Forget about blackout poetry, Google enables highlight poetry in your browser!

Kevin Marks literally and figuratively highlighted a bit of interesting found poetry on Google’s Ten things we know to be true article. (Click the link to see the highlight poetry on Google’s page for yourself.)

A screenshot appears below:

Screenshot of a Google Page with the words "Doing evil is a business. take advantage of all our users" disaggregated, but highlighted so as to reveal a message.
Found poetry:
“Doing evil
is a business
take advantage of
all our users”

Here’s a shortened URL for it that you can share with others: bit.ly/D-ntB-Evil

It’s a creative inverse of blackout poetry where instead of blacking out extraneous words, one can just highlight them instead. This comes courtesy of some new browser based functionality that Google announced earlier this week relating to some of their search and page snippets functionality.

You can find some code and descriptions for how to accomplish this in the WISC Scroll to Text Github repository.

What kind of poetry will you find online this week?

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

Bookmarked Britney Spears spelling correction (archive.google.com)
The data below shows some of the misspellings detected by our spelling correction system for the query [ britney spears ], and the count of how many different users spelled her name that way. Each of these variations was entered by at least two different unique users within a three month period, and was corrected to [ britney spears ] by our spelling correction system (data for the correctly spelled query is shown for comparison).
There’s potentially some interesting corpus linguistics implied in some of this data.

hat tip: Kevin Marks

Read My GPS Logs by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki (Aaron Parecki)
I've had a fascination with maps for as long as I can remember. During family road trips to San Francisco I remember tracing our route on a map with a highlighter in real-time. Many, many years later, I am able to trace my route automatically with a GPS receiver on my phone. https://aaronparecki.com...
Aaron has really done some awesome map related work with his GPS tracking. Looking at just his personal map data for a year or two will give you an idea about how much other corporations can gain from tracking millions of people this way.

Looking at some of the map pins like for Target on his map will tell you that Google could potentially be using aggregate data about visits to companies as a way of knowing how well or poorly a company is doing and then using that data to make bets for or against companies in the stock market. This could give them the ability to front run investments if they wanted to.

Listened to Episode 400: With The Help Of Mark Zuckerberg by Manton Reece, Daniel Jalkut from Core Intuition

Manton and Daniel celebrate episode 400 by inviting Oisín Prendiville to join them for a conversation ranging from Oisín’s podcasting app Castro and the virtues of selling it to Tiny, to the state of the podcasting industry, to a story of bicycle theft and recovery.

Coverart for Core Intuition

Discovery feature: Podcast Shuffle – Manton’s 2005 blog post announcing a hack for listening to a random podcast episode. (Sadly this link seems to be gone from the web and isn’t on archive.org.)

–Originally bookmarked December 21, 2019 at 10:51AM

I like the idea of the microformats web extension. I suspect it could do with an update to microformats v2 though. The idea of being able to parse a page and add contact information or events directly to my address books or calendars is pretty awesome.

I could also appreciate it parsing a page and allowing me to use an h-card to quickly create a follow post and automatically add a page’s feed to my feed reader.

👓 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?

Social Reading User Interface for Discovery

I read quite a bit of material online. I save “bookmarks” of all of it on my personal website, sometimes with some additional notes and sometimes even with more explicit annotations. One of the things I feel like I’m missing from my browser, browser extensions, and/or social feed reader is a social layer overlay that could indicate that people in my social network(s) have read or interacted directly with that page (presuming they make that data openly available.)

One of the things I’d love to see pop up out of the discovery explorations of the IndieWeb or some of the social readers in the space is the ability to uncover some of this social reading information. Toward this end I thought I’d collect some user interface examples of things that border on this sort of data to make the brainstorming and building of such functionality easier in the near future.

If I’m missing useful examples or you’d like to add additional thoughts, please feel free to comment below.

Examples of social reading user interface for discovery

Google

I don’t often search for reading material directly, but Google has a related bit of UI indicating that I’ve visited a website before. I sort of wish it had the ability to surface the fact that I’ve previously read or bookmarked an article or provided data about people in my social network who’ve done similarly within the browser interface for a particular article (without the search.) If a browser could use data from my personal website in the background to indicate that I’ve interacted with it before (and provide those links, notes, etc.), that would be awesome!

