Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Google Changes Privacy Policy and Terms of Service -- Updated Feb 13, 2012

Google announced last week (read Jan 24 blog) that it's getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across its product lines and replacing them with one that’s shorter and "easier to read." This new integrated policy covers multiple products and features, and "is intended to create one simple and intuitive experience across Google." Here's how Google explains it:
The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.
We urge you to read the new Google Privacy Policy and new Google Terms of Service; both are effective March 1, 2012. Then, we strongly suggest you log-in to your Google Account (defined) and go to the Dashboard to see a list of every Google product you have an account with, as well as the information each one has stored about you. Actually, Google suggests you check your Dashboard once a year (read article), so now's a good time to get in the habit of  doing just that. To see how it works, watch this Google Dashboard video.
For owners of Android devices, which include about half of the smartphone market, Google’s privacy policy shift will enable the company to track what many users do on the phone and combine that data with what the company knows about them from Google’s Web sites. (Read The Washington Post.) 
Google is planning to “replace past names associated with your Google Account so that you are represented consistently across all our services.” If you have deliberately kept different names on your various accounts, you'll definitely want to reconsider your objectives under Google's new Privacy Policy. It is unclear whether or how Google will accommodate users  who want to separate their personal and professional digital lives; give Google feedback here.

Here's a few tools (more on our new Electronic Privacy chart):

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Facebook Timeline no longer just an option

Yesterday, most Facebook (FB) users were told that in seven days their profile page will automatically become the new Timeline (Mark Zuckerberg calls it "the story of your life"). This means anybody with access to your profile will be able to easily cruise through all your past FB activity with greater ease.

FB introduced Timeline (beta) last September. Timeline is linked to FB's Open Graph -- a network of social apps that help FB users learn what their friends are doing beyond the "Like" feature. FB divided the types of apps to  be built on its platform into four buckets: Communication, Games, Media and Lifestyle. FB has partnered with dozens of companies, including: TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Pinterest, Foursquare, Autotrader, Spotify, The Huffington Post, Digg, Buzz Feed, Hulu, and Netflix, among others. As we wrote previously, Timeline became available for all FB users December 15.

Shortly, Timeline is mandatory for all FB users, whether you want it or not. If you have something you'd like to erase, you'll have only a little time to do it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA protest redefining discussion

Yesterday's protest pressured more than a dozen Senators to either withdraw their support or announce their opposition to SOPA and PIPA. There's a list of the opponents here, and links to analyses below this post.

The Senate voting is scheduled to begin on January 24th. If you oppose SOPA and PIPA, you can urge Congress to rethink the legislation by signing the online petition here (Google) or here (SOPAstrike.com). Not in the US? You can petition the State Department here.

Thank you for Dynamic Views feedback

The Dynamic Views test site is being archived and is no longer updated as of January 31, 2012. We may, however, recycle the URL mobile.bigfamilynews.com.  Big family announcements are available on forum.bigfamilynews.com and @BigFamilyNews.

You might like:
Dynamic View family test concluding Jan 14, 2012
Dynamic Views: Update #3 - Gadgets! on Blogger Buzz

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tech Tips that are Good to Know -- Updated Feb 6, 2012

Technology can be confusing. To explain clearly why digital literacy matters, Google is today in the U.S. kicking off Good to Know, its biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. The new site complements other Google resources like privacy videos, the Google Security Center, the Family Safety Center and Teach Parents Tech to help us develop strong privacy and security habits.

We've added Good to Know to our Google links at the bottom of this page. Learn something new about how to protect yourself online—tips that are always good to know!

You might like:
Updating our privacy policies and terms of service - Official Google Blog
Google to Update Privacy Policy to Cover Wider Data Use - The New York Times
Google Changes Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Last Updated February 20, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

SOPA Strike Jan 18, 2012

The Obama administration announced on Saturday its opposition to major elements of two Congressional bills intended to curtail copyright violations on the Internet. The White House response to two grassroots petitions related to H.R. 3261 Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Online Protection and Digital ENforcement of Digital Act (OPEN) acknowledges online piracy problems, posits any proposed legislation “must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet,” and challenges all parties "to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy."

Both liberal and conservative bloggers are making SOPA an issue in US 2012 elections, and the GoDaddy.com boycott last month forced the registrar to drop its support of SOPA.

