Teenagers think Google is cool, study by Google finds

Excerpt from this article:

Today’s teenagers think Google and Google brands are cool, research funded by Google has found.

Google published “It’s Lit: A guide to what teens think is cool”, a “magazine” compiling the results of its research into Generation Z, characterised as those aged from 13 to 17.

The Google-funded research found Generation Z relied on brands to “shape their world”, and that Google was the third-most cool. Cool was defined by the researchers as “unique, impressive, interesting, amazing, or awesome”.

YouTube, which Google owns, came out at number one ahead of Netflix. Google’s web browser Chrome placed tenth, in front of Nike.

The Real Me

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The internet is an unrelenting enabler of our flaws and an unforgiving archive of them—so should you google your new love interest, or hold off? And what if they google you first?

…Unwelcome Search Result No. 1: My Evil Twins. I, like many people, have my share of Google doppelgängers, some of whom have decidedly odd hobbies or are otherwise, shall we say, the date-scaring types. Decades older. Civil War-obsessed. Freemasons.

Unwelcome Search Result No. 2: The Old Me. The me I wished to forget. The me that still lingered in the internet’s scrapbook of Doug’s Greatest Hits of Awkwardness. School photos from the days of Zubaz and a white-boy ‘fro. Sporting achievements that betrayed my utter lack of athleticism, like my glacier-paced 10K time and my even less impressive showing as a “mathlete.” Or, God help me, poetry.

Worst Search Result of Them All: The Real Me. As a struggling travel writer, I had a website full of struggling-travel-writer things: a where-I’ve-been list of decidedly non-exotic places; a blog I updated with the same sporadic, haphazard approach I applied to getting my car’s oil changed; a smattering of articles I’d written for unrecognizably obscure publications. An accurate representation of me, yes—but that was the problem.

Google Charmed By Grandma’s Polite Searches

screengrab of google search

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“I asked my nan why she used ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it seemed she thinks that there is someone — a physical person — at Google’s headquarters who looks after the searches,” he told the BBC.

“She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.”

…”I thought, well somebody’s put it in, so you’re thanking them,” she told the radio network.

“I don’t know how it works to be honest. It’s all a mystery to me.”

Forget conspiracy theories – here’s why Google’s ‘Conservatives are’ blacklist is worrying

Google Conserative

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This week, people noticed that entering “Conservatives are” to Google doesn’t result in any suggested searches popping up – in contrast to searches for “Labour are”, which offers up “… finished”, “… a joke”, and “… scum”, or “Libdems are”, which offers “… finished”, “… pointless” and “… traitors” as search suggestions.

It’s not the first time seemingly arbitrary Google search suggestions have hit the news. The service generally allows suggestions to be produced purely algorithmically, based on common searches. But sometimes it steps in, either to remove specific suggestions, or, more typically, to override the system and prevent a specific term returning any searches at all.

It’s that lack of explanation that leads some to leap to conspiracy. There’s no evidence to suggest when the term “Conservatives” was added to the blacklist, and Google won’t tell me, but the mere timing of its discovery has drawn people to ask whether it’s part of some shady deal regarding the company’s £130m sweetheart deal with HMRC over back taxes.

 

Why have I never been asked out? You asked Google – here’s the answer

‘This is why you’re never been asked out. Because very few people are sure enough of themselves to ask you.’

‘This is why you’re never been asked out. Because very few people are sure enough of themselves to ask you.’ Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Polygram

Excerpt from this article:

Every day millions of internet users ask Google some of life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the most common queries [such as]:

Why have I never been asked out?

…Why do humans kiss?

…What if I never get over him (or her)?

 

What Google can show us about our reaction to mass shootings

12-08-2015

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You and millions of others turn to Google, where you type in the location of this shooting. You tweet or update Facebook about your rage, your frustration that this has happened again, your despair that politicians will still do nothing to protect you or anyone else from the next mass shooting. Because there will be more. The pattern will repeat itself. We know this. We’ve seen this.

Then you probably forget about it for a bit. Until news about the next mass shooting breaks.

According to Google Trends, interest in a mass shooting peaks on the day of or the day after, and then almost immediately drops off the day after that.

We care about these tragedies. We care about gun control. Why do we lose interest so fast?

The Ghosts in Our Machines

A friend calls unexpected connections with lost loved ones “winks,” and finding Google Maps photos of my mother felt like a wink of monumental proportions.

Excerpt from this poignant article in The New Yorker, where the writer describes spotting an image of his deceased mother on Google Street View:

Every now and again, when I’ve been working for too many hours without a break or have spent an entire day writing something, I jump on Google Maps Street View and get lost in my past.

The images on Street View, taken by fancy cameras that are usually—though not always—strapped to the tops of cars, are a boon for basement-dwelling architecture buffs and those who want to see the world without going broke. I use the site for far less cosmopolitan purposes. I track down baseball diamonds and bike trails I played on as a kid. I locate comic-book shops from back in the day, old college dorms, hotels my family stayed in during summer vacations back when we took summer vacations as a family. I plop down in places I’ve been, places that have meant something to me, and look around. Then I compare the contemporary to what’s in my memory. It’s a way to unwind, a respite from more taxing laptop-based endeavors.

At first I was convinced that it couldn’t be her, that I was just seeing things. When’s the last time you’ve spotted someone you know on Google Maps? I never had. And my mother, besides, is no longer alive. It couldn’t be her.

That feeling passed quickly. Because it was her. In the photo, my mom is wearing a pair of black slacks and a floral-print blouse. Her hair is exactly as I always remember it. She’s carrying what appears to be a small grocery bag.

The confluence of emotions, when I registered what I was looking at, was unlike anything I had ever experienced—something akin to the simultaneous rush of a million overlapping feelings. There was joy, certainly—“Mom! I found you! Can you believe it?”—but also deep, deep sadness. There was heartbreak and hurt, curiosity and wonder, and everything, seemingly, in between.