Apr 16th

Europe Charges Google with Unfair Practices

By Frank Galvano

Europe Charges Google with Unfair Practices

 

The world's undisputed Internet search leader is at odds with authorities once again after a European regulator charged the tech giant with unfair practices that cheat consumers and competitors.  According to a spokesman for the European Competition Commission, the Mountain View, California-based firm was sent a detailed list of charges this week, and has just ten weeks to prepare a response.  The latest round of charges against the company involves its Google Shopping service, which authorities say Google has given favoritism in search results over competitors like Amazon and eBay.  European officials are also investigating Google concerning other products and services, and many expect the shopping case to set key precedents that will affect other ongoing probes.

Mar 24th

Google Under Fire for Blackmailing Websites

By Dave Simmons

Google Under Fire for Blackmailing Websites

 

Internet giant Google is feeling pressure again after an FTC report leaked revealing the company has threatened a handful of websites with pulling them from its search results if they didn't make content available for Google.  The report seems to show that evidence was found that Google was effectively blackmailing competing websites like Amazon and Yelp into allowing Google to use their data in Google search results.  If they refused, their sites would no longer show up on Google results.  The report recommended that charges be filed over the matter, but instead Google made some voluntary changes and the case was closed.  Officials in the European Union are still looking into allegations of unfair practices by Google, but consumer advocacy groups now want the FTC to re-open its case against Google in light of the leaked report.

Jan 16th

Hackers Seize NY Post Twitter Feed, Report Chinese Attack on US

By Kelly Curtis
Hackers Seize NY Post Twitter Feed, Report Chinese Attack on US
 
Cyber criminals hacked into the Twiiter account for the New York Post on Friday, posting bogus reports about a Chinese attack on a US warship and a Fed plan to set interest rates to negative.  All the tweets were deleted within a few minutes of being posted, and the hackers appeared to have been locked out of the account.  Twitter officials declined to comment, saying it does not comment on individual accounts over privacy and security concerns.
Jan 16th

Ex-Googler Predicts Engineer Exodus After Bonuses

By Kelly Curtis
Ex-Googler Predicts Engineer Exodus After Bonuses
 
A former Google employee posted a Tweet late Thursday indicating that “tons of engineers” would be moving on from the tech giant now that holiday bonuses have been handed out.  The tweet came from current Beeswax CEO Ari Paparo, a former Googler who left the tech giant to form his own start-up several years ago.  Of course, workers leaving larger firms for startups is nothing new, as each year typically brings a certain amount of just such an exodus.  And Google does see this type of employee departures each year, but a variety of factors have Paparo, and others, expecting this year's employee loss at Google to be much larger than that in recent years.
 
Nov 4th

Spain Passes "Google Law" Charging Search Engines for Publishing News

By Kelly Curtis
Spain Passes "Google Law" Charging Search Engines for Publishing News

Spain last week became the latest nation to pass legislation aimed at charging news aggregators and search engines each time they display news content originally reported by another publisher.  Known as the "Google law," the law was passed last week and goes into effect January 1st, though the law does not yet contain specifics about how much Google and other Internet search engines will be required to pay.  The law was lobbied for heavily by the AEDA, a collective of Spanish news organizations, who claim that Google's news search results equates to republishing news content and costs the news outlets revenue.  A similar complaint was made earlier this year by several German publishers.  Google's German division responded by removing summaries and thumbnail images from search results, showing only headlines linked to the original publishers' stories.  The same issue made headlines late last year in France, but legal proceedings were avoided when Google agreed to help news outlets to increase Web-related advertising revenues and fund digital publishing innovations.  In response to the ruling in Spain, a Google spokesman said the company was disappointed with the decision, but will gladly assist news services in the country in any way they can.  While no specifics have yet been revealed concerning how much Google and other search engines will be charged for publishing news content, those details will likely be announced in the coming weeks as the law goes into effect in just 8 weeks.
Jul 25th

