Tagged: Google


Google Earth and Caste Discrimination in Japan

With gratitude to Funmi Arewa for sending me this link, here’s an interesting story from the Times Online about an unexpected area in which Google has found itself in hot water.  In adding information to some modern day maps of Japan on Google Earth, Google engineers overlaid some old maps of Japan on the modern sattelite images.  This effectively shows how some of the old Japanese ghettos relate to modern 21st centry streets.  Unfortunately, it also provides a proxy that effectively allows prospective employers to guess on the ancestry of people who may be applying for jobs and to identify them as likely members of a caste considered as “untouchables” and condemned to the worst positions in the social and cultural hierarchy.  Google did not realize how offensive and problematic this data-driven action could be within Japan.  It’s a great example of how modern technology can clash with deeply ingrained cultural mores.

On another note, this is my last post for Concurring Opinions as I’m heading off tomorrow for my first long weekend vacation in (too) many years!  Thanks so much to Dan and the whole Concurring Opinions crowd for having me.  I hope to visit again sometime.  Happy summer vacation everyone…


Search Engine Trivia

Again, I’m writing about trivia while there are important things going on in the world (eg Supreme Court nominations as Gerard previously noted).  However, while reading “Google Speaks“, I’ve picked up some search engine trivia that people might like to test their knowledge on.  How many of the following questions can you answer?

1.  Where did Google’s “PageRank” algorithm get its name?

2. Where did Google get its name from?

3. Where did Yahoo get its name from?

[answers below the fold]

Read More


Wolfram Blah

News reports were tantalizing — the new search engine could be a Google killer. The Times read:

A revolutionary new search engine that computes answers rather than pointing to websites will be launched officially today amid heated talk that it could challenge the might of Google.

Other news outlets, like the LA Times, were also gushing.

Does Wolfram Alpha live up to the hype? Read More