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Microsoft

Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only (venturebeat.com) 354

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, "Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing -- all designed to do more for you."
Google

Google Search Will Soon Include Live TV Listings (fortune.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes: Google announced users will soon see live TV listings within their search results. Fortune writes, "Pretty soon, you will be able to Google the name of a television show or movie and see live air times for that content within the search results." The announcement was made at the National Association of Broadcasters conference. "What we're seeing is that more and more, viewers are turning to their phones to find out what to watch, where to watch it and when it's available -- in fact, searches for TV shows and films on mobile have grown more than 55% in the past year alone," Google said in a blog post announcing the new feature. Google Search users will have the option of clicking an "edit provider" link that will allow them to enter their specific cable provider when they search for the name of a TV show or movie. There's no specific date for when the feature will be launching, just that it will be launching "soon."
Education

UC Davis Spent $175,000 To Bury Search Results After Cops Pepper-Sprayed Protestors (theverge.com) 340

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The University of California, Davis spent at least $175,000 to improve its reputation on the internet after images of campus police pepper-spraying protestors went viral in 2011, according to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee. The money went to public relations firms that promised to clean up the university's search results. One company outlined a plan for "eradication of references to the pepper spray incident," according to the documents, and was eventually paid nearly $93,000, including expenses, for a six-month campaign in 2013. After that, the Bee reports, the university paid $82,500 to another PR firm to create and follow through on a "search engine results management strategy." The latter firm was later given thousands more in other contracts to build a university social media program, and to vet its communications department.
AI

Microsoft Launches Cognitive Services Based On Project Oxford and Bing (venturebeat.com) 21

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has announced updates to its portfolio of machine learning tools at its Build conference in San Francisco. Previously, they had fallen under the Project Oxford name, but now they are being rebranded to Microsoft Cognitive Services. According to Microsoft senior program manager Cornelia Carapcea, there are now 22 APIs available in Cognitive Services. There are also prices for the new services, along with APIs made available from Microsoft's Bing search division. Developers can try out these services for free.
Android

Oracle Seeks $9.3 Billion For Google's Use Of Java In Android (computerworld.com) 343

angry tapir quotes a report from Computerworld: Oracle is seeking as much as $9.3 billion in damages in a long-running copyright lawsuit against Google over its use of Java in Android, court filings show. Oracle sued Google six years ago, claiming the search giant needs a license to use parts of the Java platform in Google's market-leading mobile OS. The two companies first went to trial in 2012, but the jury was split on whether or not Google's use of Java was protected by "fair use." Now they're headed back to the courtroom for a new trial scheduled to begin May 9, where Oracle's Larry Ellison and Google's Eric Schmidt will be present. Currently, the sum Oracle is asking for is about 10 times as much as when the two companies went to trial in 2012.
Google

Uber Recruiting Engineers By Randomly Sending Coding Game To Play During Rides (businessinsider.com) 27

An anonymous reader links to a Business Insider report: Uber has found a new way to lure engineers to work for the fast-growing startup. The taxi-aggregator service tests coding skills of select riders during their ride. Uber insists that it is not using individual information to identify recruits, but are just identifying geographies where tech jobs are concentrated to find candidates. "The option to play gives interested riders the opportunity to show us their skills in a fun and different way -- whether they code on the side or are pursuing a career as a developer," a Uber spokesperson said. If they accept the test, Uber challenges the ride with three coding problems to solve, each with a 60-second countdown, and scores them based on their answers. Uber is not the only Silicon Valley giant which has found a "creative" way to hire people. Last year, we saw Google offer at least one person a job based on his search queries.
Advertising

Starboard Launches Proxy Fight To Remove Entire Yahoo Board (reuters.com) 136

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP moved on Thursday to overthrow the entire board of Yahoo Inc, including Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, who has struggled to turn around the company in her nearly four years at the helm. Starboard, which has been pushing for changes at Yahoo since 2014 and owns about 1.7 percent of the company, said it would nominate nine candidates for the board. The proxy fight comes as Yahoo is pressing ahead with an auction of its core Internet business, which includes search, mail and news sites. Yahoo and Starboard could still come to an agreement before the company's annual meeting, expected to be in late June. If they cannot avoid a proxy fight and the Yahoo board election is taken to a shareholder vote, attention will swing to the large mutual and index funds that own the stock and will carry heavy weight in the final tally. Yahoo and Starboard representatives met on March 10 to discuss ways the two sides could avoid a proxy fight, according to people familiar with the matter. But those talks broke down, in part because Starboard was upset by Yahoo's announcement that same day that it appointed two new board directors, these people say.
Businesses

