Posts Tagged ‘Google’

For years, teacher librarians have been teaching students not just how to run online searches but how important it is to authenticate information found.

But over the last 12-18 months with the preponderance of ‘fake news’ popping up not just on the internet but in usually reliable print publications such as newspapers and journals, the impact ‘fake news’ has had on our world has been the subject of much discussion around the globe.

So it is refreshing to see that the conversation has now started to shift from how dangerous fake news is to how to spot and combat fake news.

Perhaps under threat from mega million law suits, Facebook has been one of the first to take a lead by informing users of some basic tips on how to spot false news.

For a few brief days in mid April this year, Facebook users in just 14 countries got to see this alert:

from where they could read through the following concise and useful tips on how to spot false news:

Why only 14 countries were included in this roll out and why the alert was only live for a few days is a complete mystery.  Given the value this kind of shared information can have in the fight against the spread of misleading and false information, one can only hope that Facebook was testing the ground and will come back to making this a permanent alert available to global Facebook users.

As reported by engadget recently, Google also is attempting to stamp out the spread of fake news by inserting a ‘Fact check by’ tag on searches on contentious issues.

Another interesting development this week is the announcement by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

WikiTRIBUNE is being developed as a new kind of news platform.  By calling on the community to work hand-in-hand with journalists, the aim is to verify and edit facts before they appear online.  Using crowdfunding to hire 14 journalists, it is intended that WikiTRIBUNE, like Wikipedia, will be free to access.

WikiTRIBUNE is set to differ from other news outlets in four specific ways:

  • the news source will be clearly stated
  • access to WikiTRIBUNE will be free and ad free
  • contributors from both the community and journalists will be equals
  • to achieve full transparency donors will be informed where money goes

Read more about the purpose and nature of WikiTRIBUNE in this excellent engadget article Wikipedia co-founder launches Wikitribune to fight fake news or listen to Jimmy Wales himself as he invites the world to come on board.



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Most students today have never lived in a world without Google.”

A pretty amazing fact – no?

In fact, for most of us, Google search is a regular part of our daily life.  But have you ever considered just how Google search works and how in just ⅛th of a second your search result is generated?

How Search Works gives a fascinating insight into the complex system of algorithms involved in generating the simple page of results received in response to a search request.



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Just last week a dinner guest asked me to elaborate on my occupation because today, he said with assured confidence, there’s no need for librarians, Google can provide all the answers!

With desperate determination to not let him see my eyes roll in despair, I launched into a defence of our profession explaining why Google wasn’t the panacea for all learning.  It’s a topic I blogged about more than five years ago: 10 reasons why Google can’t replace learning

Ho-hum …..  I guess the message just needs to be repeated and repeated and more – much more – needs to be said and done to continue impressing on the public the valuable role performed by those of us working in the field of librarianship.

Then I came across this fabulous post on the State Library of Victoria blog: So you want to be a librarian?  For those who have been in education for a while it serves as a lovely trip down memory lane.  For those of us who are newer to the field of librarianship however, it provides a chance to look back, contemplate and realize how vastly different the role of librarians are today in the 21st Century.

From my own vantage point, working as a teacher librarian in a senior school library, its comforting to know and see how much our image has changed.  I’m left questioning though whether we are doing enough to communicate how much we can teach, assist, mentor, guide and support our library patrons – both students and teachers.

Publicizing all that we can do and give needs to extend to the wider school community as well if we are to achieve that end goal of helping the general public understand why we cannot be replaced by Google!

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If you’ve ever visited Amsterdam, you’ll know that the city is totally saturated with bicycles!

Hundreds, no thousands of them, seem to be absolutely everywhere you look.  They line the footpaths, are parked along the canals, and constantly traverse the very narrow streets.  If you’re a pedestrian,  be on guard!  Just walking on the footpath or trying to cross the road can be a scary experience as bicycles bombard you from virtually all sides!

