Items tagged with: its

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20452013
Posted by ignaloidas (karma: 152)
Post stats: Points: 156 - Comments: 41 - 2019-07-16T17:23:16Z

\#HackerNews #has #its #own #url #video #youtube
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 117 - Loop: 103 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 29

Google Legally Profits from Fraud on Its Platform

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20442478
Posted by rahuldottech (karma: 1188)
Post stats: Points: 138 - Comments: 47 - 2019-07-15T16:37:55Z

\#HackerNews #fraud #from #google #its #legally #platform #profits
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 107 - Loop: 401 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 61
How Google Legally Profits From Massive Fraud on Its Platform (and What You Can Do About It)

To Break Google’s Monopoly on Search, Make Its Index Public

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20440079
Posted by JumpCrisscross (karma: 63492)
Post stats: Points: 186 - Comments: 149 - 2019-07-15T12:21:07Z

\#HackerNews #break #googles #index #its #make #monopoly #public #search
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 173 - Loop: 116 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 48

After Car2Go eased its background checks, 75 vehicles were stolen in one day

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20434719
Posted by throwaway3627 (karma: 94)
Post stats: Points: 189 - Comments: 95 - 2019-07-14T17:47:12Z

\#HackerNews #after #background #car2go #checks #day #eased #its #one #stolen #vehicles #were
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 157 - Loop: 321 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 104

Elsevier cuts off UC’s access to its academic journals

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20427520
Posted by bookofjoe (karma: 10452)
Post stats: Points: 216 - Comments: 109 - 2019-07-13T11:19:40Z

\#HackerNews #academic #access #cuts #elsevier #its #journals #off #ucs
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 180 - Loop: 221 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 38

U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record again

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20397024
Posted by infodocket (karma: 2389)
Post stats: Points: 99 - Comments: 125 - 2019-07-09T21:50:11Z

\#HackerNews #again #has #its #months #record #wettest
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 107 - Loop: 197 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 39

France to tax flights from its airports, airline shares fall

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20392310
Posted by Ultramanoid (karma: 2773)
Post stats: Points: 220 - Comments: 409 - 2019-07-09T14:49:53Z

\#HackerNews #airline #airports #fall #flights #france #from #its #shares #tax
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 283 - Loop: 348 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 29

It's Never Too Late to Be Successful and Happy

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20388428
Posted by doppp (karma: 15731)
Post stats: Points: 167 - Comments: 65 - 2019-07-09T02:07:15Z

\#HackerNews #and #happy #its #late #never #successful #too
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 133 - Loop: 165 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 107

Monte Carlo methods – Why it's a bad idea to go to the casino

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20359100
Posted by whereistimbo (karma: 301)
Post stats: Points: 142 - Comments: 54 - 2019-07-05T00:54:24Z

\#HackerNews #bad #carlo #casino #idea #its #methods #monte #the #why
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 112 - Loop: 67 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 115

Apple is reportedly giving up on its controversial MacBook keyboard

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20353148
Posted by jeremylevy (karma: 744)
Post stats: Points: 186 - Comments: 108 - 2019-07-04T10:06:00Z

\#HackerNews #apple #controversial #giving #its #keyboard #macbook #reportedly
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 160 - Loop: 99 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 86
Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro

China Is Forcing Tourists to Install Text-Stealing Malware at Its Border

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20335816
Posted by el_duderino (karma: 8196)
Post stats: Points: 221 - Comments: 158 - 2019-07-02T15:05:26Z

\#HackerNews #border #china #forcing #install #its #malware #text-stealing #tourists
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 200 - Loop: 205 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 73

It’s Time for Some Queueing Theory

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20290042
Posted by sogen (karma: 706)
Post stats: Points: 138 - Comments: 21 - 2019-06-26T22:47:08Z

\#HackerNews #for #its #queueing #some #theory #time
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 99 - Loop: 260 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 8

Brave Improves Its Ad-Blocker Performance with New Engine in Rust

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20289966
Posted by teovoinea (karma: 119)
Post stats: Points: 134 - Comments: 58 - 2019-06-26T22:35:37Z

\#HackerNews #ad-blocker #brave #engine #improves #its #new #performance #rust #with
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 108 - Loop: 57 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 99

What Happens After Amazon’s Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20259302
Posted by rmason (karma: 23438)
Post stats: Points: 128 - Comments: 72 - 2019-06-23T23:04:20Z

\#HackerNews #after #amazons #bookstore #clues #complete #domination #happens #its #offers #what
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 109 - Loop: 74 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 53

Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20254051
Posted by rahuldottech (karma: 800)
Post stats: Points: 153 - Comments: 58 - 2019-06-23T09:00:10Z

\#HackerNews #become #chrome #google #has #its #software #surveillance #switch #time
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 121 - Loop: 30 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 64
Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch.

Japanese Company Charges Its Staff $100 an Hour to Use Conference Rooms

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20252759
Posted by drieddust (karma: 1131)
Post stats: Points: 133 - Comments: 57 - 2019-06-23T01:41:05Z

\#HackerNews #100 #charges #company #conference #hour #its #japanese #rooms #staff #use
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 107 - Loop: 79 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 21

Facebook reveals its cryptocurrency Libra to the world

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20210791
Posted by timcc50 (karma: 289)
Post stats: Points: 95 - Comments: 108 - 2019-06-18T09:00:12Z

\#HackerNews #cryptocurrency #facebook #its #libra #reveals #the #world
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 99 - Loop: 73 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 44

Mazda is purging touchscreens from its vehicles

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20200335
Posted by meteor333 (karma: 209)
Post stats: Points: 257 - Comments: 108 - 2019-06-17T06:11:43Z

\#HackerNews #from #its #mazda #purging #touchscreens #vehicles
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 207 - Loop: 43 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 28

Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture (2016)

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20195927
Posted by deepaksurti (karma: 1807)
Post stats: Points: 95 - Comments: 113 - 2019-06-16T15:28:20Z

\#HackerNews #2016 #america #and #culture #for #its #living #lousy #ruined #switzerland #work
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 56 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 43

Xiaomi explains more about how its under-screen camera works

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20138110
Posted by notlukesky (karma: 443)
Post stats: Points: 111 - Comments: 70 - 2019-06-09T09:14:19Z

\#HackerNews #about #camera #explains #how #its #more #under-screen #works #xiaomi
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 97 - Loop: 161 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 54

How Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Will Mine Its Giant DNA Database

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20132128
Posted by woodgrainz (karma: 86)
Post stats: Points: 135 - Comments: 131 - 2019-06-08T12:48:36Z

\#HackerNews #23andme #anne #database #dna #giant #how #its #mine #will #wojcickis
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 133 - Loop: 438 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 95

It's time to switch to a four-day working week, say two experts

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20133308
Posted by joeyespo (karma: 21630)
Post stats: Points: 182 - Comments: 88 - 2019-06-08T16:34:57Z

