This Week in Google 280 (Transcript)
Leo: It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Jeff and Gina are here with the last show of the year and even as we speak, big stories breaking out of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the hack. We've got all that news plus we'll talk about whether the media has a right to rehash the information the hackers stole. It's all coming up next on TWiG
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This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 280, recorded December 17th, 2014.
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It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google, the shoe where we cover Google, the Cloud, the Google-verse, the Twitter-verse, the Facebook-verse. What is your verse? This is our last show of 2014. Gina Trapani is here from ThinkUp.com. She's also developer and host of All About Android every Tuesday night on this network.
Gina: Hi. 2014!
Leo: Hi. From her basement Brooklyn abode.
Gina: Yes, good to be here. I can't believe it's our last show of 2014, that's crazy. I'm going to be around on New Year's Eve, so it's not my last time on TWiT of 2014.
Leo: That's right and we should mention that. Next week, we'll have a Best Of show and then some of you will appear on our New Year's Eve show which is two weeks from now. Right about this time, like, my eyes will be going, just falling asleep. Jeff Jarvis is also here, Professor of Journalism at the City University of New York, buzzmachine.com is his blog. Also, writes a lot on Medium. Hello, boys and girls.
Jeff: Hello. Even without a New Year's show, I'm tired today. I'm of that age, it's time for a nap.
Leo: So the story that you could not reveal to us, of course, last week, because you embargoed. It broke immediately after the show.
Jeff: It was driving me nuts because I knew the story during the show. As I said to you, I had an embargo, which you advised not doing but I did for other purposes. I went to them and I saw that it had broken in a Spanish site, so as we're on the show, I'm emailing Google saying, “Release me! Let me go!” I respected the embargo, had to wait till morning. I said, “Well, it's going over the web. It's going all over, people are asking about it on Twitter. Come on.” No, no, no. Then about an hour after the show they said, “Oh, we're going to release it soon.” Eh.
Jeff: Yes, so the big story -
Leo: The big story was -
Jeff: Was that Google News was shutting down in Spain because of the Spanish link tax, which may not be huge news, as I said last week, to all of you. But to me, it was huge news.
Leo: Spain did what Germany did, only they even went a little bit farther.
Jeff: A lot farther.
Leo: Because they required - the Spanish law required a newspaper to bill Google if it knew Google even featured a headline from the Spanish newspaper. Forget snippets, even a headline, any text at all from the Spanish publication, then the Spanish publication was required by that law to ask for royalties from Google. Google's response was, “We don't make any money on Google News, you want us to pay for Google News? That's fine, no problem. We'll just shut it down.” So they did.
Jeff: They did and finally called a European bluff.
Leo: Well done, because just as the German publishers - Google did do this in Germany too, right?
Jeff: Well, no. Google said the difference was that in Germany, if you don't give us permission, we will not put up snippets.
Leo: We won't link, right.
Jeff: No, they still put up headlines. No pictures, no snippets, just a headline because that was what the law allowed. They said, “Well, we'll put up a headline.” For DeVelt and three minor Bilt brands, Bilt Auto and two others, they did that two weeks later. The Germans cried uncle, or Onkel - very subtle German joke there.
Jeff: Said, “We lost too much traffic and we go back up.” Now, with that lesson having been had, the Spanish passed their law and full disclosure here, I spoke on this the week that they passed it at a Google event in Spain. Google paid my travel expenses, they did not pay fees to me. I told them, I said, “This is dangerous that you're killing the web. This is going to be bad, you're not going to want this.” And that, of course, all of Spain didn't listen to me. They passed the law and Google said, as of Tuesday, this law is supposed to go into effect January 1st, but Google said, “We can't negotiate with you. Germany, we could negotiate and say we'd put up headlines, no snippets, agree or not. Here, there was no option for the publishers of any sides to agree.” Then the publishers afterwards supposedly were trying to go the EU, saying, “Help and kind of make Google negotiate.” But I talked to Google about this and, you know, Google said to their interpretation, the Spanish publishers were trying to say, “Make them pay,” and we're not paying. So, no, that's it. Google News Spain right now is dead.
Leo: As of 8:30 Eastern last night, they shut it down and already, according to Matthew Ingram, writing at GigaOm, Chartbeat is reporting double-digit declines in outside traffic to these Spanish news sites. The blue line is today, the green line is the same day last week. Double-digit declines already and guess what? I love this, this must make Google feel so good. “Less than 12 hours later, Spanish publishers have gone to the government asking for help.”
Gina: Oh, ho, wow.
Jeff: Be careful what you wish for, amigos.
Gina: So this is just Google News, this isn't just straight Google Search? Why?
Jeff: Yes, that's a really good question, Gina. Because the law is specifically written to aggregators, to the active aggregating, and Search is a different act. So if I come across a headline in Search, that is not - even though Google News, we know, in America basically provides those headlines. If I search for a headline and it comes up in Search, that's not a problem. If you aggregate the headlines, this is aimed strictly at Google News, then you're out. But of course, this is not just Google News. Anyone else who aggregates headlines is in the same boat. This, what's so important about this is it taxes speech.
Leo: “The Spanish Association of Daily Newspaper Publishers said in a statement late last week, the closure of Google News ... is not equivalent to closing of another service given its dominant position in the market and will undoubtedly have a negative impact on Spanish citizens in business.” They therefore said, “it requires the intervention of the Spanish and EU authorities, and of competition authorities to effectively protect the rights of citizens and businesses.” They want the next step, a law forcing Google to keep Google News open.
Gina: I'm trying to understand the logic here. So the idea is -
Jeff: Haha. Good luck, Gina.
Gina: Google's not allowed to create another front page to our content? Is that what -
Leo: Okay, I'll be a Spanish publisher for a moment.
Leo: So we work very hard, we spend many, many, many dollars making of the beautiful newspaper - that's Italian.
Jeff: You're a Hessitic Spanish publisher.
Gina: That sounds Italian, but I'll take it. I like it.
Leo: Yes. This newspaper is made of fine Corinthian - no. The newspaper, you take and make page with a headlines and a snippets. Nobody gonna read the newspaper because you have basically piggybacked on our content and you're reusing our content without giving us any compensation for it. It's as if Google went out and took clips from all the podcasts, put it on one page and nobody would have to listen to the podcasts anymore because I've got everything I need on the one page.
Leo: I think that's not an unreasonable - you know, I can understand why they feel that way. What it ignores is the amount of traffic that Google actually does send to them. Now they have, you know, proof of this, that in fact, it's in that gain for you. Because it doesn't stop people from going to your sites. More people go to your sites.
Jeff: Indeed. If anyone should be charging anybody, it's Google should be charging for the distribution and promotion.
Leo: In the words of Eyebookery, “My name is Spanish newspaper. You killed my circulation, now prepare to die.” I'm sorry. That's a very bad play on, you know, the Princess Bride. That's not - go ahead.
Gina: How would you feel if someone - and I know the fans of TWiT have done this, but say someone took and did a massively viral super-cut of TWiT videos that removed all the sponsors and were just the best parts. You know, it was someone completely unaffiliated with TWiT and it went totally viral on YouTube and people loved it and that was the video that people were sharing. I guess this isn't really a great analogy, because you can't drive things from -
Leo: No, I would be thrilled about it, I'll be honest with you.
Leo: I'd be thrilled about it. Our license, in fact, explicitly allows that we are Creative Commons. You can remix our content, the only requirements are you have to give attribution. It would have to say, “This is a mashup of TWiT shows.” You can't do it for commercial purposes, so you could put it on YouTube but you couldn't monetize it on YouTube. That's exactly what Google's doing, by the way. They are not monetizing. There's no ads on Google News. They're remixing it and the reason I would welcome it is because it would be my hope, and I'm pretty sure it would be the case, that people would watch and go, “I like that,” and maybe find out more about TWiT.
Jeff: Yes, indeed, Gina. When Repost On Us was alive and we worked with them and we were working in New Jersey with an alternative copyright. But the data for Repost showed the when people read an embedded article, the entire article or the entire blog post was embedded on your site from Buzzmachine, let's say. That the click through rate, which you think would be zero with the argument you just made because you just read the entire article. You're sated; you're full. No more, I have no hunger, thank you very much. Instead the click through rate ruled 3-5% or 5-7%.
Jeff: Which says that - and those were very qualified clicks because they're all saying, “Hey, I like you. Can I like you at home?”
Jeff: What it says is, your content is your best ad. What we need is business models to support this kind of distribution but that's not what - so, actually, I think that we need to do a study on this. I've been trying to find cooperative parties for years who would do a study on this. I wrote a white paper about this a couple years ago. What I want to do is test the kinds and lengths of links to see what's most effective. I think that there's an argument that says that something's that's too short isn't actually that good. Google's links now on Google News are actually too short, because you don't know enough of what you're going to get, “Ah, I won't bother clicking.” It's impossible for me to say that the argument you made, I think, Gina, that they're making is, “You're sated. You're full. You knew everything you needed to know.” Well, yes. If what you need to know is just simply that you can buy Cuban cigars again, then that's all you need to know. But in fact, you're going to want to know more than that. You want to go say, “Whoa, what is the deal with this Cuban thing? Can I get cigars? What's the whole thing? By the way, what's the human rights?” All kinds of things. You're going to go and look farther. If all you needed to know is, “Rain tomorrow.” Yes, that information stops you. But for the kinds of things that are in Google News, that's just not the case.
Leo: And they're not doing whole articles, right? They're just doing snippets.
Jeff: Just doing brief, brief snippets. Then I think, that's one level, right? The other extreme is the whole article, which I just talked about. The question for me is, what's the most effective in the middle? If you look at, you know, Business Insider. They and many other sites, I don't mean to pick on Business Insider. But Business Insider, GigaOm, lots and lots of sites basically take out the soul of an article, rewrite it and make it shorter. Now, that's a different argument, because what that says is, “Well, maybe your article is too long and it's actually a service to give me a shorter version. Maybe I don't click through from that because I've got everything I needed. Or maybe it enticed me so much, I did want to read the whole thing. There's no research whatsoever on that kind of data and I want to try and work with someplace like Chartbeat and cooperative publishers to do some AB tests and figure that out.
Leo: I have to say, the way I use Google News is exactly as - this is basically just an ad for the longer story, as far as I'm concerned. So I go to Sci/Tech on Google News and I see top stories, much like TechMeme which does the same thing. A snippet is no more than a sentence or two. That doesn't - that just tells me what the story's about and where they're going with it. Then at that point, I'm always going to click and I always do, on the link and read the story and see the ads, more importantly, on the source site.
Jeff: Gina, were you making a devil's advocate argument or do you think Google News does go too far?
Gina: No, I'm trying to understand where they're coming from and what they feel that Google is taking away from them. So I was asking Leo, because, you know -
Leo: Because you like my accent.
Gina: I wondered, well, you know. I don't know, I thought it would be sort of an analogy. I know that your attitudes about this are very - I know that you know TWiT's content is an advertisement for TWiT. Podcasts are a little bit different though, because they don't quite - it isn't a blue link to click on. I just don't understand what the - you know.
Leo: What if, though, somebody took this entire show, edited out the ads because they find them offensive and put it on YouTube? They could do that, by the way, our license does not prohibit that.
Jeff: But that's clearly different. You know, I think we lost the analogy.
Leo: It's not - it's legal, I wouldn't stop them. And I wouldn't worry about it too much either. Now, if we lost our audience, if our audience went and started watching that instead of watching the ad-supported versions, it might put me out of business but what else - I'm not going to change my license because of that. So anyway, I buy into this notion that this is good publicity, that this drives traffic, this is good. Even with snippets, this is good for Spanish publishers. I think they're learning that lesson. I find it very ironic that their reaction to that is, “Well, we've got to go back to the government and get an even stronger law forcing Google to keep doing it.”
