Friday, March 31, 2006
Given the timing and the fact that Yahoo Mail and Hotmail then offered less than 10MB of free space, most people laughed off the Google news as a funny April Fools' joke.
Of course, we know now that the Gmail gambit was for real. But in the Internet age, April 1 has become a day when dozens upon dozens of good-natured online hoaxes are perpetrated each year. Thus, people would be wise to smell-test just about everything that pops into their browser on and around April Fools' Day. "
Thursday, March 30, 2006
At first, I thought it was another of those famed Google April Fools' Day jokes, just a week early. They may have pioneered a new business model, but they're apparently relying on politics-as-usual. The question is, why do they have to?
Google argues that it has to play the game to maintain the ability of all Internet users to get quality, high-speed access to the Web. If the Internet service providers--Comcast, TimeWarner and others--are able to charge for transmitting information over the pipes, the Internet could become segregated into haves and have-nots. This is why Network neutrality--or Net neutrality--is important, and it is a good thing that Google is opposing the ISPs on this. "
The plan, included in documents filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, marks the search company's second follow-on stock offering since going public less than two years ago.
Google expects to use the proceeds from the offering for 'general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures, and possible acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies or other assets,' according to the filing.
The company also said in the filing that it had 'no current agreements or commitments with respect to any material acquisitions.'
'We estimate that we will receive net proceeds of $2.093 million from our sale of the 5,300,000 shares of Class A common stock in this offering, based upon our assumed public offering price of $394.98 per share, after deducting estimated offering expenses,' Google said in its preliminary prospectus supplement, which may be changed. The filing did not say when the offering would occur, but suggested it could happen periodically. "
Edina Realty sued rival real estate company TheMLSonline.com, accusing it of false advertising, trademark infringement and trademark dilution. According to the suit, MLS used 'Edina Realty' in search terms purchased on Google and Yahoo, in the text of the MLS ads that appeared on the two search sites, and in hidden links and text on the MLS Web site.
'This case offers the first solid data point (in the U.S.) that buying competitors' trademarks as keywords...could constitute trademark infringement,' Eric Goldman, assistant professor of law at Marquette University Law School, wrote on his blog Wednesday."
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Greg Sterling, managing editor at The Kelsey Group, said Google representatives told him several weeks ago that the company plans to let businesses add advertisements and logos to the mapping balloons that appear on Google Local.
'It's a harbinger of more things on maps,' such as video, embedded chat and pay-per-call or click-to-call, he told CNET News.com at Kelsey's Drilling Down on Local conference here Monday. 'Putting technology in the balloons can enable all kinds of interesting exchanges with merchants.'
For example, someone searching for a car could find locations of sellers on a map and instantly ask sellers whether the car is still available, its price and other information, Sterling said.
Currently, red pushpins indicate on a Google Local map the location of unpaid search results. When the red pushpins are clicked on, balloons pop up showing a merchant's name, address and phone number, as well as information such as customer reviews and a link to the business Web site. "
Google's domestic market share rose to 42.3 percent in February, up from 36.3 percent a year earlier, ComScore said.
Yahoo's search market share in the United States fell to 27.6 percent from 31.1 percent a year ago, while Microsoft's MSN fell to 13.5 percent from 16.3 percent and Time Warner's America Online fell to 8 percent from 8.9 percent.
IAC Search & Media's Ask.com, which unveiled a new brand and interface last month, rose to 6 percent from 5.3 percent.
Analysts predicted continued gains for Google and Ask.
'We see little to stop Google from reaching 70 percent market share eventually; the question, really, comes down to, 'How long could it take?' RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan wrote in a research note Tuesday. "
Monday, March 27, 2006
These days, cybersquatters seek to register a star's domain before that person becomes famous, and then develop a business relationship with the new celebrity, offering website hosting or design work.
These so-called soft squatters are registering the domains of hundreds of amateur athletes, musicians and other would-be stars in the hope that one or two of the names will become well-known."
Six men were arrested in connection with the rape and robbery of a woman who they had become acquainted with through MySpace, authorities told The Associated Press. The group met for a party that turned violent, with blood left in almost every room and some $40,000 in electronics, jewelry, clothing and other items taken, the story said.
