the other hand, Amazon Music’s also a good choice. Their radio selection is not very good. Their Amazon Prime Music, which is free if you’re a prime member, has fewer than a million songs in the library, so it’s not very good.
Chad: The other reason I like Google Play Music—sorry, I’m butting in a lot this episode—is you can do radio a lot easier and you can do radio off of playlists, which Amazon still hasn’t quite nailed down. Also, Amazon’s interface is very cludgy. You have to download a little application to upload music, and now Google has done away with that on their service.
Leo: Oh, they have?
Chad: So you can do it just from the browser.
Leo: Oh, but yeah. See, I still use the Google plug-in because I want it to be running all the time so that when I add new music it just uploads it.
Chad: Yeah, you can do that as well, yeah. And then also, I mean, once you’ve added your music to the Googleverse, any Google app that’s going to tap into music is going to tap into all access.
Chad: And so just being part of the ecosystem is really nice.
Leo: Also, if you have a Chromecast, Google Play Music works with the Chromecast.
Leo: And they recently offered Sonos support, so as a Sonos user, then now it’s a no-brainer because I can cast music from my Google Play Music to my Sonos. That’s awesome.
Leo: Oh, and there’s one other thing that makes Google Play Music really awesome. They have a little dice widget. So you tap the—whoops, let’s go back to my home page. Oops, go back to the home page. You tap the dice widget, it rolls the dice and then picks a random song for you (laughter). Actually, this is the “I’m feeling lucky” radio. I like it. I like that (laughter).
Leo: Also, if you use Android, it makes sense to use Google Play Music because you could do things like listen to Del Shannon and it will play Del Shannon.
Leo: I guess it’ll do that with Spotify.
Chad: Yeah, it can do it with almost anything, but yeah, it’s kind of automatic right out of the box. Yeah, you don’t have to tell it what your default is if you have all access.
Mathew: The only thing I’ve found—I was assuming when I did the play me station based on this album or based on this thing from my music that the algorithm would be a bit better sort of suggesting similar songs that I know you thumbs up, thumbs down them.
Mathew: But I think I had one Prodigy song in there and then all of a sudden it was recommending every screamo death metal band. And I had to just keep saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no.”
Leo: Well, the good news is you have unlimited skips, which you don’t have on Pandora, so at least that.
Mathew: Right. Yeah.
Leo: I think all of these recommendation systems have failings. Pandora always sneaks a Beatles song in no matter what.
Leo: Why? Because they have the Beatles catalog.
Mathew: Because they have the—
Leo: Because they have it. So it’s playing Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys “Sugar Moon,” which is I think a really excellent I’m Feeling Lucky choice right there. Then I could thumbs up indicating I want more of that. I pick Google Play Music.
Jeff: All right. I’m going to try it.
Leo: But this is This Week in Google.
Mathew: It’s well done, yep. It’s well done.
Leo: I think it’s really well done. I think all the radios have that problem.
Jeff: Even though they’re not a sponsor of the show for a while, I actually do listen to Audible a lot.
Leo: Audible’s awesome.
Jeff: Though this week, I’m happy with Amazon because when I buy Kindle books—
Jeff: I have a decent sized little gift account where I have gifts over time, plus things I’ve earned from Amazon stuff. And it insists upon taking it out of that for Kindles. I’m doing work right now and these are business books. I don’t want to use my gift money for that.
Jeff: It will not let you take that as an option. There’s no option.
Leo: You need another account. You need a business account and a personal account.
Jeff: But I’m using the same device and I can’t do that.
Leo: Oh, that’s right.
Jeff: I’m switching my book reading over to guess what? Google Play.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. So I’m disappointed on this yearly four device deauthorization limit. I think this was previously the rule. They had been very lenient, which was nice, but that’s changed. Finally, speaking of Googlecast or Chromecast, now you can Chromecast your G+ stream—I love this—to your big screen TV. So browse and it—
Jeff: …Strangers to your family snapshots.
Leo: Yeah, you can flip through posts with manual controls or it has autoplay. I don’t know. It doesn’t look like it reformats too well. Big images do fill the screen with the post content at top and the source at bottom, but I’m sad to say no animated gifs.
