Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

With technology penetrating every part of our lives, we have learned to search for information on the internet. But could this practice be altering the way we store and process information? A new study has revealed findings that could just go to show that Google could be destroying our memories.

Psychology professors from the Columbia University, the University Of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard University came together and published the study that said people “remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found”, essentially meaning that we tend to forget information searched for, and rather remember where on the internet it can be found. “The Internet, with its search engines such as Google and databases such as IMDB and the information stored there, has become an external memory source that we can access at any time,” said the study. “It has become so commonplace to look up the answer to any question the moment it occurs, it can feel like going through withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately.”

The four tests that the professors conducted on individuals in short, confirmed that searching for information on the internet could be wiping out our “internal memory”, which stores data. “When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it”, said the study.

So instead of remembering data, say what happened during an event, we tend to remember which sites we saw that information on, or where on Google we found the site.

According to the study “These results suggest that processes of human memory are adapting to the advent of new computing and communication technology. We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.” “This gives us the advantage of access to a vast range of information—although the disadvantages of being constantly ‘wired’ are still being debated”, concluded the professors in the study.

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In today’s world, logging on to social networking websites may be the most popular way to know about each others’ lives, but it can also make you sad, say researchers. A new study, led by sociologists Hui-Tzu Grace Chou and Nicholas Edge, at Utah Valley University has found the more hours people spend on social networking sites, like Facebook, the stronger is their belief that others are happier.

The researchers claim that the carefully chosen pictures of cheerful faces which Facebook users tend to upload on their pages actually portray a debilitating message to others. “Looking at happy pictures of others on Facebook gives people an impression that others are ‘always’ happy and having good lives. While Facebook users will know that their real friends have ups and downs in their lives, all they have to go on with their fake Facebook ‘friends’ is a smiling picture,” ‘Daily Mail’ quoted Chou as saying.

For their study, the researchers interviewed 425 undergraduate students about their happiness and that of their friends. The subjects were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “Life is fair” and “Many of my friends have a better life than me”. The students then described their Facebook activity including their number of “friends” . Some 95% used the website and on average they had been there for two-and-a-half years, and spent nearly five hours a week on it. The findings, published in ‘Cyber psychology, Behaviour and Social Networking’ journal, revealed that “the more hours people spent on Facebook, the stronger was their agreement that others were happier”.

Facebook bans Google+ ad

Posted: July 20, 2011 in Google, Internet
Tags: ,

Alarmed by the great success of Google +, social networking giant Facebook has reportedly removed a Google+ ad and banned the creator from putting ads on the site. The ad that was created by a Facebook user invited people to connect with its creator on Google+; however, Facebook decided to ban ads on its site that promote its rival Google+.

Internet geek and a web developer Michael Lee Johnson placed an ad on Facebook circulating for Google+; however, his idea did not work out as he expected as Facebook banned his ad account. The simple-looking ad had the headline which said, “Add Micheal to Google+.” The text of the ad read, “If you’re lucky enough to have a Google+ account, add Michael Lee Johnson, Internet Geek, App Developer, Technological Virtuoso.”

However, upon banning his ad, he received a message back from Facebook saying, “Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.”

The Facebook guidelines on advertising clearly state that they may refuse ads at any time for any reason, including our determination that they promote competing products or services or negatively affect our business or relationship with our users.

Finally India as come out with online censorship. April 2011 saw the enactment of Information technology Rules Act 2011 and the new rules curtail freedom of internet peech to a very big extent.

The new restriction on web content has left many offended as it destroys the image of internet as a platform of speech and beliefs.

The Act says that any statement that threatens the unity, integrity; defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order are ought to be removed from the content of web. Hence the act is very vague as to its definition. This is likely to invoke even more controversy in days ahead.

The new rules empower any official or private citizen to demand the removal of content that they consider objectionable on the basis of long list of criteria prepared by the information department.

The Department of Information Technology is empowered to block any site that displays any disparaging material. The Center for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based research and advocacy group, recently obtained and published a list of 11 web sites banned by the Department of Information Technology.

Article 19 of the Indian constitution provides freedom of speech with reasonable restriction. These restrictions have been used so far to ban books, movies on sensitive subjects like sex, politics and religion. India has been famous in condemning speeches by famous personalities as seditious.

Recently Arundhoti Roy was criticized vehemently for her speech on Kashmir issue. Again in another instance a book on Mahatma Gandhi’s biography written by an American author was banned.

Now Indian laws have moved towards technology and web. In 2010 India increased to 100,000,000 internet users from 81,000,000 in 2009. It is developing at a very fast pace.

However India has always protested against various displays of images and statements in the social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook. Very recently a FIR was registered against facebook for potraying Indian Gods in an indecent manner.

Internet has been hugely responsible in contributing towards bringing revolutionary changes. It played a very important role in bringing political change in Egypt. And India too saw huge response and support in Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption.

A new online tracking system will allow websites to pinpoint your location to within a few hundred meters, without your permission.

Internet sites will be able to work out where users are within an average of 690 meters, using information about their internet connection.

At the moment they can only track users’ locations to within a radius of about 200 km, but the new technique will narrow this down to as little as 100 meters, the Daily Mail reports.

The development comes as privacy concerns were also raised about iPhone users having their locations and movements secretly tracked and stored.

Researchers discovered that the Apple devices save the user’s latitude and longitude along with a time and date stamp that can be easily accessed.

The tracking method will allow online advertisers to target web browsers with tailored messages, but it has raised concerns about privacy.

Similar techniques of mapping the internet protocol (IP) address that every computer has are already in use, but are far less accurate.

The new system, which has been designed by American and Chinese researchers, compares the time it takes to send data to computers to the time it takes to send to computers it knows the location of using Google Maps.

Using a rough estimation of how far away the computer connection is, the system locates nearby landmarks, such as universities and schools, and compares their location to narrow down the computer’s whereabouts.

On an average, the method gets to within 690 metres of the target, but it can be as close as 100 metres, good enough to identify the location of the computer to within a few streets.

To locate computers to this accuracy has previously required people to agree to share location, but the new system does not need any particular software on the computer to work or even the user’s permission.

Yong Wang, one of the researchers who designed the method, said: “This is a client-independent method. The client does not need to approve anything.”

The tracking system will be particularly valuable to advertisers who will be able to target browsers with advertisements for shops and service just down the street.