Google

Google Will Block Access To Its Autocomplete API On August 10 59 59

An anonymous reader writes with news reported by VentureBeat that Google will be discontinuing developer access to its unofficial Autocomplete API, as of August 10 of this year. A snippet from the article: Google currently supports more than 80 APIs that developers can use to integrate Google services and data into their applications. The company also has unsupported and unpublished APIs which people outside the company have discovered and leveraged. One of those is the Autocomplete API. The company says it is making this move "in the interest of maintaining the integrity of autocomplete as part of Search," that it wants to "ensure that users experience autocomplete as it was designed to be used," and finally that "this provides the best user experience for both services." I'm sure many will disagree.
Censorship

Universal Pictures Wants To Remove Localhost and IMDB Pages From Google Results 188 188

Artem Tashkinov writes: We've all known for a very long time that DCMA takedown requests are often dubious and even more often outright wrong but in a new turn of events a Universal Pictures contractor which does web censorship has requested a takedown of an IMDB page and the 127.0.0.1 address. I myself has seen numerous times that pages which barely include the title of an infringing work of art get removed from search engines.
Piracy

Popular Torrent Site Disappears From Google After Penalty 165 165

An anonymous reader writes: Following what appears to be a severe penalty, the popular torrent site KickassTorrents has become pretty much unfindable in Google. Meanwhile, the top search result in many locations points to a scam site that's serving malware to its visitors. For now, only DuckDuckGo presents the real site as a main result. With millions of visitors per day, KickassTorrents is arguably the most visited torrent site on the Internet, and has gained new users during the moments when the notorious Pirate Bay has been offline.
AI

A Quick Leak, As Microsoft Tests the Waters For Cortana On Android 44 44

An anonymous reader writes with the news from Venture Beat that a beta of Cortana for Android (long promised) has leaked into the wild via Finnish upload site SuomiMobiili, and from there to others, like APKMirror. From the article: We asked Microsoft where this leak may have come from. "In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we're testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks," a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.
Google

Google Accidentally Reveals Data On 'Right To Be Forgotten' Requests 51 51

Colin Castro points out an article from The Guardian, who noticed that Google's recent transparency report contained more data than intended. When perusing the source code, they found data about who was making requests for Google to take down links under the "right to be forgotten" law. The data they found covers 75% of all requests made so far. Less than 5% of nearly 220,000 individual requests made to Google to selectively remove links to online information concern criminals, politicians and high-profile public figures, the Guardian has learned, with more than 95% of requests coming from everyday members of the public. ... Of 218,320 requests to remove links between 29 May 2014 and 23 March 2015, 101,461 (46%) have been successfully delisted on individual name searches. Of these, 99,569 involve "private or personal information." Only 1,892 requests – less than 1% of the overall total – were successful for the four remaining issue types identified within Google’s source code: "serious crime" (728 requests), "public figure" (454), "political" (534) or "child protection" (176) – presumably because they concern victims, incidental witnesses, spent convictions, or the private lives of public persons.
Software

Ask Slashdot: How Should Devs Deal With Trademark Trolls? 99 99

An anonymous reader writes: I'll start off by admitting that trademark infringement wasn't something that was on my mind when I released my first application. Like many other developers I was concentrating on functionality, errors, and getting the thing published. I did a cursory Google search and search of the app stores to make sure no other apps were using the same name, but that's about the extent of my efforts to avoid trademark infringement. After all, I'm spending hundreds of hours of my own time to make an app that I'm giving away with the hopes to make some ad money or sell paid versions down the road. Hiring a lawyer for advice and help didn't seem like a reasonable expenditure since I'm pretty sure my income per hour of coding was under $1 for the first year or two. Besides, it's something I do on the side because I enjoy coding, not for my main source of income.

My first app was published in early 2010. I followed up with a paid version, then a couple other small apps that perform functions I wanted on my phone. I continue to maintain my apps and offer bug fixes, user support, and the occasional feature request. My income isn't tremendous, but it's steady. Nothing to brag about, but also not something I'd willingly give up.

Earlier this year I got a notice from Google that someone had submitted a takedown request for one of my applications based on a trademark infringement claim."
(Read on below for the rest of the story, and the question.)
Advertising

Study: Women Less Likely To Be Shown Ads For High-paid Jobs On Google 233 233

An anonymous reader writes: A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has found that women seeking jobs are less likely to be shown ads on Google for high-paying jobs than men. The researchers created more than 17,000 fake profiles, which were shown roughly 600,000 ads on career-finding websites (abstract). All of the profiles shared the same browsing behavior. "One experiment showed that Google displayed adverts for a career coaching service for '$200k+' executive jobs 1,852 times to the male group and only 318 times to the female group." The article notes, "Google allows users to opt out of behavioral advertising and provides a system to see why users were shown ads and to customize their ad settings. But the study suggests that there is a transparency and overt discrimination issue in the wider advertising landscape."
Google

