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Google, Partners Caught in Patent Lawsuit Blizzard
November 01, 2013
A consortium of technology companies is suing Google and Android manufacturers in its first patent lawsuits after it outbid the search giant for thousands of patents previously owned by Nortel. Rockstar, owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony and EMC, has accused Google of infringing on seven patents relating to technology that matches search terms to advertising.
Strong Encryption, Natural Language Search Make Potent Cocktail
October 22, 2013
Strong encryption and natural language search can be like oil and water. That's because encrypted data can't be digested by your typical search engine. However, CipherCloud announced a solution to that knotty problem last week. The latest version of the 3-year-old company's cloud-based service includes something it's calling "searchable strong encryption."
26 Years Later, Google Earth Helps Lost Indian Boy Go Home
October 16, 2013
Indian Saroo Munshi Khan used Google Earth to track down his long-lost family 26 years after accidentally falling asleep on a train. Then 5-year-old Saroo reportedly took a break from searching for change with his brother in Berhanpur, India, and hopped onto a stationary train where he fell asleep. Hours later, he woke up in Calcutta, alone and more than 900 miles away from home.
Google's New Rules: You're in the Ad Game Now
October 12, 2013
Google has announced changes to its Terms of Service that will take effect Nov. 13. In short, users' profile names and photos will be served up together with content such as reviews they share, ads they +1, comments they post, or who and what they follow. Only people users choose to share content with will see their profile names and photos. Users under 18 will not be affected by the ToS change.
Google Maps Learns to Multitask
October 10, 2013
Google Maps has become the default source of directions for many users, but one feature it has notoriously lacked is the ability to provide directions to multiple destinations. On Wednesday, however, the company announced that it is now rolling out the feature at last. "One of your most requested features -- directions for multiple destinations -- will begin rolling out today," said Google's Florian Goerisch.
Facebook Offers New Ways to Plumb Its Depths
October 02, 2013
Facebook announced Monday it was expanding its Graph Search to give users a more complete experience, allowing searches of status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. Graph Search rolled out to a limited number of customers earlier this year. At first, it limited searches to individual or brand profiles. The new functionality gives users quicker access to a wider range of information.
France to Follow Through on Tiny Google Fine
September 30, 2013
In France, data protection officials announced that they will impose sanctions against Google for the company's failure to stick to a three-month deadline to tweak its privacy policies. The fine stems from Google's melding of different privacy policies in Europe into a single policy that applies to all its platforms -- Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and so on.
Google's Little Hummingbird Can Tell You More
September 27, 2013
Google on Thursday introduced a new search algorithm called "Hummingbird." The company actually started rolling out the algorithm about a month ago, but it formally unveiled it on Thursday, the 15-year anniversary of Google Search's launch. At the heart of the new algorithm is a new, better ranking system that makes results more useful and relevant, according to Google.
Google's AdID Could Crush Cookies
September 25, 2013
Google reportedly is developing its own anonymous identifier for advertising, AdID, that will replace third-party cookies as a way for advertisers to track consumers' online browsing activity. Its aim is to give consumers more privacy and control over their Web browsing. Google's AdID apparently will let users limit ad tracking through browser settings.
Google Street View Car Gets in Fender-Bender or 3 in Indonesia
September 16, 2013
A Google Street View car dinged a pair of public transport buses and a truck in Bogor, Indonesia. The Google driver hit one bus and then tried to skedaddle when the driver got angry, police reported. Alas, the getaway was thwarted when the Street View vehicle hit a second bus -- and then a truck, according to local media. There are no reports of injuries.
Facebook Wants to Be Heard Above the Roar of the Tweets
September 10, 2013
Facebook on Monday began rolling out new tools designed to help news organizations uncover the real-time conversations people are having across the social network. The company released two APIs to a handful of online publications. The Public Feed allows news organizations to integrate Facebook conversations about trending topics into their own coverage.
China Targets Online Rumor Mill With Threat of Jail
September 10, 2013
China's Supreme Court announced new guidelines for Internet use, including years-long jail stints for people who author "online rumors" that are viewed more than 5,000 times or reposted 500 times. Such a post would qualify as defamation, which in China carries a max sentence of three years in jail. Should a post "seriously endanger social order and national interests," more serious charges could be pursued.
Google's $8.5M Data Privacy Dodge
September 06, 2013
An October 2010 class action lawsuit against Google included allegations that "Google transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent in order to enhance advertising revenue and profitability." Google and the plaintiff users this June presented a settlement proposal to the federal court. However, Google is not proposing to change its privacy policies.
Yahoo China's Days May Be Numbered
September 03, 2013
Yahoo China ceased providing news and community services Sunday, a move experts say signals that Yahoo is pulling the plug on its Chinese service. People attempting to access Yahoo China are now automatically redirected to now.taobao.com, a public welfare site run by China-based Alibaba Group, which operated Yahoo China and used to own a large stake in Yahoo.
Google Seeks Home-Field Advantage in UK Privacy Suit
August 21, 2013
Google is contesting the right of UK Safari users to bring a case against it in the UK, according to a statement from the plaintiffs' law firm. To emphasize its stance, in fact, the search engine did not accept notice of the lawsuit in the UK but forced the plaintiffs to file in California instead -- a jurisdiction in which their case, which alleges privacy violations, is much weaker.
Google Puts Waze Traffic Data on the Map
August 21, 2013
Google on Tuesday announced that it is incorporating real-time traffic data from Waze into its popular Google Maps mobile application. "Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users," explained Google's Brian McClendon. "This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app."
Google Asks Search Users to Speak Up
August 15, 2013
Google is making a major push into voice search with the rollout of several new capabilities, the company announced on Wednesday. Specifically, over the coming days and weeks, English-speaking users with voice search on desktops, tablets and smartphones will be able to ask Google such common queries as, "is my flight on time?" and get answers instantly in Google Search.
Chinese Web Giant to Reimburse for Search Scams
August 09, 2013
Baidu, operator of China's top search engine, will reimburse users for scams carried out by websites that appear in its search results. This is an extension of a scheme Baidu launched in May, when it promised to compensate consumers who were scammed -- but only up to about $800, and only if the scamming site had paid for placement on Baidu. Now, however, the $800 cap has been lifted.
Google May Drill Down to Neighborhood News
August 02, 2013
Google might be thinking about invading the hyperlocal news field with a new beta service that dishes up location-based information to mobile devices, perhaps including Google Glass. "I love the idea that when we eventually all have our Google Glasses, [our] award-winning journalism ... will be popping up in front of eyeballs throughout town," said Charlottesville Tomorrow's Brian Wheeler.
Rosy Q2 Report Sends Yelp Stock Skyward
August 01, 2013
Strong revenue figures helped Yelp beat analysts' expectations for the second quarter of 2013, sending its stock soaring by more than 20 percent following the Wednesday release of its earnings report. While the company reported a loss of 1 cent per share, revenue rose to $55 million, representing a full 69 percent increase from the same time a year ago.

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