Reluctant Wikipedia Lifts Lid On $2.5M Internet Search Engine Project ( 36

The Wikimedia Foundation has finally disclosed details of its controversial Knowledge Engine grant -- and it confirms that Wikipedia is getting seriously into search, despite Jimmy Wales' categorical denial that WMF is "doing a Google." After a Wikipedia signpost article, and coverage at El Reg this week, the WMF caved and posted the Knight Foundation's approval of the $250,000 grant. The grant provides seed money for stage one of the Knowledge Engine, described as "a system for discovering reliable and trustworthy information on the Internet." The discovery stage includes an exploration of prototypes of future versions of which are "open channels" rather than an encyclopedia, analyzing the query-to-content path, and embedding the Wikipedia Knowledge Engine "via carriers and Original Equipment Manufacturers."

Google Brain Researchers Make Significant Progress On Language Modeling ( 32

New submitter integralclosure writes: Using neural networks, Google Brain researchers have significantly improved a computer's ability to model English (achieving extremely low perplexity score on a large dataset). Using the model they were able to generate random sentences, such as the following: 'Yuri Zhirkov was in attendance at the Stamford Bridge at the start of the second half but neither Drogba nor Malouda was able to push on through the Barcelona defence.' The sentences are generally coherent and mostly grammatically correct. Advances seem to be a replay of neural networks' dominance in the Imagenet competition.

Google Expands 'Right To Be Forgotten' To All Global Search Results ( 93

An anonymous reader writes: Google has confirmed that it will be updating its 'right to be forgotten' so that any hidden content under the ruling is removed from all versions of its search engine in countries where it has been approved. Until now Google had only been removing results from the originating country and European versions of its search engine, such as and The EU had previously asked for an extension of the rule to include all versions of Google. Last year, French data protection authority CNIL threatened the tech giant with a sanction should it not remove data from all of its global platforms – such as – in addition to its European sites. Now, Google's new extension of the 'right to be forgotten' is expected to come into force over the next few weeks.

Yahoo To Fire Another 15% As Mayer Attempts To Hang On ( 217

New submitter xxxJonBoyxxx writes: Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has announced plans to cut the company's workforce by 15% and close five foreign offices by the end of 2016 after announcing a $4.4bn loss. Yahoo shares have fallen 33% over the past year, including a 17% drop in the last three months. Its shares fell again in after-hours trading after Mayer announced her plan. Yahoo expects its workforce to be down to 9,000 and have fewer than 1,000 contractors by end of 2016. About a third of Yahoo's workforce has left either voluntarily or involuntarily over the last year. And the cuts may just be starting: one activist investor (SpringOwl) says the total number of employees should be closer to 3,000 for a company with its revenue.

IoT Security Is So Bad, There's a Search Engine For Sleeping Kids ( 127

An anonymous reader writes: Shodan, a search engine for the Internet of Things (IoT), recently launched a new section that lets users easily browse vulnerable webcams. The feed includes images of marijuana plantations, back rooms of banks, children, kitchens, living rooms, garages, front gardens, back gardens, ski slopes, swimming pools, colleges and schools, laboratories, and cash register cameras in retail stores. While IoT manufacturers are to blame, this also highlights the creepy stuff you can do with Shodan these days. At the start of January, Check Point recommended companies to block Shodan's crawlers. The infosec community came to defend Shodan, and even its founder said that Shodan is uselessly branded as a tool of evil, saying that attackers have their own scanning tools.

For Data Centers, Google Likes the Southeast ( 63

1sockchuck writes: With new construction projects underway in Alabama and Tennessee, Google will soon have 5 of its 8 company-built U.S. data center campuses located in the Southeast. The strategy is unique among major cloud players, who typically have server farms on each coast, plus one in the heartland. Is Google's focus on the Southeast a leading indicator of future data center development in the region? Or is it simply a case of a savvy player unearthing unique retrofit opportunities that may not work for other cloud builders?

Google Says It Killed 780 Million 'Bad Ads' In 2015 ( 92

itwbennett writes: According to a new Google report, the search giant disabled more than 780 million "bad ads," including include ads for counterfeit products, misleading or unapproved pharmaceuticals, weight loss scams, phishing ploys, unwanted software and "trick-to-click" cons, globally last year. This marks a 49 percent increase over 2014. For perspective, it would take an individual nearly 25 years to look at the 780 million ads Google removed last year for just one second each, according to Google. If the trend continues, Google's team of more than 1,000 staffers dedicated to killing spam will be even busier in 2016, and they could disable more than a billion junky ads.

Google Paid $1 Billion To Keep Search On iPhone ( 77

phantomfive writes: As the Google v. Oracle copyright case drags on, Oracle is claiming that Android has generated $31 billion in revenue for Google, $22 billion of which was profit. Court records also show Google paid Apple $1 billion USD to keep their search bar on the iPhone. A revenue sharing agreement was in place as well. At one point, Apple got 34% of the revenue generated by Google searches on iPhones. Both companies later requested that the information be redacted from the record, but once something is released on the internet, it tends to stay there.

