This week, Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, was quoted as saying during a speech in Washington: "We can end government censorship in a decade. The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything." Earlier this week, we at greatfire.org successfully unblocked the Reuters Chinese website, which had been blocked on 15 November. We also unblocked the China Digital Times website, which has been blocked in China for years and earlier this month created mirrors for our FreeWeibo project.
For years, Google has been developing ways to help people living under oppressive regimes thwart online suppression. Today, the company unveils three new tools to help advance the fight. Starting Monday, Google users in places like Iran, Syria, China, and Russia will be able to mask their online identity with the help of a friend in a censor-free country. Human-rights groups will have a new tool to stop their governments from shutting down their websites.
Here's a simple and powerful campaign idea from UN Women using real suggested search terms from Google's autocomplete feature. Campaign creator Christopher Hunt, head of art for Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, offers this summary: “This campaign uses the world's most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.”
Two researchers, Mark Graham and Stefano De Stabbata, at the Oxford Internet Institute have depicted the world’s “Internet empires” in a map, below. The map shows each nation’s most popular website, with the size of nations altered to reflect the number of Internet users there. The map makes for a brief, informative look at how geographic—and universal—certain web tastes and habits are.
On Monday, Google became one of the first American companies to take advantage of newly loosened U.S. sanctions against Iran. With a Google Plus post, the search giant announced that it was offering its Play store to Iranian citizens, allowing them to download free apps from its app marketplace. The Treasury Department, which sets the export restrictions, issued the new rules back in May. But the recent easing is actually part of a longer process that doesn’t just change U.S.
Google search suggestions have transformed into a never-ending source of entertainment and a candid peek into what people look for in the world. We've seen insecurities change with age and stereotypes of states in the US. Noah Veltman banked on the locality of suggestions for a country-specific view of the world. He shows suggestions for the same query for the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
A Google representative from the company's global headquarters has discussed the decision to use "Palestine," not "Palestinian Territories," across the tech giant's products. At the Knesset committee meeting Wednesday, the Israelis didn't get very far in their attempts to change the American's mind.