Tag Archives: Google

Customize Your Google Page; There’s A Caveat Though…

Last week I heard the news that Google was going to allow people the opportunity to customize their main page. What they were going to do was to have certain images already set, but if you wanted to you could use your own image for the page.

I have to admit that I was excited. Though I have my Google page already altered thusly, there to the left (right click to see it bigger), via Stylish and Firefox, and I have that stupid sidebar shut down through a script on Greasemonkey, the idea of adding my own image was kind of appealing. And all we had to do was wait until, one day, the link to the bottom left of the Google screen popped up.

Mine popped up Sunday evening, and I thought that was pretty cool. I went to look to see what I had to do, and saw some choices already there. I saw that you also had to log in to your Google account, and for the first time I was sort of hesitant, and I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized why. The thing is if you want to use your own image, you must set up a Picasa account, which is their photo sharing site. Then you can upload your image and attach it to your page, and go on with your business. If you didn’t want to do that, you could upload one of their pictures, but you still have to have a Google account to use it, so that when you sign in it knows it’s you. Otherwise, you can stick with your white background, or do something like what I’ve done.

Here’s the thing about a Picasa account. If you have one, it pretty much means other people can go through your images. That’s what the user agreement says. I don’t have an account, so if there’s a way to make it private I don’t know about it. Still, the idea of someone being able to go through my personal pictures and use them for whatever reason they wish to bothers me somewhat. Yeah, I have some pictures on Facebook, but I knew that I’d be sharing those pictures with people I allow into my Facebook life, since that’s the kind of privacy I put on my account there. Anything beyond that, I’m not sure I want to deal with.

For me, I can do without it. Truthfully, if I wanted to tinker with it, I think, because I use Firefox, I could figure out a way to alter one of the scripts to use my own picture if I wanted to badly enough. However, overall, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s not a great thing to go messing around with these scripts. That’s why my background is black instead of my favorite color, which is red.

Anyway, if you’re not quite as skittish as I am about sharing some of your images with the world, and you want to customize your Google page, go for it. It’s not a bad deal overall, and gets rid of the boring white. Lucky for me, I’ve already taken care of that on my favorite browser.

Sounds True, Inc.

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Facebook Says “Privacy? Pffbt!”

All the talk lately has been about Facebook, and with good reason. With just a few strokes and almost no real notification, Facebook has pretty much said none of us deserve privacy anymore.


Moments Of Privacy

Luckily, I was alerted to the first thing that they were going to do, which was releasing all of our information to their marketers. I even got a fix from one of my friends, which I posted as a comment, but now I’ll post here:

On the first one, go to your account. Under Privacy Settings for Applications, if you click there, you’ll see “Instant Personalization.” Unclick the box and you’re all set; supposedly.

At the time I thought that was that, but nope. The next thing I knew, I was on the site doing something else when this window pops up, telling me that I get to select which of my interests I want to link to some big pages that they were putting together. I didn’t think much about it, but selected two items and went about my business. It wasn’t until I read a post on a blog called Cre8pc Usability & Holistic SEO titled Facebook Removes Profile Choices (Kim must be big time; even Matt Cutts commented on this one lol) that I had to go back and see that indeed they had removed everything I had put onto that site 2 years ago that I said I liked except for the two I kept, one of which went to a fairly nonexistent page. That irked me so I went in and removed the other two, which wasn’t easy to figure out but I finally got it done.

At the same time they were doing that, they were creating community profiles for everyone to link to as well. I live in Liverpool NY, and they popped something up there for me, as well as where I went to college, the industries I listed on my business, where I went to school, etc. I only hooked up with one of those and canceled the rest, but to date at least they haven’t deleted any of my business information.

We might also end up having to watch out for some of our photos being used for purposes outside of our posting them just for our friends to see. That’s one of the rumors that’s going around, and based on everything else I’ve seen, I don’t doubt that could come. So, for those of you who have embarrassing images that you thought only your closest friends might ever see, you might want to think about whether you want to keep them on the site or not.

