Saturday, January 2, 2016

Second on the 2nd: Not what I originally intended

I had a post ready showing that Second on the 2nd turned ONE today.  However, as things changed and I was reading my friend Krisha's blog on the 30th, I realized this post could NOT wait.  Here is what Krisha, who gave me permission to reprint this, wrote that she copied from Neet's blog:
Posted: 21 Dec 2015 03:02 AM PST

In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs.

As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.
We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.
Posted by Michael Goddard, Software Engineer
Please note all words in bold and italics were by me.  I have to ask whose experience it will improve: my readers and followers or Google's?  People seem to be confused by this act, but I am not.  After all, back in 2013, I wrote:
I was reading some of my favorite blogs the other night and saw a post by Terrie.  Her post warned about Google Reader going the way of everything else Google gets rid of when it doesn't make money (MY WORDS, not hers).  She suggested Feedly.
I suggest Bloglovin, since it's the one so many people are using.  But that's a bit off track, because the reason for this sudden change in attitude is so Google can get into YOUR computer, too.  If you have never had a Google account, you were flying the internet under, below, or off their radar.  Now that's no longer possible if you want to follow or even comment on blogs you love.  That leads me to my Second on the 2nd post which is from March 10, 2013.

On my soapbox

I'm on my soapbox. Can you tell? Maybe it's my alter-ego Wendy who is on a soap box. The box looks more her size, since they don't make those huge boxes of soap anymore, at least none I have seen. Regardless, I am truly on a rant, going against my normal policy of not badmouthing, trying to stay neutral, especially when it comes to the hand that "feeds me," so to speak.

So to make the rant a bit more palpable, I am including a few photos I took the last time I was at my city's Botanical Gardens.

Unless you are as untuned into current events as I seem to be, you already know about certain changes Google has made in the world of information. It seems Google has bundled most of its services (more than 60 of their 70 services) into one gynormous invasion of your privacy rights. As of March 1, Google has operated under what the Fox News Blog calls "a streamlined privacy policy that enables the Internet's most powerful company to dig even deeper into the lives of its more than 1 billion users." According to the Washington Post:
"Google collects and can integrate almost anything that’s already in the Google ecosystem: calendar appointments, location data, search preferences, contacts, personal habits based on Gmail chatter, device information and search queries, to name a few."
The easiest way to get rid of Google is to not use it. So, can YOU live without Google?

 Unlike this statue at the Botanical Gardens, Google is trying to keep their new policy under wraps, away from prying eyes and questioning entities. Is it legal? Many people, including the French data protection agency, Japanese authorities, and South Korea think it is a violation of their data protection laws and policies. According to ZDNet, "Collectively, the three markets constitute one of the largest cross-border violations of individual law by a technology giant we have seen in years." The French regulatory agency even warned Google's CEO that the new policy appears to violate the European Union's strict data-protection rules. Sadly, according to E-Week magazine, ". . . the laughable thing is that most governments or executive bodies can do nothing about it." Personally, I don't think it's a laughing matter!!

So you ask, what can I do to curb Google's theft of my privacy? Other than move to France, South Korea, or Japan, of course!!


 Although it is really a simple solution, it may not be obvious to many of you. Believe it or not, the word "GOOGLE" and "search engine" are not interchangeable, as many people believe. The word "Google" is not a VERB!! How many times have you heard the phrase, "just Google it" when someone suggests using an internet search during their on-line or in-person conversation? There are other search engines you can use, like Bing and MyPoints.
My new favorite is DuckDuckGo.  According to Wikipedia:
DuckDuckGo is an Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search term.  DuckDuckGo emphasizes getting information from the best sources rather than the most sources, generating its search results from key crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia and from partnerships with other search engines like Yandex, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yummly.

Of course, MY personal favorite search engine USED to be Scroogle, but it is now gone, but not for good (pun intended). You can't find it anywhere. According to The Register,
"In recent years, Scroogle has been unceremoniously booted off the interwebs by Google several times, after the company tweaked its output format to – at least temporarily – stop its search results from being scraped.
More sinisterly for conspiracy theorists, Google has vanished Scroogle from its search engine. Previously, even when the org's site was down it would still show up in the big G's results pages.
That's not the case anymore, however.
It could be that – ahead of Google's changes to its terms of service on 1 March – the company removed the interface page Scroogle was using to scrape the results from the ad broker's site."
It was of course, my favorite search engine, and now even IT is gone!!

