SharkLaser writes "Last week it was announced that Google has renewed their search deal with Mozilla. The amount Google paid to Mozilla was surprising: $300 million per year, despite the slightly falling market share of Firefox. Many took this as charity, and for the purpose of advancing the web. Now sources in the bidding process have revealed that Google's main rival in the bid was Microsoft's Bing, along with Yahoo. This bidding war was costly to Google, which is now paying 300% of what they used to, just to be Firefox's default search provider. Mozilla veteran Asa Dotzler is also giving insight into the deal between Google and Mozilla. 'Google started out as a search company. But that's not what they are today. Google's primary business is advertising. Google brought in $9.7B in revenues in Q3'11. 96% of that revenue was from ad sales. Not all traffic to Google ads is 'organic' though. To help drive ad sales, Google pays for traffic to their ads. They paid out $2.21 billion, or 24% of their ad revenues in 'Traffic Acquisition Costs.' That money goes to revenue shares with their AdSense partners and to 'distribution partners' — presumably browser makers, PC OEMs, and mobile OEMs and operators.' Google also pays shareware and freeware distributors to bundle Chrome and Google toolbar with their programs and games."
SharkLaser writes "U.S. Senators have written to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about their concerns over Google's Internet monopoly. Google executives did themselves no favors when the Senators looked at Google's business practices in September. When asked if Google has monopoly in online search, Google chairman Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying 'I would agree, Senator, that we are in that area.' Another worrying quote is from Marissa Meyer, Google's VP of location services, who said that it was 'only fair' that Google put its own sites on higher placements than competitors. The Senators are also warning that Google is only facing one real competitor (PDF), Microsoft's Bing. Almost all other metasearch engines use either Google or Bing technology to deliver search results, including DuckDuckGo which uses Bing. In Europe Google is currently under investigation of monopoly abuse and the EU has also delayed Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility."
New submitter happyscientist writes "This is a nice 'Hello World' for using Hadoop MapReduce on Common Crawl data. I was interested when Common Crawl announced themselves a few weeks ago, but I was hesitant to dive in. This is a good video/example that makes it clear how easy it is to start playing with the crawl data."
mikejuk writes "A recent Google research paper outlines how it might use AI to read digits in natural images — specifically Street View photos. The idea is to automatically extract the number of each house as captured by Street View and then use this to improve the geocoding data returned by Google. When you next ask for directions to a particular address the new data could be used to show you a street view looking directly at the house you specified."
judgecorp writes "The European Commission is delaying Google's proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility, saying it wants 'more infromation.' Europe may be nervous of the power the purchase will give Google in the mobile space."
Trailrunner7 writes "Officials at Cnet's Download.com site have issued a statement apologizing for bundling the popular open source Nmap security audit application with adware that installed a toolbar and changed users' search engine to Microsoft properties. Fyodor, the author of Nmap, raised the issue earlier this week, saying that his app was being wrapped in malware on Download.com. It's not unusual for download sites to bundle free applications with some kind of adware or toolbar, but the creators of open-source applications take a dim view of this practice, given the nature and ethic of open source projects. Nmap is a venerable and widely used tool for mapping networks and performing security audits and Fyodor wrote in a message to an Nmap mailing list earlier this week that Download.com, which is part of Cnet, a subsidiary of CBS Interactive, was bundling the application with its installer, which, if a user agreed, would install a search toolbar and change the user's search engine to Bing."
itwbennett writes "At the Usenix Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference being held this week in Boston, two Dartmouth computer scientists presented variants of the grep and diff Unix command line utilities that can handle more complex types of data. The new programs, called Context-Free Grep and Hierarchical Diff, will provide the ability to parse blocks of data rather than single lines. The research has been funded in part by Google and the U.S. Energy Department."
An anonymous reader writes "India's Telecoms minister has prompted an uproar after it was revealed he met with executives from Google and Facebook to pressure them into screening 'objectionable' content. Critics argue it is a dangerous step down China's censorship path. 'He denied such a demand was censorship. There is some content on the Internet that "any normal human being would be offended by," he said. The government has asked social media companies to develop a way to eliminate offensive content as soon as it is created, no matter what country it is created in, he said.'
