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Google Social Networks Technology

Is Google+ a Cathedral Or a Bazaar? 200

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the either-way-the-garden-is-walled dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With its recent mass suspension of accounts, Google has highlighted its desire to create a social network that is very different to the way many (including those whose accounts were suspended) would want to see it. The metaphor of the Cathedral and the Bazaar used for software development can be applied to the two types of social networks being proposed by Google on the one hand and the pseudonym supporters on the other. Google's Cathedral model emphasizes order and control whilst the bazaar model supports users who can be anonymous, have multiple identities, interact with anyone they please, and remain unobserved."
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Is Google+ a Cathedral Or a Bazaar?

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  • Why not both? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiedzmin (1269816) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:33PM (#36962056)
    Why not allow both and let the userbase sort out who they do and do not add on their professional (cathedral) and personal (bazaar) accounts? Because frankly, we already have a cathedral (LinkedIn) and a Bazaar (Facebook), so if Google wants to attract those users, they better be flexible enough to accommodate them.
    • Re:Why not both? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:37PM (#36962108)

      It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account. Having a 'real' person linked to those accounts would be very profitable indeed, especially to bidders in the marketing/sales areas. Google has always been a pimp of sorts for your personal data. They just haven't gone to these extremes before.

      I still spend very little time on Google+. There just isn't any activity there as of yet, and not many personal friends. I expected it to reach a critical point sooner but that hasn't happened in my circles as of yet.

      I'll hold on to the account, if just to reserve my account name, but other than that? Meh...

      • by ccguy (1116865)

        It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account.

        If you think google can't link your fake account with lots of real data you're very naive.

        • by vlueboy (1799360)

          It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account.

          If you think google can't link your fake account with lots of real data you're very naive.

          Ha. They ALL can. It's not like the FBI always goes to just Google for matters of USA national security.
          After all, when it comes to stuff like CP or other crime prosecution for stuff mishandled by law agents, people still effectively use these defenses:

          • the wireless router allows for my neighbor/sister/visitor to use my IP
          • the DHCP from my ISP changes often and that IP was not US at the time
          • the "haha! my other *housemates*/dorm people/evil ex used this living room PC back then"

          Back on topic, to the advertis

          • by vux984 (928602)

            "Mostly accurate" data isn't good enough for "beyond a reasonable doubt" which is the standard in a criminal prosecution, but its plenty good for pretty much anything google wants to do with it.

            • Its also plenty fine for law enforcement since it's sufficient to get a search warrant. After they watch you and then search you then they have to have "sufficient" proof or a planted hard disk in order to proceed.
        • by jythie (914043)
          *nods* agree. I have a feeling the real issue is them trying to figure out what kind of environment they will have and what kinds of users they wish to attract. There are advantages and disadvantages to both models, as there is the idea of making a hybrid one... and each of these 3 solutions will help or harm different populations.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Considering that they're presumably mining the circles and the posts for data to match up ads with, I'm not really sure that it really matters what the real name on the account is. As I'm sure that they'll have plenty of data with which to match ads accurately.

      • If you use Google services enough for them to have profitable data on you, they are almost certainly able to identify you, if not by name, then by everything the advertisers care about (location, interests, age, profession, family, etc). What difference would it make to the advertisers if the blog of information has a name attached to it or not?

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          Basically the advertiser thinks of it as either a one step process or a two step, depending on their model of what's most efficient.
          Either they 1. just want to know whatever will motivate person X to give them money.
          Or they want to first know 1. whether person X actually has any spare money, that the advertiser can get without too much bother, and then learn 2. whatever will motivate that subgroup of person Xes, the ones with spare money and without issues that will become too much bother, to give the adver

        • yeah but I don't click, read or even acknowledge, consciously or unconsciously ads. so what good will it do them if they have 'valuable' data or not?
      • Why do people think that Google cannot link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account? The only problem is if the profile is maintained by a spammer who doesn't use any of the other services linked to the Google Account. Otherwise, if the person is a real person using a fake name, Google still knows a shitload about you, and the real name doesn't really matter. As long as the person stays logged in using Google+ while searching or using the email, or browses the web, then Google already knows more abou

        • I think they can; but they don't. There's a big difference between what they could do and what they believe is safe and reasonable to do. On the other hand, if you give them your real name a whole load of consent issues go away.
      • It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account.

