One Google with thousand tentacles...
but they haven't built a better mousetrap, and they're up against the greatest mousetrap ever known to mankind
Even Search has become markedly less useful, a common story around here, to the point where even nonbubbled proxied Startpage.com searches are disappointing.
Maps becomes less reliable all the time from a user perspective (in my immediate region, to cover my ass I guess).
Chromecast and YouTube, in general and in conjunction, have become...bloated, buggy, user-tracking-first embarrassments of their original versions...don't get me started on Gmail.... if you're gonna take all my info, at least be good at your services. Especially the ones I pay for.
Even having 1-5% of the search market is a pretty great business. Not everyone needs to be Google-scale to be a success.
However, it is nowhere as effective as commercial services. So much that the most effective way of finding pirate stuff is often to Google them despite all the copyright takedowns.
Only because they are small? That seems to imply that if they ever get big, they’ll no doubt become evil, privacy-wise. Apple proves that does not have to be the case.
But DDG is primarily funded by search, and the search business is funded by ads, which are more valuable based on targetting quality, which is improved by... data. About the unique user, specifically. For DDG to grow while maintaining search as it’s primary business, it’s difficult to imagine them not eventually (or at least, being heavily incentivized to) approach/mimic google-style of data collection — because data collection is their money maker.
Apple is unique amongst FAANG in being non-data-reliant, from the start; they never had strong incentives to turn to it, and took the opportunity to stand against it, improving their primary business without any immediate loss (they’re hit by opportunity cost for it, but otherwise).
For example they continuously collect GPS position + list of WiFi APs from iPhone users to build their crowd-source'd wifi location database: "To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. Where available, location-based services may use GPS, Bluetooth, and your IP Address, along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations, and other technologies to determine your devices’ approximate location."
They also state: "We also use personal information to help us create, develop, operate, deliver, and improve our products, services, content and advertising, and for loss prevention and anti-fraud purposes."
For client-side Google software like Android/Chromium at least we got to fork and remove the evil bits; we have built thriving communities based on that and everyone's got an alternative to Google. In the case of iOS/Safari do we trust Apple-provided binaries solely based on claimed policy / reputation?
So, does it really matter if Apple doesn't directly operate their advertising business and instead outsources it?
We should be more clear in distinguishing various levels of attacks to privacy.
It really doesn't match their heavy privacy-first marketing push of late.
And for things like Siri it's hard to imagine that they aren't going to get increasingly creepy on the data collection aspect of things. It's sort of necessary to build out a "real" assistant. Asking things like "What time is my flight?", which is a useful feature, requires it to know when your flight is. Which you probably didn't manually tell it, because that's not very assistant-y, but instead it had to crawl your emails to find it. That ends up being creepy data collection. They could do it purely on-device, but then your homepod can't answer the same question, which breaks the magic. Unless they build some way for the homepod to ask all your other Apple devices. But if all your devices form a collective network that can share data about you between each other is it really "purely local" anymore? And what stops Apple from joining in on that mesh network whenever they want?
What should actually be eye opening is how Apple actually does protect privacy. They should be applauded and not condemned.
On your second point, they Tim Cook has already said on their earnings calls that they could have monetized user data if they wanted to and chose not to. In fact they built Apple Maps at huge cost specifically so they would not have to give personal data to Google. They've been very clear about this.
They can always choose not to operate in those countries. But they do, and accordingly making a conscious decision to endorse those laws in the name of profit.
Or are you saying that no foreign companies anywhere should do any business at all in China and no tourists should go there because doing so and obeying the laws is tantamount to taking personal responsibility for them?
By extension, I suppose this means that, by not breaking them, you are personally endorsing every law of the country in which you currently reside, or any countries you have or will ever visit?
2 if you're making that point, there's still a difference between action and omission. Nobody would held you accountable if you don't actively try to topple a murderous regime, but if somehow it's laws require to participate in the stoning of a person, well, maybe you should grab a ticket to home instead of a stone, or at least is expected for you to weight the situation, not just shrug and quote: "well, it's the law".
