This end result is due to product managers/devs looking at conversion rates and optimizing for whatever their metric of success is, which in this case is creating accounts and users being more "engaged" with the platform. 3 or 4 rounds of A/B testing and you get the most efficient (read: manipulative) method of getting users "engaged". There may be no intention of manipulation but using empirical evidence to achieve your metric of success will tend to make your product manipulative.
While Voice Match learning the sound of your voice sounds like a completely local task, they will force you to keep a history of all your voice commands, searches and activity. Voice activation and match won't even work without that on. Even tho the assistant works just fine if you leave those off.
Not to mention all the rest of these that happen, they even push for these during your first phone activation.
I got my first Android phone this year after taking a very long break from Google phones in 2014, due to getting fed up with how much of a mess Android still was around version 5 and Google's unwillingness to fix the issues so I ended up switching to iOS for years. Now I decided to switch my second phone to an Android purely out of curiosity to see what's been happening to the platform and all these creepy-ass prompts in version 9 don't instil much confidence.
But voice rec is not local. The reason it asks to store your voice is because they need to send it to their backend for recognition.
Voice rec was local until about ten years ago. You could even buy software dictation products that installed from CDROM and didn't need a network connection.
I shouldn't need a network connection to do anything voice on my own device. It should only reach out to the network for things it doesn't have local knowledge of.
There's a reason voice rec has only now finally stuck.
It can be unacceptable for your privacy and security threat model but for most it makes 0 difference wether the training continuously happens in the cloud or locally on the NPU inside your phone.
Saving all the clips as much as people love to fear monger it is literally the strategy that objectively leads to the highest quality implementation on the market. Googles Assistant by far understands language most naturally and we owe that to all the free vocal training data google diligently uses.
Sadly, nobody will ever know if this is true as the choice doesn't exist.
Most people seem to like the Google Assistant for more natural interactions and only tolerate siri for her limited uses she can do.
Similar thing happened with YouTube too. They would always show me the same ad over and over. Even if I skip, I would get that ad multiple times in the same video. It was a political ad and it starts with one guy saying how he can't get treatment because of some medicare changes. I got so annoyed I wanted to punch the guy talking in the ad whenever I hear him.
Regarding YouTube, forgot to mention. I was getting that ad problem with Chromecast. I cast a lot of videos with the YouTube Android app. Whenever I get that ad, I would click on the skip ad button in app (which itself takes 2-3 tries sometimes). Then 2 or 3 minutes later, it would show the same ad. After I moved to my current location, I haven't experienced this behavior yet.
Really it should be the default, and in fact most webpages have no issue respecting those settings, google's recaptcha is about the only thing that actively refuses to cooperate.
So, stop using the internet, then?
Uncoordinated collective economic action like you call for doesn't really work, especially when it's against the shareholder-value maximizing interest of a corporation.
I have Roku TVs but they are set to automatically go to the HDMI input with my AppleTV. So I don’t have to use a remote that has hard coded buttons that go to the highest bidder and where half the home screen is an advertiser.
I buy business Windows PCs or laptops from the Microsoft store because they don’t look like a NASCAR car with all of the stickers and trialware.
I pay for ad free streaming services.
It’s not the “internet” that’s the problem. Websites have limited tracking ability if you use an adblocker. It’s your devices vendor that you have to worry about.
If random airmchair commentators can see the results as manipulative I guarantee that the program managers and devs can see it too.
A/B testing a user choice by manipulating him/her like that seems like a no-no.
Like when online publishers like Ars and TechCrunch A/B test headlines and pictures and I end up with a photo of singer Taylor Swift accompanying an article about Apple's iOS programming language Swift.
Just wait until the product managers and devs are taken out of the loop and A/B testing becomes automated A/B...X/Y/Z testing through AI. Web interfaces will start to look like those crazy AI-generated YouTube videos. Anything to feed the shareholders.
As is, I strongly suspect we're already over-testing on frontends.
