Google Blackens Its Logo To Protest SOPA/PIPA, While Bing & Yahoo Carry On As Usual

google-yahoo-bing-sopa-featured As promised earlier, Google has voiced its opposition to two bills currently being discussed in Congress that the company says -- and countless critics around the world agree -- would censor the web and hurt U.S. businesses. While some sites like Wikipedia are going black for the day on Wednesday, Google has instead chosen to cover its logo in black and add a short message on its home page: Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web! The message links to a new End Piracy, Not Liberty page where Google is encouraging visitors to sign a petition against the legislation and sharing this [...]


Google To Join Anti-SOPA “Blackout Day” With Home Page Protest

Screen shot 2012-01-17 at 1.26.52 PM Google has confirmed to several media outlets (initially CNET) that it will join other prominent websites tomorrow, including Wikipedia, in protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills. While Wikipedia has said it will go dark, Google will link to anti-SOPA information on its homepage. Still, that information will be seen by millions who otherwise might not know about the legislation. SOPA and PIPA are supported by a range of corporate entities and media companies that elicited these draconian bills from Congress to address global IP piracy, copyright violati [...]


Free Speech Battle In India: Google, Facebook Summoned By Court Over “Inflammatory Images”

According to a report from Chinese news agency Xinhua, a judge in India has ordered a broad range of online companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, to "delete 'inflammatory' images of religious figures" from their sites. Though not identified in news reports the images were deemed offensive or blasphemous under a sweeping law enacted earlier this year aimed at blocking or removing "offensive" or "objectionable" content from the internet in India. In case the problem with implementation of a law against "objectionable" content isn't self-evident its provisions are vague and scope [...]


US Government Makes Most Content Removal Requests To Google So Far in 2011

google-us-flag The US government sent Google 5,950 content removal requests in the first half of 2011, more than triple the number of requests that 2nd-place India sent in during the same period. The numbers come from Google's latest semi-annual update to the Government Requests section of its Transparency Report. The Government Requests data represents government inquiries to Google for information about users and/or content removal requests. Newly added in this latest release is data about the number of Google users or accounts that are specified in the government requests. For example, those 5,950 U [...]


Google Beefs Up Government Requests Report For Latest Info Release

Google has added key pieces of information to its Government Requests Transparency report. The semi-annual release of data chronicles the search engine's interactions with government officials around the world, in which those officials request that information be removed from Google's index, or ask for data about its users. It also tracks user traffic from countries around the globe, highlighting cases in which it appears traffic was blocked to its servers. The company just released data that covers the period from July to December 2010. It first launched the report in 2010, covering data f [...]


Irish Hotel Sues Google For Defamation Over Autocomplete Suggestion

google-g-logo A popular Irish hotel has sued Google for defamation because Google's autocomplete feature suggests to searchers that the hotel is in receivership. Searchers looking for the Ballymascanlon Hotel -- a four-star property that's reportedly one of the most popular wedding venues in northeast Ireland and is not in financial trouble -- see "ballymascanlon hotel receivership" as an autocomplete suggestion as soon as they've typed only eight letters of the hotel name. According to a recent Sunday Times article (quoted here by TJ McIntyre), some brides have contacted the hotel "in tears" after [...]


How Google Instant’s Autocomplete Suggestions Work

google-autocomplete-featured It's a well known feature of Google. Start typing in a search, and Google offers suggestions before you've even finished typing. But how does Google come up with those suggestions? When does Google remove some suggestions? When does Google decide not to interfere? Come along for some answers. Google & Search Suggestions Google was not the first search engine to offer search suggestions, nor it is the only one. But being the most popular search engine has caused many to look at Google's suggestions more closely. Google has been offering "Google Suggest" or "Autocomplete" on the Google [...]


Google Sends Mixed Signals On China: Hiring But Future “Uncertain”

Ross LaJeunesse, Google's Asia government affairs chief told an audience in Hong Kong that Google remains "committed to China and to our Chinese users" but added that its future in Mainland China is "uncertain." At the same time, Google has reportedly been hiring people to protect its shrinking share in the world's largest internet market. Google had hoped to circumvent Chinese government control by redirecting Google.cn users to the uncensored Google.com.hk. But the Chinese have blocked that site on occasion as well. While some have speculated that Google will return to China proper, that' [...]


The New York Times Algorithm & Why It Needs Government Regulation

The New York Times is the number one newspaper web site. Analysts reckon it ranks first in reach among US opinion leaders. When the New York Times editorial staff tweaks its supersecret algorithm behind what to cover and exactly how to cover a story -- as it does hundreds of times a day -- it can break a business that is pushed down in coverage or not covered at all. When the New York Times was a pure newspaper, it was easy to appear agnostic about its editorial coverage, with no reason to play favorites with one business or another. But as the New York Times has branched out, making invest [...]


Google Stops WiFi Collecting Street View Cars After Privacy Concerns

The Google Blog admitted that they made a significant privacy mistake with some of their Street View cars. The wifi data collecting versions of the Google Street View cars were not just collecting publicly broadcast SSID information and MAC addresses but they were also collecting "samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks," said Google. Google said they did not knowingly collect payload data and when they found out, they immediately "grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on the network." Google added that, Google has made a decision to c [...]