So like many others – more than two and half million as I write this post – I was intrigued by Google’s development:

This spring, Google is introducing the self-driving bicycle in Amsterdam, the world’s premier cycling city. The Dutch cycle more than any other nation in the world, almost 900 kilometres per year per person, amounting to over 15 billion kilometres annually. The self-driving bicycle enables safe navigation through the city for Amsterdam residents, and furthers Google’s ambition to improve urban mobility with technology. Google Netherlands takes enormous pride in the fact that a Dutch team worked on this innovation that will have great impact in their home country.

The video, flawlessly made, says it all!

Nice … no?!

Well … if you missed the date this video was uploaded to YouTube, you may have picked up the date flashed on the screen at the end of the video:

Google self drive bicycle

Yep – that’s right!   This was a very well produced April Fool’s joke!!

Listed on Factually as one of 22 April Fools’ Day products that are totally fake but should be real, this video has to be one of the best gems produced!  Take some time though as you look at this link to check out some of the other really ‘great ideas’ that have been promoted!

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Just lately I’ve been bombarded with a number of different articles and videos about the same topic:

The Internet of Things

Many may think this is a somewhat new idea, but in a recent Big Think video, Chris Curran estimates that it’s a term that’s been around for at least ten to fifteen years.  While early ideas explored how electrical appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines connected to the Internet, the focus soon shifted to how machine to machine communication could be achieved without any human intervention.  Subsequent exploration turned to developing consumer products such as the connected car and smart homes.

Current thinking, Curran concludes, is focused on what the Internet of Things is for service companies in business.  Not only is there a need to develop and refine new systems to collect data, but new kinds of processes need to be developed to manage the stream of data which will be collected by sensors in various service companies.  Curran intimates that a new kind of data architecture will evolve to capture, store, process, aggregate, and analyze data collected by installed sensor streams.

As I listened to his words, I couldn’t help thinking about the kind of data collected daily by the security gates at the entrance and exit of our school library.  How many of us, I found myself wondering, collect and analyze this data and consider its impact on our day to day operations?  What improvements, modifications or adjustments could we implement if we were to consider this data?   And what about those libraries who have installed RFID technology?  Is data being collected by this new amazing library technology feeding into our planning, programming and operational processes? Is there a need, as Curran suggests, for a new architecture to interpret this data?

An article in Education Technology Solutions, How the Internet of Things will transform education, highlights how education as we know it will be transformed and enhanced.

With estimated wide-scale adoption only five years away, and the pervasive spread of mobile devices from smartphones to tablets, and increasingly portable computers within student populations, IoT technologies will be able to connect the right people together to accelerate learning as well as collecting and interpreting data on learners’ behaviours and activity.

Along with enhanced initiatives of tailoring education to individual learning styles, making education more engaging and capturing data which can be used to inform the future, this short article also hints at the dangers and risks that can occur from mismanagement of data collected if issues of data security and integrity, along with the development of new education policies are not concurrently addressed.  Seemingly the implication is that new processes and perhaps new educational roles need to be developed to handle the many implications that the Internet of Things may bring to education.

And then, stepping away from the implications of the Internet of Things on business and education, I found myself contemplating a new world in which we’d be sharing, or as some predict, forgoing our roads to driverless cars.

About a year ago, Google released a first prototype of a driverless car and as you can see in this video, was received with delighted acclamations from those given the opportunity to ‘have a go’ being passengers in them.

Nearly a year after Google publicized its Self Driving Car Project, driverless cars are about to make their debut on the roads.  And with it, was a thought provoking article penned by Peter Martin: Reasons to be cheerful. What driverless cars will do for us in the Sydney Morning Herald (July 25th, 2015). With increased ‘freed-up’ time, our leisure time and productivity level will be increased dramatically.  Although many may be apprehensive about the demise of drivers – particularly for example “truckies” who, it is predicted, will no longer be needed five years from now to fulfill their present role of transporting goods in trucks around the country – there really is much to be excited about.  Have a read of Martin’s article and be inspired!

