Tag Archive for Google

Building and Sustaining Online Communities

Pope Francis said an interesting and insightful commentary on online social media: “The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity… The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. … The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.” In other words, communities have the power to limit the range of views to only those that they seems culturally appropriate — a small subset of active users can completely change the group dynamics of a community. The responsibility of the managers to find their way to create and sustain healthy communities. I’ve been building and supporting communities for a while. It happened organically — I needed to help a client start a project and build a following around it; then another client needed something similar; after a dozen years (or more), I’ve found myself creating guidelines for communities and the people who help manage them. Below is some of my “wisdoms” from…

Colorblindness Test on iPhone Google Traffic Map

2013 iPhone Traffic Google Map Colorblind Test

Google Traffic Map on an iPhone (or any other mobile device) is a great product… unless you are colorblind. Then, it’s a nightmare! 5% to 20% of the population has some kind of color processing disorder. Here is a simple test if you are one of those. Which of the following look the same to you? Click on the image above to enlarge. Red/green confusion — Protanopia: red/green color blindness, no red cones; Deutanopia: red/green color blindness, no green cones; Protanomaly: anomalous red cones; Deutanomaly: anomalous green cones — are the most common visual processing problems. But there is also blue blindness — Tritanopia: blue/yellow color blindness, no blue cones; and Tritanomaly: anomalous blue cones. The most rare cases are the monochrome colorblindness, the true loss of color — Achromatopsia: low cone function; and Atypical Achromatopsia: low cone function with some color. As designers, we have to be aware of our audiences’ limitations and strength. And visual processing and comprehension is no exception. In the past, I’ve written about colorblindness: . But unfortunately, the site that helped identify problems with design doesn’t seem to work. Here’s a new sit e for your reference: Colorblind Web Page Filter If you are…

Google Apps New Pay Policy and Behavioral Economics

Google Apps Icons

Yesterday, Google flipped a switched on its Google Apps policy — starting with December 7th, 2012, Google Apps will no longer be free! The change is for Google Apps for Business and it effectively ends the ability to create free accounts for groups of 10 or fewer users (here’s Google’s announcement). Individuals could still have a personal account, but businesses will have to pay $50 per user, per year… That is NEW business customers will have to pay — if you had a business account prior to the announcement, you get to keep it on the same terms you’ve signed up for — free! But all new Google Apps business customers from this point forward will pay to play. There’s a lot of chatter about whether Google’s customers will pay or walk away, but I’m interested in the behavioral economics analysis of this change. Allow me describe a few experiments on anchoring — the psychological phenomena where individuals get attached to the first result they witness and base their subsequent decisions on that original priming. The experiments I’m going to describe come from two books: Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions”…

Echo Chamber of Search Results

2012-10 "Completely Wrong" Google Image Search Results

The other day I got an email urging me to check out the search results for “completely wrong” on Google Image Search. Here they are: The results are clear: it seems like Mitt Romney dominates the “completely wrong” search results! But look closer: Eight out of twenty results shown are just screen grabs of the search results! The more people notice and talk about the search results, the more data points they generate for the search results… and here’s my contribution!

The Trouble with Social Search

Cultural Mix of Search Results

There have been changes in Google search and Google analytics. There have been many discussions on this topics. But there’s one big problem that I see with adding the social dimension to search: community bias or, as we’ve been referring to it in class, cultural bias. Cultural bias is one of the sources of human errors that render problem solving more difficult. The problem comes from having one’s views on highly charged emotional topics (or social issues) continuously reinforced by the community. I’m writing this blog on Martin Luther King Day — particularly appropriate when discussing cultural bias and the difficulties of overcoming them. In the past, when we googled something, we got results based on the relevance to our query. This relevance had little to do with us personally and focused on the topic of interest. Google results to a politically polarized question looked the same whether one was a democrat or a republican: It didn’t matter that democrats tended to socialize with like-minded individuals — meaning other democrats. And republicans preferred other republicans, creating segregated social circles. In each such circle, people met, talked, and reinforced each other’s beliefs. BUT the Google results were the SAME for each…

Explaining SEO to Clients

I’ve been in meetings where SEO was thrown around like some magic power word — feel like you need to make your arguments stronger? Just say the word! So it’s good that Google made a nice, unthreatening video (note the pink tee-shirt) explaining its position on SEO — “It’s not spam!” — (good to know), that can be shown to clients. Google’s authority on this matter helps alleviate some of the clients’ fears and makes developers’ job a bit easier… Enjoy:

Social Networks

Making Money on a Bet Yesterday, I came across a little post on LinkedIn: L.G. update: “I have a bet with one of my colleagues today. He thinks that using LinkedIn is a waste of time and does not see the benefit. So he has agreed to give me £1 for every like/comment I get. Considering I have over 2000 connections I reckon I will get £300 easy out of this. Start liking this update people!” It wasn’t from anyone I knew. But a LOT of people I did know (and are linked to) commented and liked this update. I added my like as well. To date (the original comment was made 2 days ago), there are 6,298 likes and 1,286 comments! Mr. L.G. stands to make some money here. With Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, all pushing the value of social networking, it was interesting to see this little experiment making a direct conversion from social networking to money. And it’s not over—the post sparked an emotional response among the members of LinkedIn. The emotional trigger is still there. With each new like and comment, the temptation to add another like on the pile grows. It’s contagious!