\#HackerNews #experts #four-day #its #say #switch #time #two #week #working
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 150 - Loop: 207 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 59

Write HTML Like It's 1999

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20133817
Posted by bradley_taunt (karma: 149)
Post stats: Points: 117 - Comments: 89 - 2019-06-08T17:42:13Z

\#HackerNews #1999 #html #its #like #write
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 107 - Loop: 83 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 106

Differences between the word2vec paper and its implementation

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20089515
Posted by bollu (karma: 302)
Post stats: Points: 135 - Comments: 45 - 2019-06-03T22:17:01Z

\#HackerNews #and #between #differences #implementation #its #paper #the #word2vec
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 105 - Loop: 87 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 65

DRM enabled Google to have an open source browser still under its control

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20045309
Posted by phowat (karma: 709)
Post stats: Points: 119 - Comments: 66 - 2019-05-29T20:50:09Z

\#HackerNews #browser #control #drm #enabled #google #have #its #open #source #still #under
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 194 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 52
How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

The EU Should Adopt ‘EU English’ as Its Official Working Language

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20020329
Posted by Creationer (karma: 169)
Post stats: Points: 88 - Comments: 84 - 2019-05-27T08:14:12Z

\#HackerNews #adopt #english #its #language #official #should #the #working
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 86 - Loop: 43 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 19

Arm announces its new premium CPU and GPU designs

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20019647
Posted by ChuckMcM (karma: 84390)
Post stats: Points: 102 - Comments: 41 - 2019-05-27T05:23:12Z

\#HackerNews #and #announces #arm #cpu #designs #gpu #its #new #premium
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 81 - Loop: 42 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 55
Arm announces its new premium CPU and GPU designs

Public's Dread of Nuclear Power Limits Its Deployment

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19930819
Posted by Reedx (karma: 3807)
Post stats: Points: 100 - Comments: 114 - 2019-05-16T17:12:25Z

\#HackerNews #deployment #dread #its #limits #nuclear #power #publics
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 104 - Loop: 143 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 47

Google to push new ads on its apps

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19913567
Posted by jmsflknr (karma: 2676)
Post stats: Points: 105 - Comments: 107 - 2019-05-14T20:27:27Z

\#HackerNews #ads #apps #google #its #new #push
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 105 - Loop: 327 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 92

It's time to replace GIFs with AV1 video

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19870701
Posted by singhkays (karma: 52)
Post stats: Points: 107 - Comments: 126 - 2019-05-09T18:16:34Z

\#HackerNews #av1 #gifs #its #replace #time #video #with
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 113 - Loop: 135 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 173

CBS Censors a ‘Good Fight’ Segment. Its Topic Was Chinese Censorship

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19858470
Posted by leavjenn (karma: 359)
Post stats: Points: 190 - Comments: 69 - 2019-05-08T13:10:01Z

\#HackerNews #cbs #censors #censorship #chinese #fight #good #its #segment #topic #was
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 149 - Loop: 139 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 105

How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19848968
Posted by tysone (karma: 10564)
Post stats: Points: 103 - Comments: 109 - 2019-05-07T13:05:16Z

\#HackerNews #apple #how #its #lost #luster #store #the
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 105 - Loop: 148 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 197

Why the U.S. Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn't (2014)

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19815155
Posted by longdefeat (karma: 2675)
Post stats: Points: 117 - Comments: 115 - 2019-05-03T03:02:10Z

\#HackerNews #2014 #and #chills #doesnt #eggs #its #most #the #why #world
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 116 - Loop: 63 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 63

I'm a Data Scientist Making $125K and It's Not My Passion

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19766105
Posted by sk0g (karma: 221)
Post stats: Points: 77 - Comments: 101 - 2019-04-27T15:51:59Z

\#HackerNews #125k #and #data #its #making #not #passion #scientist
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 85 - Loop: 75 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 27

Udacity restructures operations, lays off 20 percent of its workforce

Udacity, the $1 billion online education startup, has laid off about 20 percent of its workforce and is restructuring its operations as the company’s co-founder Sebastian Thrun seeks to bring costs in…
Article word count: 748

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19620401
Posted by guiambros (karma: 3968)
Post stats: Points: 125 - Comments: 54 - 2019-04-10T00:15:47Z

\#HackerNews #its #lays #off #operations #percent #restructures #udacity #workforce
Article content:


[1]Udacity, the $1 billion online education startup, has laid off about 20 percent of its workforce and is restructuring its operations as the company’s co-founder [2]Sebastian Thrun seeks to bring costs in line with revenue without curbing growth, TechCrunch has learned.

The objective is to do more than simply keep the company afloat, Thrun told TechCrunch in a phone interview. Instead, Thrun says these measures will allow Udacity from a money-losing operation to a “break-even or profitable company by next quarter and then moving forward.”

The 75 employees, including a handful of people in leadership positions, were laid off earlier today as part of a broader plan to restructure operations at Udacity. The startup now employs 300 full-time equivalent employees. It also employs about 60 contractors.

Udacity, which specializes in “nanodegrees” on a range of technical subjects that include AI, deep learning, digital marketing, VR and computer vision, has been struggling for months now, due in part to runaway costs and other inefficiencies. The company grew in 2017, with revenue increasing 100 percent year-over-year thanks to some popular programs like its self-driving car and deep learning nanodegrees, and the culmination of a [3]previous turnaround plan architected by former CMO Shernaz Daver.

New programming was added in 2018, but the volume slowed. Those degrees that were added lacked the popularity of some of its other degrees. Meanwhile, costs expanded and their employee ranks swelled.

Udacity CEO [4]Vishal Makhijani left in October and Thrun stepped in. He took over as chief executive and the head of content on an interim basis. Thrun, who founded X, Google’s moonshot factory, is also CEO of Kitty Hawk Corp., a flying-car startup. In an earlier interview, Thrun told TechCrunch that he discovered the company had grown too quickly and was burdened by its own self-inflicted red tape. Staff [5]reductions soon followed. About [6]130 people were laid off and other open positions were left vacant, Thrun said.

Thrun insists these latest layoffs aren’t just a half-hearted attempt to quickly cut costs and instead are part of a strategic turnaround plan. He communicated that same thinking in the email sent to employees.

“By bringing our costs in line with our revenue and refocusing our product strategy, we believe we can continue to grow the overall business both in enterprise and consumer segments in fiscal 2019 and beyond, while also achieving a break-even position in terms of both cash flow and EBITA, which will ensure that we can continue to do our important work,” Thrun wrote toward the end of the email to employees.

Last year, Udacity generated about $90 million in revenue.

Even as Udacity slashes costs and headcount, it’s trying to expand its enterprise business, which has had recent success. Udacity now has contracts with 60 enterprise customers, including AT&T and PricewaterhouseCoopers. [7]Airbus and [8]Audi recently signed on, as well.

