Mein Beitrag zum LSR: Snippets als Vorschaubilder

Google News Seite mit Snippets als 7x7 RGBA PNGs (unskaliert)
Google News Seite mit Snippets als 7×7 RGBA PNGs (unskaliert)

tl;dr

Um den Fliegendreck links neben der Ergebnisliste dreht sich die ganze Aufregung in der Aktuellen LSR Diskussion. Jetzt ehrlich?

Und jetzt die Longform:

Prolog

Nachdem der Bundestag das LSR in 2. und 3. Lesung verabschiedet hat (PDF), wird es Zeit, dass ich mal wieder etwas in dieses Blog schreibe.

In der Änderung vom Mittwoch vor der Abstimmung wurde in Punkt 2 die magische Phrase “es sei denn, es handelt sich um einzelne Wörter oder kleinste Textausschnitte.“ hinzugefügt. Über die Auslegung ob Snippets damit gemeit sind wird bereits trefflich gestritten.

In der Begründung von Punkt 2 wird dann auf die BGH Rechtsprechung zu Vorschaubildern  Bezug genommen:

“Die freie, knappe aber zweckdienliche Beschreibung des verlinkten Inhalts ist gewährleistet. Suchmaschinen und Aggregatoren müssen eine Möglichkeit haben, zu
bezeichnen, auf welches Suchergebnis sie verlinken.
Insofern gilt der Rechtsgedanke der Rechtsprechung des Bundesgerichtshofs zu Vorschaubildern („Vorschaubilder I“, Urteil vom 29.04.2010, Az. I ZR 69/08; „Vorschaubilder II“, Urteil vom 19.10.2011, Az. I ZR 140/10)”

Aber das wissen alle, die auf diesem Blogpost gelandet sind, eh schon lange. Genug der Vorrede:

Irgendwann  gestern kam ich auf die Idee, doch mal zu visualisieren was es denn heissen würde, wenn man die Snippets als Vorschaubilder darstellen würde.

Ein Bild sagt ja manchmal mehr als 1000 Worte.

Schritt 0: Google News Ergebnisseite besorgen

Also geschwind mal die Google-News Seite mit site:welt.de befüllt (rein zufällige Wahl). Das ganze sah zu dem Zeitpunkt so aus:

LSR: Aktuelle Google News Seite mit site:welt.de
Aktuelle Google News Seite mit site:welt.de

Dann den Quelltext gespeichert, einmal durch HTML Tidy gejagt, damit man die interessanten Abschnitte leichter findet und frisch ans Werk.

Schritt 1: Snippets raus

Ergebnis

LSR: Google News Seite für welt.de ohne Snippets
Google News Seite für welt.de ohne Snippets

Schritt 2: Vorschaubilder für die Snippets

Anstelle der schlimmen Bild-Text Scheren rein. Warum Bilder vom Donaukurier und RTL Online zu den Welt Meldungen packen wenn man auch das Snippet “tanzen” kann.

Was liegt näher als die Google Charts API zu benutzen um den Snippets Text als QR Code darzustellen?

Nicht einfacher als das: Text  in die Google Charts URL eingeben, z.B. so:

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=72×72&chl=Berlin/Stuttgart%20-%20Die%20Deutsche%20Bahn%20kann%20das%20umstrittene%20Projekt%20Stuttgart%2021%20trotz%20Mehrkosten%20in%20Milliardenh%C3%B6he%20weiterbauen.%20Daf%C3%BCr%20erhielt%20der%20bundeseigene%20…

und fertig ist der QR Code.

Dann diese Links an den richtigen Stellen im HTML einsetzen und das ganze sieht dann so aus:

LSR: Google News Seite der Welt : Snippets als QR Code
Google News Seite der Welt : Snippets als QR Code

Man sieht, die 72x 72 Pixel im Layout reichen dicke aus um den QR Code für den Snippet Text unterzubringen. Aber schön ist das wirklich nicht.

Ausserdem komplette Platzverschwendung. Wir reden über ein digitales Medium und die ganzen Späße bzgl. Fehlerkorrektur etc. kann man sich sparen.

Schritt 3: Simplify to the Maxx

Daher im nächsten Schritt mal eine minimale Lösung bauen.

Also schnell die Python  und PIL Kenntnisse wieder rausgekramt, Snippet Texte in eine Liste gepackt und festgestellt das zumindest bei den ersten 6 Snippets 196 Zeichen deutlich Luft nach oben lässt

>>> [len(s) for s in snippets]
[165, 153, 149, 166, 149, 163]

Das ist praktisch, da 196 = 7 * 7 * 4 ist und damit bedeutet, dass man den Snippet problemlos in ein 7 x 7 Pixel grosses PNG (mit RGBA) packen lässt.

