The Right to be Forgotten

The Right to be Forgotten: The Web has a long memory. Many are chagrined that one misstep will regularly haunt them thanks to Google search results. It’s particularly dismaying as Googling people is a common step for those dating or hiring someone. In Europe, there’s a movement to enshrine a “right to be forgotten.” As much as Americans are like European, we part ways significantly in certain areas. Here, we prize the freedom of speech above all else. Europe has a different history, replete with government spying and intrusion into citizens’ private lives. For that reason, Google is facing regulation that requires it to “forget” some European citizens. It will be interesting to see if this concept of control over personal data has any resonance on this side of the Atlantic. My guess is no. As tempting as the various drives to giving users control over data are, the genie appears out of the bottle in that regard — and far too much money is at stake in the business of making money of people’s personal data.

Quote of the Day: James Gleick takes a long look at the burgeoning field of Google books in the New York Review of Books. “The merchandise of the information economy is not information; it is attention. These commodities have an inverse relationship. When information is cheap, attention becomes expensive.”

Facebook vs SMS: Facebook has been pretty quiet lately, without any big product launches. That’s about to change with its most ambitious app yet. Interestingly, Facebook is ditiching its all-in-one app approach to release a dedicated messaging app. It’s already being billed as an “SMS killer.” The app lets Facebookers easily message each other on the go. The important thing here: it’s free. Kids will probably go for this pretty quickly. Many adults forget that for kids texting can be an expensive proposition, particularly considering the volume they do it. The use of BlackBerry Messenger during the London riots shows that alternative communication channels tend to thrive when they lower the cost.

The Trouble With CMS: Anyone in a publishing organization can tell you horror stories about working with content management systems. These can sometimes seem instruments of the devil, clunky, inflexible and unintuitive. Adweek takes a tour of the CMS landscape. It’s interesting that this is a major problem that hasn’t been solved. It’s another example of how there just aren’t the same incentives for the tech world to fund innovation on the publisher side. The problem is publishers don’t have the money the advertiser side has. So what you see is all the innovation happening over there.  As a result, more and more publications are simply going over the souped-up versions of WordPress.