What Apple is doing is more like visiting a country and being told you either have to participate in stoning someone or pay a fine, and they are paying the fine. That's why they won't operate iCloud services in China, which will instead be run by a Chinese company which Apple will have to pay for the service.
Good on Apple and DDG for realising that privacy has value and using that to grow their product.
http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html (scroll down to "Appendix A: Advertising and Mixed Motives")
The closest might be recommendation systems, but afaik even Netflix only collects from its own information pools, and the main chunk of it is probably for their custom shows; Amazon definitely doesn't track that much data about their users, because their recommendation system might actually be useful if it did.
Also keeping an internal profile of registered user is very different from squeezing every cent of advertising out all available user data
Not sure how it works, but whatever I see on Amazon shows up as ads on Facebook.
A real concern for privacy has only ever existed in the open source world, and google and apple have effectively crushed that threat.
As is, many of the Mac diehards I know have migrated their kids off the platform in the past year or two, and some have made the leap themselves. Its a sea of change from just a few years ago.
By handing over all iCloud data of Chinese users to the Chinese government?
You surely must be jesting!
Regardless what your view is, are you seriously suggesting companies should break the laws of the countries they operate in?
Before you say: “unjust laws, yes!” Consider what laws Chinese consider unjust, should they be allowed to break them within the US?
I would err on the side of: if you don’t agree with the values of a country then don’t offer your services. Capitalism, of course puts no value on values, so profit is the only ethical code a business should follow (logically).
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
This company is:
2) Google (project Dragonfly)?
Any company who's business revolves around online ads will be tempted to invade your privacy.
Apple was part of the PRISM program.
Apple is a hardware company from the start, their strategy has been fixed long before other Internet companies figured the value of customer data.
Their narrative of being privacy enforcer aids their strategy of building closed systems.
I'm not telling Apple is deceiving its customers with the privacy narrative, but it isn't a guardian of privacy either; if it was it wouldn't have entered CHINA like other comments have pointed out.
I think a closer analogy is health food companies advertising that misrepresents the benefits of organic foods.
I have seen products over labelled like the low carb steak or the sugarfree water. These products were always low carb or sugarfree.
DDG attacking google tells us they are shooting for number 2. Attacking google provides free advertising. It also tells us if they get bigger they will double down on being different from google so the chance they will suddenly turn against privacy is unlikely. If it does happen funding is running out.
When you’re deeply in the underdog position I think that style is ok, but at a certain point it becomes a bit gross.
Is this opinion or fact?
And thus stand out for targeting purposes regardless.
DDG satisfies most of my searches on the first go, and I’ve never had success with !g after a failed DDG query.
Furthermore, the Google results has a cluttered design with sparse information, so it takes much longer to figure out that I haven’t found what I’m looking for.
I’d say Google is the one failing to compete on search quality. At one point they did, but now Google’s consumer products compete on brand awareness and price, which they can only do because of their conquests in the advertising industry. Most people are not Google’s customer, they are part of Google’s enterprise product: the attention of people whose data profiles meet various requirements.
Well, Microsoft's test completely backfired on me. I ran the test many times. In most cases, one of the columns had clearly better results, and 80+% of the time, that column was Google.
Small sample size to be sure, but it covers 100% of the population I care about in choosing a search engine (me).
Granted, this was Bing, not Google, but I kind of doubt DDG would fare better. (And in non-blind tests, I definitely fell I'm getting the worst results from DDG).
And I also pretty much never have to use !g. DDG results are sufficient most of the time, and when they are not, I notice Google usually also fails to provide satisfactory results.
I like ddg, i support them, but for any but the most basic queries google is a solid tier above.
>Google has been able to track your location using Google Maps for a long time. Since 2014, it has used that information to provide advertisers with information on how often people visit their stores. But store visits aren’t purchases, so, as Google said in a blog post on its new service for marketers, it has partnered with “third parties” that give them access to 70 percent of all credit and debit card purchases.
