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Google

Google and Bing Have No Obligation To Censor Searches For Torrents (betanews.com) 62

Microsoft and Google are under no obligation to weed out 'torrent' results from their respective search engines, the High Court of Paris has ruled. BetaNews adds: French music industry group SNEP went to court on behalf of a trio of artists, requesting that Microsoft and Google automatically filter out links to pirated material. The group had called for a complete block on searches that include the word 'torrent' as well as blocking sites whose name includes the word. The court found that SNEP's request was far too broad, saying: "SNEP's requests are general, and pertain not to a specific site but to all websites accessible through the stated methods, without consideration for identifying or even determining the site's content, on the premise that the term 'Torrent' is necessarily associated with infringing content".The court added that 'torrent' is a common noun, which has a range of different meanings.
The Almighty Buck

Marissa Mayer Says Yahoo Continues To Make Solid Progress, Earnings Report Says Otherwise (fool.com) 130

tomhath quotes a report from Fool: Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer tried to emphasize the progress that the company has made. "We continue to make solid progress against our 2016 plan," Mayer said, and "in addition to our efforts to improve the operating business, our board has made great progress on strategic alternatives." The CEO argued that the results met or exceeded the company's own guidance. Yahoo! was able to post a revenue increase by changing the ways that it presents revenue related to its search agreement with Microsoft, and without that change, adjusted revenue of $1.055 billion was down 15% from the year-ago quarter. That was even worse than the 13% drop investors were expecting, and adjusted EBITDA fell by more than a third. That resulted in adjusted net earnings of $0.09 per share, missing the consensus forecast by a penny but also glossing over a $440 million net loss on a GAAP basis. The company took a $395 million goodwill impairment charge and an $87 million intangibles impairment charge related to its Tumblr unit, determining that the fair value of the division is less than the amount indicated on Yahoo!'s balance sheet. It was also revealed that Yahoo is writing down the value of its Tumblr acquisition by $482 million, citing lower projections for the social network's future performance, according to a report from CNNMoney. Last quarter, the company took a $230 million write-down on its Tumblr acquisition. Since Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013, Yahoo has written down more than half of its value.
Yahoo!

Mozilla Could Walk Away and Still Get More Than $1 Billion If It Doesn't Like Yahoo's Buyer (recode.net) 144

Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Under terms of a contract that has been seen by Recode, whoever acquires Yahoo might have to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million through 2019 if it does not think the buyer is one it wants to work with and walks away. That's according to a clause in the Silicon Valley giant's official agreement with the browser maker that CEO Marissa Mayer struck in late 2014 to become the default search engine on the well-known Firefox browser in the U.S. Mozilla switched to Yahoo from Google after Mayer offered a much more lucrative deal that included what potential buyers of Yahoo say is an unprecedented term to protect Mozilla in a change-of-control scenario. It was a scenario that Mayer never thought would happen, which is why she apparently pushed through the possibly problematic deal point. According to the change-of-control term, 9.1 in the agreement, Mozilla has the right to leave the partnership if -- under its sole discretion and in a certain time period -- it did not deem the new partner acceptable. And if it did that, even if it struck another search deal, Yahoo is still obligated to pay out annual revenue guarantees of $375 million.
Japan

Japan's First VR Porn Festival Shut Down Due To Unprecedented Popularity (dailymail.co.uk) 74

turkeydance quotes a report from Daily Mail: A Japanese sex festival was over prematurely as herds of virtual porn fans caused overcrowding fears. Streams of locals were looking to get their hands on the latest inventions from the adult entertainment industry in the first festival of its kind -- the Adult VR Fest 01 in the Akihabara region of Tokyo. But fans of virtual reality porn, which re-enacts sex and other acts using a blend of simulation headsets, male-friendly sex toys and other gadgets, were left disappointed as the event was shut down due to unprecedented popularity. A Japanese reporter told VR Talk: "For those who did get to go inside, excitement ran wild. I'm not entirely sure if the same thing would happen in the U.S., but VR porn enthusiasts rushed to have a go at some of the latest virtual reality gadgets." About 20 fans were able to make it inside, but the event was reportedly called off due to the unsettling crowds gathered outside. VR Talk also reported that Google searches for the phrase 'VR Porn' have soared nearly 10,000%.
Google