Udacity’s plan was developed largely by Lalit Singh, the interim COO hired in February. Singh conducted a review of the business, including its operating model and Udacity’s primary costs such as workforce, marketing and other non-workforce expenses. As a result of the review, Udacity has laid off more staff, streamlined operations and programming and cut other costs.

“We have tremendous opportunities in front of us, and we also have some challenges. To succeed, we have to ensure that we have an operating structure that allows us to be nimble, efficient, and better organized to win with fewer silos and frankly, reduced cost,” Thrun wrote in the email.

As of Tuesday, four executives who handle different aspects of the business now report directly to Thrun. Those executives include Singh, Alper Tekin, who recently became CPO, James Richard, who was VP of engineering and has been named CTO, and Caroline Finch, vice president of consumer growth.

Alex Varel, the company’s head of enterprise sales, and Jimmy Lee, head of enterprise operations, will now report to Singh.

The change is striking compared to October, when Thrun came back to temporarily fill the CEO role. At that time, 17 people reported to Thrun.

Udacity also has cut costs and streamlined its marketing efforts, downsized and consolidated office space and made its educational programming consistent throughout the various regions in which it operates, including the U.S., Brazil, China and India.

The company will keep an office, albeit a smaller space, in Mountain View, and one in San Francisco. Udacity is closing an additional satellite office in San Francisco and is evaluating its real estate needs in other countries, as well.


Visible links
1. https://crunchbase.com/organization/udacity
2. https://crunchbase.com/person/sebastian-thrun
3. https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/08/shernaz-daver-the-cmo-who-helped-to-turn-around-udacity-is-leaving-the-company/
4. https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/25/vishal-makhijani-steps-down-as-chief-executive-of-udacity/
5. https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/28/online-education-unicorn-udacity-has-quietly-laid-off-5-of-staff-at-least-25-people-since-august/
6. https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/29/edtech-unicorn-udacity-lays-off-125-people-in-global-strategy-shift/
7. https://crunchbase.com/organization/airbus-group
8. https://crunchbase.com/organization/audi

HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 144 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 49
Udacity restructures operations, lays off 20 percent of its workforce

Microsoft says its data shows FCC reports overstate broadband adoption

The broadband divide in the U.S. is real, but if you want to know how real, don't ask the FCC. Its yearly broadband deployment report, already under fire for serious data problems, has now been…
Article word count: 559

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19610530
Posted by sethbannon (karma: 36068)
Post stats: Points: 192 - Comments: 49 - 2019-04-09T00:31:56Z

\#HackerNews #adoption #broadband #data #fcc #its #microsoft #overstate #reports #says #shows
Article content:


The broadband divide in the U.S. is real, but if you want to know how real, don’t ask the FCC. Its yearly broadband deployment report, already under fire for [1]serious data problems, has now been [2]further questioned by Microsoft, which says its own data contradicts coverage data provided by internet providers. Despite $22 billion in government [3]spending, the company says, “adoption has barely budged.”

In a blog post, [4]Microsoft explained that it was concerned with apparent inaccuracies in reports purporting to document broadband availability throughout the country. Leveraging data sourced from its various online services, it came to vastly different conclusions than the FCC.

“We have 200 services that we operate as a company,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith [5]in a recent talk. “We can see download speeds across the country, and in every county, and we’ve assembled our own map with our own estimates.”

For instance, the FCC report suggests that broadband, as it is currently defined, is not currently available to around 25 million people. Sounds reasonable. But Microsoft’s data says that some 163 million people “do not use the internet at broadband speeds.”

Those aren’t the same thing, obviously, but you’d think if a person had broadband available they would use it at least now and then, right?

To look further into the problem, Microsoft checked out a few locales:
In our home state of Washington, the FCC data indicates that 100 percent of Ferry County residents have access to broadband. When we spoke to local officials, they indicated that very few residents in this rural county had access and those that did were using broadband in business. Our data bears this out, showing that only 2 percent of Ferry County is using broadband.

So the entire county has broadband, but next to no one uses it? Seems odd. The pattern repeats elsewhere as well, rural and urban, with similar deltas between reported broadband availability and observed broadband activity.

“These significant discrepancies across nearly all counties in all 50 states indicates there is a problem with the accuracy of the access data reported by the FCC,” concludes Microsoft’s chief data analytics officer, John Kahan.

[6][IMG]Part of the issue is that internet providers essentially just report their own coverage via a form, and the FCC reports it more or less as fact. That’s a problem not just when a mistake on a form adds tens of millions of subscribers that don’t actually exist, but when large ISPs overstate their coverage so they don’t have to pay to fill in the gaps.

Microsoft’s suggestions, which it has made to Members of Congress and the FCC (though it won’t, as I originally wrote here, testify in the Senate on Wednesday) would make it far more difficult to fib on the Form 477, which as written seems to provide enormous leeway for a company to imply coverage that isn’t actually there.

The problems described here are not new or obscure, and even FCC commissioners have taken issue with the way this data is collected. Hopefully given the continued and growing outcry concerning this misleading report we will soon know better who in our country has, or needs, help getting online. That the FCC wants to help I don’t doubt, but in order to do so they need better data.
[7]FCC gets ready to kick off $2 billion rural broadband fund



Visible links
1. https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/07/fcc-looking-into-reported-error-throwing-broadband-deployment-numbers-off-by-millions/
2. https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2019/04/08/its-time-for-a-new-approach-for-mapping-broadband-data-to-better-serve-americans/
3. https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/02/fcc-gets-ready-to-kick-off-2-billion-rural-broadband-fund/
4. https://crunchbase.com/organization/microsoft
5. https://news.microsoft.com/rural-broadband/
6. https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2-US-maps.png
7. https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/02/fcc-gets-ready-to-kick-off-2-billion-rural-broadband-fund/
8. https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/02/fcc-gets-ready-to-kick-off-2-billion-rural-broadband-fund/embed/#?secret=5BQrqifQdo

HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 144 - Loop: 116 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 157
Microsoft says its data shows FCC reports massively overstate broadband adoption

Open Source Is Winning, and Now It's Time for People to Win Too

Teaching kids about open source? Don't forget to teach them ethics as well. Back when I started college, in the fall of 1988, I was introduced to a text editor called Emacs. Actually, it wasn't just…
Article word count: 1506

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19606846
Posted by rbanffy (karma: 78922)
Post stats: Points: 158 - Comments: 73 - 2019-04-08T16:49:57Z

\#HackerNews #and #for #its #now #open #people #source #time #too #win #winning
Article content:

Teaching kids about open source? Donʼt forget to teach them ethics as well.

Back when I started college, in the fall of 1988, I was introduced to a text editor called Emacs. Actually, it wasnʼt just called Emacs; it was called "GNU Emacs". The "GNU" part, I soon learned, referred to something called "free software", which was about far more than the fact that it was free of charge. The GNU folks talked about software with extreme intensity, as if the fate of the entire world rested on the success of their software replacing its commercial competition.

