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Filtered virtual web via Google cache.

It takes a village. There is one available.
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Consider web research. If one uses google and follows interesting links, sooner or later one runs into porn, malicious robots, or something else distasteful. How can one allow computer-savvy kids to do independent research on the web? One can buy a filter, but these are stupid robots, and are quickly outdated. Plus much baby goes with the filtered bathwater - try researching anal cancer with a filter in place.

I propose that Google could set up a virtual web that would be safer for doing research and superior in other respects. Currently, if one is suspicious that a webpage will damage ones computer if viewed, one can view the cached google version. However, if one clicks on a link in this cached page, it will take you to the actual link, not the cached version of the link.

In the Google FVW, the web viewer stays in the google site, viewing exclusively cached pages. Links lead to other cached pages. One cannot sell anything, buy anything, or process anything. One cannot download or upload anything, or communicate realtime with anybody. There are no cookies. One can read and click links.

There would be a tag on each FVW cached page / site stating if it is unacceptable for children. Unacceptable pages would be invisible. Some webmasters would add this tag to their actual page - for example, liquor companies and tobacco companies. Other pages would have the tag added to the cached version in google. In a wikipedialike feature, anyone could so tag a page, rendering it invisible. A page so tagged would remain invisible on the FvW even after updates of the Google cache.

Some pages might be inappropriately labeled off limits, just as some wikipedia articles are repeatedly inappropriately edited. If this proves to be the case for certain pages, members of the public could point this out to Google editors, who then might permanently tag a page as visible.

I am not sure what sort of protests page owners would make about the FVW. Robots, cookies and other means of getting hooks in people would not be available to them, but it would be hard for one to complain about that. The page would stand on the images and text alone. If a page author did not like it, he or she could tag his page offlimits and not participate in the FVW.

The result: a virtual virtual world with dangerous stuff omitted. This cannot be done with the real world, but with a virtual world, any number of iterations are possible. I think other people besides children would like a FVW. Also, the heavy lifting (caching the pages) is already done by Google. Google also already warns people if they try to follow a Google link to a malicious page. I think the FVW would be right up their alley.

bungston, Dec 10 2007

Flaming pop tarts http://www.pmichaud.com/toast/
1994! [bungston, Dec 12 2007]

[link]






       Rather than blindly pushing cached pages into the FVW, why not let the page owner tag the page(s) as suitable for inclusion using the robots.txt file (or something similar)? Any pages that make their way in unintentionally can be filtered afterward.
phoenix, Dec 10 2007
  

       (-) A naive appeal to the universal miracle company, google, whose technical solutions to hard problems apparently cannot possibly suffer from the inaccuracies you've found in other people's technical solutions to hard problems. Boy, they sure are lucky to have bought up all that pixie dust.   

       Caching and filtering are independent functionalities.   

       Caching doesn't magically render content safe or prevent JavaScript from executing. However, it's pretty easy to configure your browser to not do that, and to not store cookies.   

       How do you deal with people incorrectly tagging their competitors' sites as porn?   

       How do you deal with varying parental ideas of what is or isn't acceptable?
jutta, Dec 10 2007
  

       /How do you deal with people incorrectly tagging their competitors' sites as porn?/   

       /Some pages might be inappropriately labeled off limits, just as some wikipedia articles are repeatedly inappropriately edited. If this proves to be the case for certain pages, members of the public could point this out to Google editors, who then might permanently tag a page as visible./   

       /How do you deal with varying parental ideas of what is or isn't acceptable?/   

       The FVW would be pitched to the common denominator. People with more stringent requirements (eg: no talk of evolution, no criticisim of the government) would not find it adequate.   

       /Caching and filtering are independent functionalities. /   

       If a webpage would give me a cookie, will I still get the cookie if I visit the cached page? I am pretty sure that transactions cannot take place over a cached page. The cache aspect prevents these functions of the webpage.   

       As regards content, the cache is not the filter, but rather the controllable representation of the web which is filtered. Filtering here occurs as a community project, akin to wikipedia. This is the invention, and so wikipedia should be listed as a pixie dust vendor alongside google.   

       Re [phoenix] idea, I do not want to require anything from the page owner. Many good pages (for example: flaming pop tarts) are very old, and I suspect their owners do not do much with them.
bungston, Dec 11 2007
  

       // The cache aspect prevents these functions [cookies] of the webpage.   

       Actually, you can get and set cookies from within JavaScript.   

       Of course, you can turn JavaScript interpretation off - but you can also just turn cookies off, in the browser.
jutta, Dec 11 2007
  
      
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