rDigital News: Google’s privacy case, Lulu, NYTime’s bite-sized news

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This week’s headlines were all about the relationship between technology and our privacy. Google’s privacy case involving Safari is being settled with millions of dollars and a new dating app lets women anonymously rate the men on their Facebook. And in other news, the New York Times launched bite-size video news.

Here’s our recap:

Google settles privacy case

The Internet titan has agreed to pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia for bypassing privacy settings to be able to show ads to Safari users in 2011 and 2012.

google's privacyGoogle tracked users by using cookies and showed them personalized ads. This is only one of many privacy-related cases against the company. Current cases include investigations into a social networking tool called Buzz, illegal data collection by Street View vehicles and wiretapping to show personalized ads in Gmail.

More than ever before, we are in an era of information free-for-all. But these developments may signal to more regulation in digital privacy matters. Perhaps we’re not really ready to put all or walls down.

New app lets women rate guys on Facebook  

A new social networking app called Lulu lets women anonymously rate men who are their Facebook friends.

google's privacyThe anonymous rating system also lets women post “reviews” of the men in the form of hashtags: #NeverSleepsOver, #KinkyInTheRightWays, and the list goes on. Lulu uses these to calculate the man’s score from 1 to 10.

According to the New York Times, “the service has provided a sort of “Take Back the Internet” moment for young women who have come of age in an era of revenge porn and anonymous, possibly ominous suitors.”

Although the rating system being anonymous touches on the issue of privacy, the real story here is increasing importance of social currency. Not only do our professional digital identities have to be impeccable, so do our social digital identities.

Alexandra Chong, one of the founders of the app, said: “When you Google a guy, you don’t want to know if he voted Republican or what he wrote a paper about in college,” Ms. Chong said. “You want to know if mothers like him. Does he have good manners? Is he sweet?”

New York Times introduces minute-long news updates

google's privacyThe New York Times launched “The New York Times Minute” — short news updates published three times a day. The videos appear on the NYTimes.com homepage and on a dedicated blog site.

Executive Editor Jill Abramson described the videos as “a natural extension of our journalism that allows our viewers a quick and useful way to keep up with the news.”

For a publication whose reputation has been cemented by their in-depth features, their addition of a product that feeds “bite-size” information to readers is telling. The news cycle is becoming shorter and shorter.

According to Jesse Hirsh, “cable news created the 24/7 news cycle, but social media creates the 14,400, which is how many seconds are in the course of a day. Because it literally is a matter of seconds before you hear the news.”


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