Internet radio pioneer Pandora reached a major milestone this week, announcing Tuesday that it has surpassed 200 million registered users. At just under 2 years since reaching 100 million users, the achievement came at an accelerated pace compared to the company's first 100 million users, which took six years to amass. In a blog post, Pandora founder Tim Westergren applauded the milestone. In addition to signing up more than 200 million users, Pandora is also streaming songs at an impressive rate, delivering more than 1.5 billion hours of music in March alone. Those songs were from more than 100,000 different artists and over a million unique songs were streamed.
Google revealed on Tuesday the next community to be given access to its ultra-fast Fiber Internet service, prompting shudders of anticipation in the heart of Texas. Following Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, Austin will be the third US city to enjoy Google's high-speed network, which the tech giant says delivers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, or about 100 times faster than the average Internet speed across the country. With the network in place, Google will also offer Fiber TV, an all-HD television service that allows users to record as many as eight shows at a time and store 500 hours of programming online. Users can then access the video from the cloud on any device including computers, tablets and smartphones.
The Federal Trade Commission quietly came to an agreement with Internet titan Google on Thursday with a settlement likely to be considered too lenient by the Mountain View, California based company's competitors and activists that have accused it of unfair abuse of its considerable dominance over the Internet. The agency unveiled the settlement in a statement from the agency's Chairman, Jon Leibowitz. Under the terms of the deal, Google agreed to begin licensing patents at fair rates, including the massive portfolio of patents it got when paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility earlier this year. The company has also agreed not to discriminate against its rivals in licensing patents, which analysts say is a key to competitive balance in the tech sector.
Google launched its highly anticipated Google Fiber high-speed data network on Thursday in Kansas City, which was selected from among 1,100 candidate cities last year to receive the high-speed Internet system first. The service was made immediately available to all residents of Kansas City, Kansas, but was also made available to some residents of Kansas City, Missouri because the tech titan is running ahead of schedule with the network's launch. The company also surprised KC residents by launching Google Fiber TV, a television service powered by the high-speed network.
Last week, a group of computer hackers called D33ds Company launched an attack on Yahoo, seizing passwords and other login information for some 450,000 users and posting it online. Yahoo confirmed the attack, though it said that less than 5 percent of the logins were valid, then announced on Friday it had fixed the flaw that allowed the attack in the first place. Over the weekend, with little in the way of new news in the tech sector, the Yahoo hack has been talked about all over the Web, with a few people blaming Yahoo, but the vast majority asking the question: “Who still uses Yahoo, anyway?”
Microsoft announced on Friday it is making the do-not-track option default on the next version of its Internet Explorer Web browser, IE 10, making it the world's first to protect users' identities without those users taking any action. Other leading browsers, such as Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox, just like previous versions of IE, offered the do-not-track option but users had to go into the browser's settings and click a box to opt-in. The move was seen by some tech insiders as a response to President Obama's recent comments suggesting browsers offer a simple, easily located do-not-track button, rather than a more difficult to find box deep in the settings menu.
Cyber security officials in Iran announced on Wednesday that a new, extremely complex virus had been discovered lurking in government computers. Dubbed “Flame,” the virus is more complex and more powerful than any virus that's ever been found, say security experts that have had a chance to investigate Flame. In a post on its official website, the Iranian National Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT, said it had discovered the virus after several investigations conducted over the last two months.
Struggling to stay above water in the search business, and losing ground to Facebook and Google in the display advertising space, Yahoo has decided to take a stab at the browser sector to facilitate improvements in its other business. Titled Axis, Yahoo's new browser is available as an add-on for the big PC and Mac browsers Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, or as a stand-alone app for mobile devices running Apple's iOS such as the iPhone or iPad.
Global Payments, a company that processes credit card payments for MasterCard, Visa and American Express, announced on Tuesday that it has contained the data breach that exposed some 1.5 million credit cards to fraud over the weekend. The firm acknowledged the breach late Friday, saying that hackers had gained access to card numbers, expiration dates and security codes through a vulnerability in its systems.
Youku.com's years-long battle with rival Tudou Holdings Ltd came to an end on Monday with Youku announcing it had reached a deal to acquire the smaller Todou in an all-stock deal worth more than $1 billion. The merger will create a dominant entity in China's online video sector with a market share of more than a third. The two companies have filed dozens of lawsuits against each other over the last few years, claiming various copyright infringements and unfair practices, and both reported net losses in 2011 as a result of rising costs.