Also schnell ein paar Zeilen Python geschrieben:

>>> long_snippets = [s.ljust(196) for s in snippets]

>>> def to_png(string,filename):
… i = Image.fromstring(‘RGBA’,(7,7),string)
… i.save(‘{0}.png’.format(filename))

>>> [to_png(a,’thumb_{0}’.format(i)) for i,a in enumerate(long_snippets)]

und fertig sind die PNG dateien

Jetzt noch schnell in die Google News Seite reingehängt (und erstmal die Skalierung auf 72x72px dringelassen). Das hat den netten Effekt das das ganze ein bisschen wie Gerhard Richters “Farben” aussieht.

Heraus kommt das folgende:

LSR: Google News Seite der Welt mit den Snippets als7x7 PNG RGBA Dateien (hochskaliert auf 72x72)
Google News Seite der Welt mit den Snippets als7x7 PNG RGBA Dateien (hochskaliert auf 72×72)

Jetzt nochmal schnell nachgesehen ob ich auch keinen Mist gebaut habe:

>>> j=Image.open(‘./thumbs/thumb_0.png’)
>>> j.tostring()
‘Die Proteste gegen den Abriss von Berliner Mauerteilen sind eine Farce: Beim Streit \xc3\xbcber die East Side Gallery geht es um viel \xe2\x80\x93 nur nicht um eine lebenswerte … ‘

Und zum Abschluss: die PNGs unskaliert in die Google News Seite gehängt.

LSR: Google News Seite mit Snippets als 7x7 RGBA PNGs (unskaliert)
Google News Seite mit Snippets als 7×7 RGBA PNGs (unskaliert)

Der Fliegendreck links neben der Ergebnisliste ist es also, um den sich die ganze Aufregung dreht. Der den Qualitätsjournalismus und die Demokratie gefährdet. Und was sonst noch alles.

Jetzt ehrlich?

 

 

 

(Nearly) Nothing changed after the Google Reader change (Updated)

"Removed" People you Follow functionality rendered with the new Google Reader look & feel

A couple of hours ago Google pushed the recently announced changes to Google Reader. As the accompanying blog post says:

Today we’re rolling out the new Reader design, and the Google+ features that we mentioned just over a week ago. Before the day’s over, all Reader users will be able to enjoy the following improvements::

  • A new look and feel that’s cleaner, faster, and nicer to look at.
  • The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing “Like”), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing “Share” and “Share with Note”).
  • Integrating with Google+ also helps us streamline Reader overall. So starting today we’ll be turning off friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality.

Since i’m a heavy user especially of  sharing items i was very eager what this means to me.

The result: Right now, nothing has changed,

The reason for this is that Google retired this features only on the surface level and kept the underlying API.  So, while i’m unable to share from the new Google Look & Feel, right now i am able to:

  1. Share via Reeder from my iPad, iPhone etc. Since i’m doing nearly all my reading from the iPad basically nothing has changed for me.
  2. Share via the installed Note in Reader Bookmarklet
  3. View my updated shared item feed
  4. Use the old version of Google Reader to share items.  I still had Google Reader open in a tab.This version is fully functional and i’m able to use it in parallel to the new version in another  tab-
  5. Open the People you follow page form the old version of Google Reader  and use it with the bew Look & Feel

Note to Google: Make the “classic” version available as a theme

@ What about a GR "Classic" Theme (opt-in) with Sharing etc. Running both Themes in parallel (Two tabs) right now. Works.
@gkamp
gkamp

All this makes it clear that there is no technical reason for not having the old and the new version of Google Reader available in parallel. So Google, act up to the Google Reader Petition and make the “Classic” Version available as a configuration option / theme. You can even keep the new look and make the +1 Version the default theme. You can even turn it into an easter egg, e.g. embed the functionality with a display:none style (Greasemonkey etc) here i come.  Just don’t retire the inofficial API.

If this is not going to happen, resp.  there are a couple of plan Bs, including switching to starring instead of sharing,building a greasemonkey script that fuses the share functionality from the bookmarklet into the page, using a customized SendTo in conjunction with PressThis on a WP blog (would right now not work with Reeder) etc.

Update

Just bought Reeder for the Mac to be able to easily share from the Desktop again.

Your 46894 shared items are public – Why i care about the announced Google Reader changes

Google recently announced that it is going to make  some changes to Google Reader in a Blog Post called: Upcoming changes to Reader: a new look, new Google+ features, and some clean-up. My initial reaction was the following tweet:

@ ONE week advance notice for shutting down services. WtF? Shift-S & shared feed were THE reason for me 2 use Reader #fail
@gkamp
gkamp

I am not amused, may be to the extend that i might fall under the category of people that are characterized in that Google post as:

We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you.

Right now, i’m actively thinking about alternative solutions. And i’m not the only one.  Not surprisingly  the one’s that are complaining are the most avid users. And what they are telling is mostly the same.