Another problem with getting rid of Google, was pointed out by E-week:
"Of course, the challenge becomes: where to take your data. Bing would love it, but have fun getting it in there. You may want to stick with Google, in which case there are other ways to keep your data from being passed around like a peace pipe excessively under the new policies. Here's one way: Don't log into your user account (if you even have one)! You can still search, watch skateboarding dogs on Google and look up directions on Google Maps without signing into a Google account."
And that goes for visits to YouTube, too!
I love this wall of herbs that seem to find ways to grow, even in winter. Of course, our winter has been so mild, it seems more like a very, very windy spring. And although this wall is solid, it is not foreboding,

unlike Google, which is not only foreboding, but also impenetrable. Your chances of staying away from their ever growing suspicious search engine and combined user services are also foreboding. Is there any way, you ask, of getting around this onslaught? Not if you are a registered user of Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, or Blogger. But you can minimize the data Google gathers.

I can't reiterate this enough.
For starters, make sure you aren't logged into one of Google's services when you're using Google's search engine, watching a YouTube video, or perusing pictures on Picasa. Better yet, don't use ANY of Google's services any more than you absolutely MUST. That included Google's word and page translator.

The winter Botanical Gardens were quite lonely, and even though there were other visitors, most stayed inside or didn't venture past the entry. The rose garden, the most viewed garden during the rest of the year, is forlorn and lonely feeling now the roses are hibernating.

The above photo of the rose garden and Google's ability to keep our web histories are both pretty forlorn in my book. Does THIS scare anyone other than me? Google wants us to prove we're not a bot when we have to sign in to leave comments at certain Blogger sites. But they are treating us like bots when they choose to dictate where we "need" to be searching, whose sites (and now BLOGS) we need to be viewing, and where our data needs to be stored. Remember, searches result in money, but only when someone like you clicks on a search result. So of course, Google wants to anticipate what we will click on! And they want to know between what hours you are most likely to do it, too! This has turned into Google's not-so-subtle attempt at profiling you and me.

This wall is made of thick steel, which has a rust patina. The sayings, all from various Shakespeare plays, are cut away from the metal. On a sunny day, the sunlight shines through these gorgeous pieces that are actually positioned in a 270 degree arc.

This icon is from Google's own hand. To me, it looks like something that might have come from a WWII Nazi Germany sign. It scares me. All that is missing is the swastika. It is supposed to show how you can take your data with you, if you choose to move away from all things GOOGLE. But be aware, Google is in to so much of our lives now, it is difficult to let go. And that broken chain doesn't look all that convincing (or even liberating) to me.

Although I don't own a smartphone (or ANY cell phone, for that matter), I understand if it uses Google's Android software, it will be hard for you to get out of your two year contract, should you decide to get rid of all things Google. Which brings me to another point: you can't opt out of anything and you don't even get the choice to stay or protest your membership in any Google service.

According to The Guardian, a UK company,
"Users who write a memo on Google's online word processing program, Docs, might be alerted to the misspelling of the name of a friend or co-worker a user has communicated with on Google's g-mail. The new policy pools information from all Google-operated services, empowering the company to connect the dots from one service to the next."
Why I thought it was my duty to inform my readers and followers about this travesty is beyond me. But, since I am truly worried about all the privacy issues and future problems this new policy entails, I simply can't keep quiet about it. I guess part of it is because I don't like to be profiled.

Of course, I could just show a few more photos from the Botanical Gardens and forget Google. However, I realize Google isn't going to forget ME!! Have a great rest of the weekend everyone. I'm now off my soapbox, and so is Wendy. I would love to hear your thoughts on this new policy.

Although this is NOT the post I originally intended, it is the post that was necessary.  Please folks.  I would hate to lose any followers, but I understand if you choose to get your blog updates from other places.

Now it's your turn to share a second look.   All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, or one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed.  Then link below and Bleubeard and I, along with other Second on the 2nd friends, will be by to visit.  If you are new to Second on the 2nd, and your blog post permits only GOOGLE+ responses, I (and several others) can´t comment on your entry.  It's all in the way you set up your blog responses.

Please be aware this link is only good for five days, so it's best to post on the 2nd.

17 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Yes, the world is really being controlled by Google and Facebook, they are the big brothers watching us and feeding the NSA & co. We are all bound up in the big net! Loved your soap-box piece. Have a good day, and thanks for all the infos you have brought together. Hugs, Valerie

Krisha said...

Unfortunately I have to keep Google as I have a business, and I have to use Google to order the product. :( Other than that I use Yahoo, but now have to log into my blog with the Google account. NOT happy about all the changes, but the government and everybody else can track you a hundred ways you don't even think the new credit cards with the "chip" in it. Every time you use it all your data is shot out to who knows where.

I don't know where all this is going to leave blogging, I don't want to lose followers either......and so many blogs have just been deserted, or closed down. I'm going to hang in there and see where it all goes. Last big scare sent everybody to Bloglovin....nothing really became of it and nothing changed.

