Back in the dark ages 20 or so years ago, houses across America had at least one or two shelves in their living rooms dedicated to a set of encyclopedias. As many as 30 or more volumes costing hundreds of dollars would be lined up side by side, referred to constantly by curious adults in the household or by children working on a report for school. Now, of course, we have the Internet. More →
According to Google’s DoubleClick ad planner, Wikipedia is the sixth largest website in the world with approximately 410 million monthly unique visitors. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia operated by the Wikimedia Foundation with a noble goal: Free information by the people, for the people. As great as Wikipedia can be, though, the look of the site is a bit drab. As such, a number of third-party developers have set out over the years to build apps that make the site a bit more enjoyable to use. Some developers do a better job than others, but one app shines brighter than the rest. More →
Are you old enough to remember when doing research at school meant opening up incredibly boring encyclopedias or, even worse, flipping through your library’s card catalogue? Well, American kids these days don’t have to put up with such indignities as they’re turning to more modern tools to help them write research papers. The Pew Internet and American Life Project has conducted a survey of over 2,400 middle school and high school teachers showing that 94% of teachers said their students were “very likely” to use Google (GOOG) to conduct research while 75% said the same of Wikipedia. Meanwhile, just 18% of teachers said their students were very likely to consult textbooks and only 12% said their students were very likely to use other kinds of printed books.
The RIAA’s CEO Cary Sherman said that he hopes the Stop Online Piracy Act protest were a “one-time experience.” In an op-ed piece written in The New York Times earlier this month, Sherman accused companies such as Google and Wikipedia of exploiting their popular status to “misinform” the public. He also claimed that by opposing the bill, these companies “were supporting foreign criminals selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals to Americans.” In a separate interview, Sherman said he believes that “readers online” accepted misinformation being spread by Google and Wikipedia about SOPA and PIPA based on the assumption that “if it comes from these sources, it must be true.” He claimed members of Congress were “very frustrated that they couldn’t get out their side of the story.” Sherman continued, “hopefully that was a one-time experience that came from a lot of different things coming together where a lot of different people came to the conclusion that this was a terrible piece of legislation.”
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) have driven the Internet into a frenzy, with numerous Silicon Valley companies objecting the entertainment industry backed bill. Earlier this week, Wikipedia, Reddit and numerous other companies announced blackouts scheduled for Wednesday in protest of both SOPA and PIPA. Google too plans to make its opposition clear, however the company won’t be blacking out its website. Instead it will raise awareness using the Google search homepage. “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue Web sites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” a Google representative said. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. homepage.” When asked how these protest links would be displayed, Google told CNET it will not replace the company’s logo, but it will post a link on its homepage that leads to more information. Google’s homepage is the most visited web page in the world and the company’s actions will definitely draw plenty of attention. More →