SharkLaser writes "Mozilla's future looks uncertain. Last week Chrome overtook Firefox's position as the second most popular browser, the new versioning scheme is alienating some Firefox users, and now the advertising deal between Mozilla and Google, the one that almost fully funds Mozilla's operations, is coming to an end. One of Firefox's key managers, Mike Shaver, also left the company in September. 'In 2010, 84% of Mozilla's $123 million in revenue came directly from Google. That's roughly $100 million in funds that will vanish or be drastically cut if the deal is either not renewed or is renegotiated on terms that are less favorable to Mozilla. When the original three-year partnership deal was signed in 2008, Chrome was still on the drawing boards. Today, it is Google's most prominent software product, and it is rapidly replacing Firefox as the alternative browser on every platform.' Recently Mozilla has been trying to get closer with Microsoft by making a Firefox version that defaults to Bing. If Google is indeed cutting funding from Mozilla or tries to negotiate less favorable terms, it could mean Mozilla's future funding coming from Microsoft and Bing."
bonch writes "European antitrust regulators are set to issue a 400-page statement of objections accusing Google of 'abuse of dominance' next month, the result of an investigation launched last year after complaints from rivals that Google manipulated ad pricing and barred advertisers from running ads on rival sites. If found guilty, Google could be fined up to 10% of its annual turnover, which is about $3 billion. Microsoft avoided a similar fine when it settled its European antitrust case and included a 'browser ballot' in Windows."
Lucas123 writes "President Obama this week issued a directive to all federal agencies to upgrade records management processes from paper-based systems that have been around since President Truman's administration to electronic records systems with Web 2.0 capabilities. Agencies have four months to come up with plans to improve their records keeping. Part of the directive is to have the National Archives and Records Administration store all long-term records and oversee electronic records management efforts in other agencies. Unfortunately, NARA doesn't have a stellar record itself (PDF) in rolling out electronic records projects. Earlier this year, due to cost overruns and project mismanagement, NARA announced it was ending a 10-year effort to create an electronic records archive."
An anonymous reader writes "A federal judge has ruled that a number of a websites trafficking in counterfeit Chanel goods can have their domains seized and transferred to a new registrar. Astonishingly, the judge also ordered that the sites must be de-indexed from all search engines and all social media websites. Quoting the article: 'Missing from the ruling is any discussion of the Internet's global nature; the judge shows no awareness that the domains in question might not even be registered in this country, for instance, and his ban on search engine and social media indexing apparently extends to the entire world. (And, when applied to U.S.-based companies like Twitter, apparently compels them to censor the links globally rather than only when accessed by people in the U.S.) Indeed, a cursory search through the list of offending domains turns up poshmoda.ws, a site registered in Germany. The German registrar has not yet complied with the U.S. court order, though most other domain names on the list are .com or .net names and have been seized.'"
alphadogg writes "Free software activists have released a peer-to-peer search engine to take on Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. The free, distributed search engine, YaCy, takes a new approach to search. Rather than using a central server, its search results come from a network of independent 'peers,' users who have downloaded the YaCy software. The aim is that no single entity gets to decide what gets listed, or in which order results appear. 'Most of what we do on the Internet involves search. It's the vital link between us and the information we're looking for. For such an essential function, we cannot rely on a few large companies and compromise our privacy in the process,' said Michael Christen, YaCy's project leader."
TripleP writes "In a kind gesture from Google, they're allowing wireless AP owners to opt out of their location service. You only have to change your SSID to include '_nomap' as a suffix. Is it just me, or should this 'service' be an explicit opt-in?"
mikejuk writes with an excerpt from an article in I Programmer: "If you have ever thought that you could do a better job than Google but were intimidated by the hardware needed to build a web index, then the Common Crawl Foundation has a solution for you. It has indexed 5 billion web pages, placed the results on Amazon EC2/S3 and invites you to make use of it for free. All you have to do is setup your own Amazon EC2 Hadoop cluster and pay for the time you use it — accessing the data is free. This idea is to open up the whole area of web search to experiment and innovation. So if you want to challenge Google now you can't use the excuse that you can't afford it." Their weblog promises source code for everything eventually. One thing I've always wondered is why no distributed crawlers or search engines have ever come about.