Google Drive, Wordle, Lobbying, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, January 22, 2022


ZDNet: Ransomware and phishing: Google Drive will now warn you about suspicious files. “Users of the Google Drive file and syncing app will now start to see warning banners if they open a potentially dodgy file. The new alerts are rolling out to Workspace Google Drive users globally today and aim to help protect users and their organizations from malware, phishing and ransomware.”

9to5 Google: Google Search easter egg joins the fun of playing Wordle. “Given Wordle’s massive popularity, it’s no surprise to learn that there are numerous fans of the game within Google. To celebrate this moment in pop culture, Google Search has launched a new easter egg that highlights the core of Wordle’s gameplay.”


Reuters: Google U.S. lobbying jumps 27% as lawmakers aim to rein in Big Tech. “Alphabet Inc’s Google reported 27% higher U.S. lobbying expenditures for 2021 compared to 2020, spending $9.6 million for the year, according to the Senate lobbying disclosure database. That’s far below the more than $20 million it spent in 2018 but more than the $7.53 million that went to lobbying in 2020.”

Android Police: Google’s weirdly pedantic Play Store crusade against all things ‘free’ is somehow getting even more ridiculous. “It looks like Google incorrectly flagged an open-source app because of its own reliance on machine translation as part of its new war against the word ‘free,’ and F-Droid’s semi-official Nearby app also ran into trouble.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Google doing ‘everything’ to stop Clive Palmer misinformation while accepting $5m for ads. That’s a bit over $3.5 million USD at this writing. “Google Australia claims it is doing all it can to stop Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party from spreading misinformation on its platforms, despite accepting more than $100,000 for political ads that it ultimately removed for breaching its advertising policies.”


The Verge: Google denies Facebook collusion claims in new court filing and blog post. “Google has filed a motion to dismiss the antitrust complaint filed last week, which alleges it colluded with Facebook to manipulate programmatic ad markets.”

Yahoo News Singapore: Police warn of scams involving fake bank hotlines on Google Search. “In these cases, the victims would search for the banks’ contact numbers via Google Search, as they wanted to seek their advice for various reasons. The scammers would post advertisements that would appear when the users search for such contact numbers. The victims would see these scam ads appearing as the first few search results, providing a fake contact number for victims to contact.”


New York Times: DeepMind co-founder leaves Google after a rocky tenure.. “Mustafa Suleyman, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, is leaving Google to join the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. The departure of Mr. Suleyman, who was Google’s vice president of product management and policy for artificial intelligence, closes a tumultuous tenure at the company.”

Fairfield University: Grad Students Publish Essays Co-Authored by Artificial Intelligence Tool. “To co-author their essays with GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer, third generation), the [Master of Science in Business] students chose their titles in advance, then typed a sentence or two before allowing the the AI to complete the paragraph. Once GPT-3’s writing contributions were added, students reviewed the content and either continued on, or asked the AI to try again.”

TechRadar: Hey Google, Congress needs to do more to rein in the tech industry, not less. “If Google wanted, it could ask that an exception be made in any anti-trust legislation for terms that might signal a health emergency—a carve-out that few, if any, legislators would be inclined to reject…. Instead, Google is using a particularly frightening edge case as an argument to defeat ongoing anti-trust effort. The suggestion here is you either let Google engage in its current business practices, which many legislators consider monopolistic, or you might not be immediately told that you or your loved one could be having a stroke and will have to wade through misinformation to figure it out on your own, which would sure be a shame. The gall is genuinely gobsmacking.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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