Read Google now highlights search results directly on webpages (The Verge)
It doesn’t seem to be available everywhere just yet.

SearchEngineLand notes that this could have an impact on the ad market, since a website’s visitors may be automatically scrolled down past its ads to the relevant content. The publication notes that sites may need to change the location of their ads in light of Google’s latest feature. 

And of course there will be crazy implications for the adtech space.

Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 09:30AM

Clicking the snippet still takes you to the webpage that it pulled the information from, but now the text from the snippet will be highlighted in yellow, and the browser will automatically scroll down to the section in question. 

This is a feature that’s been implemented in most browsers for a while as fragmentions.

Hypothes.is has supported this sort of functionality for a few years now as well.

I’m curious how these different implementations differ?

Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 09:36AM

and started testing the functionality on HTML pages last year 

According to Kevin Marks, this is the GitHub Repo they’ve been using for creating this work: https://github.com/WICG/scroll-to-text-fragment#:~:text=the%20worst&text=a%20Google&text=serious%20breakage&text=behavior
Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 12:08PM

Read Do you really need all this personal information, @RollingStone? by Doc SearlesDoc Searles (Doc Searls Weblog)
Here’s the popover that greets visitors on arrival at Rolling Stone’s website: Our Privacy Policy has been revised as of January 1, 2020. This policy outlines how we use your informatio…
Holy crap that’s a lot of tracking for one site. What’s worse is that I can’t imagine really what or how they would honestly be monetizing it to their own benefit without selling me out as a person.
Read The biggest mistakes to avoid with your ePaper by Mary-Katharine Phillips (Twipe)
In our discussions with publishers, we often notice higher standards applied to websites than ePapers. This is intriguing, knowing the level of reader engagement of the latter, and seeing steady yearly growth of ePapers in the past eight years. Publishers often tell us their ePaper readers are their...
They’re definitely selling a product here, but it sounds like some solid advice. I should take a closer look at some other ePapers to see what the state of the art is. I’m quite curious what the tracking, advertising, and smaller scale surveillance capitalism effects are here.

👓 How “Don’t Be Evil” panned out | Memex 1.1 | John Naughton

Read How “Don’t Be Evil” panned out by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (memex.naughtons.org)

My Observer review of Rana Foroohar’s new book about the tech giants and their implications for our world.

“Don’t be evil” was the mantra of the co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the graduate students who, in the late 1990s, had invented a groundbreaking way of searching the web. At the time, one of the things the duo believed to be evil was advertising. There’s no reason to doubt their initial sincerity on this matter, but when the slogan was included in the prospectus for their company’s flotation in 2004 one began to wonder what they were smoking. Were they really naive enough to believe that one could run a public company on a policy of ethical purity?

👓 Thanks to Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever | The Intercept

Read Thanks to Facebook, your cellphone company is watching you more closely than ever by Sam BiddleSam Biddle (The Intercept)

AMONG THE MEGA-CORPORATIONS that surveil you, your cellphone carrier has always been one of the keenest monitors, in constant contact with the one small device you keep on you at almost every moment. A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept shows that the social network courts carriers, along with phone makers — some 100 different companies in 50 countries — by offering the use of even more surveillance data, pulled straight from your smartphone by Facebook itself.

Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads.

📑 Thanks to Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever | The Intercept

Annotated Thanks to Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever by Sam BiddleSam Biddle (The Intercept)
But these lookalike audiences aren’t just potential new customers — they can also be used to exclude unwanted customers in the future, creating a sort of ad targeting demographic blacklist.  
Reminder: What about the idea of creating a stand-alone version of a page builder plugin like Beaver Builder with a layer of IndieAuth and Micropub on top that would make it a potential Micropub client? I’ve pitched the idea that Medium.com could quickly be turned into a micropub client, why not these? Create a page and it’s general layout in a page building client and then send the payload to your website without the need to have the code running directly on your website!

I briefly spitballed the general idea of this with Robby McCullough today.

There’s also the potential that an IndieAuth/Micropub set up could be created to give advertising platforms the ability to access smaller portions of a website to essentially inject advertising into a site’s sidebars, footers, or content directly, maybe on a pay-per-pixel basis. I’d really have to implicitly trust an advertisement server to allow this however.