        I don't buy that argument. Let's say you have multiple "fake" accounts, one for each facet of your lifestyle. You will want to be sold stuff based on which facet you are currently presenting. If I'm surfing the web with my family looking for vacation sites, I don't want penis enhancement advertising to show up (awkward). If I'm trolling for pr0n, I don't want ads for Disney World to pop up (that's just weird). If I'm at work looking for training videos on Amazon, I don't want my Thomas the Train purchases f

    • by mbkennel (97636)

      The true primary difference between the two is that in the ordered, regimented version, one can best correlate the real names with off-line marketing (and other) databases.

      That means, that for Google, one is much more profitable than the other.

    • by bonch (38532) *

      Google needs to harvest your personal data to make money.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Why not allow both and let the userbase sort out who they do and do not add on their professional (cathedral) and personal (bazaar) accounts?

      google won't let us filter out the comment spammers. They'd have to add a flag for each user as "real" or "anonymous coward" and then add a filter flag so we don't have to see the AC/spammers.

      You can control who sees your posts in the circles. You cannot, more or less, control who spams your comments, for better or worse.

      Circles are unidirectional, not bidirectional like other services.

      A typical failure mode would be I add wiedzmin to my circles, and whenever you post, I spamflood your post comments, and

      • You have mixed up circles and non-circles in your description. If wiedzim made a public post then you would see it and could spam the comments. But if he posted it to his circles, or probably his extended circles as well, then you would not see it and could not comment on it at all. So wiedzim does have control over whether or not you can spam his comments.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Point remains... "real people" are muzzled on G+ if they permit ACs, because ACs will spamflood any public discussion.

    • I agree with you. Here's why: Because we'll never be satisfied until we've pigeon holed Google+ into a "It's just like _________" explanation, just like everyone said that Facebook would fail because it's too different from MySpace, didn't allow animated gifs, didn't allow page customizations, blah blah blah (I'm talking to you MG Siegler).

      Now people are saying the same about Google+. Only this time they want to criticize it both for how it is like Facebook and how it is unlike Facebook.

      Google+ is just li

    • Huh. Facebook doesn't let me use my real online name, Drew from Zhrodague. LinkedIn allows this just fine. I am still blocked by Google+, since I use the name Drew from Zhrodague, and not my birth name. They've ignored my contributions to O'Reilly and Associates as Drew from Zhrodague, two other mentions on Google Scholar, and countless years and accounts posting also as such. So far, I can't enter the town of Google+, can't +1 anything, and can't post pictures or other stuff. Other (more famous) people c
    • by blair1q (305137)

      G+ allows you to decide which of your circles you treat as a cathedral, and which you treat as a bazaar. And which you treat as a kinky sadomasochistic torture dungeon.

    • by rwv (1636355)

      cathedral (LinkedIn) and a Bazaar (Facebook)

      I thought cathedral was "They Control It" and bazaar was "You Control It".

      Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all Cathedrals.

      Diaspora [wikipedia.org] is a Bazaar.

    • Because frankly, we already have a cathedral (LinkedIn) and a Bazaar (Facebook), so if Google wants to attract those users, they better be flexible enough to accommodate them.

