Today on the net: Google and Microsoft join forces to combat child pornography; help for victims of the Illinois tornadoes in the US; and you can now take a trip around Venice from the comfort of your own home.
Google and Microsoft join hands to stop child porn
Google and Microsoft, with the backing of the British government, have joined forces to develop new software to prevent links to child sex abuse material from appearing in their respective search engines. Over 100,000 terms are now blocked and any searches featuring these keywords will display purged results along with a warning, the opportunity to report any illegal content and a link to charities pointing towards help.
In an interview with British newspaper « the Daily Mail » Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt explains how the system will work; he says the restrictions will initially only apply to English speaking countries but will soon be rolled out in more than 150 languages. Mr. Schmidt also revealed that they had developed technology that would “tag” illegal images and videos so that all duplicate copies could be quickly detected and removed from the Internet.
The measures have been met with criticism however from experts like Jim Gamble who says sexual predators rarely use traditional search engines to find this type of content. In a piece published on ITV.com, the former chief executive of the “Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre” says it would be wiser to find funding to hire experts tasked with tracking and identifying online pedophiles.
USA: online mobilization to help Illinois tornado victims
Residential neighbourhoods in ruins, homes barely standing or completely wiped out, roads strewn with all manner of debris, and trees uprooted … these amateur images testify to the violence of the deadly tornadoes that hit the US State of Illinois on Sunday. People have been sharing accounts of the storms system of twisters, high winds and hail storms on the web and social networkers are doing what they can to help the many victims.
Indeed, American web users have been pledging support for those who have lost everything to the tornadoes, posting under the hashtags #PrayforIllinois or #PrayforWashington, one of the hardest hit communities. Netizens are also urging their fellow Americans to help by donating money or food to relief organizations.
And humanitarian organizations on the ground are also making use of the web. The American Red Cross for example has been busy on Twitter, indicating the various emergency shelters set up across the region. The information is also shown on this interactive map available on the NGO’s website. And their ‘safe and well’ platform is also up and running, to provide comfort and information for people concerned for loved ones, or those affected by the disaster wanting to reassure their friends and family.
Now trending on social networks
American social networkers campaigned under the #JTMeetAshleigh hashtag, to convince Justin Timberlake to meet 20 year old Ashleigh Hunt, who has been battling a rare bone cancer for over a year now and who is a huge fan of the singer. The campaigning paid off because she got to meet JT in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, where he was giving a concert. A dream come true for Ashleigh who says she’s now more determined than ever to beat the disease.
Google Street View floats into Venice
With Google Street View you can now visit Venice, Italy, from the comfort of your own home. Launched last week, the web giant’s mapping service has put together a virtual tour of the streets, piazzas and famous canals of Venice, meaning if they haven’t already, web users from across the globe can discover one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Video of the day
This video features professional rally driver Ken Block from the US, demonstrating a discipline that’s very popular right now in the world of extreme and mechanical sports : Gymkhana; a mix of driving and drifting, a technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, and as we can see here it involves maneuvering and sliding around all sorts of obstacles in a closed off course. You can check out this adrenaline packed clip in its entirety on all good video sharing platforms.