Brian FungFriday 31 March 2017 13:19 BST
Even when it is not tied directly to a name, certain types of data can shed light on a person's medical history, financial details, even their sexual preferences. Even the type of porn sites a person visits can be revealing.
In an announcement Thursday, the website Pornhub — which claims to get 75 million visitors per day — said it has adopted HTTPS, a security measure that adds encryption to a site to guard visitors against snooping and attack. Its sister site, YouPorn, will also be adding HTTPS on April 4, according to parent company MindGeek.
“With the switch to HTTPS, we are able to protect identity as well as safeguard them against exposure to malware by third parties,” said Corey Price, a vice president at Pornhub. The move by Pornhub has been months in the making.
“Privacy is paramount to us – it always has been,” Price added. “With HTTPS, users can rest assured that their browsing data is encrypted, not visible to anyone and, therefore, cannot be sold. While this transition… was in the works before Congress’ appeal, the timing is good.”
Here's what that means in practice. Visitors to these sites should see a green padlock icon in their browser's URL bar, a sign they are viewing the secured version of the site. Privacy experts say HTTPS helps prevent third parties — such as your Internet provider — from seeing more detailed information. While HTTPS doesn't prevent an Internet provider from recording a visit to a site like Pornhub, in practice it keeps providers from knowing which specific videos visitors may have watched, category links they may have clicked on, or searches they may have made on the site.
“If you go to an HTTPS website with a little lock, the arc of visibility of an ISP is much diminished,” said Chris Calabrese, a policy executive at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Sites without HTTPS support — pornographic or otherwise — don't provide these protections.
Internet users can force their browsers to view the secure version of any site (if there is one) with certain software extensions.
Pornhub safe-for-work ads
The “Google Guys,” Larry Page and Sergey Brin, first met at Stanford University in 1995 when Sergey (21) was assigned to show Larry (22) around the school. Google was first incorporated as a private company on September 4, 1998, and held its initial public offering on August 19, 2004.
According to its website, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and “make it universally accessible and useful.”
Google uses approximately 20 petabytes of user-generated data every day. (Petabytes are estimated at 10 to the 15th power.
- So 1 petabyte is approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.) It uses massive amounts of computation to index the Web, process search results, serve up ads, and more.
In May 2011, over 1 billion unique visitors visited the Google website, up 8.4% from a year earlier. Microsoft came in second with 905 million visitors. Facebook and Yahoo held the third and fourth positions with 714 million and 689 million visitors, respectively.
Facebook users spend the most minutes on the Internet with over 250 billion minutes in May 2011. Microsoft and Google came in second and third with 204 billion and 200 billion minutes, respectively.
In June 2000, Google became the world’s largest search engine.
In June 2006, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added “Google” as a verb.
In Feb 2002, Klingon became one of Google’s 72 language interfaces.
In 2010, Google’s total assets were $57.851 billion dollars.
Google’s employee perks are famous. For example, at one time they offered a $5,000 hybrid car subsidy to encourage cleaner technologies. It was eventually killed to reduce company costs during the economic downturn.
In January 2003, the American Dialect Society voted the word “Google” as the “most useful” Word of the Year for 2002.
An early version of Google at Stanford could analyze 30-50 pages a second. Currently, it’s millions of pages a second.
Creators Page and Brin once considered calling Google the “What Box.” However, Brin recalled that it sounded like “wet box,” which sounded “like some kind of porn.”
The authors of A Billion Wicked Thoughts crunched data from Google, Bing, and Yahoo! and ranked the most popular terms relating to sex. The top 10 terms are the following:
1. youth (13.5%) 2. gay (4.7%) 3. MILFs (4.3%) 4. breasts (4%) 5. cheating wives (3.4%) 6. vaginas (2.8%) 7. penises (2.4%) 8. amateurs 9. mature 10. animation.
Google originated at the Stanford School of Engineering as an attempt to catalog and analyze the World Wide Web. It first ran at Stanford with the user name “google.stanford.edu.”
Google uses over 1 million computers for is operation and handles over 1 billion search requests—per day.
The late Steve Jobs said he would be willing to “go thermonuclear war” against Google, a company he thought was guilty of “grand theft” when it launched its Android operating system.
If you use Google Calendar, Google may also know your schedule, what books you’ve read on Google Books, and what videos you watch on YouTube. They also save all your search queries, your IP address, your browser and its set language, the date and time of every request, your SMS messages, the cookies used for advertising services, and third-party application data. According to one critic, “Google knows more about you than your mother.”
Fellow graduate student Sean Anderson suggested Google creators Page and Brin name their site “googolplex.” Page suggested they shorten it to “googol,” which refers to the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. Anderson mistyped “googol” as “google,” which was an available name. The name reflects Google’s mission to organize the massive amounts of information on the Web.
Google Inc.’s first employee was Craig Silverstein, a fellow computer science graduate student at Stanford. He was hired September 1998. He currently serves as director of technology at Google.
In November 1999, the caterer for the Grateful Dead, Charlie Ayers, joined Google as the company’s first chef. He won the job in a cook-off that was judged by Google’s 40 employees.
Google’s tradition of April Fool’s jokes began in April 2000 when Google announced the “MentalPlex,” or Google’s ability to read a person’s mind as he visualizes the search results he wants.