Detectives used profiles on MySpace to identify the men, although a seventh suspect is still being sought, the story said.
Such stories of both victims targeted and perpetrators fingered through MySpace are increasingly being told. Just a couple of weeks ago, two men were arrested in Connecticut on charges they had illegal sexual contact with minors they met through MySpace, Reuters said."
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Computer code that demonstrates how a hacker can use the flaw to take over a PC was released onto the Net on Thursday. At least two such exploits were made public, and one has now been adapted to attack systems, Monty IJzerman, the manager of security content at McAfee, said on Friday.
'This exploit code is being used in the wild in malware,' or malicious software, IJzerman said. 'I expect other attacks to be prepared and to be out there over the next few days.' "
Google, which has seen its stock more than double in the past year, will join the S&P Index on March 31, after the market's close. Investors are expected to cheer, given that index funds will be snapping up Google shares.
Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck predicted that Google would rank within the top 30 companies in the index of blue-chip stocks. Joining the S&P 500 will lock up about 7 percent of Google's stock in index capital, 'which we believe could effectively reduce the trading supply of the stock,' Peck wrote in a research note Friday. 'As supply decreases, the equilibrium price should increase.' "
Friday, March 24, 2006
Problems like these, even sporadic and eventually fixed, can damage the reputation of any Internet service provider, but particularly one that's increasingly marketing itself as the go-to company for hosted applications aimed at consumers and businesses. People are putting more and more of their lives--the data and communications they rely on for work and play--on to the Internet. Having that link severed, even briefly, can lead to immeasurable inconvenience and even financial loss. "
- funny my Gmail works fine.. if it's down, it's not for long.
Earlier this year, VeriSign experienced attacks on its systems that were larger than anything it had ever seen before, it said last week. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which helps companies do business on the Web, discovered that the assaults weren't coming from commandeered 'bot' computers, as is common. Instead, its machines were under attack by DNS (domain name system) servers. "
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Available in several other countries since December, the service allows people to make calls from their computers for 2 cents a minute or less to the top 30 national phone markets, including the United States.
The 'Phone Out' service also allows calls from computers to regular phones at varying rates to a total of 180 countries.
Using instant messaging for phone calls is one of the latest ways that technology companies are finding cheaper ways to allow people to talk all over the world without relying on traditional phone networks.
'Right now the competition is just about cheap voice calls,' Forrester Research analyst Maribel Lopez said."
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (.pdf) that travelers who walk through the airport metal detector implicitly consent to a search of their persons and bags, and they can't revoke that consent once the process has started.
The ruling moves domestic security policy closer to the rules that govern international border crossings, according to travel expert Edward Hasbrouck.
'Once you have attempted to cross the border, you are committed to a search of your person, up to and including sequestering you in a room for 72 hours while they examine your (feces) for bags of heroin. This case seems to be applying more and more a similar argument.'
Domestic airline searches are still legally limited to screening for items the TSA has declared to be a threat to airline safety -- such as guns and cigarette lighters. However, if drugs or other contraband are found during screening, the evidence can be used in a criminal prosecution."
On Friday, state Attorney General Charlie Crist issued subpoenas targeting five different spoofing sites. For four of them, the subpoenas are directed at the registrars handling the services' anonymous domain name registrations, and are aimed at unmasking the owners of the sites. A fifth went directly to one of the spoofing sites, Tricktel.com, demanding business records and the identities of any Florida customers.
'People use Caller ID to protect themselves from unwanted calls and contact from those who would do them harm,' Crist said in a press release. 'It is wrong for individuals or businesses to deceive our citizens, and this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.'
In addition to serving as attorney general, Crist is the Republican candidate for governor of Florida.
The probe comes on the heels of a broad federal investigation that began late last month, when the FCC issued letters to at least three Caller ID spoofing sites demanding detailed information on the structure of the businesses, as well as the names of every customer that has used the services, the dates they used them and the number of phone calls they made."
Pay-per-click Advertising Can Cost More Than You Bargained For.
