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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Google

Google Is Planning To Penalize Overly Optimized Sites 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-keywords-for-you dept.
tekgoblin writes "This is an interesting move by Google but not completely off the rocker for them. Last year they blocked search results from the co.cc domain because they believed they polluted the search results. Google plans to penalize overly optimized sites because they want to level the playing field for other websites who do not concentrate on such efforts. From the article: 'Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains the following: “We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.” The search engine at Google is about to go through a major overhaul and de-prioritizing sites with heavy SEO is just a small part in the big picture to bring better search results. The changes to the search engine will be coming in the next few months.'"
Crime

George "geohot" Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana 578

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-nice-drug-war-you've-got-going dept.
n1ywb writes "Goerge 'geohot' Hotz, famous for being the first to jailbreak an iPhone and for his spat with Sony over PS3 jailbreaking, was busted for possession of a small amount of marijuana at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas on his way to SXSW. The shakedown goes like this: drug dogs are run around vehicles; when they signal, DHS searches the car and finds the contraband; DHS then turns evidence and suspects over to the local sheriff. Willie Nelson, actor Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network), and Snoop Dogg have all gotten in trouble at the same checkpoint under similar circumstances."
Google

Google Introduces Programming Challenge In Advance Of GoogleIO 114

Posted by timothy
from the with-great-power-comes-cool-freebies dept.
First time accepted submitter X10 writes "Google announced some time ago that they want only developers to attend their Google IO conference. They hinted at developing a 'programming test' that you have to pass before you can register. Now, they have introduced the Input Output machine at the same time they announced that Google IO registration will open on March 27. I take it that registrations will be ordered according to the quality of one's IO machine. Cute idea ..."
Businesses

Google 'Wasting' $16 Billion On Projects Headed Nowhere 408

Posted by timothy
from the preemptive-sour-grapes dept.
hapworth writes "Google's engineering culture is 'wasting profits,' according to a new report published today that refers to $16 billion worth of Google projects that are going nowhere. According to the analysis, it's not that the ideas — such as the Kansas City Fiber Project, driverless cars, and other engineering efforts — are bad. Rather, it's Google's poor execution that is killing the company and adding billions of dollars worth of projects to its 'trash pile.'" On the obvious other hand, Google's done a lot of interesting things over the years that they've managed to make work well, and that strayed from their initial single-text-field search bar.
Google

Bing Now Nearly As Good As Google — Says Microsoft 405

Posted by timothy
from the totally-objective dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Harry Shum, who oversees research and development for Microsoft's Bing search engine, believes his company has now matched Google's ability to build software platforms that can harness the power of tens of thousands of servers. — 'For many years, we've really tried to play the catch-up game,' Shum says. 'And now we feel that after a lot of effort, we understand search quality problems better than before, and that if you look at Google and Bing, the quality is beginning to be very comparable.' While his comments might be a little biased, many people do share the same opinion. How do you feel about Bing's search results compared to Google's? For example DuckDuckGo, the privacy oriented search engine, uses Bing's back-end and has gained a small following on Slashdot."
The Internet

Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google 200

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the with-a-side-of-bacon dept.
suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from an article over at Ars Technica: "Los Alfaques, a bucolic campground near the Spanish town of Tarragona, isn't happy with Google. That's because searches for 'camping Alfaques' bring up horrific images of charred human flesh — not good for business when you're trying to sell people on the idea of relaxation. The campground believes it has the right to demand that Google stop showing 'negative' links, even though the links aren't mistakes at all. Are such lawsuits an aberration, or the future of Europe's Internet experience in the wake of its new 'right to be forgotten' proposals? Legal scholars like Jeffrey Rosen remain skeptical that such a right won't lead to all sorts of problems for free expression. But in Spain, the debate continues. Last week, Los Alfaques lost its case — but only because it needed to sue (U.S.-based) Google directly. Mario Gianni, the owner of Los Alfaques, is currently deciding whether such a suit is worth pursuing."
Google