Those of us who used such programs, either from GNU or from other, similarly freely licensed software, knew that we were using high-quality code. But to our colleagues at school and work, we were a bit weird, trusting our work to software that wasnʼt backed by a large, commercial company. (I still remember, as a college intern at HP, telling the others in my group that I had compiled, installed and started to use a new shell known as "bash", which was better than the "k shell" we all were using. Their response was somewhere between bemusement and horror.)

As time went on, I started to use a growing number of programs that fit into this "free software" definition—Linux, Perl and Python were the stars, but plenty of others existed, from Emacs (which I use to this day), sendmail (pretty much the only SMTP server at the time), DNS libraries and the like. In 1998, Tim OʼReilly decided that although the "free software" cause was good, it needed better coordination and marketing. Thus, the term "open source" was popularized, stressing the practical benefits over the philosophical and societal ones.

I was already consulting at the time, regularly fighting an uphill battle with clients—small startups and large multinationals alike—telling them that yes, I trusted code that didnʼt cost money, could be modified by anyone and was developed by volunteers.

But marketing, believe it or not, really does work. And the term "open source" did a great job of opening many peopleʼs minds. Slowly but surely, things started to change: IBM announced that it would invest huge amounts of money in Linux and open-source software. Apache, which had started life as an httpd server, became a foundation that sponsored a growing array of open-source projects. Netscape tumbled as quickly as it had grown, releasing its Mozilla browser as open-source software (and with its own foundation) before going bust. Red Hat proved that you could have a successful open-source company based on selling high-quality services and support. And these are just the most prominent names.

With every announcement, the resistance to using open source in commercial companies dropped bit more. As companies realized that others were depending on open source, they agreed to use it too.

Fast-forward to today, and itʼs hard to avoid open-source software. Itʼs everywhere, from the smallest companies to the largest. There are still commercial versions of UNIX, but Linux is really all anyone expects or talks about. And Linux is indeed everywhere. My Python and Git courses have never been in greater demand from companies that want to teach their employees to improve their familiarity with these technologies. Whereas it once was possible for one person to know, and to know about, the majority of major open-source software titles, today thatʼs completely impossible.

Several years ago, while on a flight, my personal screen had some problems. I asked the flight attendant for help, and she told me that itʼs probably easiest just to restart the screen. Imagine my surprise when I saw myself looking at the Linux boot sequence, in my seat at 30,000 feet! It was at this point that I realized that open source, by virtue of being both inexpensive and open for people to examine and modify, had indeed arrived.

Whatʼs amazing to me is how even the companies that were most against open-source software have become advocates—not necessarily out of love, but because thatʼs where the market is heading. Microsoft is not only using open source, itʼs also actively engaging with and supporting the community, encouraging the use of open source, and even contributing.

So, have we made it? The answer, of course, is both yes and no. There is no doubt that open-source software has arrived, succeeding beyond my wildest dreams. I mostly earn my living teaching Python and Git to companies around the world, and itʼs hard to exaggerate the demand for such technologies. Companies are adopting open source as quickly as they possibly can, simultaneously reducing costs and increasing flexibility. Students are learning to use open-source technologies and languages.

So yes, if measured by market penetration and the acceptance that open-source software can compete, we have definitely won. Sure, thereʼs work to do on the desktop, but the achievements to date are real, tangible and impressive.

But, itʼs no longer enough to be widespread or even dominant. As a few people were prescient enough to foresee long ago, our world of interconnected computers, phones and devices is generating enormous quantities of data, stored beyond our reach, analyzed by algorithms we cannot see or check, and being used to make decisions that can affect careers, education and medical care, among other things.

Moreover, the business model that was both clever and profitable for so long, namely advertising, has come with an enormous trade-off, in that a number of corporations know more about us than we even know about ourselves. Whatʼs amazing is that the advertising-supported services are often so good and useful—and free of charge—that we ignore the ramifications of sharing everything about ourselves with them.

From the perspective of todayʼs young people, the internet always has connected us, smartphones always have existed, and the apps we use on our phones and computers always have been free of charge. And if you have to share some of your data, then so what? People no longer seem to be as concerned about privacy and about how much theyʼre sharing with these companies, as was once the case. Perhaps thatʼs because people are getting such obvious benefits from the services they use. But perhaps itʼs because people are unaware of how their data is being used.

The April 2019 issue of Linux Journal is all about kids, but itʼs also our 25th anniversary edition, so itʼs an appropriate time to ask "What should we be teaching our children about open-source software?"

A few years ago, MIT changed its intro computer science course away from the traditional (and brilliant) class that used Scheme to one that used Python. This certainly made big waves and has influenced hundreds of universities that now also use Python. When MIT changed the curriculum, the professors who wrote the course indicated that for todayʼs software engineers, learning to code isnʼt enough. You also need to learn topics such as ethics. Many programmers will be asked to do things that are unethical, so itʼs important to think through the issues before you encounter them at work. Heck, just determining what is considered ethical is a knotty problem in and of itself—one that many developers have probably never considered.

So yes, itʼs important for us to teach kids about Linux and open-source software. But itʼs not enough for us to teach them about the technical parts of things. We also need to inform them of the societal parts of their work, and the huge influence and power that todayʼs programmers have. Itʼs sometimes okay—and even preferable—for a company to make less money deliberately, when the alternative would be to do things that are inappropriate or illegal.

Itʼs important to teach and discuss machine learning—not just as a set of technologies, but also to understand how models work, how they can be wrong, and what you need to do in order to get them right. Itʼs important to discuss how and when such algorithms should be shared with the public and made available to public audit.

And, itʼs important to explain that no one has a perfect answer to these issues. Itʼs okay to have disagreements. But raising these questions and problems is a major responsibility, and itʼs important that kids learn from an early age that programming has real-world implications—some of them potentially bad. We donʼt let people drive until they have demonstrated at least the minimum understanding of how their actions can affect others. Iʼm not suggesting we require programmers be licensed, but that we raise these important points frequently.

Linux Journal has been at the forefront of the Open Source movement for 25 years now, pushing and encouraging us to imagine a world where software is of high quality, available to all, at low or no cost, and that invites us to experiment and tinker. Iʼm proud to have been writing for this publication for much of that time—since 1996. And although this column generally will continue to have a technical focus, Iʼm glad that Linux Journal, as a publication, is focusing on the societal impacts of our work.

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FamilyTreeDNA: It’s Our ‘Moral Responsibility’ to Give FBI Access to Your DNA

A popular DNA-testing company seems to be targeting true crime fans with a new pitch to let them share their genetic information with law enforcement so cops can catch violent criminals.
Article word count: 487

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19590695
Posted by kaboro (karma: 2092)
Post stats: Points: 129 - Comments: 47 - 2019-04-06T13:46:13Z

\#HackerNews #access #dna #familytreedna #fbi #give #its #moral #our #responsibility #your
Article content:

[1]Illustration for article titled Ancestry-Testing Company: It’s Our ‘Moral Responsibility’ to Give The FBI Access to Your DNA
Photo: Andreas Rentz (Getty)

A popular DNA-testing company seems to be targeting true crime fans with a new pitch to let them share their genetic information with law enforcement so cops can catch violent criminals.