Jeff: Because that's the whole real game here, both in Germany and in Spain, and potentially at the EU level. We're trying to put Google, our competitor, into a bad position so they're forced to negotiate with us. Well, negotiate for what? There's almost this belief that Google has took what was rightfully theirs by competing with them. By saying to advertisers, “Here's a better deal. Here's a bigger audience. We take all the risk.” Here's all kinds of reasons why Google itself is making tons of money is because Google knows how to do online and publishers don't. (crosstalk)
Leo: This seems peculiarly European, right? I mean, I don't think anybody in the US, no publisher - well, Rupert Murdoch, maybe, but no other publisher in the US is saying, “I don't want to be on Google News.” I think it's well understood, the value of being on Google News, isn't it?
Jeff: Also, it's the demonization of Google. It's Eurotechnopanic.
Leo: So this is almost anti-American or anti-corporate?
Jeff: Yes, that's part of it, I think, anti-corporate and anti-American. Both, I believe so, yes.
Gina: Well, I mean, here publishers put up paywalls, right? If they don't want, you know.
Leo: Yes, but even the Wall Street Journal allows Google to go through the paywall.
Jeff: Well, Murdoch took down links and he cried uncle.
Leo: Yes, he gave up.
Leo: But I think most other publishers, I mean, if you talked to C-net, the Verge, PC Magazine, all the people linked here. They're thrilled to be linked here. This is not a negative. Just as Techmeme is even worse in this regard. You could make the case, I mean, Techmeme runs larger than just - I mean, they run a fairly big chunk of content. This is a business for them and nobody's complaining.
Gina: That's because all these publishers understand how the web works, right? That's the difference.
Leo: Exactly. Because you could shut down Techmeme. This is an ad-supported service.
Jeff: Right there in the middle. And indeed you could learn things, I do learn things, on Techmeme. I don't want to go through, “Gee, Apple won iPod suit.” I'm so tired of that story, that's all I needed to know. I didn't want to read more.
Leo: You're right, I didn't click through on that.
Jeff: I'm so tired of it. But the fallacy argument that's made is, “Aha, you would have clicked through had it not been that summary.” No, the truth is, I never would have clicked through. I never would have seen that story. All it said was, “Here's an Apple story that's going to change your life!” I wouldn't have clicked on it.
Leo: Right. Well, I mean, look. I guess that's the point is that probably most people listening to this understand the value. I understand how, you know, in a purely kind of theoretical basis, you could be as a content creator peeved. This is, by the way, you know, photographers - this is a very common argument. I've talked to many, many photographers who say, “They're stealing my pictures. They're stealing my pictures.” And I've said, “You really, you know, either put them on the internet and live with that or not. There's really no middle ground.” But I think it's worth putting your pictures on the internet because I look at people like Trey Radcliffe, who gives away all his photos and makes plenty of money as a photographer, still selling them, selling prints, doing all the other stuff.
Jeff: His generosity has been a key, on Google+, it's been the key to his growth.
Leo: It's made him. It's made him. So I know that, and I think the conversation is less common among photographers but for a long time, it was a very, you know - the record industry, you can go on and on. Every industry, first reaction to this is, “They're stealing my stuff.”
Jeff: There's a difference though, Leo. We conflate them in my industry the way we shouldn't. A photo, a novel, a sitcom, a song are unique performance art objects. A new story, the information inside a new story and it's the information that's valuable, is not copy-owned. Copyright covers a limited treatment, it doesn't cover the actual information. A society does not want anyone to own information or even, for that matter, own ideas. It's only treatment you can own in that sense. We conflate that with entertainment industries and think we should be treating the same as Sopranos if we write a new story and we shouldn't.
I've got a question for both of you. So Google is indeed, and I've learned this trying to figure out how to help cooperative news publishers, especially in Europe. I think they shouldn't just do it in Europe. I think they shouldn't just do old publishers and old Europe. That's another question. They're also looking at ways they can help news in general, which I think is the right thing to do. I'm trying to write a post now, long post, about what Google could do, or to put it my way, “What could Google do for news?” What would you guys - so if Google comes and says, “All right. Forget all this stupid fighting about this stupid stuff. We actually do care about an informant society. We actually do care about news. We do want to help, we do have power and smarts. Let's work with the people who are good and do that.” What would you put on that list? What could Google do for news?
Leo: I'm kind of an outlier on this because I don't think Google should be in the content business.
Jeff: I'm not saying they should be in the content business. How could they help those who are?
Leo: Well, they do it with Search. And I guess you could say Google News is a special example of Search. You know, it's kind of topic-based Search, and you're not making the search, you're saying, “What are the topics?” And Google is telling you. I don't think that's really - I don't have a problem with that. I would hate to see Google say, “In the public interest, we believe news should be...” You know, I don't want them to get in that business. I, and I know I'm an outlier, especially with you guys, but I don't believe Google should be in the content business at all. I don't think they should on YouTube -
Jeff: No, I agree with that. They can't be. (crosstalk)
Leo: But they are. I mean, YouTube is clearly content business. So I would like Google to stick with Search and be a great search engine. I understand they feel like they need to plan for the future. Search won't always be the dominant.
Jeff: Google's a platform, Leo, like Wordpress is a platform, like water is a platform.
Leo: I think there's an inherent conflict of interest if you're a search engine and you product content that may be a result of that search.
Jeff: But they're not producing that content. They're the platform for people who do produce that content.
Leo: I see. So you're saying, they're not - but no, they are benefiting. It's like saying NBC doesn't produce the shows on NBC. Well, that's technically true but that's a difference without a distinction. They're still running the ads and making the money off of those shows and paying them to be produced. Google has an even better model, “We won't even pay you. Just put your stuff here and we'll give you a couple of bucks if you get any ads.”
Jeff: Well, all of them versus Search, you don't get those - the publishers in Europe would say, on Search or Google News, we don't get anything for being listed. At least on YouTube, we have the chance to make some money. Gina, what do you think?
Gina: You know, so I think that Google has a vested interest in making meaning out of information in order to serve its users. So, I mean, it's the knowledge graph and knowing the difference between knowing java the coffee and Java the computer language, that's a dumb example, but figuring out what things are. What people mean and what people want what they search for things, all those facts and all the intelligence that Google gathers and figures out is based on material that's out on the web. So, I mean, you know, including new stories, right? So it's in Google's best interest. The better the content that's out there, the better the product is for Google. The better the world is and they're accomplishing their mission, making the world's information accessible to everyone. I think that the only thing that Google can do is continue to be a platform and build the tools that empower humans to put the best quality information out there. But in a way, it really does have to be a partnership, right? There has to be a way to make this a viable business where reporters go out and shake down facts, and do interviews, and make calls, and break the stories and write meaningful content that Google can then serve its users with, right? So, like, all that Google can do is continue to create better tools to help humans, and fact check and help Google create meaning. Help us all create meaning for one another.
Leo: I think Google is suffering from severe mission creep. If that's their goal, then they're going way beyond that goal. That mission has changed.
Jeff: No, Leo, let me make it very clear here. They're not going and thinking about this stuff as a business. They're thinking about this stuff as trying to make nice with at least people who are willing to be nice with them and try to help. All right, so I'm going to argue -
Leo: So why does Google do Google News? Actually, that's a very interesting question.
Jeff: Well, because I think it was Christian Murot?? (Can't find this one when I search, tried to change up the spellings, can you?), who's said, “After 9/11, I can't get a good sense of an uber-view of news and what's going on. I want a compilation.” So he just built it. It's classic engineer's way to look at the world. He had a problem and he solved it. That simple.
Leo: That's how Google has crept into other areas, is they really do encourage their team to try stuff.
Jeff: You make “creep” sound like it's a bad thing. (crosstalk)
Leo: Here's why it's a bad thing, because if you're a search engine, you have a lot of power.
Jeff: Who says they're limited to being a search engine? That's the point. No, no, no. (crosstalk)
Leo: Well, if they want to be in the search engine business, which they still do -
Jeff: They want to be in - no. They want to be in the making information accessible business.
Leo: But the problem is, and I don't know if they're doing this or not, but I don't think we can know it since they have things like platforms like Blogger. They have content like YouTube. They could easily prioritize their internal content in the search results, I feel that's a conflict of interest. Now, I think you've said and others have said, “Well, they're a company. Why can't they promote their own internal stuff on the search results?”
Jeff: Yes, I do say that and the example that the European publishers gave is, they made a video about, “Uh-oh, go to Google, search for 'shoes'. What do you see? You see ads on the top for Google's shoe advertisers.” What do you see below that? You see everything else in the possible in the world of shoes.
Leo: Yes, I don't have a problem with that. That's how they pay for shoes, the search engine.
Jeff: But if I go to Bilt's, which is one of the publishers that's complaining and there's a whole shoe section up there, right? What do I get? I get nothing but Bilt. There's no obligation on Bilt, the largest paper in all of Europe, to link to their competitors, or link to other advertisers or link to those who don't advertise to them. Zero, nada. Google does link to the whole world and it pays for that by indeed linking to advertising. The only issue for me is, is it clearly labeled? And I believe it is. In the now pulled back agreement, anti-trust agreement, with the EU or the EC, Google was going to label things they had interest in even more. They were going to guarantee links for outside and they were going to guarantee people could buy ads in this position, making them more money. There was a settlement along that line, which Google was succeeding to.
Leo: Yes, and I don't mean to imply that Google is using their power in Search to favor their own content. Because, in fact, it's pretty obvious they're not. If you search for, “Cuba videos,” I get a C-SPAN video. I get a History.com video. There's YouTube, a couple of them, but then there's Vimeo, Tripfilms, CubaVideos.com. In this whole thing, there are only two YouTube search results.
Jeff: Just don't look for maps.
Leo: Pretty clearly, they are not doing the thing we're afraid of. There's a Google Map, right at the top of “Cuba maps.”
Jeff: But I believe down there -
Leo: But then the World Atlas, and the University of Texas and National Geographic. So no, I think it's pretty clear that they're making an effort to include other people's content. I just worry. I do feel like it is a conflict of interest, but I'm not accusing them of taking advantage of it yet. But I do feel like it's a conflict of interest.
Gina: This idea that their building the tools - I mean, listen. If I was a mapmaker looking at those search results right there, eh. I mean, maybe I should get into a different business.
Leo: Oh, no, we get great benefits from Google. Don't get me wrong. That's not the argument. That's not the argument at all. The argument is merely that, and this is the essence of monopoly, if a company uses its - this is why there's anti-trust laws. If a company uses its monopoly in one sector to take over other sectors, to succeed other sectors.
Jeff: But that behavior has to be demonstrated and proven. That's just it, we haven't seen it.
Leo: The fact that they could do it isn't enough, I agree.
Jeff: It's not sufficient, absolutely not.
Leo: But on the other hand, I do see Google getting into all these other related fields. So you wonder, “Well, what are they up to?” Maybe they just want to - they're hedging their bets. No, it's pretty clear they're not, though it's hard to prove they're not. Because, you know, they say, “Well, we just put the results that are most popular there. We don't pay particular attention to our stuff.” But they could be and it would be hard to prove whether that was happening or not. Nobody knows how the algorithm works.
Jeff: But again, I think you have to agree that there's some level of them linking to their own property that's perfectly legitimate.
Leo: Right, because they're a private company.
Jeff: Like TIME magazine - put it the other way. People Magazine promotes TIME magazine.
Leo: Right, so then it would be up to me - and this is why monopoly is the important thing. Then it would be up to me as a user to go to some other search engine because golly, Google's stuff, they're just promoting their own content and I don't want that. I want an objective search result. The problem is, because they're a monopoly, where are you going to go? Bing? So that's the issue. That's why there's anti-trust rules. Because once a company becomes a monopoly, then things that are completely okay to do if you only have a small percentage of the market are much more problematic.
Jeff: That's why you watch them carefully, and that's fine. But you do not - having a monopoly, becoming so huge because you were good is not illegal.
Leo: Not illegal, no. Now, I understand in Europe, they are a considerably more dominant monopoly. Here, it's 70% of search results. There, it's 90%. Well, maybe they're more concerned.
Jeff: But it also says that the media coverage and government actions there are out of sync with the populace, who obviously like Google.
