Opinion » Cybernaut


A matter of good taste



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In the second example this form of advertising might be acceptable, grudgingly, but anyone would be hard-pressed to justify using the death of a little girl to sell art prints just because she happened to have almost the same last name as the artist.

I checked a few others stories to see if other inappropriate ads came up, and sure enough they did. For example, a story about the government of Newfoundland laying off 4,000 government employees had ads along the side for hotel rooms in St. John’s.

The Google system is automated which is the whole of the problem. It lacks tact. It doesn’t make distinctions between sad stories and happy stories, and had no idea what’s appropriate. Maybe one day it will, but until then the synergy approach will always be flawed. When consumers become aware of the ads, they tend to lose all of their power.

Google to offer free e-mail

Speaking of Google, the world’s most used Internet Search Engine is preparing to expand its services to offer the world free e-mail. Like Hotmail and Yahoo, Gmail will offer free Web-based e-mail through its homepage.

Unlike Hotmail and Yahoo, Gmail will not cap user accounts at two megabytes or five megabytes. The current plan is to give people up to 1,000 megabytes of information, which is about one and one-fifth the size of a standard CD-ROM disk.

Another unique feature is the ability to use the Google search engine to plow through your e-mails to find information.

The fact that this announcement came out on April 1 prompted many to wonder if it was an April Fool’s hoax, but apparently it’s legit. The service is being tested as I write this, and could be introduced as early as the fall.

The huge capacity being offered to users did set off alarm bells – storage is expensive so there had to be a catch. That catch, when it comes to e-mail services, usually comes in the form of spam and advertisements.

Google acknowledged that some marketing will go on. Spam will be filtered, and text-only ads will run alongside the Gmail window in the same form as the search engine.

There was no immediate response from MSN or Yahoo, which recently dropped Google in favour of its own propriety search engine, but you can be sure they’re going to have to offer their subscribers something to stick around.

Feds say file swapping O.K.

While thousands of our neighbours are being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally sharing songs, movies and other copyrighted materials through peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa and LimeWire, things are getting more and more confusing in the Great White North.