Leo: What! That’s just an oversight. I’m sure they’ll fix that. Chromecast gets more and more useful, I have to say. I love it. That’s fun. I haven’t tried it yet, but I do get the new version of Google +, so I’m looking forward to trying it tonight. And that is your Google Changelog. Damn, I hope Gina comes back next week.
Jeff: Gina, come back. Come back little Gina. Come back.
Leo: (Laughter) Come back, Gina! We miss you. Come back. A lot of Snowden news. I’ll skip that. Snowden’s got three years to live in Russia. Reminds me of the old joke, “First place, a three-year trip to Russia. Fourth place, five-year trip to Russia.” I don’t know. Twitter admits that there are 23 million active bots. That’s not necessarily bad. I follow a lot of bots. Not spam bot necessarily.
Mathew: That’s not true.
Leo: It’s not truth. Quartz’s reporting this.
Mathew: Yeah, I actually wrote about that as well, and I made the point that you just made, which is some bots are good. Some of them are funny. Some bots actually have useful things to say. Some sort of automated accounts give you information that’s useful like earthquake SF of whatever.
Leo: We have a bot for TWiT that says when the next show is. Yeah.
Mathew: But so what happened was Twitter updated its 10Q, and it tried to clarify a number that it gave before, and by trying to clarify it, it kind of made it less clear, if you know what I mean. So they said before they had estimated that 14% of users were accessing Twitter through some third-party application. So then they tried to narrow it down a little bit more. They said actually it wasn’t 14; it was 11. And of that 11, 8.5% were accessing it through some automated service that didn’t require user input. So what Quartz did was take that 8.5% and assume well that means 23 million are bots, but it was explained to me by someone close to Twitter who didn’t want to be named that the language in the 10Q, what they meant was automated services that pull tweets, not automated services that post tweets.
Mathew: So they’re talking about a notification layer on your phone that basically just displays tweets without you having to use the app or go to the website.
Mathew: That’s what they meant. So not bots.
Leo: Oh (laughter). Well, I’m surprised there’s only 23 million.
Leo: I mean, doesn’t every third-part Twitter app do that? Pull tweets?
Mathew: Well, yeah. And so what I thought was interesting was it was a small number.
Leo: That’s a tiny—yeah.
Mathew: Like Twitter basically controls 90% of the universe.
Leo: Yeah. Quartz completely screwed that up (laughter).
Mathew: I read the 10Q as well, and it wasn’t clear.
Mathew: It just said without human interaction. It didn’t say just pulling tweets.
Leo: Right, but there’s a big difference between posting a tweet without human interaction and reading a tweet without human interaction.
Mathew: So the short answer is they don’t know how many bots there are or they’re not saying, and bots are included under the spam heading, which is about—
Leo: But they’re not necessarily spam because a lot of bots are very useful.
Mathew: Right. One man’s bot is another man’s spam.
Leo: There’s lots of traffic update bots. I mean, those aren’t bad. Yeah.
Mathew: The one I mentioned was Kim Kierkegaard. Do you follow that at all?
Leo: No (laughter).
Mathew: It’s a mash up of Kim Kardashian’s tweets and Soren Kierkegaard’s existentialist philosophy. It’s hysterical.
Leo: (Laughter) Add that right now.
Mathew: It’s awesome.
Leo: Kim Kierkegaard.
Mathew: That’s actually got a medal.
Leo: And is that a bot because it’s doing it automatically?
Mathew: It’s a bot, yeah.
Mathew: One of my other favorite is defunct, but Stealth Mountain, if you used the phrase sneak peek and you spelled peek wrong, it would respond automatically and say, “I think you mean…” because lots of people say peek like the mountain peak. Just one of those grammatical things that drives you nuts.
Leo: That would be good. You could have another one those. So it’s actually Kim Kierdashian. Say that three times fast (laughter).
Leo: Just as the spirit is invisible, so also is his language a secret, and sometimes you can’t tell when it’s being sarcastic. I don’t see any Kim in that. Do the big one. Go down—yeah. Again, I am burdened by a heaviness of the soul. Not going to call it baby weight because that’s an excuse (laughter). Now that’s good!