Leo: They want Google. Okay, I'll say one more thing and then we'll drop it. Just because people like the benefits of a dictatorship doesn't mean it's a good thing. That's not the only measurement of whether something should be allowed. Hey, I love our overlords at Google. They give me great value, great benefit. But that isn't the only criterion for judging whether they're -
Jeff: But you have to have some trigger for action against, right? (crosstalk)
Leo: I agree and at this point, there's no evidence.
Jeff: - no legal behavior. There's none of that.
Leo: I agree, at this point there is no evidence of illegal behavior as far as I could tell. Some of us certainly -
Jeff: The only evidence is it's a big American company.
Leo: It is really important, though, and somebody in the chatroom says, “Yes, this isn't any old monopoly. This is free speech. This is information. This is the potential for misuse is vast.” So I don't think Google should -
Jeff: But the misuse of power, Leo, was the Spanish government passing a law putting the tax on links. That was a far, far greater misuse of power affecting speech.
Leo: I agree. We do have competition, there are other search engines.
Jeff: Whoa, looks like … I'm just seeing from the New York Times editor Lydia Polgreen that Sony is pulling The Interview?
Leo: Well, theaters have all day today because the hackers have threatened 9/11 style action against theaters that run the movie. But this is a real mystery to me, because the GOP, the people who are doing this hacking and it's not the grand old party. It's the Guardians of something. Guardians of Poopoo. The hackers who did this don't look governmental. The North Korean government said, “Hey, we didn't do this but it is a righteous action.” Yet, they're pursuing exactly what some say were the goals of - would have been the goals of a North Korean hack, which is to get The Interview, a movie that's unflattering and in fact, Kim Jong-Un gets killed in this movie. So I could see why the North Koreans would be unhappy about that.
Jeff: Yes, but that's also free speech.
Leo: They don't have free speech in North Korea, dude.
Jeff: No, but they can't come in and change ours. What they've done is, they've created the lowest common denominator of free speech around the world because we're now living under North Korea's rules.
Leo: Yes, so many theaters, in fact, most of the big theaters have said, “Hey, you know what? We're not going to run this. This is too dangerous. We don't want -” I mean, I understand that. If you're a theater chain and these guys are saying, “We're going to create havoc in the theater if you run this movie.” First of all, it ain't going to be a big moneymaking movie anyway, I don't think. So they just said, “Well, in that case, we've still got the Hobbit.”
Jason: Now it might be. After all this?
Leo: Now people are going to want to see it.
Jason: It's one of those experiences where all of the hub-bub about it is going to attract people to it like flies.
Leo: The real truth is, this hack is a mess. It could very well put Sony out of business. It's certainly going to put them out of the movie business. I think there's no doubt about that. There's now a class action lawsuit.
Jeff: Why is it that bad? What's the actual business harm?
Leo: Nobody wants to do anything with Sony. Nobody wants to make a deal with Sony because of the risk that it will be revealed. Nobody wants to talk to Sony, no writer, no producer, no director, no movie star. Nobody wants to work for Sony. That's enough right there, not to mention the class action lawsuit from Sony employees. I think this is a death blow to Sony.
Jeff: What difference would encrypted email had made? What difference would encrypted email make?
Leo: This is a very big conversation which we've had a couple of weeks running on security. Now, ultimately, of course it's possible to fully secure it. But it would be very difficult for Sony to do the kind of business it did in a fully-secured environment. You can, you know, encrypt. You can silo. You can need-to-know. You can say, for instance, we have here a program called App Locker that you can run on Windows machines that whitelists apps. It says, “You, employee, can't do anything that hasn't been approved by the IT department.” So those things are all very good for security but they're kind of bad for business. Sony made a conscious decision, perhaps wrongly, that it was more important that information flow freely through the various divisions than that they fully secure it. What I think they underestimated was the damage that could be done to the business should this particular thing happen. In any event, you know, this is just the beginning. This is really a mess. It's very bad for Sony, I think.
By the way, Sony itself, the company, is in deep financial straits anyway.
Jeff: That's the other thing.
Leo: I mean, it's not like this is a robust company that can fight back. The whole thing is a mess.
Gina: I didn't realize that.
Leo: I don't - by the way, it's not at all clear if this was North Korea, if this was a disgruntled employee. There's evidence on both sides. So it's - you might see reports in the mainstream media that imply we know more than we do. It's not clear. It's very hard to know who did stuff like this. In fact, the only time hackers really get caught, almost always, is because they boast about it. They go out in public and say, “Yes, I did that.” If a hacker's a smart guy or works for a government and keeps his head down, it's pretty hard, if he's any good. It can be pretty hard. We don't even know how good the hack is because there's a complete news blockade on any information. The FBI's not talking, Sony's not talking. We don't know how they got in. We know more about the Target attack, for instance, than we do about the Sony attack.
Jeff: Well, we know more about the Google attack. That one was traced to the Chinese, right?
Leo: You know, “traced to” in a hacker attack is very difficult. Unless somebody takes responsibility for it, it's very hard to know. In any event, one of the things Steve Gibson said is that - well, we've gone back and forth on this. But he said, essentially, if whoever did this and had the skills to do this attacked almost any company in the United States, they would have the same success. And one of the reasons I feel that that's true is, the story that came out last week that the Sans Casino was hacked by the Iranian government. The Iranians were very unhappy with its owner, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is an outspoken supporter of Israel, has been very politically active and contributed huge amounts of money to the Newt Gingrich campaign in the last election cycle. He's really won the enmity of Iran - oop. Looks like we lost Jeff.
Gina: I'm still here.
Jason: I'll work on him.
Leo: I'll just finish this story. So his casino was attacked and this is the back end operation, the thing that runs the slots, the thing that runs security cameras, the thing that you would - look, Sony may not have known diddly about security. There's a lot of evidence that they never did. But you've got to think, an organization like the Sans Casino, big in Muckow, big in Vegas, had the top security. Because that's guarding more than a bank. That's guarding everything and it is an attack target. I mean, everybody's hammering at them all the time, and they got hacked. I guess the point is, even in a situation where you can presume the security was top notch, they got in. And brought them down and cost them millions, tens of millions of dollars.
Gina: So in pre-show, Leo, you were saying that you wouldn't discuss - you made an editorial decision not to discuss the -
Leo: Oh, let's take a break. We're going to talk about this.
Gina: Okay, all right.
Leo: Jeff and I are going to get into it on this one, I have a feeling. By the way, Steve agrees with you, Jeff. He thinks there's good reason that this information, the treasure trove of information including movie star salaries, private emails -
Jeff: Oh, I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that. I think there was a newsworthy test.
Leo: Okay, we'll talk about it in a sec.
Jeff: Otherwise, if you say that theft makes the information invalid, then you've erased Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.
Leo: No, and I don't want to erase Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden or the Pentagon papers. There's plenty of cases where illegally obtained material has, because of the public wheel, the public right and need-to-know. But the public has no need to know how much Seth Rogen made to do the Interview.
Jeff: I agree. It is really interesting, though.
Leo: Well, then, it's such bad gossip. It's like looking at the naked pictures of J-Law. Don't do it.
Jeff: It is.
Leo: Although, I looked at those too. So I got no standing on this one.
Jeff: I didn't.
Gina: Ah, I did so well and then I stumbled upon them accidentally and I felt awful.
Leo: It's hard to turn away.
Gina: I clicked on a hashtag that I hadn't recognized and I was like, “Oh.”
Leo: That's the problem with this, isn't it?
Leo: But I just feel - so we editorial - I guess we're in this, so I won't do the Harry's ad quite yet. We editorially, I unilaterally but I do own the company so I can make that decision. I said, “We're not going to talk about the contents.” Clearly this hack is a big story for us. It's a technology story, it's huge. But I don't think there's any reason why we should talk about the content. Initially, I did a little bit, like, “Hey!” One factoid that I thought.
Jeff: Well, the story on the rundown is, “But the entertainment industry strategy against or in favor of SOPA/PIPA, against Silicon Valley.” That's pretty darn -
Leo: We'll talk about that. Sony's reacting in ways that I think are illegal, or at least borderline illegal.
Gina: But that's the contents, that's part of the contents of these documents. That's newsworthy to this show, so is that something you wouldn't talk about?
Leo: No, we'd report on that. I just wouldn't say - in fact, Steve gave a list of the kinds of information that was leaked out. I think that's fine. It's the information itself. It's fine for me to say, “Naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence were stolen.” It's not fine for me to show them. Now, the news media didn't show them because there's limits to what you can do on TV. They would've loved to, are you kidding? So in this case, there's no nudity, so of course. I think it's very self-serving for most of them to say, “Oh no, there's a public need-to-know on this.” So let's talk about what the need-to-know is. There's lots of other news, including the Google changelog. This is going to be an eight hour show, though, if I don't do a commercial.
Gina: Do it.
Leo: Did you know, there is a relationship between the commercials and the length of the show? The shortest show we can do is three minutes. All right, so this is Harry's.
I love Harry's. You love Harry's too, I hear, Jeff.
Jeff: I do love Harry's. Harry's is so good, and I'm not being paid to say this, though Leo does pay me a little bit.
Leo: But I'm not paying you to say that. You can say anything you want.
Jeff: Yes, I use Harry's. Now frankly, my baby-like skin, for the first time I used the Harry's razor with no lotion, no nothing, just the razor.
Leo: What? You're a madman.
Jeff: After I got out of the shower, I just swabbed the neck.
Leo: That is testament to Harry's. How many blades could you do that with? So Harry's bought the factory. That's what I love. That's what I think the real story here. Harry's was started by a couple of guys who really felt like the old adage, “You give away the razor and you make it up on the blades,” isn't very nice to consumers. They felt like you deserve a good shave at a fair price. Razor blades from Gillette, $4 each. Harry's, half that. But are they worse? No, they're better, because Harry's actually bought their own German factory. They make their own blades from scratch taking high-grade steel, grinding it, to sending it right to your door. There's no middle man. You are essentially buying the blades from the factory and these are beautifully made blades. In fact, if you go to Harrys.com, you can see the whole story. They found out that there were only two factories in the world, both of them in Germany, that can make high-quality blades. So they bought one of them and the factory continues to make other kinds of things. But it produces millions of precision razor blades every year. That means you're going to get great blades and in fact, they're doing research to make them even better, which I love. You're going to get them at a very fair price, the actual cost, and they ship them to your door. Now, the best way to start Harry's is with a kit. We've got some great Harry's kits. That's what we sent out to all of our hosts. This is the Harry's Winston kit, which is - how much is the Winston? Winston is, I think, $20?
Jason: It is on the site for $25.
Leo: $25, but I'm going to give you $5 off, so $20. What do you get? You get the handle, now this is the less expensive. They've got a nice metal, engraved handle where you can get your initials on it. That's what I have at home. But Steve prefers this because it has a flat back so you can really tell the orientation just by touch. I guess Steve shaves in the dark. You get this, you get three blades, three of these great Harry's blades. They're really remarkable. You get the Harry's shave cream, and they have a cream or a gel. I like the cream. This is the foaming shave gel, just smells really good. By the way, they now have, if you like that scent, their aftershave lotion, too, to soothe your face after you shave. Don't overlook the travel protector. My first couple of Harry's kits, I just threw it out. I thought, “That's not important.” It's very important. This is how you travel with your Harry's razor and blade so you don't get cut. You put it in your dopp kit there and it dries out. It's got little ventilation. This is like the best thing ever.
Somebody in the chatroom said, “I bought two more kits so I get a couple more travel adapters.” We're going to save you $5 off your first order. That means $20 for the kit, three blades, the handle, the travel protector, the shave cream. The Winston set is awesome, take a look at that too. That's $25. What's the Truman? Truman is like, less?
Jason: Yes, I think it is less. Let's see here, $15.
Leo: The Truman is $15, so if you take $5 off, that's $10!
Jason: I've got the Truman. I love it.
Leo: The Truman's great! $10, that's like two blades from Gillette. You get all of this. Just do me a favor, just try that. $10, what are you going to lose? And if you decide you like it, you can get the subscription plans and get your blades delivered to your door. I am up to my third or fourth Harry's handle. I like having Harry's everywhere I go. Harry's, the best shave you will ever have. Take $5 off, use the offer code TWIG at purchase.
