It wasn’t that long ago when a person who was curious about something either had to forget about it and move on or actually do some research. And sometimes this research involved — horror of horrors — asking another human being about the topic at hand. There was no option to quietly and privately inquire of Google.
The closest approximation to the magic of the internet was to call the public library and ask your question to the local librarian. And while they wouldn’t ordinarily laugh at you outright, they were still sometimes secretly amused. And occasionally they’d write down your question for posterity’s sake. (That is, so that your posterity could laugh at you.)
That’s what librarians at the New York Public Library did, anyway. And now they are sharing many of the questions they received from the 1940′s and onward.
As you can tell, he loves popping up where you least expect him, so we’re not sure if we should be surprised that he was a special guest at a wedding in Lubbock, Texas this weekend, dressed in full “Superman Drawls” costume.
The next time Facebook reminds you of someone’s birthday and you realize you haven’t seen, heard, or even thought of that person in half a decade, instead of writing them a superfluous “Happy Birthday!!!” send them this song.
Ernst Berlin wanted to make his wife’s first birthday with their new baby really special; so he turned to Reddit Gets Drawn, where artists of a variety of styles will interpret your photographs for you. He commissioned 24 artists to draw portraits of their adorable 8-month-old son Jacob.
Google Street View cameras catch people off-guard every day, so the tech giant automatically blurs the face of anyone who appears in a Street View image.
But what happens when the image shows a little more skin than the subject would like to have displayed for the entire world to see? And what if — in spite of her blurred face — that subject is easily identifiable because she’s sitting on her front porch with her address and license plates clearly visible?
When Montreal resident Maria Pia Grillo found a photo of herself leaning forward on her doorstep, she was embarrassed by how much of her cleavage was displayed for the whole world to see online. Two years after discovering the photo, the bank employee filed a lawsuit demanding $45,000 for harm inflicted due to alleged mocking from her coworkers. She also requested that Google blur out her entire body, address, and license plate.
This is the grainy photo in question, captured before Google blurred the entire scene from their system…
Google agreed to blur the areas requested, but argued that they weren’t responsible for any emotional harm that occurred as a result of the photo.
The judge ruled that while Google wasn’t responsible for Grillo’s emotional distress, being in a visible place where someone can be seen does not mean that person forfeits their right to privacy.
For this violation of privacy, the judge ordered Google to pay the woman $2,250 plus interest and an additional $159 in court costs.
While Americans place a high value on free expression, which generally would permit the use of a photo of someone in public, the judge opted to take what he dubbed a “European approach” to privacy in determining what qualified as “personal information.”
Regardless of the public’s opinion of the case, Google’s incredible volume of images ensures it won’t be the last of its kind.
Anyone who’s spent any time on the internet knows that online advertising is targeted very particularly sometime. Ads appear based on the content of a given page, your geographic location, or even your browsing history.
Sometimes this specific targeting goes ironically wrong. Here are some of the worst examples…