Advocacy groups and websites are reacting in different ways. Some websites are shutting down on Wednesday January 18, 2012, (TwitPic.com and English-language Wikimedia are confirmed participants) to protest SOPA and S.968 PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). For a list, please visit SOPA Strike and for additional news, follow them via Twitter @fightfortheftr.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Search, plus Your World -- Updated Jan 31, 2012

Tuesday, Google announced 3 new features of its search engine; the bundle of new features called Search plus Your World (SPYW) is rolling-out this week. To take advantage of all the personal results features, you must be signed-in to your Google Account (create here). With a single Google search, you can now see regular search results, along with

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Threaded commenting

You can now make general comments about a blog post or reply to another comment. 

We've changed our settings to take advantage of Blogger's new threaded commenting. This change also affects our web feed. We've been sending abbreviated posts (until jump break) to our forum.bigfamilynews.com mailing list subscribers. If you're on that mailing list, do you like receiving the full posts? Let us know below.

The threaded comments feature is new to Blogger, and we've got some kinks to work-out with "Reply" on this blog. If you experience any problems, please comment or Email the author so that we can better understand the situation and give you our prompt attention. Thank you for this consideration.

You might like:
Yesterday's (January 11, 2012) official announcement at Blogger Buzz.
Our Comments Policy with space for your feedback
Our Privacy Practices and space for your comments here

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Update Adobe Acrobat Reader Jan 10, 2012

Please download today's free Adobe Acrobat Reader® software update here. You will use this software to open PDF files on our web sites. Read about PDF files and why we use them here. Most recently, we posted PDF Files so that you can download our Privacy Practices and Comments Policy.

Our safety tip is Adobe Reader® software is not available in any other manner via download, including via E-mail. Go straight to the source!

Please note, depending upon your settings, you may have to temporarily disable your antivirus software. Follow the instructions from your software provider. Thank you for reading. Have a good day!

Comments Policy Refresher -- Updated Jan 12, 2012

We encourage all readers to comment on our blogs. Opening our public blogs this way affords opportunities to engage new readers in our large extended family.  The start of the new year seems like an appropriate time to review the Comments Policy for forum.bigfamilynews.com and lovenymusic.comYour consideration will enable us to preserve and enjoy polite, lively discussions representing a variety of views from our family and readers, who may choose to post anonymously. 

Please post any questions/suggestions about our Comments Policy below. Thank you for reading.

You might like:
Threaded commenting
Engage with your readers through threaded commenting via Blogger Buzz 
Comments Policy (PDF File)

Dynamic View family test concluding Jan 14, 2012


Our test of Blogger's Dynamic Views at http://mobile.bigfamilynews.com is concluding. The purpose is to evaluate the functionality and popularity of Blogger's new Dynamic Views in our family. Do you favor using one of the Dynamic View templates on forum.bigfamilynews.com or lovenymusic.com? Please make your final comments/suggestions below by Saturday January 14, 2012.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Annual Survey Feedback

Thank you for taking our 2012 Annual Survey and sharing what you would like to see on our public blogs this year. In 2012, we want to make your bigfamilynews.com experience match your preferences, your goals, and the way you use the site, better than ever before.

What types of information are you most interested in accessing via our *public* blogs in 2012?
I would like our family news to:
I would be interested in:
We rely on family to contribute content, and we need volunteers to explore and manage a family Facebook page (FB Terms), post performing arts events, contribute holiday activities, and write blogs (FAQ). When you're able to contribute some of your time, or content to publish, here's our Contact Form. Thank you!

What would you add to the above list of things to see in 2012? Please let us know in comments. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adopt Big Family Privacy Practices

Our family values privacy, and the privacy of our visitors is extremely important to Big Family News and associated web sites. We receive data about our visitors, but it is not personally identifiable. We are adding Data Collection to our Privacy Practices, which is available now for comment through Friday February 10, 2012. We ask all relatives to adopt our Privacy Practices (PDF), and to suggest improvements.

Our online team uses data from Google Analytics (GA) and Blogger Stats to inform organizational and design choices, and to improve poor-performing web pages. For example, when we recently observed the popularity of our post, Family Forum has global audience, we developed new content--  Internet Visitors Map.

Family discussions drove development of the Data Publication and Undisclosed Data sections. We incorporated all of your comments and re-posted discussion drafts for eleven months during 2011. Earlier drafts are here and here.

Note the Complaint Resolution section covers requests to remove content.

You'll need free Adobe Acrobat Reader® to display and download our PDF File (FAQ).

Download our Privacy Practices PDF file here.

Please comment below this post about our Privacy Practices before Friday February 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM ET. Thank you!

Last Updated February 27, 2012