The Internet of Things Is a Surveillance Nightmare (dailydot.com) 156

An anonymous reader writes from a DailyDot's Kernel Mag article: Welcome to the Internet of Things, what Schneier calls "the World Size Web," already growing around you as we speak, which creates such a complete picture of our lives that Dr. Richard Tynan of Privacy International calls them "doppelgangers" -- mirror images of ourselves built on constantly updated data. These doppelgangers live in the cloud, where they can easily be interrogated by intelligence agencies. Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher at University of California, Berkeley, points out that "Under the FISA Amendments Act 702 (aka PRISM), the NSA can directly ask Google for any data collected on a valid foreign intelligence target through Google's Nest service, including a Nest Cam." And that's just one, legal way of questioning your digital doppelgangers; we've all heard enough stories about hacked cloud storage to be wary of trusting our entire lives to it. [...] But with the IoT, the potential goes beyond simple espionage, into outright sabotage. Imagine an enemy that can remotely disable the brakes in your car, or (even more subtly) give you food poisoning by hacking your fridge. That's a new kind of power. "The surveillance, the interference, the manipulation the full life cycle is the ultimate nightmare," says Tynan. [...] That makes the IoT vulnerable -- our society vulnerable -- to any criminal with a weekend to spend learning how to hack. "When we talk about vulnerabilities in computers... people are using a lot of rhetoric in the abstract," says Privacy International's Tynan. "What we really mean is, vulnerable to somebody. That somebody you're vulnerable to is the real question." The state of security around IoT, the chip or sensor-equipped devices connected to each other over the Internet, is deeply concerning. Just in the past few months, we have seen several instances of these devices getting hacked. We have also seen things such as Shodan, a search engine for the Internet of Things that can allow someone to browse vulnerable webcams. Many people continue to overlook the significance and potential consequences of their "smart" devices getting compromised. Someone recently asked, "So what if my coffee maker gets hacked? What are criminals going to do? Burn my coffee?" They can do a lot more than burn your coffee. You see these devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network, which gives them the ability to interact with other gadgets connected to the same network. When attackers manage to access one of these devices, it's only a matter of time before they own your entire network.
Businesses

Alibaba To Train a Million Youngsters In E-commerce (thestack.com) 32

An anonymous reader writes: Alibaba has announced its plans to train a million teenagers and graduates living in rural areas of China to kick-start their own businesses. The Chinese e-commerce giant reached an agreement today with the China Communist Youth League to support the teenagers with funding, training and partnerships. The company's internet financing branch Ant Financial will set aside 1 billion yuan to invest in the training of recent college graduates who want to return to their home-towns and launch businesses.
The Internet

Research Establishes 13-Hour Gap Between Viral Misinformation and Correction (thestack.com) 54

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers in China and America will soon launch a platform called Hoaxy, designed to identify and analyze what happens when misinformed news goes viral, and the processes which lead to a correction of the misinformation. The study, which compared 71 likely and prominent sources of inaccurate internet news over a period of three months to the same news stories on fact-checking sites, concludes that the average interval between viral diffusion of inaccurate news and the discovery of facts which disprove it stands at about 13 hours. Hoaxy uses a custom crawler written in Python and diffused via the Scrapy web crawling framework.
Google

No More Public Access To Google PageRank Scores 43

campuscodi writes: Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it is removing PageRank scores from the Google toolbar, which was the last place where someone could check their site's PageRank status. Many SEO experts are extremely happy at this point, since it seems that PageRank is responsible for all the SEO spam we see today.
Chrome

MIT's Eyebrowse To Rank and Review Internet Sites, While Retaining Privacy (thestack.com) 28

An anonymous reader writes: MIT has launched a new scheme whereby participating users can voluntarily share data on their website viewing habits, via the use of a Google Chrome extension and by signing up to an MIT website. The scheme, called Eyebrowse, began development in 2010 and has been in closed beta for the last 18 months. Cornell information science professor Mor Naaman says of the project: "Data has traditionally been used by anyone from corporations to the government...but the goal of this system is to make the data more useful for the individuals themselves, to give them more control, and to make it more useful to communities."
Advertising

Google Is Testing Self-Promotion Ads On Search Results (pulseheadlines.com) 45

An anonymous reader writes: Google Inc. is testing a new feature to allow local businesses, celebrities, and organizations to post self-promoting information and ads on the company's search results. The information would be displayed on a design similar to Google's "mobile cards." This new type of self-promoting campaigns impulsed by Google appears to be an extension of "Google Podium," a beta that started last month with the collaboration of the U.S. presidential candidates. "This is an experimental search feature we are testing, but it is not tied to Google+. We are currently experimenting with presidential candidates and just started with some SMBs for a select pilot period," said a Google representative, as quoted by Modern Readers on Sunday.
Crime

Japanese Court Demands 'Right To Be Forgotten' For Sex Offender (thestack.com) 292

An anonymous reader writes: A Tokyo court has ordered that Google remove any results linked to the arrest of a sex offender, after a judge ruled that he deserves to rebuild his life 'unhindered' by online records of his criminal history. Citing the right to be forgotten, the Saitma district court demanded the removal of all personal information online related to the conviction. Judge Hisaki Kobayashi argued that, dependent on the nature of the crime, an individual should be able to go through a fair rehabilitation process, which would include a clean sheet on their online records after a certain amount of time has passed. In this case, the unnamed man had requested that information from more than three years ago, related to his child prostitution and pornography crimes, be removed from Google's results.
Censorship

Censorware Failure: Kiddle's "Child-Safe" Search Engine (thestack.com) 197

An anonymous reader writes: In a bid to protect young internet users from inappropriate content, a new visual search engine designed for children has launched this week. Kiddle.co filters its results so that only 'safe' sites are displayed and page descriptions are written in simple language. It also claims to get rid of indecent images and 'bad words.' However, tests have revealed that the odd risque image will still slip by into the listings. The words 'gay' and 'lesbian' have also controversially been removed from the 'child-friendly' platform. Other reports claimed that references to killing rabbits, naked images of Vanessa Hudgens and Khloe Kardashian's sex tape had initially slipped into the results. While Kiddle, based in the U.S. and the Netherlands, is a separate and unrelated venture to Google, the system uses the web giant's safe search mode in addition to its own team of human editors to pick out the unsuitable content.

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