Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why Libraries Matter: A day in the New York Public Library system

[brightcove vid=3572479669001&exp3=1054655355001&surl=,AAAABvb_NGE~,DMkZt2E6wO3_sfth6vHgTpNZZSEwcydt&lbu=]

This fantastic short film helps capture the impact that libraries have on the lives of their users. If you have 10 minutes, it's definitely worth watching!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Google ads and you: want to opt out?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="636"] Google's got a bright idea that users may not have heard about yet, if they missed the announcement last month[/caption]

Last month, Google announced an update to their Terms of Service (TOS) that allows them to use aspects of your Google+ profile for targeted ads.  Which means what?  It means that Google could use your name, picture, and reviews you've given in ads targeted to people in your Google contacts or Google+ circles.  It also means that if you're over 18, your face will start popping up in other folks' searches for "doing anything from leaving a YouTube comment to starring something in Google Play to giving it the +1 treatment."

So let's say you're not interested in the review of the local Thai joint popping up when an acquaintance you've emailed once or twice searches for good local Thai food. Can you avoid having your likeness used? The answer, fortunately, is "yes." All you have to do is opt out via this link while you are logged into your Google account. Then go ahead and click the option to not have aspects of your profile used in this way and SAVE.

Situations like this are why it's important to read the TOS set forth by websites and online communities in which you participate. Companies purposely try to make TOS long so that people avoid reading the whole thing; by making it more onerous to read, companies are betting that you will just click "I agree" in order to gain access to a resource, and are also betting that you won't care much about future changes due to your usage of the site/product at a future date. Make sure you take time to educate yourself on what companies are doing with data, and what rights you're signing away when clicking that agreement box on a TOS!