Two months ago, [2]FamilyTreeDNA raised privacy concerns after BuzzFeed revealed the company had partnered with the FBI and given the agency access to the genealogy database. Law enforcement’s use of DNA databases has been widely known since last April when California officials revealed genealogy website information was instrumental in determining the [3]identity of the Golden State Killer. But in that case, detectives used publicly shared raw genetic data on GEDmatch. The recent news about FamilyTreeDNA marked the first known time a home DNA test company had willingly shared private genetic information with law enforcement.

Several weeks later, FamilyTreeDNA [4]changed their rules to allow customers to block the FBI from accessing their information. “Users now have the ability to opt out of matching with DNA relatives whose accounts are flagged as being created to identify the remains of a deceased individual or a perpetrator of a homicide or sexual assault,” the company said in a statement at the time.

But now the company seems to be embracing this partnership with law enforcement with their new campaign called, “Families Want Answers.”

The company plans to air a new advertisement this week in San Francisco that features Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted in 2002 and held captive for nine months before being rescued.

In the ad, Ed Smart makes a plea for people to share their DNA so they can help families who have lost a child. “When a loved one is a victim of a violent crime families want answers,” he says as the ad shows footage of a child’s shoe on a playground, crime scene tape, and parents embracing. “There is more DNA available at crime scenes than any other evidence. If you are one of the millions of people who have taken a DNA test your help can provide the missing link.”

FamilyTreeDNA did not immediately respond to a Gizmodo request for comment on whether the new ad campaign was a response to recent reporting on the company’s arrangement with FBI.

In a [5]public statement, FamilyTreeDNA’s president and founder, Bennett Greenspan, seemed to appeal to both genealogy hobbyists and true crime fans. “The genealogy community has the ability to crowd-source crime solving,” Greenspan said. “If FamilyTreeDNA can help prevent violent crimes, save lives, or bring closure to families, then we feel the company has a moral responsibility to do so.”

The press release states that the company’s terms of service only allow law enforcement to receive private customer information through a “valid legal process such as a subpoena or a search warrant.”

FamilyTreeDNA users may have a “moral responsibility” to decide if they want to opt out of sharing their data with law enforcement or risk having their DNA narc on them or their family members.

[[6]FamilyTreeDNA via [7]ZDNet]


Visible links
2. https://gizmodo.com/familytreedna-hands-the-fbi-access-to-its-database-1832259369#_ga=2.144671094.210871099.1554053778-1326632265.1530909774
3. https://gizmodo.com/police-say-genealogy-websites-helped-track-down-golden-1825587344
4. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2196433-home-dna-testing-firm-will-let-users-block-fbi-access-to-their-data/
5. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ed-smart-father-of-elizabeth-smart-teams-up-with-familytreedna-300818994.html
6. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ed-smart-father-of-elizabeth-smart-teams-up-with-familytreedna-300818994.html
7. https://www.zdnet.com/article/home-dna-kit-company-asks-you-to-upload-your-family-tree-for-the-fbi/

HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 101 - Loop: 153 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 101

Google’s constant product shutdowns are damaging its brand

Google's product support has become a joke, and the company should be very concerned.
Article word count: 3164

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19553294
Posted by vanburen (karma: 787)
Post stats: Points: 124 - Comments: 103 - 2019-04-02T12:28:21Z

\#HackerNews #are #brand #constant #damaging #googles #its #product #shutdowns
Article content:

[1]An artistʼs rendering of Googleʼs current reputation.
[2]Enlarge / An artistʼs rendering of Googleʼs current reputation.

Itʼs only April, and 2019 has already been an absolutely brutal year for Googleʼs product portfolio. The Chromecast Audio [3]was discontinued January 11. YouTube annotations were [4]removed and deleted January 15. Google Fiber [5]packed up and left a Fiber city on February 8. Android Things [6]dropped IoT support on February 13. Googleʼs [7]laptop and tablet division was reportedly slashed on March 12. [8]Google Allo shut down on March 13. The "Spotlight Stories" VR studio [9]closed its doors on March 14. The goo.gl URL shortener [10]was cut off from new users on March 30. Gmailʼs [11]IFTTT support stopped working March 31.

And today, April 2, weʼre having a Google Funeral double-header: both [12]Google+ (for consumers) and [13]Google Inbox are being laid to rest. Later this year, Google Hangouts "[14]Classic" will [15]start to wind down, and somehow also scheduled for 2019 is Google Musicʼs [16]"migration" to YouTube Music, with the Google service being put on death row sometime afterward.

We are 91 days into the year, and so far, Google is racking up an unprecedented body count. If we just take the official shutdown dates that have already occurred in 2019, a Google-branded product, feature, or service has died, on average, about every nine days.

Some of these product shutdowns have transition plans, and some of them (like Google+) represent Google completely abandoning a user base. The specifics arenʼt crucial, though. What matters is that every single one of these actions has a negative consequence for Googleʼs brand, and the near-constant stream of shutdown announcements makes Google seem more unstable and untrustworthy than it has ever been. Yes, there was the one time Google killed Google Wave [17]nine years ago or when it took Google Reader away [18]six years ago, but things were never this bad.

For a while there has been a subset of people concerned about Googleʼs privacy and antitrust issues, but now Google is eroding trust that its existing customers have in the company. Thatʼs a huge problem. Google has significantly harmed its brand over the last few months, and Iʼm not even sure the company realizes it.

Google products require trust and investment

[19]The latest batch of dead and dying Google apps.
[20]Enlarge / The latest batch of dead and dying Google apps.

Google is a platform company. Be it cloud compute, app and extension ecosystems, developer APIs, advertising solutions, operating-system pre-installs, or the storage of user data, Google constantly asks for investment from consumers, developers, and partner companies in the things it builds. Any successful platform will pretty much require trust and buy-in from these groups. These groups need to feel the platform they invest in today will be there tomorrow, or theyʼll move on to something else. If any of these groups loses faith in Google, it could have disastrous effects for the company.

Consumers want to know the photos, videos, and emails they upload to Google will stick around. If you buy a Chromecast or Google Home, you need to know the servers and ecosystems they depend on will continue to work, so they donʼt turn into fancy paperweights tomorrow. If you take the time to move yourself, your friends, and your family to [21]a new messaging service, you need to know it wonʼt be [22]shut down two years later. If you begrudgingly join a new social network that was [23]forced down your throat, you need to know it wonʼt [24]leak your data everywhere, shut down, and [25]delete all your posts a few years later.