By Steve Plunkett
First, the good news. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising with major search engines can generate lots of traffic to your website. Now the bad news - choosing the wrong providers for your PPC advertising can get your website banned from major search engines. It sounds confusing at first, but let me clarify.
There are two basic types of PPC ads: the kind on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN and the ones that appear anywhere else, places like ordinary websites, blogs, spam blogs (splogs), domain placeholders and link farms. Running PPC ads on search engines is no problem. But relying on the second group can get a little sticky. These types of PPC providers are called affiliates or downstream partners. Search engines provide affiliates and downstream partners with code to run their own PPC programs. Unfortunately some of these providers have learned to exploit the PPC system.
These nefarious providers retrieve the top-paying PPC keywords each week. Then, using ingenious programming, they build thousands of websites per night, each page filled with top-performing PPC ads. These pages are linked to more pages on other sites, maybe ones that were built the night before or the night before or the night before. The intent is to link all these thousands of sites together through the most popular PPC keywords, weaving a "fictitious" web of linked pages. This is called a link farm. Until recently, companies using PPC advertising on link farms enjoyed very high search rankings, primarily because search engines perceive "spidering" as an important consideration. But this is not true spidering. The link farms are messing with the integrity of the search engines. And the search engines don't take kindly to that.
A few weeks ago, Google decided to do something about it, and many companies that unknowingly trusted link farms for PPC advertising are paying the price. Their Google page ranks have dropped from lofty numbers to zero and/or their organic search engine rankings fell off a cliff. They've been left wondering what happened. Google sniffed them out, that's what. When links to their websites showed up on 10,000 pages on 1,000 websites, a Googlebot took notice, and Google gave them the smackdown.
Search engine optimization isn't as simple as it used to be. Now it's no longer just a matter of linking to the most sites or having the most sites linked to you. In addition to popularity, it's a matter of credibility.
Being linked from a link farm is like hanging around with the bad kids at school. No matter how good you are, you'll often be found guilty by association. The same goes for trading links with other websites. Because you have no control or knowledge of the other linked parties on the site, you can't say for sure with whom or what your website will be associated.
Remember, PPC advertising is a great way to get you to the front page of a search engine's results until you can get there organically. But to avoid guilt by association, make sure to restrict your PPC ads only to search engines. Also in your PPC account, be sure to uncheck the boxes that allow your PPC ads to show up on websites other than the search engine itself.
Now, go out and play with PPC. Just stay away from the bad kids.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Charts can be changed to show stock activity for different time periods by clicking and dragging, and they can be zoomed in on to get more detailed information. News stories that correspond to specific days are displayed on the side and are automatically adjusted to reflect the selected time period."
Details of the security weakness in the Web browser were published on a popular security mailing list last week by researcher Michal Zalewski. 'This might not come as a surprise, but there appears to be a very interesting and apparently very much exploitable overflow in Microsoft Internet Explorer,' he wrote.
The flaw can be exploited by an attacker to crash IE, Secunia said in an advisory published Monday. The vulnerability has been confirmed on a fully patched PC running IE 6 and Windows XP with Service Pack 2, the security monitoring company said. Secunia deems the issue 'not critical.' "
On March 10, Thomas Vendetta, a sophomore at Pitman High School in New Jersey, posted a fake press release to I-Newswire.com, a Web site that lets people submit press releases for distribution to online sites. The release said Vendetta had been hired by Google to work on fixing a security flaw in Gmail.
'The student will receive a lowered salary, which will be placed into a bank account for future education, said Google CEO Larry Page,' the release read, according to the SEO Blog, which posted an excerpt from it.
Google News picked up the item from I-Newswire that same day, and two days later news aggregator site Digg.com also linked to the item, Vendetta told CNET News.com. All three news sites moved quickly to remove the item from their pages.
And last Tuesday, I-Newswire quickly yanked from its site a release that falsely reported that actor Will Ferrell was killed in a paragliding accident. It was unknown who was responsible for that item, which also appeared on Google News, according to a screenshot posted on media watchdog Web site Regrettheerror.com.
