Posts tagged ‘Chrome extension’

May 12, 2011

Google users pressed into service in war against spam

Google (GOOG) recently made an official announcement offering a Personal Blocklist extension for Chrome browser users. I am weighted down with far too many Chrome browser extensions already, so I haven’t tested this one. Technology press coverage of the news slightly surprised me:

Google (GOOG) is concluding that if people are so up in arms about its declining search results, then it will let the masses get to work in helping refine its search technology…

Users to spot Spam Sites

Spam Protection Extension for Chrome browser

While amusing (I’ve supplemented my TechCrunch reading with GigaOM lately), it was more in line with what I expect from The Onion. Yet it is correct. The size and growth of the spam problem warrants this reaction from the press, as well as the public and many businesses. All express frustration with spam and electronic detritus.

Google is addressing spam with a two-pronged initiative, it seems to me. The Google War on Content Farms  of a few weeks earlier was directed at particularly spammy e-commerce merchants and services. The Personal Blocklist browser extension is the second part, and directed at e-commerce consumers and users in general.

Basic search


In a worst case scenario, this can be viewed as a sign that the internet will soon become almost unusable due to clutter from impenetrable volumes of advertisements and duplication of once original but now outdated content. That is the most generalized definition of spam. As a matter of quality control Google DOES need to provide meaningful resultswith a minimum of spam, to Google Search 2.0. users.

What can be done?

Is Google evil?

Is it Google’s fault? Is Google greedy and betraying the pubic’s best interests? No, not particularly.

Google is a publicly traded company, a business with stockholders. It is not a public utility. Google employees and Google operations are not funded by the taxpayers of any nation. It is very easy to forget that. The model of free online services is wonderful, and benefits everyone, everywhere, particularly in countries where what is considered a nominal cost in the U.S.A. would be prohibitively expensive. Much of the U.S. and global economy, as well as the public in general, are dependent upon free Google services to some degree. This is analogous to physical infrastructure. It is digital infrastructure.

Infrastructure is usually part of the public sector

In order to fund the model of free internet search, and free Google products, Google sells online advertising. And so the World Wide Web’s spam problem reduces in some part, though not entirely, to the principal agent problem. Moral hazard. Conflict of interest.

Avoidance of moral hazard is a major benefit of having a public sector, and government. When the public sector functions as it should, it reduces biased behavior due to profit-seeking and other motives.

The dilemma for Google as a company

Google needs the advertising revenue provided by AdSense customers (some of whom are the Content Farmers). That is why Google must offer a quality product to the public. Not because the public are Google customers. Google search is free of charge. While it may be unethical to sell a poor-quality product, there is no law against offering crummy goods and services free of charge. That happens all the time. No one wants something that is useless or gives much less value than an alternative provider.

Good corporate citizenship is a consideration, but only a minor one. Google must provide a quality product because the public’s use of free Google products drives revenue from customers. Google is obligated to:

  • Customers. Primary customers are advertisers and revenue-generating businesses, for-profit and otherwise
  • Employees. The people whose paycheck it provides for going to work every day

Remember though that the motivation for these obligations is that they may in turn give value to shareholders in the company itself.

The war against the Content Farmers is dangerous for Google. The Google anti-spam efforts must be targeted enough to cut spam and increase search user satisfaction while not alienating the source of funding that sustains Google and allows the company to offer services at all.

April 5, 2011

Chrome Developer Tutorial

UPDATE: 4 April 2011

For web developers

Developer Toolbar console from the Google Chromium Project

This is an excellent tutorial for learning how to use the Developer Tools in the Google Chrome Browser. Hyper-link is to the Official Google Groups Site for the Open Source Chromium Project, not to a third-party provider!

Check your webpage! Find errors! Reduce Page Load Times!

Learn how to use EVERYTHING: Elements, resources, scripts,timelines, profiles, storage and the console. Once you learn the how to use the developer tools, you own the keys to the kingdom.

There are some salient points, for which I selected four articles to more completely explain. Note that the article order does not reflect on Zemanta, as the choices were not based on priority of relevance to web development. They were idly selected in this order according to my own idiosyncratic whims.

Click to Play

Initially, I thought this might be a fun game. I was wrong. It refers to in-line advertising links and videos in general.

Sand boxing

This is important!  Recall that Google Chrome browser has Adobe’s Flash application as a built-in feature. These features are called Chrome Extensions. Chrome and Adobe offer a “sandbox” for Chrome’s Flash component. A sandbox is a circumscribed “safe” area where a developer can do testing, without mishap e.g. crashing the browser. This is also useful for non-developers who might want to “contain” their Flash usage due to a temporary concern about security.

Web Design

This provides more information about the Chrome Extensions* which is the subject of sand boxes, see above.

Browser Cache

This will reveal the location of the elusive browser cache on your computer. It is found easily for other web browsers, in the Options menu for Internet Explorer is the first example that comes to mind. The cache location is not nearly as obvious for Chrome. I need to read the article in fact, as I have no idea where Chrome is storing my browser cache.

Chrome browser extensions

Google Chrome browser extensions

* There are many Chrome Extensions available. Each adds to the memory usage by the browser. If you load up too many, you can definitely hamper Chrome’s delightful responsiveness. That requires a certain effort.

Extensions will be a topic for a separate post.