We are smart people and we (bloggers) WILL figure this all out and continue to make friends........

pearshapedcrafting said...

I have just read this and right now -with no food yet-I feel confused! I'm not even sure I will 'get' this after breakfast! As I look at the 'comment as' I see it says pearshapedcrafting (Google) Aaagh! If this is all the information we get I can't say it's very helpful of them! Chrisx ????

froebelsternchen said...

Controlling everywhere! That's right - since I try to do no bad things I let them controll me ... it's not that very big problem for me. Thank you for all the informations Elizabeth!
Your soapbox piece is super!

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- I will say I knew about some of the info you posted but not all of it. Interesting. I hate the invasion part- but I'm not sure there is any way in this world to totally avoid it, except maybe moving into the wilds of of some remote place and totally going off the grid, power and all. Hmm.This post got me thinking! :)

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Good post--thank you also to Krisha and Neet. It is very disturbing at how much info finds its way onto the web. I get really annoyed when I look around for a product that I want to buy and the next time I am on another site get bombarded with ads for things I just looked at!

When "they" first said they were doing away with friend connect, I wasn't that personally concerned because I always follow blogs by RSS which I get through my browser and now realize may also be G. It just blows my mind how you cannot get away from them.

Sandra Cox said...

Scary stuff. Thanks for taking the time to research all this out.

Divers and Sundry said...

I now follow blogs through inoreader because it was as close to the google newsreader as I could find. I'm very happy with it.

I never really understand "Google Friend Connect" so won't miss it. I can post comments on blogs no matter where they are hosted. What was the purpose of "google friend connect"? Were you using it? What is lost by not using it?

I'll be following this comment thread to see what other people's reflections on the subject are.

Meggymay said...

I am joining the ranks of the confused, I am in no way savi to things technical. So I think I will have to just keep the fingers crossed that my Blog will be okay when things begin to change out there. It was an interesting post to read,how many of us [me included] take things as clear and above board.
Yvonne xx said...

That really stinks! I already have LOTS of people telling me they can't comment on my (blogger) blog and now it is going to get worse? I wish I was tech smart enough to move my blog to another platform......

Carol said...

It gets frustrating trying to figure it all out. My brain just doesn't work that well any more :(

Gloria said...

The new way to log in (from last year) and all the extra clicks couldn't have been for our benefit. I almost never search except for blogs, while logged in through gmail. Remember to uncheck the "stay logged in" box - for our convenience (?) it's easy to click away without unchecking it. There is a place to Disable History Logs for your accounts. It might help a titch.

This is my first 2nd on the 2nd. Thanks for running it, it is nice to look back from time to time.

Happy New Year.

~*~Patty S said...

With Mr M home for a long weekend...I am feeling challenged knowing exactly what day/date it is and the 2nd slipped right by me.
I have noticed for some time when visiting Blogger blogs that it says at the top that they collect cookies and it goes on for about 3 sentences.
All of this is a reminder that nothing is really 'free'.
Other than the annoyance of pop up adds I am not terribly concerned about anyone knowing my business. It is not that exciting LOL. It is sad that something as 'good' as technology also has its dark invasive side.
I guess we'll be hearing lots more on this never ending issue.
Thanks for the info E. It may take a second or third read for me to really take it all in.
Also need to go back and see your botanical garden pix AND all this before I've had a cup of anything ;-)

Divers and Sundry said...

Thx, Elizabeth, for your response, but I'm still not understanding.

If people use Google Friend Connect now but do not have a google account and don't wish to get one, can't they just use some other way of following blogs? There are so many rss newsreaders out there.

I've been googling (I know, I know, not a verb) for more info on this, and I've run across information going back years on this issue and how best to deal with it. That may be why I never went with Google Friend Connect to begin with. I was burned badly when they closed down their rss reader.

I do have an address at Wordpress just in case Google shuts down blogger. "Be prepared". I was a girl scout ;)

Divers and Sundry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divers and Sundry said...

Thx, Elizabeth. You wrote, "They can follow in ANY way they choose, BUT, they MUST have a google account to leave a comment. There will be no more OpenID, anonymous, or other ways to leave a comment."

This would really surprise me. I haven't seen anything on the google product forum saying that commenting options will change in this way. I'm still looking, though.

I can see I have more research to do. If this is true, it will certainly have a negative impact on T Tuesday (just thinking selfishly here).

Anonymous said...

No where to hide any more I'm afraid, but...we can do our best to avoid over invasions. I don't use their saving features for sites or their cloud or other things. Like Patty said, we can't really avoid it. I do use bloglovin and that works pretty well but I notice they are now pushing you to web site that are all product and nothing else, as does facebook and everyone else. Part of the deal to be connected online no matter where you go. So we either navigate as smartly as we can, or get out entirely I guess. xox