There are also enterprise customers, who, above all, like safe bets with established companies. The old adage of "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" is partly a reference for the enterpriseʼs desire for a stable, steady, reliable tech partner. Google is trying to tackle this same market with its paid G Suite program, but the most it can do in terms of stability is [26]post a calendar detailing the rollercoaster of consumer-oriented changes coming down the pipeline. Thereʼs a slower "Scheduled release track" that delays the rollout of some features, but things like [27]a complete revamp of Gmail eventually all still arrive. G Suite has a [28]"Core Services" list meant to show confidence in certain products sticking around, but some of the entries there, like Hangouts and Google Talk, still get shut down.

Developers gamble on a platformʼs stability even more than consumers do. Consumers might trust a service with their data or spend money on hardware, but developers can spend months building an app for a platform. They need to read documentation, set up SDKs, figure out how APIs work, possibly pay developer startup fees, and maybe even learn a new language. They wonʼt do any of this if they donʼt have faith in the long-term stability of the platform.

Developers can literally build their products around paid-access Google APIs like the Google Maps API, and when Google does things like [29]raise the price of the Maps API by [30]14x for some use cases, it is incredibly disruptive for those businesses and harmful to Googleʼs brand. When apps like Reddit clients are flagged by Google Play "[31]every other month" for the crime of displaying user-generated content and when itʼs [32]impossible to talk to a human at Google about anything, developers are less likely to invest in your schizophrenic ecosystem.

Hardware manufacturers and other company partners need to be able to trust a company, too. Google constantly asks hardware developers to build devices dependent on its services. These are things like Google Assistant-compatible speakers and smart displays, devices with Chromecast built in, and Android and Chrome OS devices. Manufacturers need to know a certain product or feature they are planning to integrate will be around for years, since they need to both commit to a potentially multi-year planning and development cycle, and then it needs to survive long enough for customers to be supported for a few years. Watching Android Things chop off a major segment of its market nine months after launch would certainly make me nervous to develop anything based on Android Things. Imagine the risk Volvo is taking by integrating the [33]new Android Auto OS into its upcoming Polestar 2: vehicles need around five years of development time and still need to be supported for several years after launch.

Google’s shutdowns cast a shadow over the entire company

With so many shutdowns, tracking Googleʼs bodycount has become a competitive industry on the Internet. Over on Wikipedia, the list of [34]discontinued Google products and services is starting to approach the size of the active products and services listed. There are entire sites dedicated to discontinued Google products, like [35]killedbygoogle.com, [36]The Google Cemetery, and [37]didgoogleshutdown.com.

I think weʼre seeing a lot of the consequences of Googleʼs damaged brand in the recent [38]Google Stadia launch. A game streaming platform from one of the worldʼs largest Internet companies should be grounds for excitement, but instead, the baggage of the Google brand has people asking if they can trust the service to stay running.

In addition to the endless memes and jokes youʼll see in every related comments section, youʼre starting to see Google skepticism in mainstream reporting, too. Over at [39]The Guardian, this line makes the pullquote: "A potentially sticky fact about Google is that the company does have a habit of losing interest in its less successful projects." [40]IGN has a whole section of a report questioning "Googleʼs Commitment." From a [41]Digital Foundry video: "Google has this reputation for discontinuing services that are often good, out of nowhere." One of [42]SlashGearʼs "Stadia questions that need answers" is "Can I trust you, Google?"

[43]Googleʼs Phil Harrison talks about the new Google Stadia controller.
[44]Enlarge / Googleʼs Phil Harrison talks about the new Google Stadia controller.

One of my favorite examples came from a [45]Kotaku interview with Phil Harrison, the leader of Google Stadia. In an audio interview, the site lays this whopper of a question on him: "One of the sentiments we saw in our comments section a lot is that Google has a long history of starting projects and then abandoning them. Thereʼs a worry, I think, from users who might think that Google Stadia is a cool platform, but if Iʼm connecting to this and spending money on this platform, how do I know for sure that Google is still sticking with it for two, three, five years? How can you guys make a commitment that Google will be sticking with this in a way that they havenʼt stuck with Google+, or Google Hangouts, or Google Fiber, Reader, or all the other things Google has abandoned over the years?"

Yikes. Kotaku is totally justified to ask a question like this, but to have one of your new executives face questions of "When will your new product shut down?" must be embarrassing for Google.

Harrisonʼs response to this question started with a surprisingly honest acknowledgement: "I understand the concern." Harrison, seemingly, gets it. He seemingly understands that itʼs hard to trust Google after so many product shutdowns, and he knows the Stadia team now faces an uphill battle. For the record, Harrison went on to cite Googleʼs sizable investment in the project, saying Stadia was "Not a trivial product" and was a "significant cross-company effort." (Also for the record: you could say all the same things about Google+ a few years ago, when [46]literally every Google employee was paid to work on it. Now it is dead.)

Harrison and the rest of the Stadia team had nothing to do with the closing of Google Inbox, or the shutdown of Hangouts, or the removal of any other popular Google product. They are still forced to deal with the consequences of being associated with "Google the Product Killer," though. If Stadia was an Amazon product, I donʼt think we would see these questions of when it would shut down. Microsoftʼs game streaming service, Project xCloud, only faces questions about feasibility and appeal, not if Microsoft will get bored in two years and dump the project.

Listing image by [47]Aurich Lawson
Page 2

Googleʼs love of product shutdowns is mostly just a side effect of Googleʼs love for developing products. Calling anything a "Google Product" is usually a gross simplification—Google rarely does anything as a singular company. Instead, the industry giant is made up of autonomous product groups that develop and launch things on their own schedule. This is why Google often ends up making "[48]Two of everything:" different teams donʼt communicate and end up tackling the same problem with different ideas.

Googleʼs strategy of having multiple teams throw things against the wall to see what sticks leads to lots and lots of products and services launching all the time, all with varying levels of quality, integration with other Google products, and varying lifetimes. It also leads to lots and lots of product cancellations.

A better way to frame launches and other decisions inside of Google is try to figure out which team inside of Google has built a product, and to view each product team as a separate entity. The Google Assistant does well, because it is run by the Google Search team. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the Google Messaging team, which—after Hangouts, Hangouts Chat, Allo, Duo, Google Voice, and Android Messages—has pretty much no credibility left at all. The Android Team is easily one of the steadiest, most reliable groups at Google. Having various teams launch whatever hardware they want was a mess until all the hardware was put under the control of a new Google Hardware division.

The Gmail team lives under the "Google Apps" umbrella, and itʼs responsible for developing and shutting down Inbox. Google Apps, with its enterprise focus, is usually a stalwart group, and Inbox is the first big shutdown from the Google Apps team in a long time. Google Fiber is not even part of Google; instead, itʼs a separate company under Googleʼs parent company, Alphabet.

Every shutdown has a story

Google+ was created as a brand-new division inside of Google, led by Vic Gundotra. Back in 2011, success in social was considered critical to Googleʼs survival, and Gundotra was given the title of "Senior Vice President." That made him one of eight or so people that regularly reported to then-CEO Larry Page. From here Google+ followed a pattern we see a few times with Google product launches and cancellations: Gundotra, the driving force behind Google+, [49]left Google (or perhaps was compelled to leave Google) in 2014, which signaled the beginning of the end for Google+. Google+ was [50]immediately stopped, Plusʼ more successful features [51]were spun off, and eventually Google killed Google+ after a revelation of [52]data security issues was made public.

