What’s All the Fuss About Google’s New Privacy Policy?

By Michael Geraci

On March 1, 2012, Google intends to update their privacy policy, which was last revised back in 2009. To call it an “update” is misleading, because what the search behemoth is actually creating is a single unified policy that spans all of its 60+ services. [1] The very fact that you’re reading this is cause enough for me to assume that you are a computer user with, shall we say, an above average level of interest in matters of a social-technical-digital nature, so I won’t waste your time detailing all the ways that Google’s services permeate your life. Let’s just agree that these days, it’s hard to click a mouse (or touch the screen of a mobile device) without hitting a Google service — branded or not. What you may not know is that if you’re a regular user of Google services, such as the popular Gmail or the burgeoning Google+ social network, Google is keeping tabs on most of your Web surfing habits, if not all of them — especially if you are using the company’s Chrome browser — all in the name of improving your Web experience through the optimization and personalization of Google’s services.

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Blackboard, Podcasting, and SKYPE, Oh My! Navigating Digital Tools in Teacher Preparation

By Christine Macfarlane


Just as Dorothy found herself in the strange world of OZ where things did not appear or work like they did in Kansas, teacher preparation candidates enrolled in distance learning, and technology-rich course environments often find themselves lost on the information highway and wondering what to make of OS (operating system). Candidates need a roadmap to facilitate acquisition of course content while utilizing a range of technology tools they may or may not be familiar and/or fluent in using. Similarly, university faculty members need expertise and options for implementing alternative course delivery methods. Distance learning is a necessary part of learning in today’s society. Continue reading

Internet 2.0 and the Learning Sciences: The Untold Story of a Timely Historical Meeting

By Mark Szymanski


“Explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.” declares Google. Do this all; right now, for free, on any mobile device, from anywhere in the world at The Google Art Project [1].  How can this be possible? That is a fair question and a multifaceted answer. Continue reading

Studying China Online: Editorial Review

Review By Jeffrey Barlow

Introduction


The amount of information discussing China now found online has grown considerably over the last several decades. While we hope that this growth is creating a proportionately greater understanding of China, this does not necessarily follow. Understanding China has long been a serious challenge for Westerners in general and for Americans in particular. Continue reading

Lost in a Crowded Room: A Correlational Study of Facebook & Social Anxiety

By Erin C. Murphy & Tamara E. Tasker

Introduction

Social Phobia is a frequently disabling condition characterized by fear of embarrassment and judgment in social and/or performance situations that manifests in different ways. [1] Individuals may avoid very specific tasks, such as public speaking or engaging in motor behaviors, such as eating, drinking, or writing, in the presence of others. Additionally, these individuals may fear overt, physiological “clues” to their anxiety, including blushing, stammering, or trembling. Avoidance of these social and performance situations often leads to impairment in occupational and social settings, negatively impacting the individual. Such fear and impairment leads to marked distress in these individuals as they withdraw from social and occupational settings.[2] Continue reading

Google’s Ngram Viewer

By Jeffrey Barlow

Google has brought out applications and various cloud-related services so very quickly that it is sometimes quite easy to miss them. Google’s Ngram Viewer is such an application from late 2010.

Ngram is simultaneously a service, a site, an application, and a search device—all summed up in the name “Viewer”. It surveys the many millions of books in the humanities scanned and indexed to date by Google. The Viewer permits the user to scan for strings of up to five words found in any or all of the works in a search process largely defined by the user, and in a variety of languages, too.

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Bullying and WWW Sites: An Introduction

By Jeffrey Barlow


Bullying is very much in the news at present. A simple Google search will yield about 17,900,000 hits [1]. A search of “cyber bullying” within that data set will yield about 915,000 hits [2]

This editorial review is our start at Interface on gaining a better understanding of the issues involved not only with bullying per se, and particularly cyber bullying, but bullying as a media phenomenon.

I should probably state as a fair warning at the outset that I belong to two different groups that are concerned with this phenomenon, and also have had personal involvement with the issue, which has doubtless shaped my response to it.

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Google Enters the Web Video Fray with WebM

By Michael Geraci

In May of 2005, a little video sharing web site known as YouTube was released to the public. Within a year, 100 million videos were being watched every day on the service. Google purchased YouTube in October of 2006 and as of this writing, 2 billion videos are being watched daily [1]. So it seems unnecessary, even trite, to claim that Google has made video a mainstay on our computer screens. Yet, Google’s February 2010 acquisition of On2 Technologies and its subsequent announcement of the WebM Project have transitioned the company’s role and influence on web video from the equivalent of a TV channel to a movie studio with worldwide reach.

What’s most interesting about this latest move by the Googlenaut is that the WebM Project seeks to make video on the web free of any licensing requirements, plug-in demands, and corporate control. It is the boldest move to date to make video creation and playback on the Internet freely accessible to producers and consumers, a move that, according to one source “…has thrown the video world into turmoil.” [2].

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Google and China Eight Weeks Later: Where Are We Now?

Editorial by Jeffrey Barlow

In the February issue of Interface, my editorial was on “Google and China: Minor Incident or Cyberwar?” [1]. One month after that piece and two months after the incident was announced, I want to revisit the issues here, because it gives us some insight into the notion of “cyber war,” if it clarifies little else.

While it is not my intent here to defend my earlier judgments, arrived at during six weeks of working in China, I think it easy enough to do so. My first judgment was simply that nothing is certain.

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Google and China: Minor Incident or Cyberwar?

Editorial by Jeffrey Barlow

Introduction

I was in China from December 17, 2009 to January 22, 2010, teaching and lecturing at three Chinese universities. In addition, I spent five days in Hong Kong, much of it with very knowledgeable members of the international business community. This was the period when the recent Google incident began — by which I mean Google’s charges that attempts had been made to hack the accounts of Chinese dissidents in Gmail, causing Google to state that it would no longer censor its Chinese search results, and would, if necessary, leave China.

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