Leo: “The sea struck up its song with a deep, calm solemnity. The souls of the dead came forth to hold me in their comforting embrace. Yacht life.” Or I’m on a boat, biatch. “I love your Tumblr’s infinite scroll-down feature and the unfathomable, insatiable emptiness behind it (laughter).” That’s human written. There’s no way a human didn’t do this. “Look what I found in my luggage. All my worldly troubles and sorrows (laughter).” “My look is never complete without indescribable suffering.” Okay, that’s one to follow. That’s good, but I think a human’s writing that.
Mathew: Definitely. But they tweet them automatically.
Leo: Ahh, yeah. I mean, what if you use Hootsuite or something to schedule tweets?
Mathew: That’s sort of a bot.
Leo: That’s sort of a bot. That’s kind of a bot. All right. I tell you, it’s hard to use a Chromebook to do this show. I don’t think we have to talk about Facebook Messenger. We’ve talked about that quite a bit on the show. Twitch. It has not been officially confirmed that YouTube is buying Twitch. Is that right, Chad?
Chad: Yeah, Twitch has not announced it yet.
Leo: It has not been announced, but Twitch.tv, which was owned by Justin.tv, they’re making changes because they shut down Justin.tv and they did it boom.
Leo: Boom. So I expect that to happen sometime soon. If not, whoops.
Chad: They’ve also implemented a YouTube-like audio scanning feature to look for copyrighted audio.
Leo: In Twitch. Oh, yeah, yeah.
Chad: In Twitch.
Leo: But they do a nice thing. They just turn off the music.
Chad: mute it, but it’s kind of amazing because if there’s a two-hour stream with three-minutes of copyrighted audio, the whole two-hour stream would be muted.
Leo: Oh, they mute the whole thing?
Leo: Even your narration, everything.
Chad: Everything. Now this is not for live events, so they’re still not scanning live and they won’t mute your stream if it’s live, but anything that’s been recorded and archived for the four or five days that it’s up now, it will be muted.
Leo: And the reason this is concerning is because of course there has always been a little tension between the game owners, the video game content creators and these broadcasters over who owns the copyright. Not all—many video game companies realize this is a very good thing indeed for them. It sells copies of the game, but a few have issued take down requests on YouTube. And there is a real cause for concern for the viability of Twitch if the same thing should happen. I think that actually if YouTube buys Twitch, that’s very good news. Remember, when YouTube started, before Google bought it, there were serious concerns. I remember interviewing Justin Kan saying, “How are you going to stay in Business?” Not Justin Kan. That’s Justin TV. Brian, the founder of YouTube saying, “How are you going to stay in business?” because NBC at the time was suing them. Viacom was. People were pissed off. Had YouTube not be acquired by Google, they might not have survived, but Google with its great power worked out deals with content creators. Content creators started to realize the value. I imagine Twitch the same thing would happen with gaming companies.
Chad: And the chatroom’s correcting me. It’s only 30-minute blocks, not the two-hour—
Leo: So it’s 30 minutes at a time?
Chad: Right, so I guess I had only seen a snippet that was less than 30 minutes and the whole thing was muted, and I went, “Wow, they mute the whole video.”
Mathew: They actually said their technical guy did—sort of the CEO did a round of ask me anything and said that they were going to try and get better at doing discrete chunks instead of just massive half-hour muting.
Chad: Right. And another issue is that sometimes something will be in-game, that the game has—
Leo: That’s my question.
Chad: So let’s say BioShock has a music play that they got the license to, but then the actual license-holder hears it in your stream and they block it. That’s a big issue.
Leo: That would be a problem.
Leo: And I think that’s going to be another one where YouTube and Twitch have to go to the electronic arts and say, “Hey, from now on when you negotiate these licenses, make sure you include this additional usage.” Because I’m telling you, it’s good for the game. I don’t care if more people watch somebody playing Legends of Zelda, what is that? League of Legends. Then buy League of Legends, which is probably the case, right? I would guess, Chad, that more people are watching people play League of Legends on Twitch than are actually buying the game League of Legends.
Chad: I’m not sure. I mean, we don’t see that with Minecraft. League of Legends is a free game anyway.
Leo: Oh, well (laughter).
Chad: But with League of Legends, their monetization that they have on League of Legends is kind of amazing.
Leo: Is it in-app purchases?