First, because frequent change has a cost in user retention, and so does instability. I get A/B tested enough that I notice it happening, or notice that instructions I give for a program don't reflect what other people on the same device are seeing. And since I use multiple Gmail accounts, I've also had the experience of different accounts falling into different branches of a significant UI test - it was a horrible and aggravating experience.
Second, because isolated tests are a terrible way of judging aggregate effects. They're not necessarily run with an eye on "irrelevant" stats, and they're almost never run against a clean, single-design baseline. (Also, they're frequently run with grotesque statistical errors like stopping tests at significance...) The risk, then, is ending up with a hodge-podge of features that produced 3% improvement on some metric but did nothing for overall value. Newsletter signups designed to improve subscriptions, which destroyed retention. Buttons locked into arms races where they improve clickthrough by cannibalizing one another's traffic. Evolved-in-isolation pages that get good responses but decrease brand recognition, and so on.
None of that means aimless AI testing won't happen; the combination of buzzword appeal and hands-off profit is probably too good to pass up. But I expect it won't be as valuable as people expect because it feeds into all the mistakes we're making already.
This is how online services meeting the regulatory requirements and creating a positive image of being privacy-respecting, "we are giving people a choice over their data", meanwhile still allowing the unhampered collection of personal data in practice.
Or the principle can be worded as, "If everyone opt-out from the tracking in their privacy settings, our business is finished". You can opt-out, but their business model remains the same, and you are simply an outlier.
As I see it, the most interesting case study is Do-No-Track. When DNT has just became a standard, the response was mostly positive. Then something dramatic happened, Microsoft enabled DNT in IE 10 by default! Then amusingly, it triggered a total backlash from the industry. If you see the principle, it's easy to explain that.
But Microsoft surely understand this point. Then why did it decide to do this? I highly suspect Microsoft's decision was a conspiracy to intentionally kill DNT, even if most people won't active it anyway, but they may believe that having a simple and universal privacy toggle is still being a potential threat to the business of the industry, so they decided to sabotage it by making it default-on, thus nobody will treat it seriously, and Microsoft can use the "we care about your privacy" as an excuse.
One can't fix the privacy issues with a privacy setting. One needs to have an alternative business model in the age of Surveillance Capitalism.
That's purely theoretical. My browser is sending to not track headers, I've uBlock turned on, I nearly always reject tracking, yet I periodically delete thousands of cookies.
(In case there are bored Safari extension developers who read this and feel the same: an extension that allows to whitelist cookies and rejects everything else would be nice.)
(No affiliation, I’m also evaluating it as we speak)
The blanket 'not open source, so I won't use it' general sentiment (not implying you have this) I see on HN nowadays doesn't hurt Google, it hurts small software makers that don't have the luxury and money to make things 'free*' with five asterisks like FAANG, like you and me, and actually strengthens the larger companies.
The trust issue is a legit one, though. I have the same concerns on that one. However, if I could fully trust it, I would have no problem with it being not open source.
With the Temporary Containers extension, basically everyone gets their own container by default, and all that gets deleted 15 minutes after the container's last tab is closed.
Now replace “engaged” with “to buy stuff” and that’s essentially online advertising. You’re being tricked by gurus of the mind to send your money to someone else. How this is legal represents a gap between traditional laws and modern times.
The sad truth for us software engineers is, a lot of the most exciting work is at least tangentially related to refining this trickery: big data, machine learning, etc. For example, implementing GDPR where I work has been a bizarre experience from a human standpoint. On the one hand, we all surely feel privately it’s a good thing for people, but we talk about it to each other as if it’s a burden and a setback for our business (which it is).
Eh, this has existed for decades at a macro level in over-the-air television and radio. 'If you're not paying for the product, you are the product' is a quote that has been floating around since at least the 1970s. Methods and techniques now have the ability to target you individually but the overall premise is nothing new.
> The sad truth for us software engineers is, a lot of the most exciting work is at least tangentially related to refining this trickery: big data, machine learning, etc.