But ….. and there is always an ‘on the other hand’ kind of warning ….. smartcars are not immune from unforeseen dangers.  Have a look as WIRED senior writer, Andy Greenberg, takes his SUV for a drive on the highway while hackers attack it from miles away!

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Just today I recieved an email from LinkedIn congratulating me for being among the first 3 million members from Australia!

I gave a smile, silently accepted the personal congratulations of the LinkedIn Managing Director for this region, and then noticed the last line of the message suggesting that I try getting more out of LinkedIn by connecting with more professionals you may already know.  A nice ploy to publicise the value of LinkedIn I thought.

Now I must say, there’s more to this than meets the eye.   Just recently I had, in the one week, four different surprising and interesting experiences with LinkedIn which really paid dividends for me.   All four happenings were totally out of the blue and are worth mentioning if only to illustrate the power of this professional social network.

  1. An old friend, someone I went to Teachers’ College with many moons ago, found me on LinkedIn, connected with me and we subsequently enjoyed a very long coffee!   Truly a blast Liz!
  2. A few days later, a work colleague asked me about a new connection I had with a specialist teacher.   It turned out that this colleague  had noticed my recent connection with my old friend and asked me if I could ‘introduce’ them to each other on LinkedIn so that they could network on their common specialization and possibly tap into each others’ networks.
  3. Someone I knew professionally, asked me to join his network.  When accepting, I sent him a message indicating my interests in exploring the area of proofreading.  Next thing I know, I had the pdf of a soon to be published book in hand with the opportunity to ‘have a go’.   It was a great way for me to develop an understanding of the complexity of proofreading, as well as a ‘real’ experience to test if I want to explore this area further.
  4. When the phone on my work desk rang one morning, I was blown away by the request of a journalist from Australian Teacher Magazine asking if I’d agree to be interviewed about the process of getting into presenting.  How did the journalist find me I queried.   On LinkedIn was the reply.  How powerful is that!   The call came out of the blue, but resulted in a lovely article in both the online and hard copy of the March edition of Australian Teacher Magazine.

Just these experiences on their own are proof of the unexpected value of a professional social networking platform such as LinkedIn.

Then ….. later today …..  a link to a recently screened video Looking for a Job? How to Catch Google’s Attention was sent to me.  How interesting to hear comments made which reflect much of what I wrote about in my last post: Don’t be shy to share with others.   While acknowledging that the most appealing candidates for a job are not actually looking for a job because they are happy in their current position and are treated well by their employer, Bock notes that employers look to see how capable a person is by checking if the person has a “presence” – whether they have presented at a conference, have published something or have a blog.  These attributes are, he says, of greater value than a company recieving random resumes.  The other point that Bock makes is that networking really matters.  Mentioning the value of social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Google+ Bock points out the advantages of being recommended to a job.

Very powerful advice for job seekers.

Have a listen to this short interview:

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Seen the Gmail Man video yet?

Produced by Microsoft, it was originally intended for internal use only to spur Microsoft employees on in their efforts of promoting and marketing Office 365.  The opening disclaimer at the start of the video states that Gmail is everything that Office 365 is not.

Take a minute to have a look:

It’s a parody – quite humorous in parts I thought.  We’re all familiar with the ‘big brother’ accusations levelled at Google, the accusations that Google claims are baseless.  It is automated machines, not humans, who scan our mail they say and, they are quick to point out, the process is in place for our own benefit.

The process is lost on me though.   Google’s attempt to lure me to specific websites or to explore products they suggest may be of interest or value to me totally fails!  Not only don’t I go there, I literally don’t see the ads.

You have to wonder about the impact of targeted advertising.   I have at least one friend who admitted that she was totally discouraged about the barrage of ads and emails that were targetted at her.  Being bombarded with ads best suited to a ‘middle age’ woman, were not for her.

Sometimes you feel like screaming – “Hey give us a break!”

Ah ….. but where would be without advertising?  Interesting thought isn’t it?!

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