The Virtual Revolution

It has been recently reported that Google has launched a new unified privacy policy which took effect March 1st. All data already collected about you, including search queries, sites visited, age, gender and location will be gathered and assigned to your online identity represented by your Gmail and YouTube accounts. Now that the policy has taken effect you are not allowed to opt out without abandoning Google altogether. Before the policy took effect, you had the option of deleting your Google Web History by modifying your settings so that Google is unable to associate data collected about you with your Gmail or YouTube accounts.

A break-down of how Google tracks us and alternative search engine: DuckDuckGo.com

There is a plugin that lets you keep your opt-out status for this browser even when you clear all cookies: Cookie Opt-out Plugin

Here is an article on ‘The Deep Web‘, which is currently ‘400 to 550 times larger than the commonly defined world wide web’. It’s supposedly the deep web that is the fastest growing category of new information on the internet and the internet searches we make are searching only 0.03% of the total web pages available.

An important documentary series, The Virtual Revolution, first shown on the BBC June 2010, explores how the Internet is molding almost every aspect of our lives and what is really going on behind this reshaping.

Marshall McLuhan, author of Understanding Media: The extensions of Man, saw that in the long run a medium’s content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act. ‘As our window onto the world, and onto ourselves, a popular medium molds what we see and how we see it and eventually, if we use it enough, it changes who we are, as individuals and as a society.’

Below is a 3D visualisation of the Experian Hitwise Network Map of internet usage in the UK September 2009. It illustrates how traffic flows between 30 of the top websites in the UK. The size of the bubble represents the website’s share of Internet visits (so Facebook and Google UK have the biggest bubbles), while the lines illustrate the amount of traffic moving between the sites (using their clickstream data).

More information and discussions/talks:

http://alekskrotoski.com/

http://untanglingtheweb.tumblr.com/

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