Panasonic To Commercialize Facebook's Blu-Ray Cold Storage Systems ( 56

itwbennett writes: A couple of years ago, Facebook revealed it was using Blu-ray disks as a cost-efficient way to archive the billions of images that users uploaded to its service. When Facebook users upload photos, they're often viewed frequently in the first week, so Facebook stores them on solid state drives or spinning hard disks. But as time goes on the images get viewed less and less. At a certain point, Facebook dumps them onto high-capacity Blu ray discs, where they might sit for years without being looked at. Now, Panasonic has said it plans to commercialize the technology for other businesses, and is working on new disks that will hold a terabyte of data.

Publisher Is Pretty Sure Google Could End Piracy ( 216

An anonymous reader writes: Techdirt is running a story about Square One Publishers Rudy Shur, and his confusion over the DMCA process, and exactly what Google has control over. The story goes: "After being contacted by Google Play with an offer to join the team, Shur took it upon himself to fire off an angry email in response. That would have been fine, but he somehow convinced Publisher's Weekly to print both the letter and some additional commentary. Presumably, his position at a publishing house outweighed Publisher Weekly's better judgment, because everything about his email/commentary is not just wrong, but breathtakingly so.

After turning down the offer to join Google Play (Shur's previous participation hadn't really shown it to be an advantageous relationship), Shur decided to play internet detective. Starting with this paragraph, Shur's arguments head downhill then off a cliff then burst into flames then the flaming wreckage slides down another hill and off another cliff. (h/t The Digital Reader) '[W]e did discover, however, was that Google has no problem allowing other e-book websites to illegally offer a number of our e-book titles, either free or at reduced rates, to anyone on the Internet.'

There's a huge difference between "allowing" and "things that happen concurrently with Google's existence." Shur cannot recognize this difference, which is why he's so shocked Google won't immediately fix it. 'When we alerted Google, all we got back was an email telling us that Google has no responsibility and that it is up to us to contact these sites to tell them to stop giving away or selling our titles.'"


On the Coming Chatbot Revolution ( 94

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are all pursuing AI-powered chatbots — an intersection between several popular technologies: personal assistant software, search engines, machine learning, and social tools. Right now, while they're still building these chatbots, developers are cheating a bit. Facebook is using real humans to answer questions the AI can't. Google answers tough questions from a database populated with movie dialog. Microsoft scans social media to find the most popular answer, and offers that to inquisitive users. But software becoming conversational comes with hazards: "Because human beings are complex creatures plagued by cognitive biases, irrational thinking and emotional needs, the line between messaging with a friend and messaging with AI will be fine to nonexistent for some people." It sounds like an Asimov-era sci-fi trope, but it's already happening in China.

Google Planning New Messaging App With AI Chatbots ( 52

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is testing a new mobile messaging service. They say one of the defining new features of the service is the inclusion of AI-driven chatbots, which can answer questions asked of them in a conversational manner. Google veteran Nick Fox is reportedly running the team building the messaging service. It's not clear what will become of Messenger or Hangouts, or when the product will launch. "Google would steer users to specific chatbots, much as its search engine directs users to relevant websites. The move is strategic, because messaging apps and chatbots threaten Google's role as the Internet's premier discovery engine."
Operating Systems

Ubuntu 16.04 Will Not Send Local Searches Over the Web By Default 102

jones_supa writes: Canonical introduced Amazon Product Results as part of Ubuntu 12.10, which meant that local searches performed by a user in Dash were also sent online. This made many Ubuntu users spill their coffee and got criticism from EFF and FSF as well. The so called "Shopping Lens" had to be manually disabled if that kind of search behavior was not desired. Finally after years, Canonical is reacting to the negative feedback and respecting users' privacy, so that Ubuntu 16.04 (the next Long Term Support release) won't send local searches over the web by default. The Amazon search feature is still available for those who explicitly want to use it.

Over 650 TB of Data Up For Grabs From Publicly Exposed MongoDB Database ( 96

itwbennett writes: A scan performed over the past few days by John Matherly, the creator of the Shodan search engine, has found that there are at least 35,000 publicly accessible and insecure MongoDB databases on the Internet, and their number appears to be growing. Combined they expose 684.8 terabytes of data to potential theft. Matherly originally sounded the alarm about this issue back in July, when he found nearly 30,000 unauthenticated MongoDB instances. He decided to revisit the issue after a security researcher named Chris Vickery recently found information exposed in such databases that was associated with 25 million user accounts from various apps and services, including 13 million users of the controversial OS X optimization program MacKeeper, as reported on Slashdot on Wednesday.

Ask Slashdot: Best (or Better) Ways To Archive Email? 177

An anonymous reader writes: I've been using email since the early '90s and have probably half a million emails in various places and accounts. Some of them are currently in .tar files, others in the original folders from obsolete or I-don't-use-them-anymore mail clients. Some IMAP, some POP3. You get the picture. I don't often need to access emails older than a year or two, but when I do, I have found that my only hope for the truly archived ones is to guess what Grep combo might find the right text in the file ... and then pick through the often unformatted, unwrapped, super ugly text until I find the email address or info that I'm searching for. Because of this, I tend to at-all-costs leave emails on servers or at least in the clients so that I can more easily search and find.

My question is whether there's any way to safely store them in a way that I can actually use them later, offline, in a way that allows for easy date searches, email address searches, and so on. Thunderbird for example has 'Archive' as an option, but if I migrate to a different client I assume that won't work anymore. So what ways to people archive emails effectively? Or is this totally a lost cause and I should keep limping along with grep?

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