Vendetta said in a telephone interview Friday that he got the idea from blogger Richard Wiggins, who detailed in his blog on March 9 how he and two others were able to get personal 'press releases' onto Google News. Wiggins said he wrote about a trip he took to Key West, Fla., and a friend wrote a 'press release' wishing the Michigan State Spartans luck in an upcoming basketball tournament. The Spartans release went up on Google News w"
Monday, March 20, 2006
As expected, a US Judge has ordered search engine Google to hand over a random 50,000 URLs in its database to the Department of Justice. However, Google managed to scale down the original request and Judge Wade has also ordered that any request by the Government to disclose the search queries of any users would be denied.
Originally the Department of Justice had demanded access to the company's search logs running into billions of URLs and two month's worth of search queries. Other search engines including those of Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL had already complied with the DoJ request. When Google refused, the Department requested a subpoena demanding that the search engine hand over the files."
Thursday, March 16, 2006
The Wall Street Journal report also said Google is increasing the number of Google Base sellers who can use its payment-processing service 'in a move that could put pressure on eBay Inc.'s online auctions and PayPal payments services to cut or even eliminate some fees.' Google charges sellers 25 cents, plus 2.5 percent of the value of the transaction, while eBay's PayPal generally charges 30 cents and fees ranging from 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent per transaction, the paper noted.
On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Google Base is pushing to become an online retail platform for brick-and-mortar stores in Europe. "
The Douchebag and Wingman Show featuring El Supremo with Special Guests Max from Armada Magazine, Alcoholnik and So Fain, Friday Night, March 17th, (St. Patrick's Day) @ Reno's Chop Shop in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas.
Saturday Night March 18th is the Grand Opening of Metro5 or M5 in the west end where the Starck Club used to be then after that it's off to Insomnia for the late night party.
Stay tuned to this blog for more info and pictures, etc.. for the 2006 Maxim Road Trip."
STUDY: SEARCH ENGINES AS POPULAR AS CONTENT PAGES: "NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Online users are no longer surfers, instead they have become full-fledged searchers. By the fourth quarter of 2005, consumers were visiting search sites as often as they visited other types of sites."
WINDOWS LIVE GETS FIRST ADVERTISERS: "NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Coca-Cola Brazil, JC Penney Co. and Monster Worldwide are the first advertisers for today's beta-test debut of Microsoft's Windows Live, having bought digital media across Windows Live Mail and Messenger properties. "
The White House had served a subpoena on several web search giants demanding data on billions of search requests and website addresses as part of its defence of an online pornography law.
But a US district judge in San Jose, California, indicated repeatedly on Tuesday that he shared Google's concerns about privacy, and he did not want to create the impression government could keep track of individuals "
March 15, 2006 9:20 PM PST
In a move that could put Google in competition with eBay and Craigslist, the Web search giant is planning to launch a service in Europe that would allow retailers to market their goods online, according to a report in Wednesday's edition of the Financial Times. The effort will utilize the mysterious Google Base service, which allows people to post any kind of information they want for free and to provide labels to describe it so others can easily find it.
The head of Google's European arm, Nikesh Arora, told the newspaper that Google wanted companies in retail to submit details of their goods and prices. Google would use the information to create a virtual supermarket across a number of retail brands for its users, according to the paper
'Google Base is going to have a huge impact on retailers,' Arora told the paper, adding that the move was based on research that found many leading European retailers did not feel they were competitive enough online.
Google Base, which launched in beta in November 2005, allows people to post 'all types of online and offline information and images' that will be searchable on Google Base and, depending on their relevance, may be searchable on Google Search, Froogle and Google Local. At the time, Google said it had no immediate plans to serve ads on the service. "
Complaints regarding some of the defendants were also submitted to Microsoft's antipiracy hotline. The eight defendants are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Washington."
The U.K. prime minister will be using MSN Messenger to chat with 10 members of the public, who will be invited to put questions to him over IM."