      Google already supports "bazaar"-style social networking (much moreso than does Facebook) via a variety of open APIs for communication and social data and support for open social tagging standards that can be used on any webpage no matter who hosts it that Google will crawl to derive and present social graph data. (OpenSocial API, Soci

  • Cathedral (Score:3, Interesting)

    by halfaperson (1885704) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:34PM (#36962070) Homepage
    Not that I think the "Catherdral vs. Bazaar" comparison is really that appropriate as a tool for measuring social networks (and it wasn't intended for that either), but using Google+ will always be - no matter how you twist and turn it - on their rules and conditions. And this regardless of wheter anonymous accounts are allowed or not. The only way to have a truly "bazaar" social network model would be using decentralized nodes. I admit I don't know much about Diaspora [joindiaspora.com], but wasn't that one of their selling points?
    • Yep and after a lot of hype the project fizzled out. What do you want? Being a college student is the last time in your life when you can flake out without damage. Oh well. Great idea.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:37PM (#36962102)

    where they don't have access to most of my information. if you don't want to use your real name then i usually don't want to have anything to do with you on a social network

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:37PM (#36962106) Journal
    It's been a while since I've perused CatB but from the article:

    The Bazaar was likened to the slightly chaotic but powerful collective approach behind the development of open source software.

    The Cathedral represented the traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development.

    Um, I'm a little confused on their definition of the Cathedral. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (and also from my memory):

    * The Cathedral model, in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of software developers. GNU Emacs and GCC are presented as examples.
    * The Bazaar model, in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public. Raymond credits Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project, as the inventor of this process. Raymond also provides anecdotal accounts of his own implementation of this model for the Fetchmail project.

    GNU Emacs and GCC were the "traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development"? That's news to me!

    I don't follow nor agree with this adaptation of CatB to social networks ... nor do I think the author of this article fully read CatB.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      GNU Emacs and GCC were the "traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development"? That's news to me!

      There are a couple of things you need to realise here.

      The first is ESR had(has?) issues with Stallman, and always hated his style. Stallman has a rather Socialist outlook on life, and ESR is a committed Libertarian. So one of ESR's missions in life (at least back then) was to marginalize Stallman. These projects were, in ESR's view, tainted by Stallmanisim, so he's going out of his way to denigrate them. This is also why he helped invent the term "OpenSource". A prime goal of CatB was to establish a founda

    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @02:04PM (#36962434)

      Its bizarrely backwards. Talk about getting it backwards.

      The Cathedral was built by anonymous toilers. No one really knows, or frankly cares, who carved and placed that individual block in that unnoticed wall centuries ago. This is an anonymous social network.

      The Bazzar is staffed by human beings. Not interchangeable human cogs like a starbucks, but real individuals. Farmer Albert trades corn for Blacksmith Bob's farmtools. The important part is a Bazzar is based on real names with real reputations and a 1:1 match between them. This is the G+ social network model where, for better or worse, your real name attaches to your online reputation. Almost all of the time its better; some of the time, for some people, it could be worse. Oh well.

    • by emurphy42 (631808)
      News to me too, but according to that same article, they were more in that direction (but moved in the bazaar direction in response to CatB). Closed-source, meanwhile, is the obvious next step from "source is unavailable except when the cabal releases" to "source is unavailable, full stop"; the original definition of "cathedral" does represent that, if only by presenting a weaker form of it.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      I think the mistake is thinking that playing around in G+ is anything like software development.

      Google is developing Google+. The people in it are just in it.

      So it's like the Mall. Only without the shitty food.

  • Medieval analogies? Look into the sci-fi future, see, it is more like ad Matrix..
    • Medieval analogies? Look into the sci-fi future, see, it is more like ad Matrix..

      Futurama usually hits closer to the truth than we'd like to admit...

      Bender: Behold - The Internet!
      Fry: My God! It's full of ads!

    • by blair1q (305137)

      I didn't see a single ad in The Matrix.

      That's how I know it's not real.

  • Of course they wouldn't want the possibility of anonymity. That makes their information collection services that much less useful for targeted advertising.
    • Of course they wouldn't want the possibility of anonymity. That makes their information collection services that much less useful for targeted advertising.

