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Philip Nelson
3,172 followers -
I'm a Googler, this is my personal account.
I'm a Googler, this is my personal account.

3,172 followers
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Fuzzy is awesome!

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Huge congratulations to the Google+ Local Team on today's launch! This was a big effort, spanning Local, Google+, Google Maps, and Search.

Share your thoughts on businesses you care about and see reviews from your friends, Zagat scores and summaries, and more - check it out at https://plus.google.com/local

Video on how it works: Google+ Local: Review your favorite places

... and on Mobile: Find the perfect place with Google Maps for Android

#googlepluslocal #local

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I believe the internet has been one of the greatest forces for good in the world over the past quarter century. So when the Guardian requested that I speak to them over the past few months about internet freedom, I decided it was important to participate.

I think the article is a pretty good read but is a short summary of a long discussion. My thoughts got particularly distorted in the secondary coverage in a way that distracts from my central tenets so I think they are worth clarifying here.

(see article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/15/web-freedom-threat-google-brin)

Today, the primary threat by far to internet freedom is government filtering of political dissent. This has been far more effective than I ever imagined possible across a number of nations. In addition, other countries such as the US have come close to adopting very similar techniques in order to combat piracy and other vices. I believe these efforts have been misguided and dangerous.

Lastly in the interview came the subject of digital ecosystems that are not as open as the web itself and I think this portion has led to some misunderstanding of my views. So to clarify, I certainly do not think this issue is on a par with government based censorship. Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed -- Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products. In fact, I am writing this post on an Imac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years. Likewise, Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring. Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world.

So what was my concern and what about Google for that matter?
I became an entrepreneur during the 90’s, the boom time of what you might now call Web 1.0. Yahoo created a directory of all the sites they could find without asking anyone for permission. Ebay quickly became the largest auction company in the world without having to pay a portion of revenue to any ISP. Paypal became the most successful payment company and Amazon soared in e-commerce also without such tolls or any particular company’s permission.

Today, starting such a service would entail navigating a number of new tollbooths and gatekeepers. If you are interested in this issue I recommend you read http://futureoftheinternet.org/ by +Jonathan Zittrain. While openness is a core value at Google, there are a number of areas where we can improve too (as the book outlines).

But regardless of how you feel about digital ecosystems or about Google, please do not take the free and open internet for granted from government intervention. To the extent that free flow of information threatens the powerful, those in power will seek to suppress it.

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We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.

A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.

Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?

+Babak Parviz +Steve Lee +Sebastian Thrun

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So many possible things to post today... but I thought I'd post David Drummond's brief but thoughtful blog post about SOPA and PIPA, and why these laws are at their root terrible ideas – which would cripple the Internet, harm businesses, give governments wide-ranging and unchecked power to censor speech, and not actually stop piracy.

I encourage each of you in the United States to sign this petition today:
https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/
and encourage our lawmakers to be thoughtful and deliberate in this matter, rather than getting roped in by a blatant power grab by an unscrupulous media industry.

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In just two decades, the world wide web has transformed and democratized access to information all around the world. I am proud of the role Google has played alongside many others such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Whether you are a student in an internet cafe in the developing world or a head of state of a wealthy nation, the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips.

Of course, offering these services has come with its challenges. Multiple countries have sought to suppress the flow of information to serve their own political goals. At various times notable Google websites have been blocked in China, Iran, Libya (prior to their revolution), Tunisia (also prior to revolution), and others. For our own websites and for the internet as a whole we have worked tirelessly to combat internet censorship around the world alongside governments and NGO promoting free speech.

Thus, imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress -- SOPA and PIPA -- give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial). While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don't believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.

This is why I signed on to the following open letter with many other founders - http://dq99alanzv66m.cloudfront.net/sopa/img/12-14-letter.pdf
See also: http://americancensorship.org/ and http://engineadvocacy.org/

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