Typical Week of Online Strangeness

In a typical week of online strangeness, there are a few items that might bear further consideration or thought.

There Goes the Internet
An international team of hackers called anonymous is threatening to shut down the world wide web on Saturday. I’m fine with that. I could use a break just as long as everything is up in time for the first episode of Game of Thrones season two on Sunday.

There Goes the Data
Google is continuing to roll out secure browsing and search, which (according to them) is all about online security. The online marketing folks are starting to fret about losing access to referring keywords. For the uninitiated, when a searcher reaches a web page the search engine typically tells the web page which keywords were searched  to get the visitor there. If the searcher is logged into any Google product or browser, that data is not hidden. The biggest impact is in Search Engine Optimization as it is tough to figure out which keywords are driving traffic when those keywords are obscured by these changes. Interestingly, Google continues to send that data if the traffic is paid search. So your privacy is less important when you are clicking on ads as opposed to pages.

Chin Chin Click Click
I’m a Brit by birth and I still get to visit the old country on a fairly regular basis. Visiting from the U.S. was a lot like visiting from an alternate reality where we had developed the Internet and they were stuck in the rotary phone stage. As recently as a couple of years ago, I would be shocked to see the equivalent of 800 numbers as the main point of user interaction as opposed to websites or Facebook pages. Internet access tended to be slow, expensive and cumbersome. It now turns out that the U.K. is finally getting with the program. Over the past five years, Internet use has grown by 50%. Brits (like everyone else) are rapidly becoming consumers of mobile Internet through smart phones, and even online security fears are reducing. I have never known a people so devoted to their cell phones as the Brits. They are always on all of the time, so that doesn’t surprise me. The reduced fear factor is a bit more surprising as the Brits are inherently mistrustful of all business and the feeling that “they” are out to cheat you is very common. The mere fact that they are the most regulated and watched people on earth is apparently neither here nor there.

Search Like an Egyptian
In a move that would make any Ayatollah proud, an Egyptian court has attempted to ban Egyptians from searching for online adult content. As we collectively listen for the slam of the stable door long after the horse has bolted, I’d be much more impressed if Egypt would move to legislate against the real obscenity of honor killings where young women are legally murdered by their family members to revenge a perceived slight to the family name. On a related topic, a man has just been arrested and faces up to five years in jail in Indonesia for declaring on Facebook that God does not exist.

Facebook Still Searching
Every week or two a new story emerges about Facebook revamping their search to compete with the big G. Sure enough that plot line reared its ugly head again this week. Hard upon the launch of Google+, Google is clearly trying to get more social content into its results set. That’s not necessarily always a good thing. I’d rather have real results than coincidental social content from people I happen to know.

And Finally
If you have a low opinion of social media, help is at hand. For a little less than ten bucks a roll you can have your Twitter posts or Facebook timeline printed on bathroom tissue for your enjoyment when you have a few minutes to spare.

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