Internet Giants To Honor the 'No' In 'No Tracking' 118

Posted by timothy
from the mighty-gracious-of-them dept.
theodp writes "The WSJ reports that a coalition of Internet giants including Google has agreed to support a do-not-track button to be embedded in most Web browsers — a move that the industry had been resisting for more than a year. The new do-not-track button isn't going to stop all Web tracking. The companies have agreed to stop using the data about people's Web browsing habits to customize ads, and have agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes. But the data can still be used for some purposes such as 'market research' and 'product development' and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers. Meanwhile, after Google got caught last week bypassing privacy settings on Safari, and was accused of also circumventing IE's P3P Privacy Protection feature, CBS MoneyWatch contacted Mozilla to see if it had noticed Google bypassing Firefox's privacy controls. After reports that Google ponied up close to a billion dollars to Mozilla to beat out a Microsoft bid, this seems to be one of those have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife type questions that has no good answer. Anyway, according to a statement attributed to Alex Fowler, global privacy and public policy lead for Mozilla: 'Our testing did not reveal any instances of Google bypassing user privacy settings.'"
Google

Last Day To Tell Google To Forget You 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the please-don't-write-or-call dept.
itwbennett writes "Google's new privacy policy will consolidate all your data at google.com — unless you erase it first. And today is your last day to do it. The change goes into effect tomorrow. Which is why the helpful folks at EFF have posted some simple instructions showing how to delete your web history at Google."
Google

Google Heads Up Display Coming By the End of the Year 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the paging-manfred-macx dept.
kodiaktau writes "Google is working to deliver a heads-up display allowing users access to email, maps and other tools through a wearable interface. According to the NY Times' sources, the device will be available later this year, and sell for prices comparable to smartphones. 'The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS. ... The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.'"
Privacy

Privacy-Centric Search Engine Scroogle Shuts Down 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the rock-and-a-hard-place dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Daniel Brandt started his 'Scroogle' search engine because he wanted to provide increased privacy to people who searched online through Google. Unfortunately, while Google tolerated this for a while, they began throttling Scroogle queries. This, in combination with extensive DDoS attacks on Brandt's servers, has caused him to take Scroogle offline, along with his other domains. He said, 'I no longer have any domains online. I also took all my domains out of DNS because I want to signal to the criminal element that I have no more servers to trash. This hopefully will ward off further attacks on my previous providers. Scroogle.org is gone forever. Even if all my DDoS problems had never started in December, Scroogle was already getting squeezed from Google's throttling, and was already dying. It might have lasted another six months if I hadn't lost seven servers from DDoS, but that's about all.' Internet users who made use of the services will now need to investigate other options."
Chrome

Online Privacy Worth Less Than Marshmallow Fluff Six Pack 223

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-about-right dept.
nonprofiteer writes "With a program called Screenwise, Google is offering a total of $25 in Amazon gift cards to anyone willing to install a Chrome browser extension that will let the search giant track every website the user visits and what they do there over a year-long period. Google says it will study this in order to improve its products and services. Forbes points out that $25 in Amazon credits isn't quite enough to buy a six pack of Marshmallow Fluff ($26.75)." The money isn't much as a pure trade for privacy, but I suspect that many people would like to have their preferences be among those that shape how Google — and other companies, too — actually organize their interfaces. (Note that the tracking can be selectively turned off by the user.)
Facebook

Former Google Exec: Traditional Search Market Shrinking 184

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the queries-go-unanswered dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former Google executive Stafford Masie believes that traditional search is dying because users are choosing to query their friends and followers on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Here's the quote from the video: 'The pie of search query volumes in the world – that business is shrinking. Why? Because people are going and doing search queries – search query volumes are moving towards social containers. They're moving away from static pages being searched and they're moving more towards dynamic real-time stream content. Like Twitter. Like Tumblr. Like Facebook. Those things have a better result because the penetration, the personalization associated with it, and the constant freshness of the content. So I believe that Google's search volume – the business Google is in on the search side – that business is shrinking. And they've got to do something about it.'"
Piracy

RIAA Wants To Scrap Anti-Piracy OPEN Act 268

Posted by timothy
from the not-far-enough-by-half dept.
silentbrad writes with these selections from an article at Ars Technica: "The Recording Industry Association of America found itself in an unusual position this week: opposing an anti-piracy bill that's gaining momentum in Congress ... the RIAA argues the bill won't be effective at shutting down rogue sites. The trade group warns of 'indefinite delays' as claims of infringement are investigated. And it complains that the process envisioned by OPEN would allow for 'endless submissions by parties such as Google,' further gumming up the process. All the while, the alleged rogue site would be able to continue operating. The RIAA also warns that the need to hire an attorney to navigate the ITC's arcane legal process will 'put justice out of reach for small business American victims of IP theft.' The trade group complains that sites aren't held responsible for the infringing activities of their users, a rule the trade group says 'excuses willful blindness and outright complicity in illegal activity.' RIAA also says it's 'virtually impossible' to prove that a site infringed willfully, as OPEN requires."

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