Facebook Takes Another Stab at Google with New Search Engine
The world's largest social network rolled out a new feature this week that's designed to keep users from browsing over to Google something in order to share a story with friends. The feature has only been rolled out so far for a handful of iOS users, who are seeing an “Add-A-Link” option next to the buttons for adding photos or locations. When users type in a query, the feature shows a series of links related to the query. The user can then preview the pages or select one to add to your post. The results appear to be based on what users are most likely to share, as the links are mostly from publishers that have a lot of content shared over Facebook.
Spotify to Expand Into Video Streaming
The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that global music streaming leader Spotify is finalizing plans to begin producing and streaming video. According to the report, Spotify has been in negotiations for several months with companies that produce video content for YouTube. In addition to acquiring content, Spotify is also looking for partners to co-produce content with. The company could reveal its plans before the end of the month, according to the Journal piece, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the ongoing negotiations.
Wells Fargo Charged with Opening Unauthorized Accounts in Customers' Names
A complaint was filed Monday in the Superior Court of California accusing Wells Fargo of opening bank accounts and credit cards in their customers' names without their knowledge. The Civil suit seeks a $2,500 fine for each account opened plus additional damages. The number of unauthorized accounts has not yet been disclosed. A spokesman for the banking giant said it will “vigorously defend itself”, but declined to confirm or deny whether unauthorized accounts had been opened. According to the complaint, bank employees were pressured to meet unrealistic sales goals and quotas, prompting the fraudulent activity. Employees allegedly opened the accounts to meet the quotas and even transferred money from authorized accounts to pay fees on the unauthorized ones. In addition to fines, prosecutors also wants all money taken from customers to cover late fees returned.
US Trade Imbalance Surges to post-Recession High
The US Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the nation's trade deficit reached its highest level since the recession as a resolution was found to a labor standoff. Negotiations over a new labor contract for unionized longshoreman have been ongoing for months as billions of dollars in imports have sat on the docks at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two US ports that handle the most imported goods. March's massive jump was essentially a recovery from the prior month, when the trade gap plummeted to a six year low. Both fluctuations were anomalies caused by the labor stoppage and the resulting delays in processing imports. According to the Commerce report, US imports rose 7.7 percent last month, easily a record for one-month growth in the category.
Astronomers Discover Oldest Observed Galaxy
Astronomers have discovered what they're calling the furthest observed galaxy from the Earth, and one of the oldest in existence. Called EGS-zs8-1, the baby blue galaxy is 13.1 billion light-years from Earth, and is believed to be among the universe's earliest galaxies, formed an estimated 670 million years after the Big Bang. EGS-zs8-1 was first spotted with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2013, but astronomers took months to confirm its age and distance from our own galaxy using the ground-based Keck Observatory.
Jamie Foxx Responds to Criticism of National Anthem Performance
Actor Jamie Foxx responded Tuesday to criticism about his performance of the national anthem at last weekend's Floy Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Speaking to "Entertainment Tonight", the actor who portrayed Ray Charles explained that his in-ear monitor had fallen off just before he started singing. The song sounded great at the arena, Foxx noted, and he even received compliments from celebrities including Denzel Washington. After reading harsh criticism, Foxx said, he went back and listened to the performance, acknowledging that it was a “bit off”. He did not, however, commit a "sin against America," as one blog entry asserted. Check out Foxx's performance below.
Microsoft's Bing Gains Ground on Google and Yahoo
Microsoft's Bing Internet search engine is continuing to gain on market leader Google according to the latest figures from ComScore. For the first time ever, Bing accounted for more than 20 percent of US-based, desktop PC Internet searches in March, the report showed. Google and Bing's former partner Yahoo each saw their share of US searches slide 0.1 percent last month, while Bing's share gained 0.3 percent, apparently snatching searches from smaller sites as well as from its two biggest rivals. Of course, even with last month's gain, Google still controls the US web search market, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all searches last month (64.4%). But Google's dominance is falling, as shown by not only Bing's gains last month but also the gains Yahoo made several weeks ago after reaching a settlement with Mozilla to be the default search engine for the browser.
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.
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.
Condo Residents Evacuated as Police Search for Suspect
Residents at a northwest Colorado Springs condominium complex were kept from their homes for several hours Friday as police searched for a man who they say drove his vehicle over an officer. The incident began near the intersection of Chuckwagon Rd. and Centennial Blvd., when a Col. Springs police officer on motorcycle pulled over a vehicle driven by Robert L. Denhartog. Instead of waiting for the officer to approach, Denhartog allegedly backed over the officer and his bike, then sped off. Three passengers in Denhartog's vehicle were taken into custody a little while later, but Denhartof fled to a condo in the nearby Saddleback Ridge complex. A standoff of about three hours ensued before police were able to locate and apprehend the suspect, who was charged with attempted murder and other charges. Duri9ng the search, a number of Saddleback Ridge residents were evacuated and those who weren't home when the search began were not allowed in the complex. Parts of Chuckwagon and Centennial were closed off during the search as well.