      You really think they care about my name when they target me for advertising? If an ad uses my name, it's creepy and a little frightening [slashdot.org]. If an ad tells me about a store in my neighborhood having a coupon, I just might click on it to print it off. They shouldn't care of I'm using my real name, they should care more about my interests, my location, what concerts I like, etc. That's how targeted advertising works. It has nothing to do with a user's true identity. Ask any marketer. They want a collecti

      • by wjousts (1529427)

        You really think they care about my name when they target me for advertising?

        Yes. Or did you really think that Google was the only place the advertisers were getting information on you from?

    • by Lord Grey (463613)

      Google can -- and probably should -- know who each user is. Targeted advertising can still be preserved. What Google needs to do is allow a user to represent herself anonymously to the rest of the Google+ user base.

      • In other words, there needs to be the option to have your nickname default to be the visible "name" of your account. Problem solved. I have no idea why Google isn't going that route.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:40PM (#36962144)

    Google's attempting to not necessarily take down Facebook or twitter, I don't think anyway. It'd be insane. Facebook had some advantages that Google+ does not, namely, no matter how bad the Facebook UI will get, it will NEVER be as horrible as the best days on MySpace, which is the social media giant it uprooted. Now I'm speaking strictly in terms of UI, in terms of privacy and other issues, Facebook has a long way to go, but Google+ isn't looking to chase FB on those fronts(except for the exclusion of apps; which I think is a benefit for G+).

    Instead what I think they're trying to do is coexist and yet dictate some terms, but not try to be this domineering force in the social media market. Hence, a church bakesale. Come see what we've got, it's tasty, if you don't like it, no big deal.

  • by Jodka (520060)

    Well since Eric Raymond, who wrote the book [amazon.com], is using Google+ and is blogging about it (entries here [ibiblio.org], here [ibiblio.org], here [ibiblio.org] and here [ibiblio.org]), maybe someone should ask him.

  • Google wants your data. They are a gigantic advertising company. There's no way they'd let you use anonymous pseudonyms. It's not about order and control; it's about getting more personal information on you that they can sell to advertisers. For many users, Facebook is becoming the web. They don't use Gmail; they message through Facebook. They don't visit YouTube; they watch videos posted to Facebook. That's dangerous to an online advertising company dependent on page views , and so Google+ is their attempt

    • by Daetrin (576516)
      If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

      In fact allowing pseudonyms and multiple accounts would only help Google in that regard. If i've got three active accounts, UserA, UserB and UserC, then Google can sell ads to me three different times, and to the company paying for the ads it will look like Google put marketing material in front of three different sets of eyes. So that's good for me (in ter
      • by wjousts (1529427)

        If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

        They probably don't care, per se, but their customers do. Their customers don't get all their marketing data exclusively from Google (although Google would probably like that). They want to be able to link the data from Google to data from other sources and a real name is one of the better keys (but by no means sufficient by itself) for making that connection.

        In fact allowing pseudonyms and multiple accounts would only help Google in that regard. If i've got three active accounts, UserA, UserB and UserC, then Google can sell ads to me three different times, and to the company paying for the ads it will look like Google put marketing material in front of three different sets of eyes. So that's good for me (in terms of letting me use pseudonyms) good for Google (in terms of selling ads) and actually pretty neutral for the company buying the advertising (realistically, they'd probably rather have the ad shown to three different people, but gods know they never had and problem with showing the same ad to the same person over and over and over again and hoping it will stick that way.)

        No, it's pretty bad for the customer. They've paid three times for an ad to the same person. If you can't see why Google's customers would be unhappy

        • by Daetrin (576516)

          They probably don't care, per se, but their customers do. Their customers don't get all their marketing data exclusively from Google (although Google would probably like that). They want to be able to link the data from Google to data from other sources and a real name is one of the better keys (but by no means sufficient by itself) for making that connection.

          The last i heard, Google doesn't sell our (specific) data to other companies, that's what Facebook does. Google is in the business of selling ads, so they want to keep our data to themselves. Do you have any evidence to suggest that Google is in fact selling our names to their customers?