Chad: Basically, and it’s mostly all skins or—
Leo: Oh, god.
Chad: Yeah. And then also different characters. So all the characters cost money—
Leo: That’s a bad example. I just used it because it’s the number one game on Twitch right now, but the other games that you buy, Titanfall. More people might be watching people play Titan Fall than buy Titanfall.
Chad: Absolutely, but I do think that there is a definite correlation between how many people stream and how many sells, but it’s probably not the same amount.
Leo: Goat Simulator took off thanks to people watching other people play Goat Simulator.
Chad: Absolutely. But I think you’re right that more people watch Goat Simulator than actually went out and purchased Goat Simulator.
Leo: It’s not as much fun to play as it is to watch somebody play it.
Chad: Right, but still, it definitely drove sales.
Leo: But it helped Goat Simulator.
Leo: And I’m sure they made more money than they would have if others had not been playing it and watching.
Chad: Right, yes.
Leo: Is this new? Because someone in the chatroom keeps saying this is new. Google for Education. Google Classroom—I think we talked about this several weeks ago.
Chad: Mm-hmm. We had mentioned that they were going to start something, but this is—
Leo: It’s now out.
Chad: —new. Yeah, this is out.
Leo: Designed hand in hand with Google Apps for Education. So basically is it Blackboard? Is it Moodle? What is it? Designed to help teachers create and collect assignments. Yeah, paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google document for each student. Oh, this is nice. Creates drive folders for each assignment for each student to keep track, help everyone keep organized. This is a little bit like Blackboard or Moodle. I’m not an educational expert, so I’m not sure. We use up at Sonoma Academy where everybody gets a Macintosh—it’s a one-to-one program, but we do use Google Apps for Education, but we use Moodle. But I have to wonder if they might migrate to something like this if it can do many of the things they use Moodle for.
Mathew: So now they said anyone with a Google Apps for Education account can use it.
Leo: Wow. Free.
Mathew: It’s wide open.
Leo: Wow. That’s a pretty big deal. Sam Haroldson’s in the chatroom. He’s the ed-tech director at a school. He says, “We’re really excited about this.”
Mathew: Yeah, because Moodle actually—have you ever looked at Moodle? I’m not a teacher but—
Leo: it’s ugly as sin.
Mathew: The UI is horrible.
Leo: You can skin it.
Mathew: It’s like punching itself in the face.
Leo: Yeah, you can skin it, but we’re having a really hard time getting teachers to use it because it’s UI is so bad. Not the function. Everybody likes the functionality. Kids are used to real user interfaces (laughter). Real software. Wow, this is great. You can read more at classroom. google.com
Leo: Who did we lose?
Chad: Jeff’s ghost just left us.
Leo: Oh, that’s why we have no audio from Jeff.
Jeff: Can you hear me now?
Chad: Yes, we can hear you great now. Yep.
Jeff: Wheww! Okay.
Leo: He’s doing a Verizon ad. Of all the people in the world I would not expect to do a Verizon ad, it would be Jeff Jarvis. Can you hear me now?
Jeff: Sorry for that. I have no idea what happened, but thank you. I’m back.
Leo: Yea! So big, big news actually from Google and bad news for—Moodle’s open source and free, but Blackboard is not. It’s got to be bad news for—
Jeff: Blackboard sucks!
Leo: Well, that’s what I hear. Everybody who uses Blackboard and Moodle say, “God! I wish there was something better.
Mathew: True, terrible.
Leo: Maybe Google has found the solution.
Jeff: I keep trying to get our place to just switch over to Google entirely.
Leo: I have to say more and more I think the schools should not buy MacBooks, which are still $800, $900. Again, another case where if you had a really nice $500 or $600 Chromebook, it would be a lot easier to recommend. They’d be saving money, but they’d get a good quality computer that students wouldn’t complain that you’ve given us a netbook. And then now they’ve got classroom. Pretty compelling.
Jeff: Yeah, and don’t forget how much education was a part of Apple’s growth strategy with the next generation.
Jeff: Google’s starting to copy Apple’s education strategy.
Chad: Absolutely. Just it’s in the cloud when I signed up for community college. The whole cloud infrastructure except for Blackboard was Google. Whenever I got my e-mail, it was a Google apps e-mail. All of our docs, everything was Google except for that Blackboard.