So you don't disagree. We don't disagree. What information - now, Steve Gibson said, “Okay, here is the public's right to know on this leaked information. If we don't show the pain, we don't talk about all the things the hackers learned in detail, then no one's going to learn this lesson and other companies are going to fall in the same way.”
Jeff: Oh, I think they're going to learn.
Leo: I think they learned their lesson. If you still think it's okay to get hacked, I don't think you're paying attention. Then it doesn't matter what we report. But you agree, there's no reason James Franco's salary - there's no public interest in knowing that. There's gossipy interest.
Gina: Right, there's interest by gossip sites. But that isn't necessary.
Leo: Aaron Sorkin said, “You're helping the Sony hackers if you print that stuff.” And you are, really. You're helping them achieve their aims.
Jeff: You're feeding the trolls.
Leo: You're feeding the trolls. Trolls, by the way, won in this case, because The Interview has now been canceled.
Jeff: It has now been canceled
Leo: If that was actually their goal. See, I don't know if that was actually their goal. Aaron Sorkin has a little bit of a dog in this hunt because he, of course, wrote the Jobs movie. Our good friend, and I love her, Christina Warren, film girl, wrote a very long piece for Mashable in which using email she found in the hacked trove of data, told the whole story of the Jobs movie that Aaron Sorkin wrote. The ins and outs, the ups and downs, and why Sony eventually passed on it, which is of great interest, especially to our audience who has interest in the movie. But I don't think - we didn't report this data and I don't think we ever will report this data. I don't want to support the hack. I think it's stolen material.
Jeff: But, you know, Leo, I do get torn. I'm a journalist so you know I love a scoop. But it's not just a scoop, it's the idea. We go back to the right to be forgotten issue. It's that my fear is, what if somebody tried to pass a law and say that if you did reveal this information, that itself is a crime. We don't believe in that, otherwise every leak and every whistleblower leak to a journalist would then become illegal by the precedent. So I think we have to be careful about how we regulate this, not to regulate it. But it goes back to a question of us negotiating new norms. It's wrong to - you know, I said this on the show some months ago. I saw the beginnings of a new norm and people saying, on their own, “It's wrong to share and wrong to look at the beheading videos. It's wrong to share and wrong to look at Jennifer Lawrence photos.” Now I'm hearing people say, with some debate, “It's wrong to share and wrong to look at the Sony leak material unless there is public interest.” So we're trying to negotiate a new norm of behavior around it.
Leo: Now, there is some information that might have public interest. For instance, the way Sony looked the other way in cases of sexual harassment and so forth.
Jeff: Or the campaign about SOPA/PIPA, I think, is legitimate public interest.
Leo: They used the code word “goliath” to describe Google. They saw Google as the enemy, much as the Spanish publishers do. Because Google was, apparently, you could search Google for BitTorrent links. So they did a lot of stuff to try and shut down Google. So you're right, that is newsworthy. I think that there's a right to know that.
Gina: Okay, so we actually all do agree, then.
Gina: The difference between this and the Snowden leak is that Snowden leaked to a trusted journalist and just released bits and pieces of the things. I mean, Snowden redacted or held back a lot of stuff.
Leo: It makes you really appreciate what he did.
Jeff: No, he - well, what he did was, he gave it to the journalist and said, “It's your job to do that.” Assange, off and on, has done that. But it's said that there is a role of redaction and responsibility, and it's expected that's the role of journalists.
Leo: I just feel like this is kind of that link baity world we live in now, where anything goes as long as you get clicks. There's a lot of people practicing as journalists who aren't really thinking about the larger picture.
Jeff: Amen, and that's the business model. The business model is an old mass media business model reaching frequency, unique users and pageviews, clicks for the sake of clicks and unless we have metrics and business models built around quality, we are doomed to go down into the sewer. I couldn't agree more. But I do see hope for new business models. That's part of what I think I want Google to invent. If you want to help news, Google, invent new business models, because, hell, you've invented them before, that encourage quality instead of just clicks.
Leo: Now, this was a big test for Nick Denton, by the way, Gina. It kind of went both ways because on the one hand, Gawker had some actual reporting, some good stuff. But they also took this as an opportunity to talk a lot of gossip. A lot of gossip.
Gina: Yes. I mean, you know, it depends on what your definition of newsworthy is, right? I mean, this is what it is.
Leo: They were doing great stuff on Ferguson. They were really starting to do some really good reporting. Then they have a story on how much pizza Jennifer Lawrence ordered when she was hanging out with her new beau. So it's like, “Oh.” I don't know.
Gina: There isn't - I didn't see that one. There isn't harm in that. I actually think that there's harm in people looking at her photos but the pizza thing, eh. I don't know. So much of this depends on the publication.
Jeff: But there's no news.
Gina: Right. About the pizza thing? I haven't seen the story so I don't know.
Leo: The pizza comes from a source, not from the leaked material itself.
Jeff: Oh, okay.
Leo: I apologize, Nick. That was a legit gossip story. He says, “Tomorrow's news is today's gossip,” or something.
Jeff: At the bottom of Google, I just put up the Sony statement.
Leo: Wow. I still don't know if it's clear – I mean, it feels like the hackers have taken this opportunity to look like they're North Korea, but I still don't feel like they are. Here's the Sony statement. Sony says, “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers. Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale, all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We're deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie and in the process, do damage to our company, our employees and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers in the right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by the outcome.”
Jeff: So I just tweeted, “Sony, if you put this up online, I pledge right now I will pay to watch it no matter how bad it is.”
Gina: Just to make a point, yes. It feels like this is an opportunity for them to distribute this movie digitally, right? Everyone would want to watch it.
Leo: Do you think, really, this is the North Korean government that did this hack as the Guardians of Peace? It doesn't feel like it. It feels like this is some 18-year-old slob sitting in his apartment in Bucharest.
Jeff: With terabytes and terabytes of data?
Leo: Oh, sure. Nowadays, that's no big deal.
Jeff: Let me ask you a bigger question, Leo. Is any business safe? You said people don't want to do business with Sony. Well, why would people want to do business with any company? Any company is vulnerable. We don't know how this was done.
Leo: I suspect one of the side effects of this will be, and we were talking about this with Steve, will be to move us back to a pre-internet era where most of the conversations that you want to keep secure will be done either on the phone or in person. You're not going to see -
Jeff: Oh God. I've got to get a fax machine.
Leo: Yes, you're not going to commit it to email. By the way, I'm now being told that I need to apologize to Romania. I'm sorry, Romania.
Jeff: I thought you said Bulgaria.
Leo: I said Bucharest.
Jeff: Okay, right.
Leo: It's just a city with a funny name, folks. It's not – and Garner, are you in Romania or you just decided to be a policeman to the world? Anyway.
Gina: Yes, I mean, what could Sony have done differently? They could have used – they could encrypt that stuff.
Leo: They could have encrypted the email, which means that it's hard to forward and of course, the way it works in Hollywood, as you can even see if you look at these emails. There's a lot of stuff circulated to larger groups and stuff. That's not going to work.
Jeff: Hold on right there, Leo. I never thought of that and it's obvious, I think you just presumed it, but somebody like me. If you encrypt email, it's harder to forward.
Leo: It's one to one.
Jeff: Duh, right? Oh, wow.
Leo: So there's certainly things you can do but in every case, and this is what Steve's always talking about, there's due tradeoff between security and convenience. Sony decided, I think consciously, it's more important that we be able to work, do our business than it is that we secure our stuff. After all, how bad could it be? And unfortunately, we now know how bad it could be. But honestly, if you think about it, the reason this movie is being canceled has nothing to do with the hack. The reason this movie is being canceled is because somebody, maybe even somebody different, has threatened the movie theaters that if they release it, there will be a 9/11 style incident. It's like a bomb threat. It has nothing to do with the hack, might not even be the same people.
Leo: No, it doesn't. Anybody could have done this. That actually could be the North Koreans going, “Hey, here's our chance.”
Jeff: Now let's pull it further. Now let's say, Sony says, “Okay, we'll put in online.” What does Apple say? You going to sell it on iTunes? Apple's going to say, “Eh, no thanks.” What's Amazon going to say?
Leo: It's just a movie.
Jeff: What's the one way you could distribute this? BitTorrent.
Gina: BitTorrent, mhm.
Leo: By the way, one of the things the GOP, the hackers, did is they put BitTorrent – they turned the Sony service into BitTorrent service for the movies. You're not the only one arguing for this, by the way.
Jeff: We shouldn't laugh.
Leo: No. Hey, so an interesting associated story with Reddit. Sony sent a DMCA to Reddit. Reddit was publishing, in one of its subreddits or several of its subreddits, contents from the email trove. Sony sent a DMCA takedown request and Reddit agreed. They took it down.
Jeff: Reddit had to agree.
Leo: They didn't have any choice, right? Now they're starting to ban users that are sharing Sony hacked documents. Reddit is mainstream media, let's not forget. They were bought be Conde Nast I guess Conde spun them off but there's still some association, right?
Gina: But creepshots of teenage girls, those are totally okay.
Leo: Those, no problem. So discussion in new stories regarding the hack will still be allowed throughout the site, but Sony has been sending notices warning of legal action against the posting of information discovered by the hacked documents. So in theory, they could send us one if we had started talking about the content, as well. That's not why I didn't and I actually don't celebrate these heavy handed techniques from Sony. I sympathize but -
Jeff: It's a weird news day. Google opens up, Fark declares a truce, North Korea by some accounts gets a movie killed.
Leo: It is wild, isn't it? You know what, I want to cheer everybody up. Let's do the Google changelog right after this word about my shoes. You want to do that?
Leo: So, Jeff, we haven't sent you any Jack Erwins yet. But you're a professor, you don't walk into class using sandals with socks, right?
Jeff: I have weird feet.
Leo: What do you mean, weird?
Jeff: Do you really want to know?
Gina: No, we're good.
Leo: That's TMI.
Gina: I'd rather hear about prostate, I think.
Jeff: That was the limit, right, Gina?
Gina: Yes, yes.
Leo: Finally. We can know about your colon but your feet, no. So shoes, they say, make the man and I have to say there are times when having a nice pair of shoes on your feet is going to help you, on a date, at the Christmas party when you're talking to the boss for a raise, when you're talking to venture capitalists for funding. You don't want to be wearing the tennie runners. You want to be wearing some nice shoes. Yes, these are comfortable. Don't feel like you're going to be hobbling around. These are beautiful. You know what? The real problem is, you're going to wear these and you're never going to want to wear anything else. These are Jack Erwins.
Now, normally, shoes like these, handmade in Spain of the finest leathers from the traditional leather craftsmen in France and Italy, handsewn uppers, handsewn lowers, leather soles. Normally shoes like these would cost you a pretty penny. You get them about a third of the cost at JackErwin.com because they sell direct to you. Although, you New Yorkers, you. They have a showroom in New York so you might want to stop by. These are beautiful shoes. You just go to JackErwin.com/twit and you can see our picks. I have been loving these Jack Erwin shoes. I want to warn you, because people are going to say, “Oh, it's $200.” But that is, for a shoe of this quality – I know, you've only been wearing Nikes worth $140. So you pay a little more but these are all leather. These are beautiful. They last forever.
Every pair of Jack Erwin shoes comes with a second pair of insoles made in Portugal and a beautiful travel bag. You can carry your Jack Erwins in your suitcase without fear of damage. I love my Jack Erwins. If you do order, order one size smaller than you do usually. If you're a size 10, order a size 9, because all Jack Erwin shoes are made one size larger so that you have a scosh more room. If you've never had a great pair of shoes, you owe it to yourself to have a great pair of shoes from Jack Erwin. They have striving moccasins, too. I'm going to get those for myself for Christmas. JackErwin.com/twit, the best shoes you've ever worn. By the way, if you don't like them, shipping's free and it's easy to return them. They'll pay the shipping. JackErwin.com/twit. “Don't buy cheap, it's too expensive,” said Grandpa. Right?