Any website with traffic analytics will tell you that Google+ usage has been continually declining, but shutting down a major product due to a data leak is certainly a strange decision. I could understand if the product was being abandoned entirely, but the enterprise version of Google Plus will continue to live on. Google has even promised a redesign and new features for the enterprise version.

Hangouts was a product that never quite found a solid home inside Google. It was [53]cooked up by the Google+ team as a way to combine all of Googleʼs other messaging services into a single app. When Plus started its death spiral, Hangouts didnʼt have an obvious home in another division at Google. Eventually, the standalone messaging team was created, but it seemed more interested in starting its own (numerous) projects than supporting a messaging app created by someone else.

Google Play Music is dying due to pretty much the same situation as Hangouts. Back in 2011, iOS had a great music solution (iTunes), while Android didnʼt. So Google Music was created by the Android team as part of the "Android Market" content store. With Web clients and plans to branch out onto iOS, the "Android Market" branding didnʼt make a ton of sense, so eventually the "Google Play" brand was born, and eventually Google Play became separate from the Android division. Now we have Googleʼs YouTube taking over a lot of Googleʼs media content strategy with all new apps, and just like Hangouts, it seems like a solid product is dying due to "not invented here" syndrome.

I could go on forever about the explanations behind Googleʼs many shutdowns. The shutdowns are all from independent teams making independent decisions, with products, employees, and divisions shifting around as time goes by. The rationale behind each shutdown doesnʼt really matter though—the problem is the cumulative effect of all these individual shutdowns on Googleʼs reputation and Googleʼs customers that, time and time again, have products taken away from them.

Maybe it’s time for a public roadmap

With all of the shutdowns already announced, Iʼm not sure thereʼs anything Google can do to help its reputation at this point. The amount of people I see still bringing up Google Readerʼs shutdown is incredible—having a frequently used Web service snatched away from you sticks with people. If people lose confidence in Googleʼs ability to host a stable lineup of services, more and more users will move out of the Google ecosystem. Then, like weʼre already seeing with Stadia, the company would face an uphill battle to get people to use its new products.

Iʼve been [54]promoting a "wait and see" approach for most new Google products since at least 2016. But to see Googleʼs support now become the subject of punchlines on the Internet should be extremely concerning for Google.

One thing that could placate Google users is for the company to just tell us what is going on. Google already makes support promises for some of its products. [55]Pixel phones and [56]Chromebooks both have dashboards that show promised support windows and public end-of-life dates. Meanwhile, Google already hosts various [57]uptime pages and [58]other statistics. I want communication from Google that says which products will be around for a long time and which are a low priority at the company. Would it be so hard to publicly commit to running Stadia for five years no matter what? For its more successful products, Google could commit to 10 years of running a service and update the dashboard from time to time with later dates.

I realize most companies donʼt do this, but most companies donʼt have the reputation Google has for killing products. It makes sense to counter the memes of "haha, how long until Google discontinues this product?" with a public statement of "not for at least seven years." We just want to see a damn product roadmap, Google. Give us a list of "Long Term Support (LTS)" products.

[59]Google posts public support timelines for Pixel phones, why not products and services, too?
[60]Enlarge / Google posts public support timelines for Pixel phones, why not products and services, too?

Google likes to experiment, but it needs to be better at communicating what products will be around for a while and which ones will be thrown against the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes Google is good with this kind of communication. The recent launch of [61]Googleʼs Reply app was handled well, for example. Google called the service "an experiment," and it was from a new skunkworks inside Google called "Area 120." Everything about the service made it sound like a temporary testing ground, and when the product was shut down, Googleʼs messaging [62]was great: "Reply was an experiment, and that experiment has now ended." This was a fine way to go about things.

By contrast, nothing about [63]the launch of Google Inbox made it sound like a product that would only stick around for a few years. Inbox was "years in the making," and the blog post made it seem like Googleʼs email client for the future.

As it stands now, products that were the center of the company a few years ago (RIP, Google+) are on the chopping block in 2019, and Google seems ready to kill any product that doesnʼt have a billion daily active users. Without knowing the reason behind this wave of shutdowns (was there some new mandate inside the company to trim down?), nothing from Google seems safe anymore.

Google [64]neglected to mention Google Voice in its last big messaging update. Should we read into that? Wazeʼs features are [65]slowly being moved over to Google Maps. Is that a bad sign? (Android) Wear OS is [66]basically in last place in the smartwatch wars. Nest [67]doesnʼt make a profit and recently [68]was stripped of its Google independence. [69]Googleʼs Fuchsia OS is staring down an expensive multi-year development cycle, and the supposed plan to replace Android will be a steep uphill battle. How confident are you that all of these products will be around in a few years?

Every time Google shuts down a product, its reputation is harmed. A shutdown makes users feel betrayed, it makes trusting other Google services harder, and it makes it harder for Google to pitch new products to users. With so many shutdowns happening lately, Iʼve got to wonder if Google users will start to seek similar services from companies that simply seem more stable.


Visible links
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22. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/04/google-gives-up-on-google-allo-hopes-carriers-will-sort-out-rcs-messaging/
23. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/11/youtube-tries-to-stem-the-flow-of-a-new-kind-of-terrible-comments/
24. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/10/google-exposed-non-public-data-for-500k-users-then-kept-it-quiet/
25. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/01/google-shuts-down-april-2-all-data-will-be-deleted/
26. https://gsuite.google.com/whatsnew/calendar/
27. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/04/gmail-coms-massive-redesign-launches-today/
28. https://gsuite.google.com/intl/en/terms/user_features.html
29. https://geoawesomeness.com/developers-up-in-arms-over-google-maps-api-insane-price-hike/
30. https://www.inderapotheke.de/blog/farewell-google-maps
31. https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/96kpsf/more_issues_with_google_play_suspended_for_hate/
32. https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/9n88wv/the_future_of_android_development/
33. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/02/the-volvo-polestar-2-is-the-first-google-android-car/
34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products#Discontinued_products_and_services
35. https://killedbygoogle.com/
36. https://gcemetery.co/
37. https://didgoogleshutdown.com/
38. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/03/google-jumps-into-gaming-with-google-stadia-streaming-service/
39. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/mar/20/google-stadia-what-developers-think-of-the-game-streaming-service
40. https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/03/19/google-is-better-positioned-for-cloud-streaming-than-anyone-but-dont-expect-the-world-just-yet
41. https://youtu.be/QqG3qdi8NXo?t=1651
42. https://www.slashgear.com/google-stadia-5-big-questions-that-still-need-answers-22570811/
43. https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/chrome_2019-03-28_13-17-02.png
44. https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/chrome_2019-03-28_13-17-02.png
45. https://kotaku.com/google-stadia-boss-answers-and-dodges-our-questions-1833422137
46. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2011/06/inside-google-how-the-search-giant-plans-to-go-social/
47. https://arstechnica.com/author/aurich-lawson/
48. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/10/googles-product-strategy-make-two-of-everything/
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50. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/04/report-google-to-end-forced-g-integration-drastically-cut-division-resources/
51. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/08/report-google-photos-to-be-separated-from-google/
52. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/10/google-exposed-non-public-data-for-500k-users-then-kept-it-quiet/
53. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/05/hands-on-with-hangouts-googles-new-text-and-video-chat-architecture/
54. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/11/google-home-review-a-step-forward-for-hotwords-a-step-backward-in-capability/5/
55. https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/4457705?hl=en#pixel_phones
56. https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6220366?hl=en
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HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 117 - Loop: 95 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 77