Leo: Blackboard’s going—I would guess. I’m sure there are things you can do with Blackboard you can’t do. It doesn’t look like for instance grading is built into Google classroom and stuff like that, but…
Jeff: Kill the grades.
Leo: Kill the grades! I haven’t’ read this article. Maybe Jeff, did you put this in here? “Jezebel starts open revolt against Gawker.”
Jeff: Yes, this was a fascinating thing. Jezebel, of course, is a Gawker site and they had a real problem with trolling rape gifs.
Leo: Ohh, Jezebel is a site aimed at women?
Jeff: At women.
Jeff: At Gawker. And they couldn’t get the attention of the company and the developers on the prioritization list, and so they wrote just a vitriolic public post about how Gawker’s not paying attention to our problems. And guess what happened? Next day, Gawker said, “Okay, you’re raised up the dev list.” And now it’s happening, so good for Jezebel.
Mathew: Yeah, I thought that was fascinating.
Jeff: They played Gawker.
Mathew: Jessica Coen, the outgoing editor, apparently complained to Joel Johnson who’s the editor and chief and he said, “You should write about it.” I mean, that’s the one thing about Gawker is it’s one of Nick Denton’s fundamental principles. Everything should be out in the open, including all the fighting and arguing. And so they wrote about it, and Joel to his credit said both on Twitter and in a comment on Jezebel, “Thanks for mentioning it. You’re right. I dropped the ball. We need to solve this problem.” They did an update to the post and said that they’re going to reinstate pending comments, which they used to have. So you’ll be able to see that there is a pending comment that hasn’t been approved and you can choose to look at it or not. And that sort of gives you the leeway to not be surprised by some violent porn gif.
Leo: It was only a matter of time, but at BlackHat, hackers showed that they could infect nest thermostats and turn your heat up (laughter).
Jeff: Is this a big deal or am I missing something here?
Leo: It is a big deal, and I’ll tell you why. I agree with you. My first reaction is, “So they can change the temperature in my house? So what?”
Jeff: But it’s more than that, eh?
Leo: It’s more than that because the nest thermostat is on your network, and so the real risk is we’re going to see a lot of this in the Internet of things that these poorly designed things that are connected to your network become entry points for bad guys.
Mathew: Exactly, exactly. So they get access to one poorly protected device, they get access to your whole network.
Leo: Yeah, so they were able to compromise the nest device.
Jeff: What did it take to compromise it? Did they have to have it physically though? There’s one reference to it being a used nest.
Leo: I love the—you know what they (coughing). Sorry, I swallowed something the wrong way. And I love what they did in the demo. They put a text up on—they actually changed the image on the nest. The nest has an LCD screen at its heart, which normally just shows the temperature. They put a little eye up and the words, “I know that you and Frank are planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid. That is something I cannot allow to happen.” Yikes!
Chad: It’s really funny because the nest has a built-in battery, and so even if you rip it off the wall, it will still
Mathew: So that story was updated with a comment from Nest. They said physical access was required.
Leo: Well, that’s trivial though, yeah.
Leo: And meaningless.
Jeff: Well, that’s not trivial. That’s a big deal. It’s not as if—what? My cleaning lady’s going to come in and pull the nest?
Mathew: Okay, and if someone breaks into your house….
Jeff: So it what it really says is don’t be a used nest.
Leo: No, they had to have physical access though, right?
Jeff: Yeah, so why is this—I don’t see the alarm. No.
Leo: If you have access to any hardware device, if a bad guy has access to it, you’re screwed. Period (laughter).
Jeff: Yeah, but—
Chad: He was saying the story is trivial, not the fact that—
Leo: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m saying this hack is meaningless in other words.
Mathew: They plugged a USB device into it and put it in developer mode and then loaded their own software.
Leo: Hello. I could to that. That’s nothing (laughter).
Jeff: Techo panic.
Leo: I could do that. Well, it isn’t really because actually this was one of the themes of BlackHat and Defcon was that these devices generally don’t have the same attention to security that a router might or a computer might. And this is an attack avenue, but it has to be attackable over the Internet or it’s meaningless, I think.
