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Free Speech vs. Internet Privacy and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'
June 10, 2014
The conventional wisdom of the Internet is that everything posted, whether on social media, a website or anywhere else, will be on the Internet forever. That conventional wisdom was just challenged successfully in a recent ruling handed down by the EU's highest court. A new conventional wisdom may arise from that ruling -- that we have a "right to be forgotten."
EU Smacks Google Upside the Head Over Right to Be Forgotten
June 05, 2014
I think the European Union often goes overboard, and I typically don't agree with its rulings. However, when the EU declared Google invaded privacy, it seemed to have struck a nerve. Countless users worldwide agreed. So, what impact will the EU have on Google with respect to a citizen's right to be forgotten? This struggle is all about protecting privacy online.
Pulling Google Back to the Right Side of the Privacy Line
May 15, 2014
I don't usually agree with the European Union. However, it has demanded that Google help to protect the privacy of citizens rather than exposing everything, and I tend to agree. The latest EU ruling doesn't solve the whole problem, though. In fact, it raises more questions. Remember a few years ago, when we were having the raging debate about how Google was violating privacy?
No, Bot! UN Ponders Regulations for Killer Robots
May 14, 2014
In a move that could complicate the creation of any more Terminator movies, United Nations diplomats on Tuesday discussed international laws to govern, or simply ban, the use of killer robots. This was the first time that a UN meeting was devoted entirely to the topic, which makes sense given that the robots in question don't yet exist. That said, the UN wants to be proactive.
EU Court Hands Google a Missing Links Quandary
May 13, 2014
The European Court of Justice, which is the highest court for matters of European Law, has handed down a preliminary ruling that indicates Google may have to remove links to consumers' names on request -- if appropriate. The case was referred to the ECJ by Spain's Audiencia Nacional, or National High Court. The ECJ's ruling lays down the guidelines for the Audiencia Nacional in hearing the case.
Google Picks Up Appetas
May 12, 2014
Google last week acquired restaurant website builder Appetas, a move that could strengthen its relationships with small businesses and ratchet up competition with Yelp, which currently dominates the restaurant review scene. Appetas helps restaurants increase their online presence by building out professional websites that can be integrated with locally focused services.
Alibaba's Treasure May Not Open Doors for Yahoo
May 07, 2014
The market is waiting with bated breath to see the exact size of Alibaba's IPO, but investors in Yahoo, which owns about 23 percent of Alibaba's stock, don't seem impressed. Yahoo's shares closed Wednesday at $34.07, down 6.6 percent. Yahoo's stake is worth about $26 billion based on the fair value of about $109 billion Alibaba assigned to its shares in March.
Google Now Could Turn E-Commerce on Its Ear
May 06, 2014
Google on Monday announced it is rolling out a new feature for Google Now that aims to blend the brick-and-mortar and online retail worlds. Available now for Android phones, the feature notifies users when they're physically near a store that might have a recently searched-for item available. The feature doesn't go so far as to inform the user whether the item currently is in stock.
Pinterest's Guided Search Finds Needles in Haystacks
April 29, 2014
Pinterest last week announced Guided Search, a new search engine for navigating its particular type of content -- user-provided pins, which now number around 30 billion, and an array of around 750 million boards. Guided Search is designed to help users discover pins they were not necessarily looking for, but that might interest them. For now, the feature is available only on mobile.
France Mulls Banning GPS-Enabled Driver-Finding Apps
April 25, 2014
The French government is considering a ban on GPS-enabled apps that allow would-be passengers to track down nearby drivers. The issue is being fueled by irked taxi unions that increasingly are frustrated with -- and helpless against -- ride-sharing apps. Thus has the government drafted recommendations that include banning services that display maps showing available cars.
Founder of Russian Social Media Says He Got the Boot
April 23, 2014
Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network site, claims he has been ousted by allies of President Vladimir Putin -- who went ahead and took over the site while they were at it. Durov, who ran the mega-popular VKontakte, had reportedly run afoul of the Russian government for refusing to heed requests to censor posts on the site.
Google This: Yahoo Wants Apple's Search Business
April 18, 2014
Google has dominated the world of search for years, so much so that "Google" is not only synonymous with searching -- it's a verb, too. Who hasn't told someone to google something? That's awesome mindshare, and its power is translated to billions of dollars of ad-related revenue for Google. Where will search grow in the future? Mobile. And rumor has it, Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer wants it.
