Monthly Archives: January 2012

Google’s “Good to Know” Campaign

Google’s new “Good to Know” Campaign was launched on Tuesday, providing users with easy to use tips and advice on online security, help in understanding the data users share, and tools they can use to manage their data. Topics covered include phishing, malware, cookies and personal identity protection. Interestingly, Google also trys to explain how search results can be tailored more individually if it knows about past activity. Google also taylors online ads based on personal data the tech giant collects, to more closely target the people likely to buy the products and services offered.

Google’s own history of personal data collection and subsequent user privacy disclosures calls into question the reason behind the media ad blitz and website. Google was taken to task in 2010 by the Federal Trade Commission when it exposed users personal information when a new social service called Buzz debuted. According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, the ad campaign is “really just a PR offensive to help dim the increased scrutiny of Google’s privacy practices.” (Huffington Post online.) 

Is Google really concerned with educating the public regarding protection of personal information and online privacy? Or is it just covering the bases in regards to its own past lapses?

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Naps can make you smarter

According to Ian Yarett in the January 9th issue of Newsweek, a midday nap “not only can restore brain power to its fully awake best but can also raise it beyond what it would have been without some shut-eye.” (p. 33)  Google, Nike and other Silicon Valley companies provide nap rooms for employees, and the siesta has a long and favorable history in Spain. (I now have new ammunition in my ongoing battle with my husband over the benefits of napping.) Any kind of brain downtime, it turns out, can also have a positive effect on long-term memory retention and increased cognitive function, so sit back, relax, unhook yourself from your electronic devices, and let your thoughts flow spontaneously. Me? I’m going home for a quick 20-winks this afternoon.

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