Google auto-complete: majority say “What auto-complete?”

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If you’ve been following the Japanese news you may have heard that a Japanese court ordered Google to remove a libellous auto-complete, a ruling that it may or may not follow. So, to see what the average member of their monitor group thought of the ruling, Research Panel conducted a quick poll. 17,905 people responded to the question “In the light of the recent defamation case, do you think Google should withdraw their auto-complete feature?” 25.4% thought Google should, 22.3% thought they shouldn’t, and perhaps reflecting the large amount of Yahoo! search users, 52.2% didn’t know about Google’s auto-complete.

What Japan auto-complete

As seen above, I think I’ll sue Google for associating my site with MLP, or My Little Pony…

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Little buzz on Google Buzz in Japan

Have you used Google Buzz? graph of japanese statisticsI’ve been hoping such a survey as this one from iBridge Research Plus, reported on by japan.internet.com, on Google services but focusing on just Google Buzz, would appear, as I’ve wanted an excuse to write about Google Buzz.

Demographics

On the 22nd of February 2010 300 people completed a survey; 52.0% of the sample were female, 14.7% in their twenties, 43.0% in their thirties, 28.0% in their forties, 10.3% in their fifties, and 4.0% in their sixties.

Just in case you don’t know, Google Buzz is Google’s attempt at a social networking service based around their core offerings including Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Chat. However, it launched into a storm of privacy complaints and for me, although I didn’t notice any privacy issues I certainly did notice it imposing itself into my Google Reader window, showing me far too much stuff from my contacts’ activities without any way to easily ignore. I soon turned it off, but I might go back in a couple of months to see if they have added any controls to only show me my friends when I want to see them.
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Yahoo! Search pulling away from Google; Bing nowhere

Recently iBridge Research Plus conducted a survey, reported on by japan.internet.com, into search engines.

Demographics

On the 5th of February 2010 300 members of the iBridge monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 51.0% of the sample were female, 18.7% in their twenties, 33.3% in their thirties, 26.3% in their forties, 12.7% in their fifties, and 9.0% in their sixties.

I’d never heard of 百度, Hyakudo before, but a Google (what else!) search informed me that it’s actually read Baidu, the Japanese version of China’s top search engine.
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Google Street View for theme parks in Japan

Have you used Google Street View? graph of japanese statisticsWith a great deal of fuss regarding privacy in Japan related to Google’s Street View, resulting in them promising to reshoot everything but from a lower camera angle, this recent survey from iShare into Google Street View found that virtual walkthroughs of theme parks was a popular feature that should be expanded.

Demographics

Between the 20th and 25th of May 2009 569 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 58.2% of the sample were male, 35.7% were in their twenties, 29.7% in their thirties, and 34.6% in their forties.

In May of this year Google announced a Street View Partner Program to allow private facilities such as theme parks and other tourist attractions to invite the Google Trike to pedal through the location. In Japan, Kyoto’s Kodaiji temple and Asahigawa Zoo in Hokkaido were among the first locations to sign up.

It was not reported in detail, but the most popular places people wanted to see photographed were Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan.
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Apple and Google proposing emoji Unicode standard

emoji, literaly “picture characters”, are the small graphical icons that fill (or litter, depending on your point of view!) many Japanese mobile phone email messages, but within Japan the three main mobile phone service providers have all got different encoding representations for them and support different sets of emoji, meaning that although they all perform encoding translation when exchanging emails, it can be a bit hit-or-miss as to whether or not the message gets through. Next, add into the mix the iPhone with support for at least four different kinds of mail (SMS, SoftBank’s own iPhone-specific mailbox, webmail, and third-party POP3-based mailboxes), and even within the one device a lot of trickery needs to take place to make the experience consistent for the user.

Google have recently been ramping up their advertising of Gmail in Japan as they currently languish with the also-rans in the popularity stakes. One aspect of their advertising has been to highlight their support of emoji, but the lack of a standard encoding method makes everything a bit more complicated than it need be.

Thus, engineers from Google and Apple have got together to try to propose an encoding for these emoji (they have identified 674 of them!) that can be added to the official standard ISO/IEC 10646, as can be seen in this document, Proposal for Encoding Emoji Symbols. The proposal uses a few of my translations as reference documents, which is nice.