Jeff: Yeah. It’s partly because they know that the device has gotta be in your secure home, and if a bad guy comes into your home, they’re probably going to be stealing your jewels, not hacking your nest.
Mathew: Unless the only thing I can think of is the NSA prehacked routers that were then sold and shipped to customers. They could prehack nest.
Jeff: It’s a different matter.
Leo: But the truth is whenever we buy any technology, we are trusting that the manufacture of the technology has not embedded malware into it.
Leo: That’s the very nature of—there is a trust relationship when you buy anything. There’s a trust relationship that your garage door opener doesn’t have a microphone and camera in it.
Leo: You have to trust the manufacturer. So to say, “Oh, yeah, manufacturer could do bad things,” well yes. Absolutely they could. They have always been able to. Of course, it’s a little different if something’s always online because then there’s somewhere for that garage door opener to send the microphone and the—
Mathew: To send the data.
Leo: —(laughter) right. Send the audio and video. The IBM PC 33 years old. It’s still a young’un.
Jeff: Well, and that basically how long I have a PC, a real PC. Thirty-three years. But my original was an Osborne 1, but that’s been as long as I’ve had it. And now I’m on Chromebook, so that’s the limit of my personal computer era.
Leo: IBM shipped the first PC, the 5150, because every IBM device had to have a number, on the 12th of August 1981, 33 years ago today. And I think the world changed. It’s quite a story and worth remembering.
Jeff: I can still feel that keyboard under my fingers.
Leo: Oh, it was a good keyboard. Damn fine keyboard. That clickety-click keyboard, right?
Jeff: Very clickety-clack. I don’t think you’d like it today, but if you’re coming from typewriters.
Mathew: I liked the Atari 1040.
Leo: Yeah, (laughter) I had Atari 400 and 800. But I remember the 1040. That was an attractive-looking—
Jeff: Osborne 1, man. Osborne 1.
Mathew: 1040 was awesome. 1040 ST had trash icon, had desktop icons, had drag and drop. It was incredible.
Leo: Gem, right? Wasn’t that the graphic OS, gem?
Mathew: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yep.
Leo: It was pretty sophisticated for those days.
Mathew: And midi support too.
Leo: That’s right. And how much memory? Forty-eight K?
Mathew: Oh, I don’t remember (laughter).
Leo: My Atari had 48K.
Jeff: I think my Osborne 1 had 96.
Leo: Ninety-six, ooo.
Leo: And the first IBM PC ran a 4.77 megahertz, not gigahertz my friends, megahertz. All right, time to wrap things up with picks and tips and the like. Mathew, do you want to throw us a tip or anything?
Mathew: Give me a minute. Go to Jeff and I’ll try and think of one.
Leo: You think. Jeff Jarvis, give us a number.
Jeff: This week on August 19th it’ll be 10 years since the Google IPO. It came out an astronomical 23 billion. According to the story, I don’t know why I haven’t checked it right now, but it was 390 million. That makes it 17X value increase, third largest evaluation in the world. Pretty amazing.
Leo: Who’s number one? Apple?
Jeff: Apple and Exon Mobile.
Leo: Apple, Exon, Google. The big three (laughter).
Jeff: Pretty amazing, huh? Ten years.
Leo: Anything you’ve got or should I vamp some more for you? We didn’t talk about, and this was something we talked about on TWiT on Sunday and Security Now Yesterday. We probably should mention this. That Google has decided to rank little bit higher sites that support https, secure http. They’re going to use it as a ranking signal. They say, “We’re only going to do it 1% ranking improvement for right now because we want to give people—”
Jeff: Well, a lot of things it doesn’t really matter, right?
Leo: No! Most things it doesn’t matter.
Jeff: Right, that’s the only issue.
Leo: I’m sort of in support of the idea of http everywhere. We’ve talked about that on Security Now a long time. Certainly Facebook and Gmail should use it and do, but there’s no reason why I should have to encrypt my traffic from TWiT.tv to your browser or vice-versa. It’s a waste of CPU cycles and it’s expensive. You have to buy a certificate for $50 a year or more.