New Study Accuses Google of Anti-competitive Search Behavior 133 133

An anonymous reader writes: Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu — the man who coined the term "network neutrality" — has published a new study suggesting that Google's new method of putting answers to simple search queries at the top of the results page is anticompetitive and harmful to consumers. For subjective search queries — e.g. "What's the best [profession] in [city]?" — Google frequently figures out a best-guess answer to display first, favoring its own results to do so. The study did some A/B testing with a group of 2,690 internet users and found they were 45% more likely to click on merit-based results than on Google's listings. Wu writes, "Search engines are widely understood as key mediators of the web's speech environment, given that they have a powerful impact on who gets heard, what speech is neglected, and what information generally is reached. ... The more that Google directs users to its own content and its own properties, the more that speakers who write reviews, blogs and other materials become invisible to their desired audiences."
Censorship

BBC Curates The "Right To Be Forgotten" Links That Google Can't 146 146

An anonymous reader writes, quoting the BBC's Internet Blog: "Since a European Court of Justice ruling last year, individuals have the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results. Those pages usually contain personal information about individuals." The BBC, however, is not obligated to completely censor the results, and so has taken an approach that other media outlets would do well to emulate: they're keeping a list of those pages delisted by the search engines, and making them easy to find through the BBC itself. Why? The BBC has decided to make clear to licence fee payers which pages have been removed from Google's search results by publishing this list of links. Each month, we'll republish this list with new removals added at the top. We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC's online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.
Yahoo!

The Next Java Update Could Make Yahoo Your Default Search Provider 328 328

itwbennett writes: At the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a partnership with Oracle that could result in Yahoo becoming your default search provider in your browser. Starting this month, when users are prompted to update to the next version of Java, they'll be asked to make Yahoo their default search engine on Chrome (and Internet Explorer, for what it's worth). And, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the button will be checked by default, so if you aren't looking out for it, you might unwittingly find yourself a Yahoo user.
Encryption

Ask Slashdot: Keeping Cloud Data Encrypted Without Cross-Platform Pain? 107 107

bromoseltzer writes: I use cloud storage to hold many gigs of personal files that I'd just as soon were not targets for casual data mining. (Google: I'm thinking of you.) I want to access them from Linux, Windows, and Android devices. I have been using encfs, which does the job for Linux fairly well (despite some well-known issues), but Windows and Android don't seem to have working clients. I really want to map a file system of encrypted files and encrypted names to a local unencrypted filesystem — the way encfs works. What solutions do Slashdot readers recommend? Ideal would be a competitive cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive that provides trustworthy encryption with suitable clients. Is there anything like that?
Google

YouTube Algorithm Can Decide Your Channel URL Now Belongs To Someone Else 272 272

An anonymous reader writes: In 2005, blogger Matthew Lush registered "Lush" as his account on the then-nascent YouTube service, receiving www.youtube.com/lush as the URL for his channel. He went on to use this address on his marketing materials and merchandise. Now, YouTube has taken the URL and reassigned it to the Lush cosmetics brand. Google states that an algorithm determined the URL should belong to the cosmetics firm rather than its current owner, and insists that it is not possible to reverse the unrequested change. Although Lush cosmetics has the option of changing away from their newly-received URL and thereby freeing it up for Mr. Lush's use, they state that they have not decided whether they will. Google has offered to pay for some of Mr. Lush's marketing expenses as compensation.
Privacy

DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World 112 112

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine, has been around for over six years. But when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in 2013, DuckDuckGo started a period of strong growth that hasn't slowed yet. The search engine has seen a 600% increase in traffic over the past two years, and they're now serving 3 billion searches a year. This shouldn't be a surprise — last month, a Pew survey found that 40% of American adults didn't want their search engine to retain information about them. But members of the general public are notoriously slow to change their privacy-related behavior. DuckDuckGo's growing popularity has led them to double their employee count since early 2014, now totaling 28 people. Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple's name being tossed around as a potential buyer.
Google

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Search Engines Left That Don't Try To Think For Me? 424 424

An anonymous reader writes: As a programmer especially, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with Google searches. They try very hard to present me with what they think I'm searching for instead of what I'm actually searching for. This issue mostly shows up when searching error messages, obscure type and function names and stuff like that. What I think though, is that I only notice the issue when searching for stuff I know a lot about, namely programming, but my queries get distorted when I'm searching for just about anything, I just don't know enough about the subject to notice. Are there any alternative search engines left that don't think they know better than me what I'm looking for and just search for my phrase, like in the 2000s? Searching for exact strings is an option with Google, but what search engines are the most hands-off to start with?
Censorship

France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally 337 337

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning. France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU 'Right To Be Forgotten' (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google. And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...
Weinstein's page links to the paywalled WSJ coverage; you might prefer The New York Times or Politico. Related: a court in Canada, according to TechDirt, would like to do something similar, when it comes to expanding its effect on Google results for everyone, not just those who happen to live within its jurisdiction.