Facebook won’t let you opt-out of its phone number ‘look up’ setting

Users are complaining that the phone number Facebook hassled them to use to secure their account with two-factor authentication has also been associated with their user profile — which anyone can use…
Article word count: 751

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19298692
Posted by longdefeat (karma: 1598)
Post stats: Points: 174 - Comments: 43 - 2019-03-04T04:07:23Z

\#HackerNews #facebook #its #let #look #number #opt-out #phone #setting #wont #you
Article content:


Users are complaining that the phone number [1]Facebook hassled them to use to secure their account with two-factor authentication has also been associated with their user profile — which anyone can use to “look up” their profile.

Worse, Facebook doesn’t give you an option to opt-out.

Last year, Facebook was forced to admit that after months of [2]pestering its users to switch on two-factor by signing up their phone number, it was [3]also using those phone numbers to target users with ads. But some users are finding out just now that Facebook’s default setting allows everyone — with or without an account — to look up a user profile based off the same phone number previously added to their account.

The recent hubbub began today after [4]a tweet by Jeremy Burge blew up, criticizing Facebook’s collection and use of phone numbers, which he likened to “a unique ID that is used to link your identity across every platform on the internet.”
For years Facebook claimed the adding a phone number for 2FA was only for security. Now it can be searched and thereʼs no way to disable that. [5]pic.twitter.com/zpYhuwADMS 

 — Jeremy Burge 🐥🧿 (@jeremyburge) [6]March 1, 2019

Although users can [7]hide their phone number on their profile so nobody can see it, it’s still possible to “look up” user profiles in other ways, such as “when someone uploads your contact info to Facebook from their mobile phone,” [8]according to a Facebook help article. It’s a more restricted way than allowing users to search for user profiles using a person’s phone number, which Facebook restricted [9]last year after admitting “most” users had their information scraped.

Facebook gives users the option of allowing users to “look up” their profile using their phone number to “everyone” by default, or to “friends of friends” or just the user’s “friends.”

But there’s no way to hide it completely.

Security expert and academic Zeynep Tufekci said [10]in a tweet: “Using security to further weaken privacy is a lousy move — especially since phone numbers can be hijacked to weaken security,” referring [11]to SIM swapping, where scammers impersonate cell customers to steal phone numbers and break into other accounts.
See thread! Using security to further weaken privacy is a lousy move—especially since phone numbers can be hijacked to weaken security. Putting people at risk. What say you [12]@facebook? [13]https://t.co/9qKtTodkRD 

 — zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) [14]March 2, 2019

Tufekci’s argued that users can “no longer keep keep private the phone number that [they]provided only for security to Facebook.”

Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow told TechCrunch that the settings “are not new,” adding that, “the setting applies to any phone numbers you added to your profile and isn’t specific to any feature.”

Gizmodo [15]reported last year that Facebook uses that when a user gives Facebook a phone number for two-factor, it “became targetable by an advertiser within a couple of weeks.” And, if a user doesn’t like it, they can set up two-factor without using a phone number — which [16]hasn’t been mandatory for additional login security since May 2018.

Even if users haven’t set up two-factor, there are well documented cases of users having their phone numbers collected by Facebook, whether the user expressly permitted it or not. In 2017, one reporter for The Telegraph [17]described her alarm at the “look up” feature, given she had “not given Facebook my number, was unaware that it had found it from other sources, and did not know it could be used to look me up.”

To the specific concerns by users, Facebook said: “We appreciate the feedback we’ve received about these settings and will take it into account.”

Concerned users [18]should switch their “look up” settings to “Friends” to mitigate as much of the privacy risk as possible.

When asked specifically if Facebook will allow users to users to opt-out of the setting, Facebook said it won’t comment on future plans. And, asked why it was set to “everyone” by default, Facebook said the feature makes it easier to find people you know but aren’t yet friends with.

Others criticized Facebook’s move to expose phone numbers to “look ups,” [19]calling it “unconscionable.”

[20]Alex Stamos, former chief security officer and now adjunct professor at Stanford University, also [21]called out the practice in a tweet. “Facebook can’t credibly require two-factor for high-risk accounts without segmenting that from search and ads,” he said.

Since [22]Stamos left Facebook in August, Facebook has not hired a replacement chief security officer.
[23]Facebook’s weapon amid chaos and controversy: misdirection



Visible links
1. https://crunchbase.com/organization/facebook
2. https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-security/fixing-sms-notifications-for-those-using-two-factor-authentication/10155124741945766/
3. https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/27/yes-facebook-is-using-your-2fa-phone-number-to-target-you-with-ads/
4. https://twitter.com/jeremyburge/status/1101402001907372032
5. https://t.co/zpYhuwADMS
6. https://twitter.com/jeremyburge/status/1101402001907372032?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
7. https://www.facebook.com/help/117118145038822
8. https://www.facebook.com/help/131297846947406
9. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43656746
10. https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1101877937069088768?s=12
11. https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/20/what-happens-when-hackers-steal-your-sim-you-learn-to-keep-your-crypto-offline/
12. https://twitter.com/facebook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
13. https://t.co/9qKtTodkRD
14. https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1101877937069088768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
15. https://gizmodo.com/facebook-is-giving-advertisers-access-to-your-shadow-co-1828476051
16. https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-security/two-factor-authentication-for-facebook-now-easier-to-set-up/10155341377090766/
17. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/08/09/how-did-facebook-get-my-number-and-why-is-it-giving-my-name-out/
18. https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy&section=findphone&view
19. https://twitter.com/anildash/status/1102213461906464768
20. https://crunchbase.com/person/alex-stamos
21. https://twitter.com/alexstamos/status/1101963987602690048
22. https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/01/facebook-loses-its-chief-security-officer-alex-stamos/
23. https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/15/chaos-controversy-facebook-fights-misinformation-with-misdirection/
24. https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/15/chaos-controversy-facebook-fights-misinformation-with-misdirection/embed/#?secret=v7Q0RTsyhi

HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 130 - Loop: 40 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 59
Facebook won’t let you opt-out of its phone number ‘look up’ setting
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