Well, I'm in Aerospace and there are plenty of interesting problems to solve here that have nothing to do with "trickery"; it's just that 100 year old companies aren't "sexy" to young kids, often don't "move fast and break stuff" and frankly don't throw obscene amounts of money to bait them.
There are definitely problems to be addressed in higher ed and how universities are run, but it's nowhere near Silicon Valley's lack of ethics.
I have seen they can be fun places to work though, depending on the politics of the department.
Advertising predates the internet, of course. What does not is the ability to personalize advertising to the individual using computer intelligence trained on volumes of data about people’s lives, recorded in microscopic detail. I don’t think the level of manipulation and personalization pre-internet is comparable to what advertising firms such as Google and Facebook are capable of now.
But where they want the customer to do something the customer wouldn’t, that happens everywhere. It’s not limited to tech.
* switch default search engine to DuckDuckGo (can still use !s bang when one wants to see what Google has)
* use tracking blocker (uBlock origin, BlockBear on iOS)
* use anonymous/private/porn mode browsing most of the time (except for sites I actually want to be logged in permanently)
* use Zoho as a replacement for shared Google docs
* use Youtube either in private window, and/or download content with youtube-dl
* use Apple Maps or OpenStreetMaps instead of Google maps, though still revert to Google maps sometimes. It's good. (But never log in, and don't use the apps).
* long ago switched to different email for main email, and forwarded gmail account to it (nobody uses it anymore). (In fact, I use a catch-all domain now (very easy to set up), and a fresh email for basically every account. Quite handy.)
* for contacts, photos, etc. I use Apple's built-in stuff. I do trust Apple a bit more (and it's a different business model; quite evidently unfortunately when you look at recent iPhone prices.)
All in all, I think a fairly degooglified life is eminently possible.
instead of this, I just use Firefox and use the Multi-Account Container function to separate my browsing
firefox -no-remote -profile $(mktemp -d)
(I'm also using Fluid for self-contained Facebook browsing, I suppose that would then become unnecessary).
Plus, Adblock extensions on Firefox Mobile work great.
>long ago switched to different email for main email, and forwarded gmail account to it (nobody uses it anymore).
Neat! How do you set up auto forwarding with gmail?
Chrome on Linux is just all kinds of unpleasant, it's not even possible to use it at all with my current distro. I don't understand how everyone seems to like it so much.
The basic OS utilites (camera, SMS, file manager, "phone" app, etc) are part of the Lineage base and don't need play services. You can also install f-droid which has a good variety of open source apps, including mail clients.
I even installed Whatsapp (downloaded the apk from whatsapp's website), which doesn't require play services.
Now, I don't think LineageOS is for the "average person", its for people who care about their privacy and like having control of their device, but you don't need to be some sort of long-bearded hacker to be able to use it.
This just switches being tracked by Google to being tracked by Facebook. They now have names, times, numbers, etc of people you talk to/interact with, as well as your rough location via IP, access point, or cell tower (which are shared with people who have location services enabled).
I do still have an Android phone (Lineage), I tried without play services... I gave up after 1 day.
You could also use Firefox Focus in iOS. It comes with a built-in ad/content/tracker blocker. Since content blockers are common to all browsers on iOS (everything using Safari/WebKit underneath), it would help other browsers too.
You can play youtube directly in major video players (mpv, vlc), at least on linux. Although, afaik, they use youtube-dl in the background.
Deceptive click flow
Hidden default settings
Misleading and unbalanced information
Bundling of services and lack of granular choices*
Hidden Default settings is [when] setting up a Google account, the Web & App activity settings are hidden behind extra clicks and enabled by default.
Third one is users not given sufficient information when presented with choices, and are misled about what data is collected and how it is used.
Repeated nudging is users being repeatedly asked to turn on “Location History” when using different Google services even if they decided against this feature when setting up their phone.
And finally, bundling services when for example if the user wants features such as Google Assistant and photos sorted by location, Google turns on invasive location tracking.
