From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 16 May 02 - Pigeons, Privacy & Annoying Gadgets
Shocking news today, gentle riders. Google is exploiting helpless animals, Hotmail wants to share your most intimate personal info with the world, and ...[shudder]... some idiot has just made it point and click easy to put annoying gadgets on a web site. Read on!
Have you ever wondered how Google does it? There are two billion web pages out there in cyberspace and somehow Google can find the one you want with amazing speed and accuracy. I suspected foul play, and as it turns out, that guess wasn't far off the mark.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have devised an ingenious system known as PigeonRank, which relies on the unique capacity of domestic pigeons to distinguish among similar objects -- an ability that enables them to select relevant web sites from among thousands of similar pages. By enslaving enormous flocks of pigeons in dense clusters, Google can process search queries much faster than other search engines.
Google claims to exceeds all international standards for the ethical treatment of pigeons, but some industry observers are skeptical. For the complete story, click here:
A few weeks ago, we alerted TOURBUS readers to potential abuses of your privacy by Yahoo. Now another high-profile webmail provider may be up to similar tricks. The Eastside Journal of Bellevue Washington is reporting that Hotmail has changed some users' personal profile settings by adding and/or pre-checking option boxes that would permit Hotmail to share email address, date of birth, occupation and other information with Microsoft and their business partners.
I checked my Hotmail preferences and didn't find any evidence of profile tampering, but I advise Hotmail users to check their privacy settings regularly to see if they have been altered without consent. You can read the article by Cydney Gillis and interesting commentary from Slashdot users at these links:
For some web designers, it was a sad day when the