Google Now Encrypting Searches in China
March 14, 2014
Google's years-long spat with Beijing just began a new chapter. The company has begun encrypting searches made by people in China, where Google has long run afoul of regulations designed to keep a tight lid on searches deemed inappropriate. Google's encryption of searches in China reportedly will prevent the "Great Firewall of China" from detecting when users search for certain terms.
Yahoo Plugs Yelp Reviews Into Search
March 13, 2014
Yahoo and Yelp on Wednesday announced a new partnership to display Yelp ratings with Yahoo's search results, a move designed to snag some market share from Yahoo's larger search competitors. Now, when someone uses Yahoo to search for a local business, that business' Yelp rating will pop up in the right-hand panel of the search results. Users will see its star ratings, photos and more.
China Risks Another State-Run Search Engine Faceplant
March 04, 2014
The Chinese government is taking another stab at the domestic search market with a new service called "ChinaSo." ChinaSo was formed by merging two already-failed search engines: Jike, launched three years ago by state-run newspaper/propaganda pusher The People's Daily; and Panguso, launched by fellow state-run media outlet Xinhua.
WhatsApp Gives BlackBerry a Bounce
February 20, 2014
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp appears to have buoyed the value of BlackBerry Messenger -- and by extension, BlackBerry. BlackBerry shares went up nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading because, in the words of Reuters, Facebook's purchase "put a rough valuation metric around the smartphone maker's own BlackBerry Messaging service," also known as "BBM."
High-Tech Suits a Suspect in Weak US Speedskating Performance
February 14, 2014
The U.S. speedskating team's high-tech suits -- which theoretically are supposed to help shave seconds and accrue medals -- have been identified as a suspect in the team's stunning faceplant at the Sochi Games. Before the Games, the suits, designed by U.S.-based sportswear giant Under Armour, were deemed to be on the cutting edge of racing technology.
Mayer Moves Search Higher on Yahoo's To-Do List
February 12, 2014
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been more active than a kid on a sugar high. The company on Wednesday announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to advance personalization and mobile technologies. On the same day, Mayer told employees that Yahoo would be partnering with Yelp. Mayer on Tuesday said she was keen on contextual search, speaking at a conference in San Francisco.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Google Dodges EU Antitrust Bullet
February 05, 2014
The European Commission has accepted Google's latest proposal to settle a probe of its practices pending agreement with the 125 companies and organizations that filed complaints against the Internet giant. Google last week made its third settlement offer, following a warning from the Commission on Jan. 15 that it would take action if the issue were not resolved soon.
Google, EC Antitrust Settlement in the Wind
January 29, 2014
Google reportedly is close to settling the antitrust case the EC brought against it more than three years ago. This is its third offer to the EC so far, and it reportedly includes commitments from Google on how it will treat rivals and how it will use content from other providers. "We are ... at a critical point in the Google investigation," said Antoine Colombani, EC spokesperson for competition.
Yahoo Buys SkyPhrase in Surprising Search Play
December 04, 2013
Yahoo has purchased SkyPhrase with the intention of enabling computers to deeply understand natural language and intentions. SkyPhrase will be joining Yahoo Labs. "Yahoo uses Bing for their search engine, so it's unclear why they would buy a natural language technology for search because they can use Microsoft's technology," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Google May Be Barking Up Wrong Tree With EU Watchdog Plan
November 08, 2013
Google and the European Commission's delicate negotiations on a settlement regarding the search engine giant's alleged antitrust violations this week hit an unusual snag: The terms of Google's second offer were outed on Wednesday, opening them up to unexpected public scrutiny. The new offer -- including the proposed appointment of a monitor to oversee Google's antitrust compliance -- is inadequate, Consumer Watchdog said.
Google Rivals Get Another Shot at EU Antitrust Deal-Busting
October 28, 2013
EU regulators are seeking feedback from Google's rivals and other third parties on the company's latest attempt to settle antitrust allegations against it in Europe. If the company can come to a settlement, it will avoid the expense of a messy trial as well as a possible $5 billion fine. Google has offered to reduce what it would charge rivals to show their links in specialized search queries.

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