I would believe most of us HN crowd are fully aware of the pros and cons of such tracking and make our choices accordingly (using these tools/software/devices). However, for the majority (yes, they may not appear to be interested in privacy as yesterday's FB quarterly report shows), are they aware of how much data is being collected, how it could be misused, etc.? We, as a society, should do our part in pushing back against such indiscriminate tracking. No specific call to action. For my older parents, I have switched them to iPhone 6S and have gradually gotten older family relatives to do the same as well.
Most people do not realise how much data Google et al. collect about them, and are genuinely shocked when it is shown to them (even though, yes, it's an existing feature well known to you and most HN readers).
The video demonstrates both a) how much Google collects (which comes as a surprise to most people), and b) that most people are not aware of it (which apparently comes as a surprise to you).
> pretending it's some secret malicious data collection plan
Of course, there's the maxim that one should never ascribe to malice what can plausibly be blamed on incompetence. But sorry, if you find these repeated dark patterns throughout again and again, in apps that have been carefully designed and optimised by huge teams of people, then it is justified to speak of bad intentions.
Not so much that I doubt it, but just a piece of text is pretty subjective. I would like to see and decide for myself if it's deceptive. Not have someone's biased opinion.
> Most people do not realise how much data Google et al. collect about them
Most people also just blindly skip through the setup. There's only so much Google can do to force feed help onto users.
I actually have location sharing on with a significant other, and Google emails me about it every other week to make sure I realize my location is being shared.
I was surprised (even though I should not be) when I saw how conveniently all my Amazon purchases and travel plans (flight reservations, check-in, rentals etc.) were neatly organized when I went to remove all my personal information. I understand the convenience (with Amazon - being able to track the delivery, flights - automatic calendar scheduling etc.) but oh boy does Google like to gather all the data forever.
That pushed me to Firefox and "temporary container tabs" add-on. Now I _can't_ be logged in while using search, so I can't accidentally press some deceptive button that will turn on additional collection. When the tab's gone, so are all the cookies. But mail.google.com and the login domains load in a persistent tab so I can still use those.
A search link fixer add-on prevents capture of what I clicked from that search menu, and the resulting page opens in a new temporary tab separate from the one I searched Google on originally. It's a second layer of separation so that I don't have to depend _just_ on ublock/umatrix to prevent what's sent back from resulting tab from correlating.
Still not perfect, but it makes me feel more comfortable. I still don't feel comfortable enough with results from DuckDuckGo to use it by default, but it has been getting a lot closer.
I work at Google but not on Maps, opinions are my own.
I don't know if this is why they did it that way, but it wouldn't surprise me if the reason was merely that 99.9% of users opt in to location sharing and the developers didn't feel it useful to spend time supporting the use case for the 0.1%.
You have to also keep in mind that Google is just a company with thousands of individuals who each have their own motives and are given incentives by the company. If a developer is career driven (and many if not most are) they have to work on "high impact" things to get a good performance review. Since Google tries to be very objective, you have to measure your impact with data and sadly 0.1% of users is not really considered impactful. Unfortunately good will earned by customers is hard to measure.
Again just my observation from working here.
I find this very appropriate to modern times and employment. 'Tis A more modern update to William Gaddis's themes in J.R.
It seems rather obvious that there is little incentive to provide usefulness without tying it as closely as possible to data collection.
That seems about right. Other than services that you actually pay hard cash for (like gce), all other metrics will eventually trace back to some kind of ad/data related metric.
The real impact the team was looking for was building better advertising profiles on users.
Want to use the assistant to turn on your lights? You better believe that requires the huge "Web and App activity" which also includes location.
You apparently want fine-grained privacy controls ("save my personal locations, but not my search history"). It's reasonable to want that, but it seems awfully entitled (not you, but many others on this thread) to demand it. Especially since we've seen from past history that a multitude of fine-grained privacy controls tends to propagate the narrative "Evil corporation confuses users with complex privacy UI".
Product management is way harder than you are giving it credit for.
Sure product management is hard, I never said it wasn't. Google maps is wayy ahead of the competition in the field, with or without those history things (cue the whole Apple maps fiasco). But users will always complain about features they don't like, and they won't always give credit for what works.