To say I’m disgruntled would be to minimize my feelings. To say I’m at the point that Dan of Rocket.ly is at, which he expressed in his post titled Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook is would be overstating things a bit. At this point I still get more benefit out of Facebook than how much they’re irritating me, but it’s getting close to a point where it’ll be Sydney or the Bush (anyone who’s a long time Peanuts reader will understand that quote). The idea that we were all lured into something just to build up numbers so they could spring all of this on us bothers me, especially if it was always the plan. Facebook has almost turned into Google, since neither one believes that anyone should have any privacy whatsoever (I wonder if Sergey or or Larry will share their bank account numbers with me for a few days ), only Facebook got us to give it up voluntarily.

Although I’ve had some interesting conversations with my buddy Blog Bloke over his post Privacy and Security in a Social Media World, I have to admit that he’s got it right on many aspects of what’s going on now. Not that I ever thought he was totally wrong; after all, Google has shown that it has the power to segregate whomever they decide they don’t like for whatever reason they don’t like (such as taking away my page rank), which destroys the aura of links and activity being the only determinant as to how well a person’s website is doing on the internet. It’s really just more of a warning to us all that Pandora’s Box is open, and none of that stuff is ever going back in.

For his part in this, Zuckerberg had this to say at f8: “It really has no privacy implications. I think this means people will be sharing less information when they don’t need to around the Web.” As Dr. Phil would say, “did someone write the word ‘stupid’ on my forehead?”

Decide now if you want to be online or not; it may be the only way you keep even a modicum of privacy in your life, because trust me, there’s a lot of information on almost everyone online already, whether you did anything or not.

Meanwhile, if you want to take a shot at protecting your information, check out the video below; if you’d rather read, follow this link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation site.

By the way, remember that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!
 

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Subtle Tech Racism

I was reading a post by Adria Richards of But You’re A Girl on a topic called Is Google Voice Racist, and knew I had to comment on it. However, since she uses Disqus, and you know how I feel about Disque and blogs that use that kind of commenting system (I found another one called Intense Debate that’s like it that I don’t like either”, and I mentioned that I was clearing away iritations in 2010, I don’t want to comment there, so my comment will be here. By the way, you need to read some of the comments on her post also; quite telling, I might add.

Her gripe is that a girlfriend sent her a message and said “Hey Girlfriend”, but Google interpreted that as “Hey Negro.” Okay, what the heck is that about? She then posted a video that I’ve seen before, and commented on the post where I saw it, where HP has this new face recognition software that will have the camera follow you around, but, at least for many, it doesn’t work on black people. I mean, just because we’re tired of being followed around in stores doesn’t mean we don’t want software to work like it’s supposed to.

There’s always been things like this that pop up from time to time online and in software. Those of us who are offended find it either racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t say they don’t see it and wonder why we always say it’s racist or bigoted. Those who aren’t offended are never minority, by the way; that seems to figure when it comes to trying to identify racism or bigotry.

First off, I don’t see race everywhere, though some of my friends think I do. But I call things out whenever I need to. For instance, through this blog and my business blog I’ve called out people for many things. Back before the last presidential election I called people out for overt racism against Barack Obama and Muslims in a post called What, A Muslim Can’t Be President? I called out racism by the New York Post after they posted a cartoon equating President Obama to a monkey. I actually talked about the topic of what a racist is, because so many people throw the word around way too often. And I had to join Rachel Maddow in her smackdown of Pat Buchanan when he made a bunch of racist statements on her show earlier this year. I’ve even addressed it here, with my strangely named President Obama Calls Limbaugh A Racist post.

But these types of things just keep coming up over and over. There was one Microsoft software program where, if you typed in a certain thing asking about black people, a picture of a monkey came up. There was also a specific search term for Michelle Obama kept bringing up a picture of her with a monkey face. Even now there’s another Microsoft program running in Poland and another photography program. Sorry folks, but that’s racism no matter how you slice it.

Here’s my issue. There’s always going to be racism; I understand that. I don’t like it, but as long as there are people who look and act different and everything else isn’t equal. What I’d like is a little bit more accountability for when these things happen, then a little bit more support from people who may not be directly affected by it, but know something bad when they see it. Adria didn’t deserve to have the one guy say she was wrong and that’s just how software works; that was probably one of the more moronic things I’ve seen in a long time. It can’t always be minorities looking at something and saying it’s racist or bigoted or whatever; someone else has to step forward, in higher numbers than what happens now, and call those perpetrating this mess out on it.