Gina: They sure are spiffy. They're spiffy looking.
Leo: Oh, Gina. Gina, these are great shoes. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the Google Changelog.
Voiceover: The Google Changelog.
Leo: Gina Trapani has the latest in Google.
Gina: New feature on your Chromecast. Your friends can come over and cast to your Chromecast without connecting to your WiFi first.
Leo: Damn it!
Gina: Yes, it's called Guest Mode.
Leo: “Get off my Chromecast!”
Gina: I know, the gadget headline is that “Guest Mode lets anyone commandeer your TV.” It's not quite as aggressive as all that. This is often, of course, if you want to enable Guest Mode on your Chromecast, you can open up the Chromecast app. You tap Devices and you select your Chromecast and you turn on Guest Mode. Then anyone can walk in and cast, you know, the hip video.
Leo: Oh, you have to enable it.
Gina: You have to enable it, exactly. But nice for the holidays, throw some YouTube videos up on the TV, on relative's TV.
Leo: I've been doing so much Chromecasting lately. I love it.
Gina: Yes, Chromecast is great. It's still my main media thing.
Leo: It's how I watch YouTube now.
Gina: Yes. Me too, I love it.
Jeff: That's how you're going to watch The Interview.
Leo: I'm going to watch The Interview on my Chromecast. Can I just say, it looks like a terrible movie?
Gina: Oh, it looks awful. I was trying not to say that because that's not the point. But it looks terrible. It looks terrible.
Leo: I'll tell you what is the point in the way, because if this were the Hobbit, I don't think there would be that rush to not run it.
Jeff: Well, The Neighbors was just awful. Did you see The Neighbors?
Gina: Oh no. That also looked terrible.
Leo: The end of the world movie they made? Oh my God, was it bad. So it's like that.
Gina: It's not the point, though. It's not the point. It's art. Let's see what else we got.
Inbox, the app that I'm dying to use with my Google Apps account. Google, I know you're listening. They got a little new feature in Assist. So they've got this feature called Assist, which helps you, gives you kind of contextual information as you enter reminders into Inbox. Well, Assist is getting a new kind of boost, a suggest as you type based on what you're entering. So for example -
Leo: I just got that.
Gina: Oh, you just got it? It's really cool. So it's killing me, because I really want to use Inbox on a daily basis. So if you tap Compose and say, I'm going to start a reminder. I started to type the word “return” and the Assist actually started to auto-fill items that I had just ordered from Amazon and had just been shipped to me. So it's amazing. It's really, really smart, personal contextual information. Saying, “Oh, I want to return this thing I just ordered.” It works with local businesses, it works with calling people. You know, “Remind me to email Jeff about lunch next month,” which we have to do, Jeff. It will fill it in and put Jeff's contact information. You'll know it's an Assist when there's a little icon in the suggest as you type drop down.
Jeff, did I cut you off? Did you have a question?
Jeff: No, I was just making a joke that we're going to hear immediately that this new feature is creepy.
Gina: It's the most convenient creepy thing you'll ever see. Hangouts and Gmail got updated. You can now set a status message. So if you log into Gmail on the desktop and you turn on Hangouts, you can click on your name and set your status to whatever you want, “Happy Holidays. I'm available. I'm out walking the dog.” Whatever. I think you can also use emoticons and stickers as well. I think I saw that in some of the examples. So people will see your status in their friends list.
A couple of Google Drive updates. You can now share Google Drive files through Gmail as attachments and not those share links where, you know, you use the wrong Gmail address for the person and they say they don't have access and, “Can you give me access?” It's all a complete pain. You can now share Google Drive files and it just attaches it to the Gmail and sends the whole file through email when you select the “Insert as attachment” option from Google Drive. So that's handy.
Gina: Because I love Google Drive and I love sharing but I also have a couple of Google accounts and people always share to me using the wrong one.
Next up, the Google app on Android has voice search for Google Drive. So you can say, “Okay, Google. Search for,” a certain file name on Drive and you'll get your file without opening the app or typing keywords.
Google Fit got an update that brings 100 new activities to the app. So Google Fit can automatically detect if you're walking or biking. Now, you can manually enter activities like skiing, skating, biathlon, volleyball, circuit training, boxing, cricket, dancing. So when you go to the gym, you can hop right into Google Fit and have that be your kind of one stop shop for all your activities. Of course, manual entry, not the most convenient thing in the world but nice if you want to use Google Fit for everything. Another upgrade to Google Fit, the Google Fit app is, new Android ware support. So Google's still calling things experimental here but your smart watch will measure your step count when it's not connected to your phone. The watch will remember and sync it up to your phone's history the next time it reconnects. So that's really nice if you want to go for a run without carrying your big phablet.
Finally, Google for Android and iOS got updated with Nest integration. So you can now set the temperature of your home through Google Now. You can say, of course, if you have a Nest, and you have it set up and you've opted in. On your mobile device, you can open your Google app or tap the mic and say, “Okay, Google. Set the temperature to 70 degrees.” And your Nest will do that. If you try that search right now and you don't have it set up, it will give you a prompt that says, “This works with Nest,” and you can tap through and actually configure your nest to work with that. So obviously, it doesn't work unless you've opted in and your Nest is set up.
And that's it. That's all I got.
Leo: And that is the Google Changelog.
Jeff: Well, a few updates as well. While we were away at the Changelog. One is that Deadline reports that a Steve Carell new regency thriller set in North Korea has been cancelled.
Jeff: Newt Gingrich tweets, “No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyber war. This is a very, very dangerous precedent.”
Leo: I wonder if this is cyber warfare. I wonder.
Jeff: Well, it kind of doesn't matter because the weapons of cyber warfare aren't necessarily in the hands of government. So anybody can declare war.
Leo: That's true. That's a very good point. So it doesn't really matter if this is North Korea.
Jeff: In this future era, the power of government diminishes immensely because whether you're Anonymous, or Occupy, or GOP or whoever, you have tools in your hand that you don't need to be a government to have any more.
Jeff: Not saying that Anonymous, or Occupy or anybody are doing that or anything else. I'm just saying that, okay.
Leo: I can imagine a very ugly future where this stuff is just going on all the time. It could have been worse, though. They could have attacked the power grid or something. I mean, it's just Sony Pictures. Let's get this straight.
Jeff: It's just Seth Rogen.
Leo: It's just Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Gina: Ryan Bishop at the Verge just put up a piece, “Why Sony Pictures should release the Interview online.” Not even North Korea can stop the internet. It does kind of feel like, at this point, the only way we can prove that this was -
Leo: We need to invoke the Streisand effect.
Gina: Yes, just get it out.
Jeff: But I'm serious, how? If you're Apple, are you going to come along now and say, with stores in every mall, say, “Okay, we'll put the movie up on iTunes?” No.
Leo: No, you said it. BitTorrent.
Jeff: But then you don't make any money on it.
Gina: At this point, I think they should just release it for download for free. Everybody gets to watch it.
Leo: This is how you screw North Korea. Say, “Well, good. More people are going to see this now.”
Jeff: Here's the thing I wonder. There's an interesting discussion just on Twitter, Leo. Because I said, “I wonder who owns the insurance on the movie and what clauses are being invoked.” Somebody said, “Well, there's usually a terrorism exception.” That goes to your point. Is this terrorism in an insurance sense?
Leo: Usually insurance is a completion bond. The movie was completed. I don't know if they have insurance for this.
Jeff: I wonder.
Leo: Interesting. Well, all I can say is that hacker in the basement in Bucharest has now moved to Budapest. Take that.
Jeff: Where our ambassador said the new head of government is a schmuck. We're going to be in trouble for that.
Leo: No, I'm going to be in Budapest in June. Please don't case problems with Budapest till later.
Jeff: Well, there's some issues there.
Leo: The year in Search 2014. Now, this is a happy, bright, upbeat story.
Gina: This is good.
Leo: Google does this every year. Do they still do Zeitgeist? Is that now – does this replace that?
Gina: Yes, I think this is a part of it.
Leo: Every year, they say, “We reflect on moments that made us laugh, smile ear to ear or stay gripped to our screens in our annual year in Search.” (video starts) Ladies and gentlemen, in 2014 we searched trillions of times. What do these searches say about us? “We search for... hope.” Ah, Malala, Nobel Prize winner. Fear. Science. More than fiction. That's fiction, by the way, the hoverboard. “We search for things we love.” Ferrell, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Nicki Minaj and for greatness. Sochi. “We searched to make sense.” Oh wow. Ferguson, ebola.
Gina: Ebola, wow.
Leo: “We search to remember.” Joan Rivers, Maya Angelou, Robin Williams. “We search to be inspired.” This is really just an ad. I love this dancing guy.
Jeff: Yes, that's true.
Leo: There's Benedict Cumberbatch getting doused with ice water, and that's what I've been waiting for. You know, this reminds me a lot of, and we spent some time talking about it on TWiT, the YouTube year ender. The Rewind, which really celebrated all the YouTube starts. This is the things we searched for but there are many viral videos in there.
Gina: This is the old person version. Like, I recognized everything in this one.
Leo: You're right. I had no idea who those YouTube stars were. I actually had to ask a 12-year-old. Michael knew. He knew at least half of them, he said, “Oh yeah, that's that. That's that.” I only knew iJustine. So here are the top global searches of 2014. Robin Williams, number one. World Cup, number two. Ebola, number three. MH-3701, the Malaysian airlines flight they still haven't found.
Jeff: Even Google can't find it, sorry.
Leo: Even Google can't search for that one. ALS, the ice bucket challenge. This year, that was the thing of the year, wasn't it? Flappy Bird made it to the top ten? Number six, Flappy Bird?
Gina: That was this year? I guess it was.
Leo: Conchita Wurst, the winner of the Eurovision song contest. ISIS and I hope people weren't searching for beheading videos but somehow, I feel like they were. Frozen, the Disney movie. Finally, Sochi. So that's a pretty good mix of the big – you know, this is all done programmatically, but those are the big stories.
Leo: Those really are the big stories. Then they have a nice little page at Google.com/2014 that you can scroll through. I like it when they do this, I really do. This is fun. What is La Decima? Touchdowns, knockouts, trophies, Formula One royalty. This is very global, right? Because Formula One is big worldwide, US less so. 1:15:19.3?? Jared Leto into Instagram.
Gina: Not sure how Jared Leto made it here, but okay. Yes, I don't know.
Leo: Okay. By the way, that's a Facebook property, isn't it? Yes.
Jeff: They're not a bad -
Leo: You see? You see? You see?
Gina: Yes, there and there.
Leo: They don't mind. Conchita Wurst, the man who rose like a phoenix.
Jeff: Did you ever watch? You know who that is?
Leo: I didn't, yes. She won the Eurovision song contest but is she a man, or -
Leo: I don't understand. I'm confused. But that's pretty much my life nowadays.
Jeff: Did you ever watch Conchita Wurst?
Leo: No. I mean, I think I might've seen a video.
Jeff: Amazing, yes.
Leo: There she is. That's Tom Neuwirth.
Gina: His stage persona, he developed a character.
Leo: He created a character. So it is a guy, he's not transgender. He's a guy who has a character.
Gina: I honestly hadn't heard of this at all until this.
Leo: Most searched beauty secrets, “beard” is number one by a long shot. The world wanted more. “The beard is a statement to say you can achieve anything, no matter who you are or how you look.” That's why I'm growing a beard.
Gina: I'm going to stop tweezing.
Leo: No more tweezing.
Gina: No more tweezing, I can be who I want to be. That was probably more than you wanted to know.
Leo: No, no, not at all. All right, what else? Vessel, a YouTube rival - who cares? YouTube! Who cares? There are no YouTube rivals.
Jeff: The model is that you get the videos three days early than they go up on YouTube and you're going to pay for that privilege. I don't suppose.