The company said on Wednesday that is conducting tests under multiple ad formats as part of its strategy announced in November to offer Internet-based services supported by ads and subscriptions. The online versions of its software and services target small businesses and consumers. "
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
March 14, 2006
Google shares rose Tuesday after a U.S. federal judge said he would likely order the search engine to comply with at least part of a scaled-back Bush administration request for search queries and web addresses stored on Google’s servers.
While the U.S. Department of Justice originally asked Google in August for two months’ worth of search queries, government and Google lawyers recently agreed to a diminished request in private negotiations after Google fought the first DoJ subpoena, according to Bloomberg. A Google spokeswoman told CNBC that the company is “very pleased” by the curtailed DoJ request, which seeks the information to bolster a bid to revive an Internet pornography law.
Judge James Ware in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose ended Tuesday’s courtroom showdown by saying that he would issue a written ruling very shortly. "
In a closely watched case pitting prosecutors' demands against privacy, U.S. District Judge James Ware will hear arguments about whether the U.S. Justice Department's request is too broad and whether the request is necessary to help defend an antipornography law in court this fall.
On Jan. 18, the U.S. Justice Department asked Ware to order Google to comply with a subpoena. It demands a 'random sampling' of 1 million Internet addresses accessible through Google's popular search engine, and a random sampling of 1 million search queries submitted to Google in a one-week period.
The outcome will determine whether the Justice Department will be able to use Google search terms in a social science research project that will be used this fall to defend an antipornography law. The Bush administration argues that criminal sanctions in the 1998 law--which has been placed on hold by the courts--are more effective ways to shield children than antiporn filtering software.
Though the Justice Department also demanded that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online hand over similar records, Google was the only recipient that chose to fight the subpoena in court. The other companies have stressed that they turned over search terms and logs but not information that could be linked to individuals. "
Monday, March 13, 2006
When she joined Microsoft in 2001, the company lacked a search engine of its own and had no clear Web advertising strategy. Google and Yahoo made multibillion-dollar businesses of search-related advertising while Microsoft waited.
'I wasn't sure the first couple of years that we were here to stay,' said Bradford, Microsoft's corporate vice president for global sales and marketing. 'I thank Yahoo and Google for proving that a software company can be a media company and a media company can be a software company.'
These days, Microsoft is very serious about grabbing a larger piece of the $15 billion U.S. market for Internet advertising with a revamped search engine and a new system called AdCenter to sell pay-per-click ads across the company's Web content and services. "
The Web search giant last Thursday confirmed it had bought Upstartle, which produces the hosted word-processing service Writely. "
Friday, March 10, 2006
Someone uploaded part of a video used to train flight attendants on YouTube and Google Video. The airline subpoenaed those companies on Feb. 21 under the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), according to airline spokesman Tim Wagner. Under the provisions of the DMCA, companies have the right to request information in the event that their copyright materials are infringed upon.
The video in question, titled 'Flight Attendant, Upside Down,' is under copyright, Wagner said.
Fatter bandwidth and the popularity of Apple Computer's video-playing iPods are driving a video-sharing craze on the Net. The trend has also rung alarms in the halls of movie and television studios. Entertainment companies have begun to aggressively use copyright law to protect their property. Stuck in the middle are Internet service providers and hosting sites that must walk the line between protecting their users' privacy and adhering to copyright law. "
Details about the GDrive product leaked onto the Web after Google accidentally posted notes online from a slide presentation given by executives during the company's analyst presentation day.
Bloggers quickly picked up on the notes, which stated that 'with infinite storage, we can house all user files, including e-mails, Web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc., and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc.).' Google subsequently took the original presentation, and the notes, offline.
While bloggers were excited about the possible new product, the prospect of people trusting 100 percent of their data with Google raised recurring privacy concerns."
According to Michael Arrington's Techcrunch blog, which is running the alleged screenshots, the new calendar is tightly integrated with Gmail. Features let people integrate with other calendar applications and share data. The calendar, allegedly dubbed CL2, also has a notification service that uses SMS (Short Message Service).
CL2 also apparently lets people create events that can be viewed on their calendars, or shown to the public, even to people not using the same calendar program.