Perhaps other search engines will reach this extreme level of creepy behavior in the future, but Google is there today.
> In addition, Google does not know what products people bought.
For example, CC companies could give you your itemized purchase history for Macy's on your statement, if they wanted to.
Credit card companies have wanted itemized transactions for aaages (it's even part of the protocols they use) for fraud prevention, but very few merchants have agreed.
Apple shared all their iCloud user data (messages, pics, docs, etc.) and keys with the Chinese government last year.  Apple even updated their TOS forcing Chinese users to agree to it or drop service. 
Google got flak for just considering it with Dragonfly, but Apple actually did it.
They shared all their Chinese users' iCloud data. It's a huge distinction and I feel like you paraphrased it deliberately to try to make Apple appear to have sold out all of their users worldwide. While what they did in China is terrifying in general, it doesn't compromise security for any Apple user outside of China as you very strongly implied it did.
Here's the very first sentence from the link you posted (emphasis mine):
> A state-owned telecommunications company in China now stores the iCloud data for Apple’s China-based users.
GPs comparison was privacy between the two companies, and one cares more about selling in China than the privacy of it's users.
I'm not defending Apple WRT their data privacy practices in China; as I said it's terrifying and hopefully not a stepping stone. I was simply calling GP out for deliberately misrepresenting their own citation to make a false equivalence.
If you think there are privacy issues that are more important than that then list them.
And now that you've brought this discussion into ad hominem territory, it has lost any relevance to the actual topic at hand. Peace.
Edit: Wikipedia link to original poem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...
iMeasage, the one be thing that really matters in this case, encrypts it's chats "end to end" but using keys managed centrally by Apple, regardless of your iCloud sync situation, and manages them in a way that can't inspected by users. If a decrypted copy of all your encrypted chats is being sent to a government sink, there is no way for you to know or prevent it.
China cares about being able to intercept and decrypt your communication, they want to be able to identify and punish political threats. That's a service that Apple CAN provide to the Chinese government for all iPhone customers.
Dragonfly is a censored search engine, not a user data base.
Dragonfly was complying with China's firewall, because clicking broken links in search results sucks, but it was also linking every search query to the users phone number and sharing with the Chinese government, which is what Google employees revolted over.
Apple states "All of the user’s registered devices display an alert message when a new device, phone number, or email address is added." So no, it's not correct to say key management is out of your visibility.
...but is also more than happy to meet and shake hands with the leaders of those repressive regimes? Like the UAE, which criminalizes sodomy and deports those who identify as LGBT?
Is it possible Apple, like Tim Cook, has the occasional double standard?
He can't change the government of the UAE.
He can change Apple's security and privacy priorities.
This must blow your mind: https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fnyoobserv...
The reply would have been better without the first paragraph.
Regardless, Apple do collect lot of personal data. And even if they don't sell it or use it for marketing now, they could still potentially lose control of it, or change their policies down the road.
The safest approach from a privacy perspective is not to collect the data in the first place.
I believe the point was that he was advocating for a cause which doesn't benefit him or directly affect him. I think it's a valid point: it's easy to fight for things that benefit you. It's like you'd be less skeptical if a rich person fights for higher taxes on the rich than when a poor person does.
edit: meant non medical
Still, good point!
You can just say gay.
-- Signed, The Gays
-- Signed, totally a friend of the Gays
If that's the same philosophy now, Apple is definitely better than Google in terms of privacy.
Full disclosure: I own an Android device and no Apple product except an iPod from 2009 or so.
NSA can't change the fundamental laws of the universe. While cryptology and mathematics is constantly advancing, there hasn't been a fundamental breakage of a block cipher in ages, nor has any evidence emerged to suggest the fundamentals of RSA will be broken.
Computing power alone isn't enough to break todays strong cryptography, and its certainly possible that the underlying math is a constant of the universe.
Edit: Not to mention the snowden leaks suggests that the NSA spends most of their effort subverting implementations rather than the fundamental mathematics.