Leo: They say for right now it’s only a very light-weight signal effecting fewer than 1% of global queries and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content. Well, I would hope so. Well, the site’s secure. The content sucks, but the site’s secure. “Over time, we may decide to strengthen that because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch to https.” Doesn’t make any sense, Google. I agree that there are lots of sites that should be secure that aren’t’ but there are many, many, many, many, many more sites that don’t need to be secure, and I don’t think you could argue this is a good idea. I guess you guys agree. Steve agrees.
Jeff: I do.
Leo: Of all people, I mean, Steve Gibson who’s been lobbying for https—
Jeff: Oh, wow.
Leo: —said no, this is crazy. Is that your daughter? Time to go fishing?
Mathew: (Laughter) Not yet, no.
Leo: Well, you’ve been here—
Mathew: I do have one thing.
Mathew: I do have one thing I was going to mention, and I can’t remember if I mentioned this before.
Leo: Yeah, please.
Mathew: But did I mention Vellum, the New York Times labs?
Jeff: I don’t think you did.
Mathew: It basically sucks in your Twitter account and then shows you links that people you follow have shared.
Mathew: It’s quite well done.
Mathew: Yeah, and it’s very, very simple. It just shows you who shared it, and it’s kind of a way if you’ve been away from Twitter and you feel like you’ve missed some interesting links. You just go to Vellum, and it shows you what people have been sharing. I’ve been doing it a lot actually.
Leo: I like it. I’m logging in right now.
Jeff: One of students had a business that was going to do that and more, and you can have all the ideas in the world, but it’s all execution. I wish she’d pursued this about five years ago.
Jeff: Because taking the links that you have in a day, that’s the meat or the value, and then analyzing that you can add value to it.
Mathew: You know, there’s Paper.li and other things like that that do that, but I think it’s really well done and it’s well designed.
Leo: Well, as soon as I get my second factor authentication code from Twitter (laughter), I’ll be able to pull it up. Oh, you’ve already got it. Chad, you’re so good. And it’s pretty. They don’t have an app for this though. It’s just a web page, huh?
Leo: That’s very nice.
Chad: Instagram hires a new chief. I didn’t know that. Look at that.
Leo: Look at that. News already flowing in. Oh, my goodness.
Chad: And then I have my groups, my lists. So if I wanted to create a list of people who make news and not follow them, I could do that as well.
Leo: No, that’s actually good. I do that all the time, yeah.
Leo: I’m authorizing it right now.
Chad: I also have multiple people share it, it looks like their icons will show up multiple. Like I’ll see seven or eight—
Leo: I have to say more and more I’m using things like Nuzzel, which is Jonathan Abrams’ creation. The guy did Friendster, Prismatic. Brad Cross at Google did this. These are social newsfeeds, and same idea. Not just Twitter. It could be other social sources like Facebook, but they work really well, and it’s a great way to surface news that I might not otherwise see. A little different than like reading Flipboard.
Mathew: Yeah, I use Prismatic and a big fan of Brad’s. They’ve changed a little bit, so they’re focusing much more on the discussion within Prismatic around those links.
Mathew: Whereas, Vellum and Nuzzel are pretty much just the dashboard that shows you...
Leo: Here’s the links, yeah.
Leo: Yeah, I’ve been using Prismatic and Nuzzel pretty much every morning to look and see what’s going on. You still can’t beat Techmeme though for just like here’s the ten big stories.
Mathew: I agree.
Leo: It’s right there. Does anybody still use Google News?
Mathew: Jesus, no.
Jeff: Well, I use it every week for the show.
Leo: Do you?
Chad: Yeah. I will too, yeah.
Leo: The Sci/Tech section?
Chad: Yeah. I mean, for me, Techmeme is when I want to know what people are talking about. Google News is when I want the algorithm thing.
Leo: (Laughter) What do the bots think?
Jeff: I use Google Play Newsstand.
Leo: Newsstand is a great app for Android. It’s beautiful.
Mathew: Is it?
Leo: Well, I always assumed it’s just trying to sell me magazines. But no.
Jeff: No, it’s not. It’s not. It’s how I actually read The Verge. I prefer to read The Verge on Newsstand.
Leo: I think they’ve changed it.
