Fridaygram: free web expression, million-year disk, media tools

OCT 25, 2013
Author PhotoBy +Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

The web opens up communication possibilities that never existed before. But with more people doing more on the web come new challenges for keeping these new channels open and free from censorship. Hugo Landa, Cubanet Executive Director puts it this way: “Today, access to the Internet equals freedom of expression”. Last week Google Ideas hosted a summit on this subject entitled “Conflict in a Connected World”.

One concrete outcome of the summit is a set of tools to help people who are facing online censorship. These tools include the Digital Attack Map, which visualizes DDoS attacks, Project Shield, which actively helps protect against DDoS, and a new browser extension that enables a group to build a trusted connection to the Web. We hope these tools will help keep web speech free.

If you express yourself via digital storage, there’s a new technology to make sure that what you say can stay around for a long time. A team at the University of Twente in the Netherlands has built a disk designed to store data reliably for a million years or more. Researchers studied the processes that corrupt data over time, and then built a disk out of silicon nitride and tungsten designed to withstand the corruption. They developed accelerated aging tests that proved their ideas for now, but we’ll await the final results that will be available in about a million years.

Finally, it was a big week for new toolsets. We also launched Google Media Tools, a destination for journalists and news organizations. Google Media Tools includes sites and apps to help with collecting information, visualizing data, publishing, and our favorite, developing your own tools. Even if you’re not a pro journalist but are interested in how you can use Google stuff to learn what’s happening and tell others about it, you might want to check out this nicely organized site.

We make tools, you make tools, the web rules! Fridaygram is here to inform you, but it’s mostly for a fun weekly break from your coding chores. Thanks to friend of the blog Adam Feldman for this week’s million-year-disk info.