          No, it's pretty bad for the customer. They've paid three times for an ad to the same person. If you can't see why Google's customers would be unhappy about that then you don't understand business. This alone might be a good argument (from the customers POV) for insisting Google gets their user's real names, or at least, some unique identifier.

          Have you been on the internet lately? Or rather, have you been on the internet without adblock recently? If you do, you will see the same ads over and over and over and over again. You can watch a video on some service (no

      • by vlm (69642)

        If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

        Trolling and spamming repels many users, look at the dead comments section at my local newspaper, nothing from comment spammers trying to sell pills to paid political astroturfers, that given a choice of repelling ACs or repelling real users, they made the business decision that they make more dough repelling the ACs.

        A charity not interested in profit is welcome to make the opposite decision.

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          Dear gods, how many times does this have to get brought up?

          As far as spammers and trolls are concerned Pseudonyms are practically the same as real names. Unless Google is going to require everyone to submit a government issued ID before allowing them to create an account (and i'm sure that would go over _really_ well) then spammers and trolls can create "John Smith" accounts just as easily as "ImaTroll37" accounts.

          And let's repeat it once more since people like you KEEP making this argument and KEEP mak
    • by bberens (965711)

      There's no way they'd let you use anonymous pseudonyms.

      Google doesn't care if you use a pseudonym as long as your pseudonym could possibly be a legitimate name. John Doe is perfectly acceptable.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Facebook wants your data. They are a gigantic advertising company. There's no way they'd let you use anonymous pseudonyms.

      See how dumb that sounds with such a small change?

      Google doesn't actually need to identify you to sell your eyeballs to advertisers. They can track your characteristics and target your demographic just fine without ever getting to know you.

      Its reasons for wanting you to identify yourself have more to do with making you behave like you do IRL when you're in their server. It's a cost and liability reduction strategy.

  • Choice is good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gregfortune (313889) on Tuesday August 02, 2011 @01:46PM (#36962222)

    This is a social media environment that I might actually join and one I may let my children join. Linkedin is the only other "social media" account I have and I will never have a Facebook account and shunned MySpace when it was introduced. For me, the lack of any social decency that stems from anonymity is simply not worth it. If I'm going to build relationships with people (isn't that the point of social media?), I'd like to have reputation as collateral for bad behavior.

    Perhaps we will return to a point where people think before they speak/post and self censor out of respect for their fellow man. For my tastes, the streets of the Bazaar are pretty filthy but to each his own.

  • Pseudonyms and Anonymous users provide absolute no value to Google. Google isn't a charity, it provides services because of the data it gathers about users for targeted advertising.

    Facebook / Twitter / etc also rely on advertising and user information but they don't care about fake information because these fake accounts make their site look good to investors. Google on the other hand actually cares about REAL data, they don't want their algorithms to be soiled with fake data.

  • Google should just convince the government (FTC) that Facebook has its users locked-in.

    An analogy: society doesn't accept it when a telephone company prohibits or hinders its users from switching providers, so why not impose the same rules on social networks?

    By the way, we also don't allow that telephone companies spy on their users (record conversations, etc.), but that's a different story.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      What is FB doing to prevent switching?

      It's not. Anyone on FB is free to use G+, and FB can't do anything about that.

      But I don't think it's against any law for FB to ask G+ not to use FB to recruit FB users to G+.

    • Google should just convince the government (FTC) that Facebook has its users locked-in.

      Good luck with that. No one is "locked-in" to Facebook. One freely choose to join and one can freely choose to leave. You can freely export your pictures, etc out of Facebook and if you can't you shouldn't have made Facebook your sole storage for that info. That's your own damn fault.

      An analogy: society doesn't accept it when a telephone company prohibits or hinders its users from switching providers, so why not impose the same rules on social networks?

      Really? Most people don't seem to care. Many people in droves will willingly hinder themselves from switching providers by buying phones that are locked to a single provider.