Jeff: But you still make a really good point, Leo. Not to insult anyone who’s there and they are wonderful people, but I think Google News is preserved in aspic. It could really show the way in so many ways for news. It could do so much, and it’s not competitive, apart from the Germans and Murdock, just never mind them. It can send traffic to news sites in amazing ways. It could understand me and my tastes and my interests. I’m arguing constantly now that news has to become a relationship business. It has to give me higher relevance, and news sites don’t do that. And what Google News could do in the long run is share data about me and my interests with new sites, with my permission of course, and could bring me more relevance across the whole pantheon of news. But it just kind of sits there. It’s pretty. It works well…
Mathew: When I was at the journalism festival in Italy, I talked to a couple of people from Google News, and I basically said exactly the same thing. There’s so much it could do. There’s so much more that it could do. It was pretty good five years ago in terms of showing you headlines, but there’s so little personalization. So there’s so little intelligence for a company that’s built around intelligence and has 1,500 math PhDs or whatever, there’s so little intelligence in that product, and it feels like there’s two guys working weekends in their spare time on the thing.
Jeff: But it’s not. It’s a very talented team of very smart people, but I don’t think they put anything behind it.
Mathew: And I think they shared my frustration to some extent, and the only thing one person said, who I won’t name, was that it’s run by the product guys.
Mathew: It’s not run by journalists.
Leo: The technologists or journalists, yeah.
Mathew: Right. And so the product guys—
Jeff: A good product person always says, “Hmm, how could we make something better for the user? What does the user want? Let’s meet those needs.”
Mathew: Sure, sure. They have to sort of get past, so the product guys control the feature list. What we’re going to do with it. And so the things that they wanted to do are not necessarily what the product guys wanted to do.
Jeff: But a product guy—I’ve heard said lately to some people when editors talk to technologists, technologists say to the editors, “You’re a product person,” and a product person properly molded is the voice of the user.
Mathew: Sure, I agree.
Jeff: I have no problem with product people running the show so long as they are good voice of the user, so long as they plumb the possibilities well on behalf of users. And I think it’s just so much more that Google News could be. Maybe they’re scared of it politically that the more they touch it, the more—
Mathew: Right. I was going to say maybe they’re afraid of adding too much functionality because then it’ll just become an even larger red flag for media companies to jump on Google and say you are—
Jeff: That’s where they share things with them.
Jeff: Give reports to the media companies how much traffic we’re sending you. When you send traffic, give data about the users, with the users’ permission, where you could bring greater value. There’s a lot of ways it could be used to clearly benefit.
Mathew: Yeah, I agree. I agree.
Jeff: I also think embedding articles in Google News so people can read actually more and discover the optimal way to link articles. Embedded articles have a lot of value in that way. So yeah.
Leo: On that note, I think we’re going to wrap this thing up.
Jeff: This is a punctual Leo Laporte.
Leo: Well, I just feel like we want to leave them wanting more.
Jeff: No, it’s good.
Leo: And by the way, Mathew Ingram, the chatroom says, if there’s a dusty old book in the basement of that cottage, don’t read it out loud, okay?
Leo: Mathew Ingram, from his cabin in the woods in Ontario, Canada, thank you so much for joining us. Gigaom.com. It’s always great to have you on, Mathew.
Mathew: Thanks for having me.
Leo: Oh, yeah. Lots of fun. Jeff Jarvis, he is at his home as well taking a little well-deserved time off from his busy day as professor of journalism at The City University of New York.
Jeff: Time off? Time off! This is work, Leo!
Leo: Oh, yeah. This is a show. This is work.
Leo: This is not play. This is work. I keep telling them that.
Jeff: Pure pleasure. Pure pleasure.
Leo: Yeah, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you for joining us. Gina will be back I hope next week because I’m not doing the Changelog again (laughter).
Leo: I learned my lesson. We do This Week in Google every Wednesday afternoon 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern Time 2000 UTC on TWiT.tv. Please stop by and join us live if you can. If not, on-demand audio and video always available at TWiT.tv/TWiG. We keep it all on the website there or wherever you get your podcasts, ITunes, Google Play Store. You know, all those places. Dog Catcher, Instacast, Pocket Cast, all that stuff. Or our great third-party TWiT apps, apps for every platform. They allow you to watch live, download shows, and all of that. Thanks for being here. We’ll see you next week. Thanks to our producer, Chad Johnson. I’m Leo Laporte. See you next time on TWiG!