Hentes writes "The internet has made many things easier, but unfortunately this also includes crime: it seems that nowadays not even people wanting to know their future are safe from fraud. Two fortune tellers are being investigated, after the Romanian police uncovered that they have utilized some extraordinary help in their clairvoyant acts. The pair used information collected from internet search and social networks to gain the trust of their customers, claiming that they could see their personal data through their crystal ball. In some cases, they also used high-tech surveillance techniques such as hidden cameras and phone tapping. But they didn't stop at merely spying on their victims: their most bizarre case involved a scuba diver dressed as a monster." Nice to know that internet-based fraud isn't limited to motivational speakers with real-estate seminars and other get-rich-quick flim-flam.
theodp writes "Meet Engineer Doe. A NY Times report has identified Marius Milner as the software engineer at the center of the uproar over a Google project that used Wi-Fi sniffing Google Street View cars to collect e-mail and other personal data from potentially millions of unsuspecting people. Milner, creator of the wardriving software NetStumbler, referred questions to his lawyer. Google declined to comment. A patent search shows the USPTO awarded Google and Milner a patent in June 2011 for protecting Internet users from 'hackers and other ne'er-do-wells [who] may seek to tap into communications on a network.'"
benfrog writes "According to a blog posting on the New York Times site, Microsoft tried to sell the perpetual money-losing Bing to Facebook 'over a year ago' (the article cites 'several people with knowledge of the discussions who didn't want to be identified talking about internal deliberations'). Steve Ballmer, apparently, was not involved or consulted. Facebook politely declined. Neither Microsoft or Facebook would comment on the rumors."
storagedude writes "Google could go the way of the dodo if ultra intelligent electronic agents (UIEA) make their way into the mainstream, according to technology prognosticator Daniel Burrus. Siri is just the first example of how a UIEA could end search as we know it. By leveraging the cloud and supercomputing capabilities, Siri uses natural language search to circumvent the entire Google process. If Burrus is right, we'll no longer have to wade through '30,000,000 returns in .0013 milliseconds' of irrelevant search results."
theodp writes "A newly surfaced Microsoft patent application, reports GeekWire, describes a 'user-following engine' that analyzes your posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to deduce your mood, interests, and even your smarts. The system would then automatically adjust the search experience and results to better match those characteristics, explains Microsoft, such as changing the background color of the search interface to suit your mood, or bringing back only those search results that won't strain your feeble brain. From the patent application: 'In addition to skewing the search results to the user's inferred interests, the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user's comprehension level. For example, an intelligent processing module may be directed to discerning the sophistication and education level of the posts of a user. Based on that inference, the customization engine may vary the sophistication level of the customized search result.'"
suraj.sun writes "Ilya Segalovich, co-founder of Russia's leading search engine, Yandex, has accused Google of abusing its dominance to shut out competitors in cyberspace. Responding to comments made to the Guardian by Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, about threats to the open internet, Ilya Segalovich described the U.S. search giant's popular smartphone platform, Android, as a 'strange combination of openness and not openness,' and its Chrome web browser as anti-competitive. Segalovich said that Brin should explain Google's 'semi-open' approach to search competitors before accusing others of endangering the unfettered internet, and suggested Google was guilty of foul play with its Chrome browser, which picks the company's own search engine as default for users, rather than offering a choice between rivals including Yahoo, Bing and Yandex."
raolin writes "I have been running without television service for the last few years, relying instead on Netflix Streaming, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and my personal video library. I have the latter indexed and easily searchable, but I have not managed to find a good aggregator for the streaming services that I use, so when I have friends over and the question 'Can we see X?' is asked, I have to search three streaming sources, which is kind of a drag. I know Netflix has a search API that I could work with, and it seems at least possible that Hulu and Amazon do as well, but before I try to build something myself I thought I'd ask the community. Any thoughts?"
suraj.sun writes "Iran topped a recent list of repressive regimes that most aggressively restrict Internet freedom. The list, published by Reporters Without Borders, is a part of the 2012 edition of the organization's Enemies of the Internet report. One of the details addressed in that report is the Iranian government's bizarre plan to create its own 'clean' Internet. The proposed system, an insular nation-wide intranet that is isolated from the regular Internet, will be heavily regulated by the government. In addition to developing its own Intranet system, the Iranian government is also creating its own custom email service and a national search engine called Ya Haq (Oh Just One) that is intended to replace Google. In order to obtain an account on the state-approved mail service, users will have to register their identity with the government." The "clean Internet" part, at least, was also mentioned earlier this year; Iran is one of the recurring champions when it comes to such dubious honors.
itwbennett writes "Larry Page just wants to be loved. Well, he wants 'Google to be a company that is deserving of great love,' Page wrote in a public letter. But he also wants to offer the kind of personalized service that the requires trampling on your privacy. 'The recent changes we made to our privacy policies generated a lot of interest. But they will enable us to create a much better, more intuitive experience across Google — our key focus for the year,' Page wrote." From the letter: "Think about basic actions like sharing or recommendations. When you find a great article, you want to share that knowledge with people who will find it interesting, too. If you see a great movie, you want to recommend it to friends. Google+ makes sharing super easy by creating a social layer across all our products so users connect with the people who matter to them." With all the claims of altruistic intent in the open letter, one might wonder why Google has to push their own social network instead of working on open protocols for sharing.
First time accepted submitter constpointertoconst writes "If you use Google Maps to calculate directions, you may now notice (if your route is covered by their traffic data) an 'in current traffic' travel estimate for current route. Some may recall that Google Maps had a similar estimate in the past, but it was removed last year due to poor accuracy."
smolloy writes "Apparently some users of reCAPTCHA have recently begun seeing photographs appear in their CAPTCHA puzzles — photos that look very much like zoomed in house numbers taken from Google Streetview. It appears that Google has decided to put the reCAPTCHA system to help clean up Google streetview images, and 'according to a Google spokesperson, the system isn't limited to street addresses, but also involves street names and even traffic signs.' A large collection of these has appeared on the Blackhatworld website."
netbuzz writes "Last year it took almost an hour, but this morning Google's enormously popular conference for developers sold out in about 20 minutes, Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of engineering, told his followers on Google+. 'While we're overwhelmed with the interest and enthusiasm around Google I/O, we know it can be very disappointing and frustrating when an event sells out this quickly,' he wrote. Those who did not get tickets were not only disappointed and angry, but mystified as to why they were left out of a first-come, first-served sale despite being online and ready to buy the second the bell rang. And, of course, tickets were quickly being scalped on eBay." Of course, everyone who gets in drives away in a free Tesla.
itwbennett writes "Assuming Google isn't offering Voice out of the goodness of their hearts, what's the payoff? One likely, if cynical, possibility is that Google Voice is 'just another feeder for their vast database on you,' writes Kevin Purdy in a recent blog post. Or maybe Google just wants to get better at speech-to-text, and collecting your voice messages is just one big voice-mining effort. 'They already did it with GOOG-411, the free phone directory service that mined voices across the country to launch Google Voice's current transcription offering,' says Purdy. For its part, Google says it has no plans to monetize Voice beyond the international calling and number porting fees that it currently charges."
It's not just Japan that wants to regulate how Google displays search results: judgecorp writes "A committee of British MPs and peers has asked Google to censor search results to protect privacy and threatened to put forward new laws that would force it to do so, if Google fails to comply. The case relates to events such as former Formula One boss Max Mosley's legal bid to prevent Google linking to illegally obtained images of himself."