Pirate Bay Launches New Mobile-Friendly Torrent Site

By Frank Galvano
Pirate Bay Launches New Mobile-Friendly Torrent Site
 
Internet piracy is adapting to modern mobile computing as the world's best-known piracy site still around has finally released a mobile-friendly version so that users can download their favorite content directly to their smartphones and tablets.  Pirate Bay, which still operates the world's most oft-used bit torrent site, launched a separate, mobile-friendly version this week that gives users an easier way to share files than just going to the website on a mobile browser.  That's because mobile browsers tend to render traditional websites differently, making them very difficult to navigate and use.  Pirate Bay's new site, dubbed "The Mobile Bay,"  is optimized for mobile devices and offers a few features not found on the original Pirate Bay website.  Of course, users of Apple iPads and iPhones will not be able to download from the site unless their device is unlocked.
Jun 26th

Bing and Yahoo Sending More Engaged Visitors to Websites than Google

By Dave Simmons
Bing and Yahoo Sending More Engaged Visitors to Websites than Google
 
With more and more companies conducting a larger share of their business on the Web, the importance of driving traffic to websites has increased dramatically in the last few years.  The primary method used to drive traffic has always been search engines like Google and Bing, but other avenues such as social media outlets Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have become viable alternatives.  As a result, the share of website visitors coming from search engines has declined, according to a study conducted by Internet data research firm Shareholic, which did extensive analysis on traffic to some 300,000 websites over the last six months.  What the study revealed is that while Google still dominates the market for driving traffic to websites by a search engine, its dominance is declining.  Even more telling, perhaps, is that the study shows that Google is slipping where it counts, as Google-directed website visitors are spending less time on the websites and viewing fewer pages.
May 23rd

Facebook Finally Takes Action on Users' Privacy Concerns

By Dave Simmons
Facebook Finally Takes Action on Users' Privacy Concerns

Facebook announced on Thursday it has taken steps to allow users to better manage their private information, in response to criticism that it wasn't taking privacy concerns seriously.  The social networking giant revealed a new privacy checkup feature in which a cartoon dinosaur will run through your profile and posts and inform you what's public and what's private.  The Menlo Park, CA company will also change how it treats new users, making all posts and profiles private as a default rather than forcing users to locate the privacy settings to change them.  Up 'til now, the default setting has always made post and profiles available to the public unless settings were changed.
May 23rd

Non-Tracking Search Engine Closer to Challenging Google

By Betty
DuckDuckGo logo.png

Non-Tracking Search Engine Closer to Challenging Google

DuckDuckGo, the "search engine that doesn't track you," revealed this week that it has redesigned its interface.  DuckDuckGo launched in September 2008, offering privacy-concerned consumers an alternative to the big names in Internet search like Google and Yahoo.  The search engine actually saw its userbase expand in the wake of Edward Snowden's leak of sensitive NSA information, but failed to hang on to the new users because of its antiquated and simplistic design.  The new DuckDuckGo will be able to search for images and videos, local choices and instant answers, just like Google and Bing.  The aesthetics of the site have been improved as well, offering searchers a quick biographical overview upon searching.  DuckDuckGO CEO Gabriel Weinberg indicated Wednesday that the new interface would become the default within the next 30 days, but the switchover appears to have already taken place.  The beta version was launched on the URL next.duckduckgo.com, but that URL just redirects to the main site now, and the new features appear to have been implemented. 
May 23rd

Net Neutrality May Already Be Gone

By Kelly Curtis
Net Neutrality May Already Be Gone
The concept of net neutrality has been in the news a lot over the last few months, though many Americans don't even know what the term means or how neutrality issues might affect them.  Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission's recent proposal to allow Internet service providers to create a fast lane for content providers drew the ire of those who do understand what's at stake.  A report issued Friday, however, shows that the types of deals between ISPs and content companies already exist, and have for some time.

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