👓 Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding | Music Ally

Read Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding (Music Ally)

Another day, another podcasts startup attracting significant investment, amid the wider excitement around the spoken-word format. This time it’s a Los Angeles-based startup called Luminary, which is launching a slate of more than 40 podcasts including the likes of Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien as hosts. What’s more, the New York Times reports that Luminary has already secured nearly $100m of funding.

Its CEO Matt Sacks certainly has all the right lines when it comes to signifying ambitions, too. “We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming,” he said. “I know how ambitious that sounds. We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.”

The way Luminary has gone after some of the most prominent podcasters to create their next shows for its company mirrors what Spotify is doing – there’s something of a land-grab going on for anyone who’s proven their ability to engage listeners with this format. Luminary isn’t just a producer though: it’s launching its own app, which will offer an $8 monthly subscription for ad-free access to its entire lineup. The app will also have an ad-supported free section.

🎧 Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism | TWiT.TV

Listened to Triangulation 380 The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Leo Laporte from TWiT.tv

Shoshana Zuboff is the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. She talks with Leo Laporte about how social media is being used to influence people.

Links

Even for the people who are steeped in some of the ideas of surveillance capitalism, ad tech, and dark patterns, there’s a lot here to still be surprised about. If you’re on social media, this should be required listening/watching.

I can’t wait to get the copy of her book.

Folks in the IndieWeb movement have begun to fix portions of the problem, but Shoshana Zuboff indicates that there are several additional levels of humane understanding that will need to be bridged to make sure their efforts aren’t just in vain. We’ll likely need to do more than just own our own data, but we’ll need to go a step or two further as well.

The thing I was shocked to not hear in this interview (and which may not be in the book either) is something that I think has been generally left unmentioned with respect to Facebook and elections and election tampering (29:18). Zuboff and Laporte discuss Facebook’s experiments in influencing people to vote in several tests for which they published academic papers. Even with the rumors that Mark Zuckerberg was eyeing a potential presidential run in 2020 with his trip across America and meeting people of all walks of life, no one floated the general idea that as the CEO of Facebook, he might use what they learned in those social experiments to help get himself (or even someone else) elected by sending social signals to certain communities to prevent them from voting while sending other signals to other communities to encourage them to vote. The research indicates that in a very divided political climate that with the right sorts of voting data, it wouldn’t take a whole lot of work for Facebook to help effectuate a landslide victory for particular candidates or even entire political parties!! And of course because of the distributed nature of such an attack on democracy, Facebook’s black box algorithms, and the subtlety of the experiments, it would be incredibly hard to prove that such a thing was even done.

I like her broad concept (around 43:00) where she discusses the idea of how people tend to frame new situations using pre-existing experience and that this may not always be the most useful thing to do for what can be complex ideas that don’t or won’t necessarily play out the same way given the potential massive shifts in paradigms.

Also of great interest is the idea of instrumentarianism as opposed to the older ideas of totalitarianism. (43:49) Totalitarian leaders used to rule by fear and intimidation and now big data stores can potentially create these same types of dynamics, but without the need for the fear and intimidation by more subtly influencing particular groups of people. When combined with the ideas behind “swarming” phenomenon or Mark Granovetter’s ideas of threshold reactions in psychology, only a very small number of people may need to be influenced digitally to create drastic outcomes. I don’t recall the reference specifically, but I recall a paper about the mathematics with respect to creating ethnic neighborhoods that only about 17% of people needed to be racists and move out of a neighborhood to begin to create ethnic homogeneity and drastically less diversity within a community.

Also tangentially touched on here, but not discussed directly, I can’t help but think that all of this data with some useful complexity theory might actually go a long way toward better defining (and being able to actually control) Adam Smith’s economic “invisible hand.”

There’s just so much to consider here that it’s going to take several revisits to the ideas and some additional research to tease this all apart.

📑 Why I’m Leaving Medium | Praxis – Medium

Annotated Why I’m Leaving Medium by Tiago Forte (Praxis – Medium)
Online media, despite being so different from traditional printed media, is still trying to maximize its potential audience, and in order to do that, going for quantity over quality.  

🎧 “The Daily”: The Business of Selling Your Location | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Business of Selling Your Location by Michael Barbaro from New York Times

Smartphone apps track a staggering amount of data about our whereabouts every day. That data has become a hot commodity.

Just the national security implications for this alone should require regulations of these tech companies.