Honestly I don't care that much, I mostly adhere to the idea that Google & co. don't give a damn about any user's individual data. To them, we're just numbers in a database, and a bunch of metrics to optimize (engagement, revenue, etc.). However, I do think that governments, once they know all this data is stored on centralized servers, are tempted to exploit it, for good reasons or not, which is why at some point I want to limit the gathering of data, when I find it is not explicitly warranted or needed. Case in point, Google Maps doesn't need a history of ALL the places I've been on a day-to-day basis to index my saved locations in it's search box.
"Do you want us to store your data on our servers?"
Answering "no" should mean you store it locally, not that you don't store it at all. If you tell Google not to save your search history on their servers, they just disable it completely, when they could just save it locally.
This is nowhere near a product problem. The setting is per-account, so it's not like it'd be disabled on one device and enabled on another, so they'd get some weird UX, they just like crippling their app to force you to give them data.
I think you are ridiculously underestimating the complexity and issues that would arise with two separate mechanisms for saving the same kind of data, and an option to switch between the two. Do you download account-saved locations locally when changing to local storage? What if there are conflicting pieces of data?
I bet there would be a lot more outraged people about the bugs and limitations that would arise with this system than there are today with your complaints.
No, you delete the data that's on the server. That's the reasonable way to handle a revocation of consent from the user.
This is a bad assumption and why you would ruin a product like google maps if given the opportunity.
Google already had this problem for years with Contacts. I had local contacts on my phone, and contacts stored in my google account. It was a complete clusterfuck of duplicates, stale data, etc. Years later after I had this problem, Google added a fairly complicated power-user tool that let you reconcile this data. And then years after that, the tool became not-a-power-user tool and wasn't bad.
But we're still talking years of issues, for data that is probably a hell of a lot less complicated than what maps stores.
edit: And that said, I still have issues every now and then with that contact reconciler tool, it doesn't always do the right thing.
I'm sure you've got it all figured out. You should go work at google and implement it.
I work for Google, opinions are my own. I could go on and on about this so apologies for the long post.
Obviously I am biased, but I think you're being a little too cynical.
People's habits largely depend on the incentives given to them. There is no incentive for the Maps team to take in more data, if anything there are incentives to have less data because they'd have to go through less security and privacy reviews.
What they DO have an incentive to do is to get more users, since that largely determines how much funding your team gets. Having users share location data, admittedly at the expense of privacy, provides a superior experience.
Each team has limited funding/headcount, so obviously they would use their resources as much as possible to try and get more users. Supporting the use case you described, which is not used by the vast majority of users does not align with the incentives given to them.
Recently, Google updated its values (I can't find it externally but I hope you'll believe me). One of these values is "Respect the User". I personally think that your use case would fall under this umbrella. Ignoring whether the specific feature is the best use of engineering time even for this value, the reality is that values mean nothing without incentives.
And there aren't incentives. You don't get a great performance rating for following the values, you get one for impacting some large percentage of users or improving the performance or conversion rates.
Even if you had a team of monks, completely driven by their morals and not career-driven whatsoever, this would not be sufficient because if they didn't hit performance goals then the team would just get defunded, unless the person above them was also the same, and the person above them, and so on.
> Supporting the use case you described, which is not used by the vast majority of users does not align with the incentives given to them.
I think you have causation wrong here. Users leave search history enabled because Google makes it unnecessarily hard to use the app with it disabled.
> Recently, Google updated its values (I can't find it externally but I hope you'll believe me). One of these values is "Respect the User".
I have no reason to disbelieve you.
> Ignoring whether the specific feature is the best use of engineering time even for this value, the reality is that values mean nothing without incentives.
If the values mean nothing without incentives, they aren't values, are they?
> You don't get a great performance rating for following the values, you get one for impacting some large percentage of users or improving the performance or conversion rates.
So what you're saying is "there's no incentive for allowing the user to have a good experience using the app without sending us data", or did I get that wrong? That doesn't sound awesome.
