Studylist of the Week: Google Projects

Nowadays, many people don’t “search” for information online, they “google” something.  The word has become synonymous with searching for all kinds of information, from basic web searches to scholarly research to mapping directions from here to there.

Google’s efforts have connected people and information in new and changing ways.  However, having control over much of the Internet’s information is a big job, and not every project goes smoothly.

VocabNetwork’s Google Projects studylist highlights some of Google’s innovative efforts and technological missteps.

 

The future is now: Google’s autonomous (able to make decisions free from outside control) cars actually drive themselves!

It sounds like something out of science fiction, but these cars have already driven themselves over 140,000 miles.

 

 

It seemed like a great idea at first: digitize every book ever published and make them freely available online.

Unfortunately, Google’s attempt to free literature was derailed (brought to a sudden stop) by copyright laws and a huge legal settlement.

 

 

Google caused some controversy when it picked up more than just images with its Street View cameras.

The cars accidentally collected wi-fi data from hotspots in Canada, contravening (going against) the country’s privacy laws.

 

 

Never one to back down from a challenge, Google has taken on a task that literature experts have been struggling with for centuries.

Researchers are working on a computer that can understand and translate (make sense of a language) poetry.

 

What do you think of Google’s attempts to free all information?  Are they doing good work or are they infringing too far on people’s right to privacy?

Vocablet of the Day: Contravene

Today’s Vocablet flashcard involves the drawbacks of gathering huge amounts of information for the Internet — not all information is public.

The contravene-Privacy snippet highlights an embarrassing — and illegal — slip up by the information superpower Google.  While driving around cities and towns in Canada collecting information for Google Street View, the company accidentally picked up data from wi-fi routers in homes, an action that goes against the country’s privacy laws.

This isn’t Google’s only clash with wi-fi and privacy laws.   To avoid breaking European privacy laws, Google recently introduced an option to allow wi-fi users to opt-out of Google’s location services.

Is this “contravene” Vocablet in your collection?
See it in VocabNetwork’s Google Projects studylist.

Many users criticize Facebook for its irresponsible treatment of people’s information and lack of concern for privacy issues.  How else do websites contravene privacy laws?