Brazil: Google Is Making Us Look Bad

See this screenshot above? The Brazilian government doesn't like it. Actually, they don't like where it came from: Google's Government Requests tool, which was just launched last week. The AP reports that Brazil's government has contacted Google's representatives in that country for clarification about the numbers shown above -- numbers that Brazil says give the country a bad name. Google's tool shows two kinds of numbers: Government requests for user data and government requests for content removal. The numbers cover requests made between July and December, 2009. In both cases, Braz [...]


Google Opens Tool Showing Government Requests For Data

Google has announced a new tool that makes public the government requests it receives for data and content removal. It's called Government Requests, and it currently shows requests that Google received between July 1 and December 31, 2009. Google admits, in a very detailed FAQ, that the data is not comprehensive. (The tool doesn't include stats for countries that have made less than 30 requests for user data related to criminal cases in the six-month period, for example.) Google says it will update the tool with new data in six-month increments, and that the company intends to "provi [...]


Losing Google? Chinese Scientists Say It’s Like Going Blind, Life Without Electricity

Chinese scientists say their research will be dramatically compromised if Google shuts down its search engine in China. One scientist says it would be like going blind: "If I lose Google, it will [be] just like a man without his eyes." Another says it "would be like life without electricity." Those quotes and several statistics showing the potential impact of a Google-less China on the country's scientists are detailed in a new Nature magazine article, A land without Google? Nature surveyed 784 Chinese scientists and 84% said that losing Google would "somewhat or significantly" hamp [...]


Ballmer Blogs His Thoughts On Google, China

Both current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former CEO Bill Gates have recently spoken out critically about Google's stance on doing business in China. (See my previous posts, Ballmer Critical Of Google’s China Decision and Like Ballmer, Bill Gates Dings Google On China.) Now, Ballmer is putting his thoughts in writing ... well, electronic writing ... via a post on Microsoft's new blog. Says Ballmer: Engagement in China and around the world is very important to us, in part because we believe it accelerates access to 21st century technology and services and helps provide the widest po [...]


Like Ballmer, Bill Gates Dings Google On China

Bill Gates doesn't get the fuss everyone's making over Google's recent threat to stop censoring search results in China. "They've done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it," Gates said Monday during a visit at The New York Times. "What point are they making?" Mr. Gates asked. "Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I'd give them credit." Gates' comments come just days after current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was also critical of Google's stance. Both Gates and Ballmer pointed out that many countries have questionable laws and policies. Lest Serge [...]


Ballmer Critical Of Google’s China Decision

At a conference in Houston on Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke critically of Google's recent decision to stop censoring its search results in China. Paraphrasing some of Ballmer's statements, Forbes says Ballmer called it an "irrational business decision" on Google's part. Ballmer suggested that Google's decision to no longer filter out internet searches objectionable to the Chinese government was an irrational business decision. After all, Ballmer said, the U.S. imports oil from Saudi Arabia despite the censorship that goes on in that country. "The U.S. is the most extreme wh [...]


Google Buys Search Ad In Response To The China Decision

The Wall Street Journal noted that Google has purchased search ads for queries done on Google.com for "Google Leaves China" or "Google vs. Baidu." Clearly, Google wants people to read their position on the recent move for them ending the censorship of Google China. Here is a picture of the ad: Google, on occasion, will buy search ads to explain why the search results are a certain way. Here, they are explaining why Google China is no longer censored, but previously they have purchased ads for why an offensive image of Michelle Obama appeared on Google Images. They have also purcha [...]


Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack

Google has revealed that the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists were targeted last December in a hacking attempt. That, along with other issues, has convinced the company that it will no longer censor results China as the Chinese government wishes. In particular, Google has willingly allowed self-censored its search results since January 27, 2006, on its Google China service. The screenshot above show an example of this, where a search for tiananmen on Google China (on the left) doesn't bring up protest pictures as you get when searching for the same thing on Google's main [...]


Of Climategate, Googlegate & When Stories Get Too Long

Daily Telegraph writer James Delingpole got worked up yesterday because his colleague Christopher Booker's story on the "Climategate" scandal mysteriously disappeared from Google. Skullduggery, he pondered? Nothing so dramatic, says Google. The article simply grew too big in length to stay in Google News. Let's do the breakdown. Booker's story of November 28 covered the controversy over how academics at the University Of East Anglia were apparently trying to suppress anti-global warming views from other academics from getting widespread attention. Booker's story, Climate change: this is [...]


Offensive Michelle Obama Image Returns, Google Buys Ad To Explain

Google is buying ads to explain why an offensive image of the First Lady is back in its index and ranking so highly on searches for Michelle Obama in Google Image Search. As we reported last week, Google had originally removed the Michelle Obama image on the grounds that the site hosting the image violated Google's guidelines by serving malware to visitors. But the same image remained available on other sites that hadn't run afoul of the rules. Google's ad, shown above, leads searchers to http://www.google.com/resultsinfo.html, which apologizes to users who've "had an upsetting experienc [...]


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