> Having users share location data, admittedly at the expense of privacy, provides a superior experience.
Especially when you don't bother providing a similar experience without people's data.
Ultimately, this isn't a question of "which would make Maps better, if users shared their data or if they didn't?". That's not your choice to make, so it's a question of "the user doesn't want to share their data, do we bother to make the experience good for them or not?"
If your answer to the latter is "No", I don't care if your values say "The User is the Alpha and the Omega, thou shalt have no other priorities before the User", it's a red herring because you aren't following your values, you're following the money.
That's a fair point. Nevertheless, most people on the team were not there when this feature was first introduced and we can only work from where we are now. To undo the status quo is something few are in a position to do.
> So what you're saying is "there's no incentive for allowing the user to have a good experience using the app without sending us data", or did I get that wrong? That doesn't sound awesome.
> If your answer to the latter is "No", I don't care if your values say "The User is the Alpha and the Omega, thou shalt have no other priorities before the User", it's a red herring because you aren't following your values, you're following the money.
I think we are in agreement.
I don't think anyone is following the Values because the incentive structure doesn't align with it. I would like to believe it takes time for these changes to manifest but frankly I'm skeptical it will ever happen.
I'm not trying to convince you things are great or even okay. I just would like to dispel the notion that everyone or every team at Google is scheming together to get as much of your data as possible. Google, like any company, is made of individuals who largely are there to make money and whose actions are driven by the incentive structure. As it stands, the incentives are largely around getting more users and there is very little incentive to create privacy focused solutions (customers don't really seem to care.. or know..?)
I guess everyone in the company is complicit to that, with a share of responsibility proportional to the amount of power they have, as with any organization...
The language here bothers me to the core. User? That's the same term drug dealers use to describe their "customers", who are nearly all captive to them or others who peddle the same thing. Does it get the point across? Sure. However, there are better ways to word this sentence, such as "respect the people who use our services" or "respect your customers", though the last one ought to read as "handle product with care".
There is an incentive to have increased usage of the features I'm in charge of, many of which are intrinsically tied to (or superior with) location access. I don't believe that's the same as incentivizing the collection of location data, because it's not our real goal - if Apple would provide it I would absolutely love to provide users with a 'one-shot' location feature (it's probably too clumsy but the idea is when the user hits e.g. the directions button, the OS pops up a permission box and if they agree then maps gets one and only one GPS fix and then the permission is back off).
Why don't you just build your own mapping software then if its all so easy?
Google would change the rate at which your terminal cursor flashes if it could find a way to monetize it.
I don't need to speak with authority here. If you want to stoke the flames of moral outrage, the burden is on you, not me.
The annoying part is that google maps is really good at searching locations. None of the open source alternatives can do stuff like "Indian buffet Venice" so I often have to use Google maps to find something. Once I have the location saved I would say OpenStreetMaps apps are totally competitive.
Having said that, yeah, I do "feel so entitled" that I think sleazy companies should not sneakily manipulate me (and my parents, and other less technically savvy people) into divulging much more than they are aware of. Yes, imagine that, I feel entitled that companies should not manipulate me and lie to me (the carefully worded EULAs etc. do not fundamentally change that, as you very well know).
And guess what, there's the GDPR in Europe that recognises that entitlement and makes it just a bit harder for companies to do that, and I think that's a good thing.
So in order to have my home address saved in Google Maps, I have to let Google monitor my location 24/7, see how often I use my banking app, and which medical complaints I've been searching recently. This seems pretty excessive and I think it's designed to be so (as the article linked above suggests).
I appreciate the services Google provides but the cost is becoming excessive. A paid option (with everything enabled and no tracking at all) or at least more granular permissions seem like the bare minimum as people become more privacy conscious.
I think they would get back a good amount of goodwill if they did so, and would keep a large portion of the userbase on board without looking like (and being) assholes. Plenty of people use read receipts in WhatsApp, for example, in order to see others' read receipts.
Though I'd agree setting a home address shouldn't be tied to search history, if that's the case.