While the product is still apparently well away from a launch, bloggers are excited about the possibility and are speculating whether the service is a prelude to bigger things for the company, and for online calendars. "
The move immediately fueled speculation that the search engine company may be working on its own version of an online office suite, which could compete with Microsoft's cash cow.
Rumors about the supposed suite have been percolating for some time, fueled in part by Google's partnership with Sun Microsystems and reports of a Google calendar program.
Google hasn't yet stated how it would incorporate the word processor, which is still in beta, into its other offerings. But bloggers were happy to speculate on their own."
Thursday, March 09, 2006
The total amount of credits, including attorneys' fees, will max out at $90 million, Nicole Wong, associate general counsel at Google, wrote in a Google blog posting.
The lawsuit, filed in February 2005 in state court in Texarkana, Ark., accused the defendant search engines of charging advertisers for clicks on online advertisements that were fraudulent or done in bad faith and not with the intention of legitimate commerce. The lawsuit was filed by Lane's Gifts and Collectibles and Caulfield Investigations against Google, Yahoo, Time Warner and its America Online and Netscape subsidiaries, Lycos, FindWhat.com, now known as Miva Media, Buena Vista Internet Group doing business as Go.com, LookSmart and Ask Jeeves, now known as Ask.com. "
Platial, a two-month-old upstart, lets people save personal places of interest to a Google map, and then share those landmarks with friends or the community at large, creating a kind of 'social atlas,' according to the company. People can also collaborate on Platial maps, which like many other so-called Google mashups are built on top of the Google Maps APIs, or application program interfaces.
Already, Platial.com has amassed 100,000 points of interests from its members, including home addresses, biodiesel fueling stations, and a map of all the taco trucks in Oakland, Calif. Diane Eisner, one of three co-founders of Platial, said that one of the most popular maps on the site points to the best street food in New York City.
'We call it 'auto-geo-biography,'' Eisner said Wednesday during a press briefing here at O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference. That's because 'the traditional views of place don't represent our relationship' to them."
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Dash, the vice president of professional products at software firm Six Apart, is one of the key reasons why seemingly everyone has started a blog: His company's TypePad, Movable Type and LiveJournal products and Web sites have helped more than 12 million bloggers start posting. Of course, Dash keeps multiple blogs himself.
Now Six Apart wants to get more blogs onto corporate Web sites and networks. Dash says the company's TypePad Business Class and Movable Type Enterprise, which are both launching today, will make it easier for corporate users to maintain blogs. The new version of TypePad is meant for companies that want the public to see what their employees are blogging about, while the Movable Type update is designed for companies that want to run the software with many internal users at one time. 'From the CIO's standpoint, we're trying to make blogs as boring as possible,' says Dash."
The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the inadvertent statements were added to a presentation intended for analysts. Among those statements was one that said Google expected ad revenue to grow from '$6 billion this year to $9.5 billion next year.'
Google explained in the filing that these estimates were part of an internal report on product strategy from last year.
'These notes were not created for financial planning purposes and should not be regarded as financial guidance,' Google wrote in its filing.'
A mistake was also made when Google said that 'AdSense margins will be squeezed in 2006 and beyond.' "
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The clumsy handling of the changes were reminiscent of another fee change a decade ago that drew a class-action lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of 19 states. Although that case was eventually settled, the company lost valuable trust among subscribers at a critical juncture in Internet growth.
The reasons behind AOL's recent moves make sense from a business perspective--but it needs to pay more attention to its image among consumers, which is particularly important to the family-oriented company. Before it makes any more changes that so directly affect their subscribers, executives may want to review some of the company's own history for some valuable lessons. "
Google CFO George Reyes said Tuesday morning during an investor's conference that the search company's overall growth is slowing, and it's now largely 'organic,' according to CNBC. The comments sent Google's stock down more than 13 percent before rebounding slightly.
In mid-January, Yahoo CFO Sue Decker said during the company's fourth-quarter conference call that it is not competing with search rivals for growth. Instead, it's looking to 'build new revenue opportunities.'
What does this mean for the marquee business of Internet advertising that turned Google into a multibillion-dollar company and refilled Yahoo's coffers after the dot-com bust? "