Screen capture for Google search of Kevin Marks with a highlight indicating that I've visited this page in the recent past
Screen capture for Google search of Kevin Marks with a highlight indicating that I’ve visited his page several times in the past. Given the March 2017 date, it’s obvious that the screen shot is from a browser and account I don’t use often.

I’ll note here that because of the way I bookmark or post reads on my own website, my site often ranks reasonably well for those things.

On a search for an article by Aaron Parecki, my own post indicating that I’ve read it in the past ranks second right under the original.

In some cases, others who are posting about those things (reading, commenting, bookmarking, liking, etc.) in my social network also show up in these sorts of searches. How cool would it be to have a social reader that could display this sort of social data based on people it knows I’m following

A search for a great article by Matthias Ott shows that both I and several of my friends (indicated by red arrows superimposed on the search query) have read, bookmarked, or commented on it too.

Hypothes.is

Hypothes.is is a great open source highlighting, annotation, and bookmarking tool with a browser extension that shows an indicator of how many annotations  appear on the page. In my experience, higher numbers often indicate some interesting and engaging material. I do wish that it had a follower/following model that could indicate my social sphere has annotated a page. I also wouldn’t mind if their extension “bug” in the browser bar had another indicator in the other corner to indicate that I had previously annotated a page!

Screen capture of Vannevar Bush’s article As We May Think in The Atlantic with a Hypothes.is browser extension bug indicating that there are 329 annotations on the page.

Reading.am

It doesn’t do it until after-the-fact, but Reading.am has a pop up overlay through its browser extension. It adds me to the list of people who’ve read an article, but it also indicates others in the network and those I’m following who have also read it (sometimes along with annotations about their thoughts).

What I wouldn’t give to see that pop up in the corner before I’ve read it!

Reading.am’s social layer creates a yellow colored pop up list in the upper right of the browser indicating who else has read the article as well as showing some of their notes on it. Unfortunately it doesn’t pop up until after you’ve marked the item as read.

Nuzzel

Nuzzel is one of my favorite tools. I input my Twitter account as well as some custom lists and it surfaces articles that people in my Twitter network have been tweeting about. As a result, it’s one of the best discovery tools out there for solid longer form content. Rarely do I read content coming out of Nuzzel and feel robbed. Because of how it works, it’s automatically showing those people in my network and some of what they’ve thought about it. I love this contextualization.

Nuzzel’s interface shows the title and an excerpt of an article and also includes the avatars, names, network, and commentary of one’s friends that interacted with the piece. In this example it’s relatively obvious that one reader influenced several others who retweeted it because of her.

Goodreads

Naturally sites for much longer form content will use social network data about interest, reviews, and interaction to a much greater extent since there is a larger investment of time involved. Thus social signaling can be more valuable in this context. A great example here is of Goodreads which shows me those in my network who are interested in reading a particular book or who have written reviews or given ratings.

A slightly excerpted/modified screen capture of the Goodreads page for Melanie Mitchell’s book Complexity that indicates several in my social network are also interested in reading it.

Are there other examples I’m missing? Are you aware of similar discovery related tools for reading that leverage social network data?

👓 Don’t just Google it! First, let’s talk! | Jon Udell

Read Don’t just Google it! First, let’s talk! by Jon UdellJon Udell (Jon Udell)
Asking questions in conversation has become problematic. For example, try saying this out loud: “I wonder when Martin Luther King was born?” If you ask that online, a likely response is: “Just Google it!” Maybe with a snarky link: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=when was martin luther king born? https:...
I love the idea of this… It’s very similar to helping to teach young children how to attack and solve problems in mathematics rather than simply saying follow this algorithm.

👓 Toast | Adactio: Journal

Read a post by Jeremy KeithJeremy Keith (adactio.com)
Shockwaves rippled across the web standards community recently when it appeared that Google Chrome was unilaterally implementing a new element called toast. It turns out that’s not the case, but the confusion is understandable. First off, this all kicked off with the announcement of “intent to i...
Read Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy — and it's hard to delete by Todd Haselton,Megan GrahamTodd Haselton,Megan Graham (CNBC)
Google collects the purchases you've made, including from other stores and sites such as Amazon, and saves them on a page called Purchases.
Apparently https://myaccount.google.com/purchases is a reasonable place one could start for creating acquisition posts on their website. The downside is the realization that Google is tracking all of this without making it more obvious.