In fact, some of Google's traffic data is based off things like police reports.
I'm willing to pay a fee for many things but these three services redefined the entire world's productivity levels. Maps, Search and Wikipedia are world-changing (and miraculously, Wikipedia is a non-profit and still manages to exist and be stable. Please donate if you have the means, etc.). The reason they are world-changing is because they're free.
Free: Available to everyone, everywhere, without payment or account gating. It's a huge fucking deal for the world that they are and remain free.
You want to change the world? Make something massively useful to the planet. Then, make it free.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find one for walking around. All the battery powered ones seem aimed at hikers, so they're loaded with great wilderness maps, but won't help me find a coffee.
However, there are FOSS and privacy respecting alternatives, most are based upon OpenStreetMap - wikipedia style map of the world. Some data is still lacking, but at least you yourself can fix it if you want to.
Like, they know exactly where I am all the time, why are they Autocompleting locations that are nowhere near me or any of my typical destinations?
That's fascinating. Why?
The iPhone does that. Or at least tries. It knows that the place I live is my wife's home, but for me it's always labeled "gym."
Apple Maps should talk to my Health app and figure out that the chances I'm at a gym are pretty much zero.
I've had to turn off lots of automated Google things like ticket reminders (that tell me to catch the wrong train because they can't read the email right).
In order to have youtube app work when the screen is off, you have to pay for youtube. Its something they could provide but if they can force you to pay or give up more data (paying in a round about way) they are going to do it
That's a feature for me.
What pisses me off is that everytime I turn on my phone gps it defaults to "high accuracy" mode which scans all the wifi ap's around, among other things. I have to manually set it to gps chip only every time.
Not that this is news, but clearly Silicon Valley has no intention of retraining itself in any manner. Every wheedling trick in the book will be used to track you, up to and including holding arbitrary charities emotionally hostage.
I had to readjust a few common purchases, but I was far less habituated to them than I thought I was. Having to actually pay attention and look meant I found cheaper options. And I never cared about Video or their other goofy add-ons.
Still handy for pricing data-points when buying elsewhere, though.
That's like trading arsenic for cyanide.
Many other retailers have specials prices on fruit that only apply to loyalty cards holders. Obviously they track their customers.
I met hundreds of people and most of them were so generous with food, accommodation etc. Some even tried to give me money.
You know what would be a great feature? Letting you prioritize different categories, in relation to each other- on AliExpress, "fist sort by price, then by shipping arrival date" would be incredibly helpful- I'm totally willing to spend a bit more to get stuff here 20 days faster, and searching through everything for that is a PITA.
Even if there is a forced advertising aspect, it makes the world better.
virtue signalling is on the consumer side, where consumption of the brand has the (positive) side effect of showing how with it and magnanimous you are.
in any case, i also don’t see how it applies here (as sibling commenter points out).
the prius is a prime example of virtue signalling used in marketing classes: honda was puzzled at why its civic hybrid wasn't selling while the prius sold like hotcakes, until it realized that the prius, with it's unique body styling, signalled virtuous environmentalism, while the civic hybrid, with it's standard civic styling, had no (additional) virtue signal.
Historically, no industry, once became major, intended to retrain itself to be more positive to the society. If any improvement happened, it was forced from outside.
If the "tech industry" can be considered a single entity, it appears that the incentive re-alignment is happening from all these forces at once.
> The Swing Riots of 1830 highlighted poor housing in the countryside, ill health and immorality and landowners had a responsibility to provide cottages with basic sanitation. The best landlords provided accommodation but many adopted a paternalistic attitude when they built model dwellings and imposed their own standards on the tenants charging low rents but paying low wages.
Also: Company Towns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town
Take Facebook for example. They have a large utopian-esque campus for the benefits of their workers. In this campus they have bikes for getting around, free bars and restaurants (and an ice cream shop), an on campus doctor, bicycle repair shop, and in fact have somehow managed to convince CBP and USCIS to visit their campus to conduct Global Entry and Visa interviews instead of the workers having to travel to an office.
