Google and …

I keep meaning to post about all of the things that are happening with Google and now that I’ve built up a few, I’ll share them with you.

The latest issue of Cites & Insights has an interesting wrap up of commentary surrounding the recent court case between the Authors Guild  and Google over Google’s Book Search which raised issues of copyright and content ownership and usage. The wrap-up is available in both HTML and PDF. Terms of the settlement are available here and there is also more information about the legal ramifications on Google here.

In other Google news, Google have added yet another layer to their Google Maps venture by incorporating transport details for a limited number of cities. Google Earth also has new features including the ability to explore the ocean floor.

I have also been doing a bit of playing with a number of different search parameters which I came across on LifeHacker. They have a great section devoted to Google tips and tricks. Did you know that you can search for an image and limit it by size? No, then find out more! Google also has a page dedicated to helping you get the most out of your searching.

Facebook backpeddles

Facebook recently revised their Terms of Service (TOS) which caused a huge outcry from Facebook users in regards to the use (potential and actual) of the information and images that they had posted. Such was the backlash that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was quick to respond by assuring users that Facebook would be taking into consideration user feedback, rolling back their TOS to the previous version and rewriting the TOS with less legalese language.

Facebook users with concerns are encouraged to take part in the Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group which will assist Facebook management to draft the new TOS. Full text of Facebook’s current TOS can be viewed here.

More on Twitter

As we’ve previously mentioned on this blog, the use of Twitter and other social networking tools to spread news, and not just personal status updates, is growing rapidly. The latest PEW report supports these findings, stating:

“As with many technologies, enthusiastic users have used Twitter for more than just answering the question, “What are you doing?” Twitter has been used to help organize and disseminate information during major events like the 2008 California wildfires, the recent American elections, the Mumbai massacre and even the January 2009 crash of US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River. Janis Krum, a passenger on a ferry that rushed to the scene, took a photo of the plane with a cell phone and sent it out via his Twitter feed.4 Twitter and other status updates have also been used for many other purposes including the airing of complaints against companies, sharing ideas, forwarding interesting material, documenting events, conversing and flirting.”

The full text of the report can be downloaded from PEW Internet & American Life Project here.

Web 2.0 communication tools come through in a crisis

As most of you will be aware, there is a lot happening in Victoria, and in other parts of Australia, with wild bushfires burning. Staying up to date with all of the details as they happen can be hard but Web 2.0 applications such as Twitter have proved very useful in providing quick access to this information and applications like Facebook have given people access to information on the numerous ways that we can get involved to help those in need. The New Matilda has a really interesting article on the use of these applications to spread the word here.