Leo: Oh, that'll work. Okay, so now here is a kind of cool thing and I hope they roll this out for everybody. This is - you can make an animated .gif but it's only on a couple of channels right now. So do we know how to do this? We go to “Share.” How do I make an animated gif? This is the channel, the Rhett and Link channel, Good Mythical Morning. But where - maybe they don't have - oh, there it is. .gif! So you pick - this is good.
Gina: Oh, this is cool.
Leo: You can see what the .gif is going to look like.
Gina: This is how videos - this is how some TWiT stuff. See, now we have to make a lot of silly faces.
Leo: I'm good with that, I don't mind. Okay, let's do some.
Jeff: Leistungsschutzrecht. Leistungsschutzrecht.
Leo: Let me just - show me here. There's a couple for you. Just gave you some faces to work with.
Gina: There you go.
Jason: Jeff, it's your turn.
Jeff: Here's my nose. You know what I have to do, I just said it. Leistungsschutzrecht!
Leo: I don't think there's audio on these. Maybe there is.
Jason: That's okay, because they'll do the words on the screen thing. All right, Gina, you've got to get one.
Gina: People seem to really like when I'm like, “Ah.” People are always like, “Oh, Gina's shaking her head again.” People like when I'm like, “Ah.” So, there you go. That'll be my head shake.
Leo: I want to find the one - yes, here we go. The Kate Middleton eye roll. They had this on the Daily Show. So I guess she was wrapping gifts in New York City and she'd had enough. She is a princess. The woman at the gift wrapping station says, “No, no, you're not done. Wrap more.” And Kate Middleton gave her quire an eye roll there. Watch it, watch it, whoa. What? Whoa.
Gina: That's a good one.
Leo: The Duchess of York, throwing some shade, baby! God, I love that. Now, that's an animated .gif.
Jeff: Isn't that great? It makes me like her even more.
Leo: She's a real princess. She apparently does this a lot, I don't know. Anyway, that's - you can now, at least on Good Mythical Morning or the Idea Channel, according to this article from Shawn Buckley at enGadget. Or maybe it was from Gizmodo. Or maybe it was from Wax Pancake, Andy Byo. I guess it was, so I think that's cool.
Gina: While we're talking about .gifs, I have to plug Adam Pash, who was my co-editor at Lifehacker. He does andtheniwaslike.co. You can use your webcam and make a .gif of yourself.
Leo: That's his? I love that? We showed that a couple of months ago.
Gina: Yes. I had to bring that up again because it's an easy way to do your own eye roll.
Leo: It's called, andtheniwaslike.co.
Gina: And then I was like, yes.
Leo: So I don't think we have it yet on our TWiT channels. But you'll see, when you click the “Share” link, share, embed, email and then you'll see .gif or “jiff” depending on how you say it.
Gina: Google, please enable.
Leo: Please enable. It is getting out there on more and more channels. Do we care about the top apps, movies and music of 2014? I'm sure you talked about the apps on All About Android, right?
Gina: Yes, we did. We talked at least about Google's lists.
Jason: I'm not sure we talked about this one specifically. They had a section on the Play Store a few weeks ago that was like, “Our favorite apps of the year.” But I don't know if that's pulling from the same list.
Gina: Oh, I see. They did another, “Best stuff of the year.”
Jason: They did like their official top -
Leo: Best stuff of the year, most downloaded apps. Duolingo in Education. My Fitness Pal in Health and Fitness. Pandora in Music. Flipogram in Photography. Facebook in Social. Netflix in Entertainment. NFL Mobile in Sports. Tripadvisor in Travel. The year's fastest growing app category, Health and Fitness. And the top games of 2014 won't surprise you much, either, Candy Crush Saga, number one. Then, Don't Tap the White Tile, which is a lot of fun.
Gina: Flappy Bird isn't on here.
Jason: Neither is Monument Valley. I would have guessed that one.
Leo: Farm Heroes Saga, Subway Surfers and Clash of Clans. Play games, users unlock 3.5 billion achievements this year. Top movie of the year, Frozen, which was purchased on the Google Play Store. The Walking Dead, top TV show. The comeback movie, the Toy Story. And the most searched actor on Google Play, of course, Robin Williams. Album of the year, the motion picture soundtrack from Frozen. Clearly a lot of parents use Google Play. Song of the year, Dark Horse by Katy Perry. Song of the summer, You're So Fancy by Iggy Azalea. “I'm so fancy...” Fastest growing genre, soundtracks, fueled by Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy, Despicable Me 2, the Lego Movie and the Great Gatsby soundtracks. Ah, this is one for you, Leistungsschutzrecht. A news sources of the year. New York Times is number one, followed by TMZ, number two.
Jeff: Oh, Jesus.
Leo: Forbes now number three!
Jeff: At least Buzzfeed's not there.
Leo: It isn't. The Verge.
Jeff: Which actually has some legitimate journalism, that surprises me.
Leo: Beast, Journal, Gizmodo and Droid Central. The most read article of 2014, Flavor Pill, “1590s Teen Heartthrobs Who Have Resurfaced on TV”.
Leo: Well, three of them are listicles.
Gina: What is happening?
Leo: Then, Mental Floss, “50 More Awesome Facts About Everything.” Then Market Watch, “10 Most Miserable Cities in America.” Howes, which I really like, I'm glad to see it's getting some traction, “Bathroom Workbook, How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost?” Now we're talking. That's the news you can use. Finally, the Verge awards the best of CES 2014.
Jeff: There's no Iraq there.
Leo: Book of the Year, The Fault Is In Our Stars. That's a young adult that was made into a movie. 50 Shades of Gray, that's an old adult that was made into a movie. Divergent, that was a young adult that was made into a movie. 12 Years a Slave, that was just depressing but true. Insurgent, which I don't remember. So there you go.
Jason: Is 50 Shades a movie yet?
Leo: No, soon to be a major motion picture despite the crap casting. Now, North Korea, if you tried to block that, I wouldn't get in your way. No, I'm joking.
Jeff: The S&M army will come after it.
Leo: Just want to make sure we don't miss anything. That's a sad story, the OnePlus One story out of India. I'm sure you talked about it on All About Android, the Cyanogen mod made a deal - terrible. An exclusive deal with another company and Micromax is now complaining about OnePlus sales in India and they faulted them. Terrible.
Gina: Aw, man.
Leo: That sucks. Nexus 5, what is going on there? Is Google going to continue to sell that? Apparently so. There are a limited number in stock but they are saying, “We're going to continue to sell it into early 2015.” This is because a lot of people who want a Nexus phone say, “I'm not buying that giant whale of a phone.”
Gina: Right, it's their small phone.
Jeff: Further, if you try to buy the darn thing in the Play Store, you can't still.
Leo: Is it still out of stock? What do they say?
Jeff: Going to check, right now it's still out of stock.
Jason: Yes, which was fueling rumors that they just were stopping all together.
Jeff: Oh, this is 6.
Leo: The 6 you still can't get? Well, can I just share a little problem, just a word of warning about the Nexus 6? It's very easy to root, of course, you can very easily unlock the Bootlooter and root it. I found a one-step root and unlock. But remember, Google - and I am really questioning this decision. But they decided they wanted to do an Apple and make it hard for law enforcement to see what's on your phone. So they have encrypted this phone. Remember, if you've used Android before, you know that after the fact, you can go into settings and say if you're giving it a pin or password, I want to encrypt it from then on. This comes encrypted, which caused me a bit of a hassle now because I've rooted it and I have a special recovery. I've got Twerp recovery on here. I got 501 this morning, I was so excited.
By the way, I got it on the watch too, Jason.
Jason: Yes, I got my notice but it's not charged up yet.
Leo: Me neither, too low.
Gina: Oh, that's a killer.
Jason: This is the one moment out of all the days in the year where I regret the fact that I can't plug just any micro-USB into this.
Leo: I have two Qi chargers in my office that work. You can put it on the Qi chargers in there.
Jason: That'll work. All right, I'll do that.
Leo: That's what so great about the Moto 360 is, it supports Qi.
Jason: Yes, which I love.
Leo: So that weird cradle is a standard Qi charger and you have to position it carefully. But if you position it just right, you can charge the watch on a Qi charger. Good news. However, I was talking about this and I'm screwed. Because I rooted it and now, in order to install 501, Twerp is saying, “What's the password for the encryption?” I don't know. I didn't give it a password. No, it's not your Google account password, is it? It's nothing.
Jeff: That's what I was trying to joke before, trying to imagine what Google's own password is.
Leo: Maybe it is, actually. I didn't try my Google Account password. I should try it. I shouldn't say it's not. Did they use a password when they encrypted it? They must have, right?
Jeff: Larry Page.
Leo: Paging Leo Page. Dr. Fine? Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine. CNN's list of 28 internet acronyms - have you been studying this? Every parent should know, Gina. You need to know these.
Gina: Oh, I'm scared.
Leo: Ed is going to be a teenager any day now.
Gina: Oh, please. I've got time. Oh, God. Oh, no, no.
Leo: This is a great article by Amy Graff of the San Francisco Chronicles website, SF Gate in which she debunks this bogus list from CNN of 28 internet acronyms everyone should know. She did the research. She looked them up on Urban Dictionary. These kids aren't using these. “IWSN - I want sex now.”
Leo: “GNOC - Get naked on camera. CU46 - See you for sex.”
Gina: That's it, we're going Amish. We can't - no.
Leo: “THOT – That hoe over there.” No one uses these. These are made up. Sugar pits. This is CNN, this is some old fart at CNN who found a 1997 acronym dictionary and thought it'd make a good clickbait. This is not true, don't worry about it. Not true and she debunks it quite nicely. This is a line from Stephen Grybowski, who is her 24-year-old cousin but also a staffer at a New York magazine called Relix, which is a music festival and youth culture magazine. He says, “CNN has no idea what sexting is, but they’re pretty sure it has something to do with acronyms.” I love it. Anyway, don't worry, Gina. The kids are not having sex.
Gina: Thank you. Thank you, Amy Graff.
Leo: This is a great article. Nice job, Amy. So I've rebooted this thing now and now – foolishly, I wiped it. So now I have to start all over again.
Jason: You're starting fresh.
Gina: I was going to say, just start fresh.
Jason: Put a little zip in your kick.
Leo: I'm hoping I'll have 501 on here. That would be really depressing if I wiped it and there's still no – I'll let you know. Any other story before we get to our last ad and our tip, pick and number of the week?
Jeff: Little update. So Jake Tapper, the most over-the-top tweet I think I've seen in ages. Jake Tapper, ABC -
Leo: I like him normally.
Jeff: I normally do. His tweet is, “We are all Seth Rogen.”
Leo: Oh no, that's horrible.
Gina: No, we're not. We're really not.
Jeff: No, we're not. Seth Rogen called his dealer, man, and he's getting a lot of weed right now.
Leo: “I can't breathe, man!” Do you think there will be a new – no, I've got to stop.
Jeff: Michael Moore. “Dear Sony Hackers, now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers.”
Leo: That's right on. I dig that.
Gina: That's pretty funny.
Leo: That's right on, man. I think we're going to be talking about this Sony hack for a long time to come. All right, let's take a break.
Jeff: I'm sorry, other stories. Oh, break. Break, that's right.
Leo: Yes, if you have other stories. But keep following that breaking news, breaking tweets.
Jeff: Celebrity tweets.
Leo: Celebrity tweets on the Sony hack, this just in.
Jeff: We've got Rob Lowe.
Leo: What does Rob Lowe have to say?
Jeff: Rob Lowe says, two tweets. “Wow. Everyone caved, the hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow.” Two wows. It's a two-wow tweeter. Gina right now is rushing to find out the “wow” count in everybody's tweets.
Gina: We're counting wows.
Leo: You know, I have some sympathy for the exhibitors because even if they had the movie, nobody's going to go see it, right? Or would they have filled theaters? What do you think?
Jeff: Here's the way I looked at it. I would go but then, would I take my child? No.
Leo: No! Let's not get crazy, these guys are not going to attack.
Jeff: I know, but it's -
Leo: Who knows?
Jeff: Second late-breaking Rob Lowe tweet, “Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today.”
