Sunday, January 19, 2014

Google Search should allow reproducing a Google News cluster for any link for which one ever existed

Every day, perhaps tens of thousands of new URLs are grouped by Google News into different news clusters, with the links in one cluster indicating that they're reporting the same story [determined algorithmically]. That's how Google News works. Google News machines do a lot of hard work to determine which stories should be grouped together into a cluster, but Google Search is not properly utilizing this hard work.

For example, this is an actual screenshot of one news cluster from Mar'10, about a massive recall of cars by Honda. The top link in this cluster is from

Suppose at that time you had saved this story from, and opened that saved PDF file only today, in 2014. And suppose that today you are interested in looking at the perspective - on the same event - of other news outlets. Clearly, if you had access to the original news cluster that Google News had produced and shown back then, it would solve your purpose.

However, if you copied the title of the saved story that you have on your hard disk into Google Search and look at the results, you'll notice that you cannot recall the original news cluster of which this story was a part of. In fact, you cannot even know or be sure that this story was even a part of some news cluster back then. Google Search does not give you any way to know, or to reproduce the original cluster.

I think Google Search should indicate - perhaps by way of a small icon beside the result - that one or more of the search results on the page can be expanded into a Google News Cluster, thus adding much depth for those who are interested in exploring that particular result.

Pretty confident that this feature will be useful to users.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How the NSA could be using that dead, old smartphone lurking in your cupboard to covertly spy on you

Today's revelation that America's NSA has implanted spying hardware/software into perhaps 100,000 computers all over the world raises a possibility that might have seemed far-fetched a few months ago, but looks not just possible but in fact probable today.

Just think of that long dead, old smartphone lurking inside the cupboards at the homes and/or offices of so many of us. It is possible that that device is actually bugged with a tiny hardware+software package [courtesy the NSA], so that while it seems dead/dormant to you, it is actually not. What this tiny hardware implant inside your smart device could be doing is to quietly receive radio signals of a certain frequency transmitted by a NSA control box located far away, and use those signals to both generate energy [to charge the batteries of the device, and thus to keep itself alive] and to conduct spying on your home's/office's Wi-Fi network [using the software part of the implant].

It could be doing this spying every night, when everyone in your home is asleep, but when some or all of your computers/servers and smartphones are on and connected to your Wi-Fi network.

That dead iPod touch in your cupboard could be leaking out a lot of details.

Sounds better than what 007 would possess? It is not. Such a device and such a scenario is technologically possible today, and as we've seen over the last several months, whatever illegal or legal activity is possible technologically, America's NSA will do it. Hence we should assume that the scenario outlined here is already being exploited by the NSA.