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Google and Wikipedia interdependence extends to Japan

As the author of the Wikipedia nofollow WordPress plugin, I’m always on the lookout for stories about how Google and Wikipedia are getting on with each other. Recently I spotted this story on The Register about Encyclopedia Britannica complaining that Google ranks Wikipedia too highly. Naturally EB would complain about such a thing, but what particularly caught my eye was mention of an experiment Nick Carr, a member of the Brittanica’s board of editorial advisors, performed, looking up ten diverse topics in Google. Then, all 10 appeared on the first page of Google with two number ones. The current situation is all are now top of the pile, so I wondered what happens if I try the equivalent phrases in Japanese. I translated the terms by accessing the English Wikipedia then switching to Japanese, and using the article title. Also, since Google and Yahoo! battle it out for dominance in Japan, I used both engines, with the following results:

TermGoogle RankJapaneseGoogle Japan RankYahoo! Japan Rank
World War II1第二次世界大戦11
Israel1イスラエル12
George Washington1ジョージ ワシントン11
Genome1ゲノム12
Agriculture1農業16
Herman Melville1ハーマン メルヴィル11
Internet1インターネット117
Magna Carta1マグナ カルタ11
Evolution1進化11
Epilepsy1てんかん11

There are five non-first places in Yahoo!,something one can take as a good or a bad sign. For agriculture, ahead of Wikipedia in 4th place was Yahoo!’s own encyclopedia, an electronic version of a popular paper dictionary. The internet only making 17th place in Japanese is another curious outcome.

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Just a quick note about my RSS feed

I’ve moved (or more correctly, Google told me I have to move!) my RSS feed to http://feedproxy.google.com/WhatJapanThinks, and I have signed up for advertisements within the feed.

For posts over 100 words or so you should see one Google ad at the bottom. I’ll run them for a month and if they aren’t doing much, I’ll ditch them. Hope you don’t mind. If you notice any problems, please give me a shout.

Thanks,
Ken Y-N

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Japan in 2001, according to Google

You might have seen that to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Google has put their index from 2001 online. Let’s try a few searches and see how Japan looked then:

  • Ken Y-N was Welsh
  • What Japan Thinks thought about privatisation
  • Japan Probe was favourable to Microsoft
  • Japundit did not exist
  • Danny Choo was Choo Choo Records
  • Japan Soc was a newsgroup
  • Tokyo Times was on Interesting People
  • Trans-Pacific Radio was nuclear fallout
  • Debito was still Debito
  • an englishman in osaka was an englishman in new york
  • The Long Countdown was 335 days, 2 hours and 4 minutes away from Christmas
  • Nihon Hacks was a translation hack
  • SUICA was someone in Guatamala
  • taspo was the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra
  • mixi was a Finnish kennel and cattery
  • 3Yen was the non-consolidated interim financial results
  • Japan Blog Matsuri was some eyecandy to start your day right
  • TV In Japan provided top quality information via the borderless digital media
  • Watashi to Tokyo had a pet name problem
  • And finally, Gaijin Tonic was Gaijin A-GOGO
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Debito.org for sale

Dodgy advertisements on debito.org

Yes, debito.org is taking money from ambulance chasers and other dubious sources, despite a statement on http://www.debito.org/donations.html that:

I also do not wish to clutter the site with sponsored advertisements.

Such links would certainly not be acceptable on What Japan Thinks (I’ve refused a couple of lucrative but unethical offers), and Google takes a dim view of participating in link buying and selling for PageRank schemes, so he is risking his second ejection from the Google index.

Of course, I recognise his right to make money to fund his activities or to pay his server bills (the domain name is owned by HobbyLink Japan, which is surprising and curious, as is the hosting location), but there has to be a more ethical way to raise money, and what impression does such an advertisement leave the average reader with?

Talking of ethical behaviour, I see his blog theme is WP-Andreas09, about which the designer says:

The original template was released as open source and free to use for any purpose as long as the proper credits are given to the original author. This theme is released under the same conditions so please respect this and leave the credits in place to Andreas and myself as we have both put a lot of time and effort into the design and the theme. Other than that you may change the included files as you want.

I don’t see the credits left in place on Debito.org, although he (or his site maintainer) may have done the right thing by making a payment to the designers to allow him to take such a course of action.

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Googling your home in Street View Japan

Have you Googled your home on Google Maps Street View? graph of japanese statisticsThis survey from JR Tokai Express Research Inc and reported on by japan.internet.com looking into issues surrounding Google Maps Street View.

Demographics

On the 20th of August 2008 332 members of the JR Tokai Express Research online monitor panel employed in either the public or private sectors completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 83.7% of the sample were male, 6.3% in their twenties, 35.8% in their thirties, 45.2% in their forties, and 12.7% in their fifties.

The Google camera car didn’t make a trip up my street, despite being right beside a railway station on the most overcrowded (or so I heard, I should search for figures!) line in the Kansai area. When I used my old computer with Street View it was horribly slow, although I did manage to find my previous flat. I had a look around the area but didn’t find anyone I knew, however.
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