Leo: Capitulation. What do they call it, when Chamberlain -
Leo: No, it wasn't a quizzling. What did he do with Hitler? There was a word for it. Damn, I'm getting old. That's when you're really old, when you remember the story because – appeasement.
Jeff: The word is out there. It's like a firefly, I can get that word. Very good.
Jeff: That's why we need a chatroom to follow us around all the time, to give us the words we don't know.
Leo: Thank God for the chatroom. That's such good stuff. I'm mainlining the chatroom now.
Our show today brought to you by FreshBooks. Talk about good stuff, this was a lifesaver. When I was sending out invoices, I used to use Microsoft Word to create invoices and it was such a pain to do it, then print it, then mail it and all that stuff that I would never do it. I would wait months and then they would get the invoices and go, “Wait a minute, you can't invoice for stuff six months ago. What are you, nuts?” You can get paid faster, you can send out invoices faster. You can actually make invoicing fun and easy with FreshBooks, the Cloud accounting solution designed from the ground up for entrepreneurs and small businesses. I can tell you from firsthand experience, because I used Freshbooks for years. Get a fresh start for 2015 with FreshBooks.
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Ladies and gentlemen, Gina Trapani has our tip of the week.
Gina: Wait, can we do one last story really quick?
Leo: Yes, yes.
Gina: Sorry, I just thought that this Microsoft Knucklehead blog post – did you do this on our weekly?
Jeff: I put that one up there, yes.
Gina: Thank you, Jeff. This thing is just funny. So Microsoft does a company blog post which is clearly about Google but it's weird and like, they pulled it but it's still in Google's cache, ironically. It's just basically saying that Google Apps is terrible compared to Office 360. But it's got this long story about this guy's knucklehead son. Yes, if you click on the cached version link -
Leo: Oh lord. This isn't the first time. Remember Gmail Man, reading your email?
Gina: Yes, and Screwgled? It's along those lines. This post is gold. It's kind of gold. “My knucklehead son doesn't want to go to college. No, instead he want to wander around the country in a Volkswagen camper van posting his adventures on YouTube for legions of adoring fans, pausing just long enough to cup his hands under a gushing spigot of money pumped by grateful advertisers. I tell him he sounds like Google.” It just goes from there, it's crazy, and weird and funny. So anyway, yes, that was my last.
Leo: Thank you, Mark Pan.
Jeff: I'm going to give you one more breaking tweet. The Situation Room! “US investigators determined North Korea is behind Sony hack, as the Pres reports.” In fact, there's -
Leo: So then the whole GOP, Guardians of Peace thing was probably intended to mislead.
Jeff: There was a video, I'll put it up on the rundown right now.
Leo: That's from CNN. You know, the FBI has not been talking about this.
Jeff: Just put up the video under – bottom of Google. Video CNN.
Jason: Oh, I see.
Leo: You'll have to get it, because I closed out.
Jeff: You're ready to say goodbye to us already, Leo?
Leo: I'm on my way home in my mind. In my mind, I'm on my way home.
Jason: I'm getting a sign in thing for cable services.
Leo: Oh crap. Oh, I hate you, Xfinity.
Jeff: What are you doing? How does that happen, what?
Leo: You can't watch CNN unless you get CNN.
Jason: But in the embedded tweet, it appears.
Jeff: But in an embedded tweet you can?
Leo: Okay, so that's very light on facts.
Jeff: Of course it is. It's CNN.
Leo: So I would like to know which department of the US government announced that and why they think that. Of course, none of that was available. US investigators, is that the FBI?
Jeff: I don't know. Alec Ross, who was a deputy Secretary of State under Hilary Clinton, was the social person. Very smart guy, I just put up a link to his piece on Huffington Post where he talks about this as a cyber warfare. Where does it stop? He is lighthearted in some ways. He says it's only a matter of time before some hotshot group of engineers recognizes and stalls an cyber attack. Instead of calling the authorities who can't do anything, anyway. The VP of engineering orders a counterattack against the aggressor. If Sony had a better engineering department, if it were a little more northern California instead of southern California, I wonder what would have happened. If they'd identified the source of the hack and shot back with a DDOS attack, would North Koreans had considered this an invasion of the United States or Japan, where Sony is actually headquartered?
Leo: I'm going to call BS on this CNN report. I would like to see where they got this from.
Jeff: I don't know. I would too.
Leo: I think there's a lot of – first of all, if North Korea did it, why would they deny they did it? Wouldn't they want to crow about it? “I just gotta crow.”
Jeff: You're also looking for sane activities around Kim Jong-Un? Come on.
Leo: Then there's a Wired Online article about – that says, North Korea almost certainly did not attack Sony.
Jeff: Yes, who knows.
Leo: The problem is, I don't know what investigators they're saying. There's just so much more we need to know and I'd like to see their evidence.
Jeff: That's true, I don't mean to jump to anything. Breaking news, the Situation Room.
Leo: Yes? US investigators is not sufficient.
Jeff: So this will make your head explode, just like Kim Jong-Un's. TIME Magazine has a piece, “Three Reasons People Think North Korea Hacked Sony,” main head. Sub head, “And Four Reasons It Might've Been Somebody Else.”
Jeff: Which is to say, we don't know.
Gina: We don't know anything.
Leo: I think it wasn't North Korea but I think that the Guardians of Peace, once they sniffed that possibility, decided to play along.
Jeff: I think you're a wise voice of sanity here.
Leo: Oh, I'd just like to see more. We know so little because they haven't revealed much.
Jeff: Sorry for that breaking interruption.
Leo: Gina, your tip of the week.
Gina: Yes, let's do our tip of the week. So, the new Hangouts dialer app is now a full-fledged system dialer that's on Android. That means that you can switch over to using Hangouts for your phone calls for everything. You can say, you know, when you tap on a phone number in your email or calendar, or whatever, you'll get prompted with dialer you want to use. Now, Hangouts dialer, it was not before a full-fledged system dialer that you could set to. But now it is, so you can say, “Always use your Hangouts dialer,” and you can always use Hangouts for your phone. So moving farther and farther away from depending upon carriers for your number and your calls.
Jeff: Gina, would you trust Hangouts as your always choice?
Gina: I do already. I mean, I use Google Voice and I switched over to Hangouts.
Gina: Yes, yes.
Leo: I don't do it on my phone. I do it on my desktop all the time. That's how I make phone calls at home. I put on my headset and it just sounds better, it's more relaxed. But my question, Google Voice was not Voip?
Gina: That's true.
Leo: This is Voip. This does not use your minutes, it uses data only, is that right?
Gina: Yes, that's true.
Leo: So this is not the Google Voice system, this is a different system that is data only. It's Voip. Wow, that's great.
Gina: Yes, works great in my basement where I don't get bars.
Leo: The only issue for me is, there's a little bit of lag, more lag than there would be in a cell call.
Gina: Right. For me, it's almost like the lesser of two evils, though. I mean, I feel like cell calls can be so bad, too. So it's like on or the other. But if you do want to switch over to Hangouts, you can make the switch. Now it's a full dialer. And of course, you get the choice, always or just this once. So you don't have to commit to always.
Leo: I might try that. Interesting. Jeffrey, your number of the week?
Jeff: Is 20! It's the last of the three links in my numbers section and I don't know why this fascinated me so much. I tweeted it and got tweeted like crazy. Gina will soon tell me exactly how much it got tweeted. But I think ThinkUp already did, and it's the Top 20 websites every December from 1996 to 2013. It's really small, but if you just click on the chart – it doesn't work well on audio but it's a scroll through memory lane. So 1996, two years after Netscape, AOL was top for two, four, six, seven years. WebCrawler, Infoseek, Prodigy, CompuServe, Umitch.edu, CMU.edu, MIT.edu. I just found out, people were digging into this and having all kinds of fun. Trying to remember Tripod, Switchboard, of course, AltaVista, of course, Lightcoast, of course, Infoseek.
Leo: This is really cool.
Jeff: Penthouse was a top 20 website in 1996, ha!
Leo: For one brief, shining naked moment.
Jeff: I read it for the letters, man. I read it for the letters. AOL – (crosstalk)
Leo: By the way, right after Penthouse, Excite. So that's appropriate.
Jeff: Now, AOL disappears in 2003 and I noted that. But somebody said, “No, they just mixed it with Time Warner.”
Leo: Ah, that's why Time Warner is number two in 2003, 2004, 2005.
Jeff: The other thing that struck me about this is in 2013, the last year of this, Yahoo was the top website, which also shows you that being the top website is not necessarily a great business.
Leo: It doesn't mean much.
Jeff: Google's business is not about being a website at all.
Leo: Who is Glam Media?
Jeff: Funny you should ask, I'm an advisor to Glam.
Leo: They're number eight on the list.
Jeff: Now they're number seven. Glam is amazing. The reason I like Glam, Samir Arora, that's the CEO. He came into my office one day many years ago and he read “What Would Google Do?” and he said, “I have to show you this. You're going to understand this.” Glam is a network. Glam is 6000 sites as a network and they sell ads across all of them and it's the power of the network. It amazes me to this day that nobody in media has understood the power of Glam's model. It's not about creating all your own content, owning your own content. Glam at first was just a women's brand and it fought against iVillage. iVillage was the queen of women online, iVillage has recently been foolishly shut down by NBCU. Glam won, Glam has gone on to other areas, men and other things. They've done Foodie, which is a great site. They understand how to aggregate, how to create ad networks and nobody knows them. I was just talking to Samir only yesterday, and their first goal was to get this – they bought Ning and they believe that every social site needs content and every content site needs social. They're going to be doing some new things, soon, around that. So pardon the little ad for Glam, but I think Glam is a fascinating story.
Leo: Well, it was the only one on that list I didn't know. So there you go.
Jeff: Exactly, and they're huge and they grew huge by creating networks to enable bloggers, basically.
Leo: That's cool. So my tool of the week kind of tags on to something we talked about last week, Android Studio now out of beta and available to all. Go, the language Go from Google, which is a really nice, elegant concurrent programming language designed for web. But the confluence is, they just released Go 1.4 and you can write Android Apps in Go.
Gina: What, really? You can write Android apps in Go?
Leo: They say simple Android apps, but I'm going to investigate.
Gina: Yes, yes, yes, that's interesting.
Leo: It's very interesting because I hate Java. I hate it. I don't want to use Java and I have a simple app I want to write that would be a purpose build app for me. I want to put it on my Nexus 6 that would just do countdown timing for the radio show. I did the Hello World, as you said. It was very easy and I got it on my – I kind of added to that. Then I saw, oh no, I have to write the rest of this in Java.
Gina: Wah wah.
Leo: Wah wah. I've written in Java and I don't like it. I guess I could go back and learn it again and do it again but I'd be much happier if it were in Go. So I will investigate. But the newest version of Go, Go 1.4 which is the fifth release, one of the new features is it's going to be more than kind of a system file, system language. They're going to start supporting Android development in Go. Much as Apple is now allowing Swift in Xcode.
Jeff: I mean Java.
Leo: Java, well. That's personal. I just don't like it.
Jeff: Is it creepy, Leo?
Leo: I like interpretive languages because it's really easy to iterate. You write, compile, run, very quickly. But the disadvantage of a traditional interpretive language is that they're slow. There's a lot of overhead, so Python, Ruby, Pearl, these are all interpretive languages. Go is one as well. Sometimes they call them, kind of pejoratively, scripting languages. But I feel like there's a certain advantage to having this quick iteration cycle in a very clean, simple syntax. The other thing about Go is it was written specifically to support concurrency and so forth. So it has nice features for that. That probably won't benefit you in Android programming but I just feel like I could much more easily write the program I want in Go. But I have to investigate. I'm still investigating, what does that mean when they say, “Android support.”
Gina: I'm reading about it, this is interesting. Very interesting.
Leo: Because when you write your to-do text, it's written in Java.
Gina: Yes, yes. I love Java and Java was the first object-oriented language that I kind of cut my teeth on. So I do like it. But I do agree that a language like Go – I haven't played with Go a lot but it sounds similar to Ruby or PHP or a scripting language. It's easier to start with, for sure. Lighter.