For example Sarah Perez from TechCrunch (emphasis mine):

Although there are many other services out there that promise to bubble up relevant content based on my interests, the best product I’ve used to date was the human curation of my Google Reader friends. Not only did my group consistently share the top tech news I’d want to read, they also share those oddball but interesting stories from outside of tech, including humorous cartoons, popular videos, space and science news, parenting tips and other news completely unrelated to tech, but still compelling.

Or E.D. Kain from forbes.com (emphasis also mine):

For one thing, Reader is only sort of a social network. In many senses it’s ananti-social network. Not in the sense that people in Reader are anti-social so much as the point is to harbor a small enclave of carefully selected people and create a safe-haven of sorts where that “carefully constructed human curated” list of shares and insights can flourish. In Reader, you don’t go after as many friends as possible. You certainly don’t see anyone from high school. Nobody shares photos of their kids. The discussions that do blossom are almost always very smart and focused. It’s the internet if the world were a more prefect place.

Or Courtney Stantons post:

 I like that the primary verb of gReader is “share” – but not about you; about content that’s meaningful to you. I like that I have to click on a specific tab in order to get the little window that allows me to post only about myself.

My motivation for “human curation”

This brings me to the reason why i’m upset about the changes. The title of the post already says why. For me Google reader is THE essential tool for reading news, as well as a long running experiment in human curation. But from the sending side, not the receiving.

I’m a long time RSS-Feed reader and switched to Google Reader because i was able to access my feeds from multiple computers without losing sync of the read items. I then discovered the productivity gains of the keyboard shortcuts and the shared item feed.

At that point i decided to share all the posts that i  found interesting via Shift-S. Interesting in an impartial sense, e.g. providing useful or meaningful information, looking at some topic from an  interesting / different angle etc.

While the primary impetus for doing so was being able to access these items  more easily and being able to archive them via another client, early on i also decided to make all shares public to everybody. First and foremost because i wanted to have as little as possible overhead while reading. But also out of curiosity if somebody would discover this “human curated” feed and would find it useful.

Over the time quite a number of my colleagues found it (ok, i stopped sending separate emails about interested stuff and directed them at my sgared item feed). But after Google started it’S recommendation engine, quite a number of Google Reader users are following my feed and there is a small but dedicated number of  subscribers via other feed readers (as my Logfile shows).All in all im absolutely sure that my shared item feed has more readers than this blog.

On moving to plus

@ Shift-s is fundamentally different to +1 (at least 4 me) Former is impersonal filtering/curating. Latter is personal sharing
@gkamp
gkamp

It should be clear now that for me sharing on Google Reader is about curation or if you prefer another, more humble term, about filtering. It is not about liking, agreeing or recommending. Hence i always struggled with the german translation of Sharin within Google Reader: “Empfehlen”, which backtranslates to “Recommend”.

Google is saying that my shares on Google Reader will be changed into +1. Looking at the presumed place, the plusones section of my profile (still empty) if find the following text:

Your +1’s appear here. +1 the things around the web you like, agree with, or want to recommend to others.

And here we are at the heart of the problem. No: I neither like, agrre with or recommend these things. I simply share them. Some of you might think i’m nitpicking. May be i am. But my background in Knowledge Representtation and AI as well as my common sense want to separate my social  “human curation”  activities, from my recommendations, likes, opinions and emotions.

I tried to summarize all this in the following tweet:

What’s next?

These  latter social activities are right now mostly happening on this blog and on Twitter (both for opionion andemotion) as well as my pinboard.in bookmark account (basically recommendations of technical things).

Recently switched from delicious to pinboard.in for basically the same reasons. I thought the changes especially in the T & C introduced by the new ownership were ridiculous and switched to another service where i’m more in control. But i habd plenty of time doing so. Yahoo announced that they were retiring delicious last December, and the switch to the new t&C was enforced only recently.

Google instead is giving only one week advance notice. This is definitely too short to come up with a soltuion for the third party providers that are using the inofficial Google Reader API. The one i care most about is Reeder, because it allows me to read (and easily share) on my iPad. Hopefully it will at least will work in reading mode after the changes.

@ Do you think that Reeder and other apps can adapt in 1week? It will take that long in review. Ok, you don't care.
@gkamp
gkamp

Even if an official API would be announced today and implemented by Silvio Rizzi in an instant, it would take a weeks time until the new app in the app store. So opefully Google is going to keep the inofficial API around , maybe even announce an official one.

In the meantime i’m going to look for a short-term workaround to sharing via send_to (at the moment either to pinboard, readability or to my own server). May be i’m reverting to the fever installation on my own server but then i would loose the iPad connectivity via Reeder. Supporting Fever and other services is supposedly on Silvio’s list. But this will definitely take some time

I’ll keep you posted.

P.S: This is the first post in which i’m using Blackbird Pie for embedding Tweets. Works like a charm. Highly recommended.