Christina Elwell, a former Google sales executive, sued Google for job discrimination when she was pregnant with quadruplets. The court granted Google's request to move the case to arbitration rather than to a public trial.
In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked Google as the best place in the U.S. to work.
The “Chief Culture Officer” is an actual job title at Google. His or her main responsibility is to retain the company’s unique culture, which includes flat organization, lack of hierarchy, a collaborative environment, and keeping Googlers happy.
Reluctant to leave school to devote time to their new search engine, Page and Brin attempted to sell google.com for $1 million to AltaVista. Fortunately for them, Alta Vista passed . . . as did Yahoo!, Excite, and other search engines.
The most searched words on Google are always changing, but the following words receive the highest search requests: Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Google, and sex/video.
Google uses goats to eat brush and reduce fire hazard in fields near their California Mountain View headquarters.
In October 2011, Google Earth reached its 1 billion download mark.
During the 2011-2012 Egyptian crisis, Google launched a special service that allows people without Internet to send Twitter messages by dialing a phone number and leaving a voicemail. The voicemail is automatically translated into messages on Twitter.
When Google introduced its “Did you mean . . .?” feature, site traffic doubled.
Google makes 99% of its profit from its advertising. Google also has the ability to track and analyze a person’s online behavior and inform advertisers what sites a browser has visited, what ads have been clicked on, and what search terms have been used.
Some Web researchers note that Google helps prop up Wikipedia as an information source since more than 50% of the traffic to Wikipedia is generated from Google searches.a
Google has managed to reduce its tax rates by billions of dollars by taking advantage of offshore tax havens such as Ireland and Bermuda. The top corporate income tax level in the U.S. is 35%. In Ireland, it’s only 12.5%, and in Bermuda it’s zero.
Google has been criticized for manipulating its search results, using others’ intellectual property, the amount of energy its computers consume, as well as monopoly, antitrust, and restraint of trade issues. The company has also been criticized for sexism and ageism.
In 2010, Google admitted that for the previous three years, it mistakenly collected information people sent over unencrypted wi-fi networks.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt raised eyebrows when in a 2011 interview he said that he doesn’t think people want Google to answer their questions, rather they want Google to “tell them what they should be doing next.”
In 2011, Google claimed the Chinese government was preventing Gmail users in China from accessing their accounts. China’s goal in these attacks is reportedly to stifle online revolutionary talk similar to those that launched Arab revolutions.
When Google went public, many employees became instant millionaires. Yahoo!, which owned 8.4 million shares of Google stock before Google’s IPO, also benefited.
Privacy International in 2007 ranked Google as not only “Hostile to Privacy” but as also having the worst privacy policies among popular net firms. It criticized Google for the mass amounts of data it gathers about users and their activities.
In 2008, a Christian group sued Google for refusing to take its anti-abortion advertisements. Google claimed that it refused the advertisement because the company has a policy of declining sites that mix the issue of abortion with religious views. The suit was settled amicably out of court, and Google agreed to publish their ads.
Researchers have expressed concern that many Internet users assume the Google search engine represents reality, and that if some information is not on Google, it is either not important or it does not exist.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt created controversy when he told Google users that the future of the Web is headed toward complete transparence and no anonymity. He says that if Google looked at enough of a person’s messaging and a person’s location, it could predict where a person will go. Additionally, according to Schmidt, if a person has just 14 photos on the Internet, Google could accurately identify the person.
Kinderstart.com sued Google in 2006 for setting its PageRank to zero, which caused the site to lose 70% of its audience. Kinderstart claims that Google penalized the site with the low ranking with no reason and no warning. The court ruled that Google has the right to de-rank any site they want.
Google’s informal motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” though Google created an “evil scale” when it decided in 2006 to offer censored search results in China rather than none at all.e
The U.S. government has pressured Google to provide extensive Google usage records to further investigations into online pornography.
In 1998, the Google homepage used a Yahoo-similar exclamation mark in its logo.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin considered calling Google “Googolplex,” which is 10 to the power of googol. They later adopted the name Googleplex for their corporate campus in Mountain View, California.
Critics have noted that without Google, the Internet might still be in its “pre-Hellenistic Age.”
Stanford, which holds the patent to the PageRank algorithm Larry Page created, received 1.8 million shares of Google stock in exchange for long-term rights to the patent. Stanford’s profit was $336 million, most likely the most money any university has ever received from a single invention.
There are Google bikes parked throughout the Googleplex that employees can hop on and ride from building to building. None of them is locked; employees simply take them when they need them. Additionally, a doctor regularly visits the Google campus so Googlers don’t have to leave the office for a checkup. Google is also known for its “20% time,” the one day a week that employees can take simply to work on something that interests them.
Google has extraordinary on-campus daycare centers for employees’ children, which are based on a philosophy called Reggio Emilia, a self-directed learning program. However, in 2008, the company realized it was subsidizing each child to the price tag of $37,000 a year. As a comparison, to get a PhD in computer science at Stanford it costs $34,000 a year.
Page and Brin insist that the number of words on Google’s home page not exceed 28.
In one week in February 2011, Google received a record 75,000 job applications for 6,000 openings.
Google owns YouTube, DoubleClick, On2 Technologies, Picnik, Aardvark, AdMob, Zagat, and Motorola Mobility.