Leo: For something like I want to write, very simple, I wouldn't want to write even to-do text in Go. But for what I want to write, which is a very simple app, it might be more than enough and I would sure prefer that. Go is fun. I know the hour of code is over now, it was a minute of code.
Gina: My hour of code is never over.
Leo: Can we make this a year of code? What about it, huh? How about a decade of code? Let's go for it, man. So partial -
Jeff: You don't believe CNN, will you believe the New York Times?
Leo: Yes, they say it too? I do believe them.
Jeff: “American intelligence officials have concluded that the North Korean government was centrally involved in the recent attacks,” dah dah dah. “Senior administration officials, who will not speak on the record about the intelligence findings, said the White House was still debated whether to publicly accuse North Korea on what amounts to a cyber terrorism campaign.” It's said it was not clear how the White House would respond to North Korea, so this is all traveling kind of stuff.
Leo: This is all traveling to see what the reaction is, particularly from North Korea, at this point.
Jeff: “Some went to the Obama administration to argue that the government of Mr. Kim must be directly confronted, but that raises the question of what consequences the administration would threaten.” “We're going to force you to watch The Interview,” but is that torture? “Or how much of its evidence would it make public without revealing details of how the United States was able to penetrate North Korean computer networks to trace the source of the hacking. Others argue that direct confrontation with the North over the threats to Sony and moviegoers might result in escalation.” What are they going to do, get rid of Into the Woods next? “Give North Korea the confrontation it often covets, feed the troll.”
Leo: This is more effective than their nuclear weapons program and I think if, you know, the success they've achieved – if this is North Korea, the success they've achieved is absolutely going to -
Jeff: Oh, you know who's watching? Putin's watching this, saying, “This is going to get me out of this currency mess.”
Leo: “This is good. I can't wait for oil dollars, I'm going after Sony.”
Jeff: That accent's better, Leo. The Spanish accent, just give up.
Leo: Not so good, I apologize. You ought to hear my Romanian accent.
Jeff: Japan, for which Sony is an iconic corporate name, has argued that a public accusation could interfere with the delicate diplomatic negotiations underway for the return of Japanese nationals 1:53:08.5?? years ago.
Leo: Very true.
Jeff: Well, well, well, well.
Leo: So, yes, this was leaked by the administration to the Times and CNN.
Jeff: NBC as well.
Leo: Well, I think it must be true, then.
Jeff: I wouldn't – you know, don't forget the New York Times said there was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So let's hold off a little bit.
Leo: Really, all their saying is, the senior administration officials say, off the record, say … Although, why would they say that if they didn't think it was true? Because it is inflammatory to say that. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Anyway, that is the end of this show. What a good show.
Gina: Good show, good year.
Leo: I love this. What a good year this has been. Next week, if you tune in next time, you will see the best of TWiG. Some of our best moments from 2014, rants, raves, Leistungsschutzrecht.
Jeff: Was that this year or last year?
Leo: Oh God, it all blends together. I believe it was this year, wasn't it?
Gina: Chipotle, so 2012.
Leo: We're not talking about Glee this year.
Gina: Glee is so 2012. We've been doing this show for five years now.
Jeff: My new favorite is Master Chef Junior. Did you watch the finale last night?
Leo: I just saw the promos for it and I thought I don't really want to watch Gordon Ramsay scream at children.
Jeff: He didn't, though. These kids were amazing.
Leo: They look like they really are good cooks.
Jeff: You know what made me so happy about it? Let's be honest. Every one of these kids is probably treated like a food geek at school and they're going to go back heroes.
Leo: Food, by the way, is the new tech. I have decided it is the new information technology. It is the new thing and I am announcing now, today on this show for the first time ever, TWiT is abandoning technology. We're going to cover food nonstop from now on.
Jeff: This Week in Asparagus. Breaking news! Asparagus.
Gina: I'll do a livestream from my mom's Christmas Eve dinner.
Leo: Don't you think we'd really just be happier in general if we forgot about all this tech stuff and just talked about food?
Gina: This isn't a good way to end this year on this show, Leo. Come on.
Leo: We're renaming the show This Week in Grub.
Jeff: The last TWiG ever.
Leo: No, no, no.
Gina: We live in an amazing time.
Leo: We do and we're watching it. Ringside seats on the revolution. Two weeks from now will be New Years Eve and we are starting at three in the morning, New Year's Eve, Pacific Time. We'll go till three in the morning New Year's Day, Pacific Time as we greet every time zone across the world and wish them happy new year. I think we have calls from almost every time zone. Do you mind if I do a short list of time zones we're still looking for and you can go to TwiT.tv/nye and sign up. We need Norfric Island. We need the Northern Marianas Islands including Guam, Micronesia and Vladivostok. If you're in Vladivostok. Burma, Kokos, Afghanistan, Iran – that ain't going to happen. Azors, Cape Verde, Trinidad, South Georgia or Sandwich Islands. Most importantly, our last time zone of the 24-hour period, 3 a.m. New Year's Day, Jarvis Island. A bird sanctuary in the Pacific.
Jeff: Fly me there and I'll do it.
Gina: I was going to say, Jeff will do it. It's get Jeff's name written all over it, literally.
Leo: Literally. Apparently, it's a bird sanctuary.
Jeff: Yes, and the problem is, it's not actually named after a guy named Jarvis. It's a typo.
Leo: It's a typo?
Jeff: Yes, it's some other name. It's not Jarvis.
Leo: You're kidding me. Here is is. No trespassing, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Jarvis Island. You're sure, Jeff, we can't get you to go there?
Jeff: I'm thinking so.
Leo: It has a flag of it's very own. It's an unincorporated, unorganized territory managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. So it belongs to all of us. It belongs to America. It isn't very big but it has to have its New Year's Day just like every other island. So we need somebody from Jarvis and then we can go home after that one. That'll be the last one. So if you're in those time zones, TwiT.tv/nye. We are doing this all for UNICEF, we hope to raise lots of money for UNICEF. We've got auctions, and prizes and all sorts of stuff. We're going to do it just like the Jerry Lewis telethons of my youth. I'm going to wear a tuxedo. We'll have a tote board, we'll have a drum roll.
Jeff: What platform are you using for the contributions?
Leo: United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, has a platform for us. In fact, right after this, I'm making a video for them. It's UNICEF USA but the money will go to children all over the world. We were looking for an international charity that was highly rated. Charity Navigator gave them four out of four stars. 91% of every dollar spent goes right to children. You know, everybody's familiar with this, at least in the US because we all went around with those orange boxes on Halloween trick or treating for UNICEF. They're doing a lot to help children in Africa from ebola. So I thought this would be a good one for us.
Jeff: Indiegogo just made its personal campaign platform free.
Jeff: So for future times when you want to raise something for charity or want to raise it for yourself, actually, say, “I want to send my kid to college.” That's now an option.
Leo: Isn't that great. That's appropriate. Anyway, do join us any time in the New Year's Eve time frame. 3 a.m. New Year's Eve, 3 a.m. New Year's Day. I'm going to be up all night and we have so much stuff planned. It is just going to – we had so much fun last year we said, let's go all in this year. It's costing us a pretty penny. We've taken over the street out front. We've got permits from the city of Petaluma. Please don't rain.
Jason: What happens out there if it does rain?
Leo: It'll be wet.
Jason: It'll just be a wet bouncy castle.
Leo: It'll be a lot easier to fall off the mechanical bull.
Jason: It'll keep the line moving.
Leo: It's going to be weird.
Jeff: Uh-oh, I've got to give you one more.
Leo: More tweets?
Jeff: Donald Trump.
Leo: Oh lord.
Gina: Oh boy.
Jeff: Just go to twitter.com/realdonaldtrump.
Leo: Oh, what does he say?
Jeff: I haven't even watched it yet. I just, how can you avoid?
Leo: There are a lot of tweets on this, aren't there?
Jeff: Oh yeah, it's going crazy.
Leo: Donald Trump, “A sad day for freedom of speech.” No, I've got it right here. Let's play the video. Wait a minute, I guess I don't have the video. You've got the video. Play the video. Trump vlog, “The Interview movie, a sad day for freedom of speech. I posted something on Instagram.”
Kim Jong-Un, you're fired! I like it, how he has to preface it, “Although I hear it was a terrible movie...” That was gratuitous. Grr.
Leo: Kim, you want to mess with this man? I don't think so. Look at that hair.
Jeff: Who has weirder hair, Donald Trump or Kim Jong-Un?
Leo: There you go. Feels like they should know each other. Happy Christmas, happy New Year, happy Hanukkah. Jeff, Gina, love doing this show with you. Take the week off next week, enjoy yourselves.
Jeff: Merry whatever.
Leo: It's not Ed's first Christmas, it's second Christmas.
Gina: Her second Christmas.
Leo: She's going to start knowing what's going on now.
Gina: Wait, what am I talking about? It's her third Christmas. Yes, she was born in September so she was only a tiny little thing.
Leo: First Christmas, yes, she didn't remember that. But she'll remember this one.
Gina: It's pretty great. We get to watch Rudolph. She's starting to understand a little bit more now. So that's good.
Leo: Do you do that new thing, the elf on the shelf?
Gina: We love the elf on the shelf. Grandma has one of those, yes.
Leo: We didn't have that when I was a kid. Right, Jeff? That's new.
Jeff: What on the shelf?
Jason: That's all you need to know.
Leo: This is something new. I don't know if you can have a new Christmas tradition but apparently you can.
Jason: You do the elf on the shelf for a couple of days and it quickly becomes a tradition. It's kind of cool.
Jeff: Oh, now I understand. Sorry, sorry.
Leo: You've seen this everywhere, right?
Jeff: Well, now it makes sense. On Sharktank, for their holiday. The first businessman was a guy who did “Mensch on the bench.”
Leo: Now you get it.
Jeff: Now I get it.
Leo: It's kind of a Hallmark tradition because there's this elfontheshelf.com and they have kids -
Jason: I mean, they have tons of merchandise.
Leo: It's been heavily merched, though I don't know if they own it. But you hide the elf every day in December?
Jason: No, we don't hide the elf.
Leo: Sorry. What am I saying? The elf hides himself!
Jason: At night, the elf flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa how the kids have been and then positions themselves in the house in a different place the next morning.
Jeff: Wait a second, Jason. So now your kid is surveilled? Is it the NSA of Christmas?
Jason: Yes, pretty much. That's exactly what it is. But see, this is the thing. They opt in, because they are genuinely curious. So they opt into their location tracking, it's okay.
Leo: The Washington Post has an article that says, “The elf on the shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state, professor warns.”
Jeff: I was joking!
Leo: They've already taken your quote and made it a story already.
Leo: So here's the thing with elf on the shelf. It's a registered trademark. To me, a Christmas tradition should not be registered a trademark. Santa Claus is not a registered trademark.
Gina: Capitalism, man.
Leo: Somebody owns the elf on a shelf.
Jeff: I just searched, “elf on the shelf creepy,” tons of links. Tons. “Elf on the shelf is terrorizing our kids.” (crosstalk)
Leo: Really? I thought kids like it. Don't kids like it?
Jason: Yes, because they name it. They give it a name and feed it.
Leo: Where did you get your elf on the shelf? Did you hand make one from sticks and old rags just like Grandma did?
Jason: No, you know, we bought one. We got it at the store, but here's the story behind it. Santa creates all these elves and puts them in a box at the store so when kids see them in the store, they aren't magical until they name them. So you bring it home, you give it a name and that's when they start moving around at night when they don't watch.
Jeff: A few dirty words here, but I recommend elfontheshelfwillkillus.us.
Leo: It's a little bit Chucky.
Jeff: “Elf on the shelf is creepy,” says the headline.
Leo: Apparently, Rudolph was created by a department store. Santa Claus, as we know him, comes from a Pepsi commercial. This is a long tradition of Christmas commercialism. God Bless it.
Jason: Merry Christmas.
Leo: Merry Christmas, everybody. That's it for This Week in Google. We'll see you in two weeks in 2015! Bye bye.