Google are an advertising company. The overwhelming majority of their revenue is from targeted advertising. Their ability to harvest user data is the primary factor affecting their bottom line.
For Apple, privacy is a no-brainer. It doesn't harm either of their primary revenue streams and it gives them a substantial point of differentiation against their main competitor. Apple have an ongoing commercial imperative to improve the privacy of their products and services; Google have an ongoing commercial imperative to the contrary.
Maybe it's all for show, but they seem to take privacy seriously.
Yes routes from Apple maps, may appear longer or more convoluted at first glance. However after using it ( due to CarPlay) for a while on routes I had previously regularly done using google maps, I inferred a reasoning for that.
On the ~90 minute journey to my in-laws, the predicted journey time, is generally advertised as being quicker on google, but in practice the time difference is marginal.
What was different in my experience anyway, is that Apple maps seems to try to minimize left turns where appropriate.
The benefit being a noticeably less stressful journey.
Has anyone else noticed this?
Then again, Apple Maps (on DuckDuckGo) seems to think I that want my maps labelled in Indonesian, so you may still have a point.
If Apple wants to focus more on services it makes sense to onboard people into using their APIs and challenging Google on this developer front too.
If you look at their website, Mapbox is all about "live" location data, insights, etc. The days of them just being a provider of nice services built around (mostly) open data are probably over. They have a huge userbase and can leverage all that data to do powerful things.
This is terrible...
This is affecting everybody using DDG.
The only way they promote themselves is only by comparing DuckDuckGo to Google
It would probably make a lot of sense for Apple though, and I'm sure they'd convince more Apple loyalists to switch to DDG from Google by putting their name on it.
The flip side with Mapbox is that they probably weren't collecting any less data either.
I dont see why this was needed - it is a regression in terms of usability and performance (loading performance - cant comment on quality of the maps just yet, but I understand from others that the map data is woeful).
Really disappointed. I used to recommend DDG to everyone, but this feels like a sell-out - without any justification for why they've done it, my mind just leaps to conclusions about marketing and trying to get "cool points".
(I don't work for Apple and I run a competitor to Mapbox.)
Hell, why do you think google invested so much time into image compression tech to save a few bytes here and there.
And the colours! All features seem to bleed into their low-contrast pastel neighbours.
This doesn't feel like a proper match for DuckDuckGo at all.
It's very pastellish.
Because it sucks. Isn’t that obvious? There’s no point in having a feature that nobody uses. I switched to DDG a few months ago and this has always been the one weakness. This is really good news IMO. Apple maps has come a long long way since launch, and their data is about on par with Google at this point.
You can argue all day that of course it’s still a commercial company. But I’d rather compromise and hitch my wagon to the folks that are outwardly explicitly drawing out their commitment to privacy, whose incentives I understand and trust.
I do believe it when Apple says they're respecting their users' privacy, just like I believe it when DDG says that. But I am disappointed when I see how these companies neglect freedom and how so few of their users care about it.
Another big argument for supporting free software solutions is to do it for the people who want/need freedom (like whistleblowers or activists).
You are still free to do that with OSM. Not sure what that has to do with DDG. Just because they don't want to use OSM, doesn't change any of your rights to using OSM.
> Apple on the other hand is hoarding its information.
You are free to requisition a fleet of mapping vehicles, drones and satellites and gather your own maps information and share it with whomever you want. If Apple is the one paying a ton of money to create their information, I'm not sure why it's surprising that they want to use that information in their products.
You don't have a right to Apple's mapping data any more than you have a right to Colonel Sanders's chicken recipe -- however, nothing is stopping you from making your own chicken recipe and sharing it with whomever you want. You could even start a community around sharing chicken recipes. That some people don't care about chicken recipe secrecy doesn't harm your rights to enjoy chicken with recipes created and shared by you or your friends. Some of us actually just want to buy some fried chicken and not worry about the provenance of the recipe. We have more important priorities (for us) than the openness of a private company's chicken preparation secrets. We just want good tasting chicken. Many of us aren't chicken enthusiasts, spending our time lamenting the secrecy of the Colonel's chicken choices.
