Tag Archives: Google

Web vs Internet?

Last Monday, the Queen Elizabeth prize for engineering was awarded to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen for their contribution in the current revolution in communications that has taken place in recent decades. Every one of them were treated as inventors of the internet while in reality, this is more complicated.

After the awards, the question was raised if people really understand the difference between the internet (a single application) and the infrastructure that makes it possible, the web. In reality, Cerf, Kahn and Pouzin can legitimately get most of the credit for designing the network; Berners-Lee built the web on the foundations laid by them; and Marc Andreessen in turn built on Berners-Lee’s work by creating the first major web browser. So what’s the difference between the web and the net?

There is a general and increasing misconception around the difference between the internet and the web. Currently, there are 2.4 billion internet users in the world, which means about 4.6 billion people are still unconnected. As the Guardian rightfully states, it will not come as a surprise to you that both Facebook and Google are already targeting them. At present, Facebook, for its part, has signed up 44% of the US population, 30% of Europeans and 37% of Latin Americans. But it only has 6.6% of Asians and even fewer (5%) Africans. Most users of the internet in poor countries will be connecting to it via mobile phones. As a result, both Facebook and Google are persuading wireless carriers in poor countries to offer customers free or very cheap online access that is limited to stripped-down versions of the web giant’s sites. Once those new web consumers will get experience in the ‘proprietary worlds’ of Facebook and Google, they will demand more and will be willing to pay for it.

As a result, more and more people will believe that Facebook or Google IS the Internet….

So why does this matter? The network that Cerf and Kahn built was deliberately designed as an open, permissive system. Anyone could use it, and if you had an idea that could be realised in software, then the net would do it for you, with no questions asked. Tim Berners-Lee had such an idea – the web – and the internet enabled it to happen. And Berners-Lee made the web open in the same spirit, so Mark Zuckerberg was able to build Facebook on those open foundations.

However, people like Mark Zuckerberg do not have the intention to allow anyone to use Facebook as the foundation to build their own applications (which Facebook cannot control). In other words, through Facebook’s and Google’s smart market entry strategy more and more people will consider the internet and the web to be similar, and Facebook and Google to be THE internet. Questionable don’t you think?






Government surveillance using data of Google

Google’s Transparency Report showed that government surveillance of online lives is rising rapidly. In the first 6 months of this year, governments from around the world made 21,000 requests for access to Google data.
Google has been publishing a “Transparency Report” twice a year since 2009 and has observed a sharp rise in government demands for data. Top of the list was the US government who demanded data 7,969 times in the first six months of this year. As the
table below shows, India came second and Brazil third.


(January to June 2012)

  • United States – 7,969
  • India – 2,319
  • Brazil – 1,566
  • France – 1,546
  • Germany – 1,533
  • UK – 1,425

On the contrary, Turkey topped the list for requests to remove content. According to Google, these requests often reflect the laws on the ground. For instance, in Brazil there were a lot of requests to remove content during elections as there is a law banning parodies of candidates. The top three reasons for content removal were defamation, privacy and security.


(January to June 2012)

  • Turkey – 501
  • United States – 273
  • Germany – 247
  • Brazil – 191
  • UK – 97

Worldwide authorities made 1,789 requests for Google to remove content, up from 1,048 requests for the last six months of 2011. Turkey submitted 148 requests for the removal of data related to the first president of the country, the current government, and national identity and values. Others included claims of pornography, hate speech and copyright.

Google has its own criteria for whether it will remove content – the request must be specific, relate to a specific web address and have come from a relevant authority.

With its Transparency Report, Google aims to share how governments interact with online services and how laws are reflected in online behaviour.





Project Glass (video)

This clever video showcases the new Google glasses, Project Glass which aims to make the most of technology.

But how does this tie into Smart cities? This demonstration of Project Glass puts travel updates such as “Subway service suspended” up, right in front of the users eyes. If linked in with the Smart City concept, the updates would be even more detailed. The user would have know the subway was suspended long before he left his home. Not to mention, he would have been able to find the quickest alternative mode of transport, and the exact location of the next bus.

Project Glass is the tip of the iceberg of what is to be a world of smart technology, a world that is revolutionised in new ways of efficiency.