And, by the way, not only racism. Add sexism, homophobia, and other intolerances to the list as well.

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GoogleRankings Is Dead; For The Most Part

One of those little inside things I’ve always had going for my SEO business is that I had a Google API so that I could use GoogleRankings. This little tool allowed me to put in keywords and see where I was ranked for those keywords (SERPS); that was wonderful. When I wrote a post about this little SEO Project I undertook, which actually ended up working pretty well but took longer than I had expected, the way I was able to check my rankings was through GoogleRankings.

Now, why I was ahead of a lot of people is that Google had stopped giving out APIs some time in 2006. They said they weren’t really going to support it anymore, but would continue running the service. I thought that was great since I had my number.

Suddenly, it stopped working. I had thought that maybe there was a glitch somewhere, so I didn’t worry about it. However, when I checked again today, now I was wondering what was up. So I did my search on Google, and lo and behold I learned that they’ve totally shut down my SOAP API service. This meant I could basically check GoogleRankings for Yahoo and MSN, but nothing else. Because they weren’t updating it, they weren’t ever going to add Bing, and actually MSN had pretty much shut down, as well as Ask. And then, just after midnight, they shut down the site totally; GoogleRankings is no more.

So, what will I use next? I’m kind of at a loss. I found a couple other sites, but none of them worked. And I mean that literally; it’s not that they didn’t give me what I wanted, they just decided they didn’t want to play. I will find something, though; I have to have my information. Anyone have any ideas out there?

Teen Titans-complete 5Th Season Dvd/2 Disc

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How To Know If Your SEO Is Working

Since this is about to be my third post, I guess I can officially call this a series on SEO, my first official series of 2009.

There are lots of people who write about SEO, search engine marketing for the uninitiated, and there are lots of tips given. Heck, I gave five tips myself, as well as talked about how multiple web pages can help your efforts on your regular website. So, in one way, I’m like a lot of other people.

But in another, I am my own man. In this case, I’m going to tell you something that I’m not sure anyone else will tell you, another tip if you will, that I know I’ve never read anywhere else, but it’s possibly out there.

One of the questions that may be out there for some folks who aren’t quite up to snuff on SEO is how one knows it’s working. For some, SEO is only working if their websites or webpages are in the top 10 on Google. Since there’s a big world of websites and blogs out there, making sure everything you do ends up in the top 10 is a daunting task. If that’s the only standard for everyone then there’s going to be a lot of people thinking they’re doing a bad job.

So, here’s an easier way, and all it takes is Google Adsense. Yup, that’s what I said, Adsense. Google has set Adsense up so that it’s supposed to bring up ads that are related to the content on your webpage. If you’re checking your main blog page, which will usually show multiple articles in some fashion, you may not be getting exactly what you’re hoping for, which will happen if you write on multiple areas of a topic. However, if you check individual posts, you should notice that the advertisements showing on Adsense are related to what your post is about. As a sidebar, you might have to sign out of your account to see the ads from the point of view of your visitors.

I decided to look back through my last 20 posts to see what came up on Adsense. I used IE, since it’s not my main browser, and therefore I’m not signed into it, to view them. Out of those 20 posts, 17 of them are optimized properly. Well, let’s define that; there were 3 posts on blogging, so my ads were about blogging, and I guess that’s standard. On my blog, whenever ads don’t quite match up to what I’m writing about, Adsense shows posts on either blogging or Adsense; I wonder how much Google pays itself when their own ads show. 🙂

Anyway, if I wanted to, I could go back and change the language of my posts somewhat, or maybe add something different into my All In One SEO Pack, to see if that might change some things up eventually. Or I could just move on, because, let’s face it, we all hopefully know that not every single one of our articles is going to knock the ball out of the proverbial SEO ballpark (that’s a baseball reference, for those who aren’t from the U.S. and may not understand the reference). Sometimes, it’s best to move on and work on the newer stuff, or maybe, if the article was a particularly close one to your heart, then do something with it.

Anyway, that’s a quick down and dirty way to check your SEO. Give it a shot and see if your SEO efforts are working; that is, if you’re giving it any effort. 😉


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