What it really sounds like the source of your complaint is that if DDG doesn't continue to use OSM, then perhaps OSM will suffer for it. If that's the real origin of your disdain for this decision, then perhaps OSM isn't as valuable in the marketplace of ideas as people might think it is. However, if this actually doesn't affect OSM (I don't think it does,) then that means that DDG can use whatever they want and the OSM folks can happily share to their heart's content.
I'm not saying Apple does nothing for the open source scene. In fact, they're maintaining some important projects (like WebKit). But when you have billions of dollars that you don't know what to do with stored in some offshore haven, you could do a bit more.
I tried finding an address recently on Google Maps, and just couldn’t find it, only to discover that that street was added 4 years ago, so ofc Google (with data from 2011) didn’t have it. OSM had it.
No surprise the blog post highlights how easy to use this integration is...in Cupertino.
Not in Portugal, or most places in Europe where I’ve tried it. They are so far behind it’s not even funny.
I know that the quality is not everywhere as good as there, but the quality varies for the other Map products too. So if it 'sucks' or the other thing 'sucks' greatly depends on where you currently are.
I've also found the mapping aspects to be ok, but the search results are truly abysmal in comparison to Apple Maps. Point-to-point direction finding is of course a solved, commoditized technical problem this point. But the real special sauce is in combining that with real time traffic info and highly relevant local search results, which Apple does far better than any open source offering I've seen.
Reporting from Washington, DC: nope.
In California maybe.
Everywhere else? Not even close.
Edit: request are succeeding for me now.
The maps themselves are just difficult to visually parse, and unpleasant to look at compared to Google Maps and Apple Maps (which look comparably attractive at a glance). I dunno if that's solvable using a third party OSM service provider or not, but to me it seems like a good enough reason to switch.
Approximately everyone is using a third-party OSM service, since the OSM project does not provide map tiles for general use.
I also strongly disagree on your other criticism of the most common style, but that's a matter of taste. To me, they look more like a proper city map is supposed to look, and provide more detail that's useful for me to orient myself. If I were typically doing long car drives, I might prefer Google, but I don't.
Your anecdote is completely irrelevant, I'm not sure why you bothered to bring it up, since you're talking about data, while I'm talking about design.
If it was just me being too used to Google Maps, why don't I feel the same way about Apple Maps?
It's not very convincing if I just argued the opposite and you don't bother giving a single counter argument. What's more is that it makes me feel there is no point talking about it if logical arguments don't convince you for no apparent reason.
> Your anecdote is completely irrelevant, I'm not sure why you bothered to bring it up, since you're talking about data, while I'm talking about design.
I am talking about design. If you zoom in on Google maps, the data is mostly there (osm also has more data, sure, but that's not universally true on the planet (though on average, per square kilometer, osm easily beats Google, but that's a blog post I'm saving for another day)). Google just hides all the data except a few random roads and random shops or something. You literally have to zoom in until your screen covers the area of two buildings before it shows you what's in the building. Somehow I'm supposed to have an overview of a city from the sparsely populated view. OSM (though you can have any style you like, I'm going for what I see most frequently) just dumps all the data it had on your screen at almost any zoom level (below province sized zoom) and you can see details like building outlines and shop icons from quite far up.
> If it was just me being too used to Google Maps, why don't I feel the same way about Apple Maps?
Maybe Apple maps is very similar to Google maps? If that holds, I should not be able to use apple maps (just like I can't use Google maps very well), but last time I tried to open it in a browser it told me to buy an apple device first so I can't compare. I don't know the answer to your question.
Implementation of OSM stuff is horrible and usability as well. I LOVE free software and my privacy is very important to me - so I switched everything to self-hosted and encrypted solutions. Except maps. I still use google maps for a lot of navigating just because other solutions are really inconvenient to work with.