Couple this with the free employee shuttle buses for employees to travel from their homes to the campus, and it seems very much like the "Model village" you described.
EDIT: Here is a link to an article (with photo tour) of their Menlo Park campus: https://www.businessinsider.com/facebooks-disneyland-inspire...
Not to detract from your point, but this is a common service for employers above a certain size-- not some shady negotiation. My last few (not even close to FAANG) employers have all offered this perk.
"Salt's motives in building Saltaire remain obscure. They seem to have been a mixture of sound economics, Christian duty, and a desire to have effective control over his workforce. There were economic reasons for moving out of Bradford, and the village did provide him with an amenable, handpicked workforce. Yet Salt was deeply religious and sincerely believed that, by creating an environment where people could lead healthy, virtuous, godly lives, he was doing God's work."
Now, God doesn't exist, so as an external motivation he's a bit of a problem, certainly it doesn't seem to make _more_ sense to cite a non-existent God as forcing Salt to build this village than it does to credit it to his basic humanity.
Do you have a definitive source for that?
The disruptors will eventually be disrupted.
CS Ethics is muted, often conflated with Corporate Ethics whose "Greed is good" line seems to have won out above other ethical mantras.
If hospitals order doctors to do $BAD_THING, they protest. If an advertisement company orders computer scientists to implement $BAD_SYSTEM, they just comply.
The only difference now is that computers have enabled a level of efficient manipulation that wasn't possible before.
Other fields of science do not have the same heightened degree of Ethical Concern as biology, and many have less ethics training than CS programs.
For example, when I was at university, the CS program required that the students take a course in ethical topics related to computers. I believe that was due to ACS or IEEE accreditation requirements.
The physics program had no similar requirement for their students.
Fair bet that this small change substantially hurts the effectiveness of this charity and drives a whole bunch of money back to Amazon.
Haven't seen any 90-day time limit as the parent comment mentions.
Besides all that the android permissions system is broken on a verbage level. contacts permission is often only needed for login, like authentication but also grants permission to scrape data. so you end up with little visibility into what data you are giving up.
People end up rightfully fearing apps asking for contacts and calls and location services, when the apps just need access to some api that is bundled under vague unbrella terms like location services
Also what does Amazon have to do with SV?
"Also what does Amazon have to do with SV?"
Amazon is part of metaphorical Silicon Valley. So's Microsoft, for instance. Metaphorical Silicon Valley is too large to fit in literal Silicon Valley.
Also how did you get into this beta and where is the actual option? Is it under notifications? I’d prefer to use the native app and still use smile.
As for SV, the inability to draw a rigid, precise line around a phenomenon doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Life's fuzzy.
I’m honestly struggling to understand how you apply SV to a company that is not physically from SV, or at least very nearby.
Not sure why you're making such a big deal about this.
... or any company that started out this way, which is why Microsoft can be considered to be a SV company.
it's as if you're complaining that somebody referred to "wall street" during the discussion of an investment bank because they're actually located in CT.
When it comes to multinationals, physical location matters little - Google employs thousands of people in NYC and Boston and has offices all over the world.
I'd say Amazon is on the borderline, IMO.
Right, and while we're at it Goldman Sachs shouldn't be considered part of Wall Street. They're headquartered on West St after all!
Amazon, Microsoft, Concur and Expedia are all headquartered in Washington State which is nowhere near Silicon Valley. Similarly IBM is headquartered in New York.
My question is what makes a company outside SV a “SV Company”. This usage of the term is new to me so I am attempting to get a more complete understanding of the meaning.
NYC had Silicon Alley. Utah has Silicon Slopes, London, Seattle etc all harbor "SV-style" companies which mostly are internet services with clients.
Its not a confusing or uncommon term especially because theres a lions share of these cheaply made internet services being created left and right in silicon valley and beyond.
Amazon's Prime Day and other efforts to sell me low quality garbage products are such a turn off. I don't typically think of Amazon like Wall-Mart but they sure as hell are trending that way.