Category: Data/Data-Mining

Searching without searching: Expect Labs taps Nuance for bold predictive computing tech

We’re now getting the first taste of a world where our computing devices fetch us relevant information without our asking. Google Now is the most notable example; it’s Google’s Siri-esque competitor that can learn from your daily routine and parse information in your e-mail.

In that same vein there’s Expect Labs, a small startup that’s been working on an “Anticipatory Computing Engine” that can understand conversations in real time and deliver relevant information to you. Today the company announced that its technology is getting a big accuracy boost with the addition of Nuance’s voice recognition technology, which also powers Siri, Google Now, and most other voice-recognition implementations.

“I really think, in the next 10 to 20 years, that the huge changes that we’re going to be seeing in software are really around becoming more intelligent,” said Tim Tuttle, the chief executive officer of Expect Labs, in an interview with VentureBeat. “It’s inevitable, and the way we’re going to use computers then will be fundamentally different.”

Read the complete article at VentureBeat.

2.5 Years Of Computer Usage Turned Into A Stunning Data Visualization

All these years you’ve been surfing the web and messing around on your computer, have you ever put any consideration into what all that usage might look like? A blur of cat videos, status updates, and badly-authored Excel sheets, maybe?

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Government Surveillance Is on the Rise, Says Google

Google released its sixth Transparency Report on Tuesday, showing what it believes is a clear trend: around the world, government requests for user data is on the upswing.

“As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report,” wrote Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google, in a blog post. “In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.”

Read the complete article at Mashable.

Privacy experts criticize moves to sidestep IE10’s default Do Not Track settings

When it comes to consumers’ rights to control their own browsers, everybody wants to sound like they’re pro-choice. But with many millions of advertising dollars on the line, the definition of pro-choice tends to align with the financial interests of those doing the defining.

That probably goes a long way toward explaining why software giant Microsoft and web services including Adobe, the Apache Foundation and Yahoo are at odds regarding the Do Not Track (DNT) feature of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 (IE10), which comes with the release of Windows 8.

They all say consumers should have a say over the level of privacy they want, in the form of choice about whether or not they want their browsing activities tracked, which allows ad networks to display targeted advertising on websites they visit.

Read the complete article at CSO.

Verizon Very Excited That It Can Track Everything Phone Users Do And Sell That To Whoever Is Interested

Your smartphone knows a lot about you. Assuming you’re a standard smartphone addict, your phone knows where you are at all times (because it’s with you); it knows when you’re sleeping (because your activity ceases); it knows which apps you use; it knows which websites you visit; it knows who you are friends with; and if it gets really sophisticated, know how often you hang out with them (because your phone is hanging out near their phones). All of this is rich, rich data in terms of providing insights into you and your activity that would be useful to companies who would like to know more about you and sell you things.

Last year, with little fanfare, Verizon quietly announced that it was making a change to its privacy policy to allow the company to start mining the rich data from your phone for use in “business and marketing reports.” The company has now started cashing in on the mining. CNet takes note of a May appearance by Bill Diggins, one of the Verizon Wireless execs in charge of Verizon’s new Precision Marketing Insights, which has the enviable role of selling information about Verizon customers’ location, Internet browsing, and app use — “anonymized and aggregated” — to anyone who wants to buy it. Diggins gave a candid take on how this information can be useful.

They used to say, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” But now you can be paying $80 a month for it, and still be the product.

Read more at Forbes.

Data Space

Rather than hewing to a tight editorial voice, New York-based quarterly CLOG selects a singular subject for each issue and promises to unpack it “from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means.” The most recent issue takes on the architectural typologies of the modern data center – both studying the physical reality of information infrastructure and imagining new figurations that might better reflect our digital age.

An overwhelming proliferation of short essays—44 features total in the slim, 127 page volume, each only a few pages in length—function as historical background, case study, research exercise, conjecture and pure architectural folly.  All, however, are predicated on the existence of a unique spatio-temporal relationship in our contemporary society between architectural form and digital technology.  As quoted early in the issue, Mies van der Rohe claimed in a 1950 address to IIT “wherever technology reaches its real fulfillment, it transcends into architecture…it is the crystallization of its inner structure, the slow unfolding of its final form.”

Read more at Rhizome.

Google: Let Us Opt Out of Your Data Mining Machine

The French data protection agency (aka, the CNIL), acting on behalf of a large group of European data protection agencies, today announced that it was taking action to push Google to make a number of changes to its privacy policy that came into effect earlier this year.

One of the big issues for the CNIL is the lack of control for the user over the amount of data that is collected when you use a Google cloud service or how that data can be used. There is no opt-out for users if they don’t want their browsing habits and internet content mined for the purpose of enhancing Google’s search or displaying more relevant Google ads.

Google’s answer to this is “competition is one click away.” If you don’t like how Google treats your private data then you can use someone else’s product.

Yet this answer does not ring true for users who are forced to use Google’s services because their employer or school has adopted Google Apps for Business, Education and Government.

Read more at Wired.

Fujitsu develops new data transmission technology using video data

 

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a new technology for sending information via video. The company aims to make this technology practical in 2013, as an easy means of transmitting information between smartphones and TVs.

“Currently, if you see a TV commercial and want to get more information afterwards, the main way is to enter keywords in search sites. But with this technology, if you see a commercial that interests you, you can get more information just by pointing your smartphone at the TV.”

Read more at Diginfo.

Facebook Is Rigged: Why Personal Promoted Posts Are Bad for Users

Promoted posts are not new. People can buy trending topics on Twitter and users can pin Tumblr posts to the tops of followers’ dashboards for $5. Even Facebook’s promoted posts for brands make a ton of sense for marketers.

That’s because these are ways for content creators to insert themselves prominently into a known social quantity — that is, a chronological feed of updates. Everyone’s updates are seen, but you can pay to make your update more visible.

The reason Facebook’s promoted user posts are an affront is because the average user’s News Feed is not chronological. It is determined by an algorithm called EdgeRank, which selects things that are, theoretically, most relevant to you.

That’s all well and good for Facebook — from what we’ve read and seen, it drives more engagement and clicks than a chronological feed. But what ends up happening is that Facebook users see the same people every time they log in. It creates what Eli Pariser calls “the filter bubble” — a social world limited only to those people whom you “like,” interact with, and probably agree with.

Read the complete article at Mashable.

The Free Internet Will Be Just Fine With Do Not Track. Here’s Why.

The ad industry says that Do Not Track will destroy the free Internet. We love the Internet and would be pretty upset if it died, so we looked deeper into this claim.

Advertisers make this argument all the time, and it goes something like this comment from Linda Woolley, executive vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association: “If you get rid of [personal data collection], you kill the Internet. It’s just that simple.” Advertisers claim that all the content you see online can only exist because tracking-based advertising funds it.

But according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the online advertising industry had revenue of $31.7 billion in 2011, and only about 15 percent of that, $4.9 billion, came from online behavioral advertising (OBA), ads that target consumers through personal information-powered tracking techniques and that are causing the privacy controversy.

Read the complete article at TechCrunch.