      By the way, we also don't allow that telephone companies spy on their users (record conversations, etc.), but that's a different story.

      You're joking, right? Are you ignorant of the

  • "remain unobserved"? What social network DOESN'T observe your every last move, data-mine your communications, and sell the resulting package to any and all comers?

    Seriously, do people think that you'll somehow have less privacy on Google+ than you currently have on Facebook or Twitter?

  • I've seen the argument that requiring you use your real identity harms those under oppressive regimes, but I don't buy it. Google+ existing does not reduce the number of outlets such people have for their views/ideas at all.

    The other problem often sited is other people posting stuff about you. But having a fake ID isn't going to stop someone posting something that includes your real name if they were going to do so already.

    facebook is no more anonymous, at least according to the TOS at https://www.fac [facebook.com]
    • by blair1q (305137)

      They don't have to enforce it until they need to use it and find it's not working. Then they point to the TOS and lock your account until you do what they want you to do.

      As far as whether they do or don't enforce it, well, the millions of fake accounts pretty much tell us how that goes. Up to half of the "people" on FB are the same as one or more other "people" on FB.

      Google seems interested in starting out with a community that brings identifiability as an innate feature. Likely they believe that if you

  • A trendy restaurant. 'nuff said.

  • G+ is to the internet, what Yellowstone Park was to the U.S. in 1872. A beautiful landscape where people could meet, relax and enjoy the serenity.

    Recently I used this example to tell friends about G+ and compared FB to an amusement park akin Disneyland where you had to pay $45 to enter the park, $5 for a coke, $15 for a picture of you and about $200 for lunch for you, your wife and 2 kids.

    On the other hand, you have G+ that is not being built to hijack your information, sell you targeted items based on your

    • by blair1q (305137)

      It remains to be seen what Google will do with the information you entrust to Google+.

    • ...sell you targeted items based on your 'likes and dislikes' or anything of the sort. It is truly a social network.

      Actually, I'm pretty sure that is exactly what G+ is doing.

  • Google+ Is neither Cathedral nor Bazaar.

    Google+ is closer to a concentration camp.

    If you fail to conform to the norms dicacted by the Google hive mind, your account gets gGassed; which ends its entire Google life, forcing you to stop using Google services altogether.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      That's partly a myth. If Google nukes your account on Google+ it doesn't nuke the rest of your Google doings, only everything attached to the "Public Profile", i.e. Buzz, +1 and some other social junk, not Google Mail or Google Docs.

    • Godwin+

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Y'know, it's comparisons like that that make me think there's a few generations now that just haven't learned from the history channel that comparisons like that aren't even close to apt. There's no way at all that anything about a free online social interactive service is anything like a concentration camp.

      That's besides the fact that the only thing Google+ ever asked was for you to identify yourself before letting you run free in its sandbox (or, in a few cases, after, to their embarassment), so there re

    • Tasteless analogy; and flawed. You have a choice to go to a cathedral or a bazaar when invited, and you have a choice to leave either of them.

      There were no such choices for the victims of concentration camps, and they were the ones providing the services.
  • by laxguy (1179231)
    I guess I don't understand where all this is coming from. You're signing up for a social media site, in which you interact with other people socially. What is the point of using a pseudonym or remaining anonymous, when the whole point of the site is to interact with your friends and acquaintances? How are your friends supposed to find your profile if you are not you? Obviously I'm missing something because lots of people have a problem with this, but I just don't get it.
  • It's downtown. Overbuilt and underpopulated. Especially outside work hours.


  • I love google.
    But I have no need to start posting personal stuff all over the net thank you.
  • You know that it's Google. You know that it's linked to your Gmail/Google account. You know that you are required to use real information. So what's the big deal?

    Why is it that we expect every service to be everything to everybody? If Google wants to attempt to create the best non-anonymous social network, so be it. Why not let them? In the mean time, maybe this is a great opportunity for some entrepreneur to create a better anonymous social network site.

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