Google Twists the Knife, Asks For Sanctions Against Oracle Attorney (arstechnica.com) 78

Google isn't done with its victory over Oracle. Court filings suggest that Google will be filing a motion for sanctions against Oracle and its law firm, Orrick, Sutcliffe & Herrington. The Mountain View-based company is apparently irked that Oracle attorney disclosed the financial agreements between Google and Apple. From an Ars Technica report: Speaking in open court, Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said that Google's Android operating system had generated revenue of $31 billion and $22 billion in profit. She also disclosed that Google pays Apple $1 billion to keep Google's search bar on iPhones. "Look at the extraordinary magnitude of commerciality here," Hurst told a magistrate judge as she discussed the revenue figures. The $1 billion figure comes from a revenue-split that gives Apple a portion of the money that Google makes off searches that originate on iPhones. The revenue share figure was 34 percent, "at one point in time," according to Hurst. Google lawyers asked for the figure to be struck from the record. "That percentage just stated, that should be sealed," Google lawyer Robert Van Nest said, according to a transcript of the hearing. "We are talking hypotheticals here. That's not a publicly known number."
Businesses

DMCA Notices Remove 8,268 Projects On Github In 2015 (torrentfreak.com) 116

An anonymous reader writes: Github's transparency report for 2015 shows that the site received many DMCA notices that removed more than 8,200 projects. "In 2015, we received significantly more takedown notices, and took down significantly more content, than we did in 2014," Github reports. For comparison, the company received only 258 DMCA notices in 2014, 17 of which responded with a counter-notice or retraction. In 2015, they received 505 takedown notices, 62 of which were the subject of counters or withdrawals. TorrentFreak reports: "Copyright holders are not limited to reporting one URL or location per DMCA notice. In fact, each notice filed can target tens, hundreds, or even thousands of allegedly infringing locations." September was a particularly active month as it took down nearly 5,834 projects. "Usually, the DMCA reports we receive are from people or organizations reporting a single potentially infringing repository. However, every now and then we receive a single notice asking us to take down many repositories," Github explains. They are called 'Mass Removals' when more than 100 repositories are asked to be removed. "In all, fewer than twenty individual notice senders requested removal of over 90% of the content GitHub took down in 2015."
Advertising

Google's My Activity Reveals How Much It Knows About You (theguardian.com) 114

An anonymous reader writes: Google has released a new section to Google's account settings, called My Activity, which lets users review everything that Google has tracked about their online behavior -- search, YouTube, Chrome, Android, and every other Google service. Best of all, users can edit or delete their tracked behaviors. In addition, the My Activity tools come with new ad preferences. Google is now offering to use its behavioral information to tailer ads shown across the wider non-Google internet and Google's search pages, which until now was purely done through the use of cookies. The difference between Google and other companies that offer ads like Facebook is that Google is making this interest-based advertising extension optional, or opt-in, not opt-out. There are two separate behavioral advertising settings for users to switch on or off: signed in ads and signed out ads. Signed in ads are those on Google services, and signed out ads are those served by Google on third-party sites. However, if you're conscious about your privacy, you'll probably want to stay opted out.
Google

Google Is Testing Its Own Internet Speed Test In Search Results (thenextweb.com) 43

An anonymous reader writes: Everyone appears to have a speed test of their own nowadays. Netflix launched fast.com more than a month ago; SourceForge released their new HTML5 speed test soon after. Google appears to want a piece of the action as they are trying out a way for people to check their internet speed by simply typing "check internet speed" into search. The tests are performed by Google's Measurement Lab tools, and were first spotted by Pete Meyers, who posted a screenshot of the feature and discovered a Google Support webpage detailing how it works. The feature has not been widely released yet, but it's possible we'll see it made more widely available soon.
Google

Google Partners With LyricFind To Display Songs Lyrics In Search Results (billboard.com) 35

Google has signed a multi-year licensing deal with LyricFind, a Toronto-based firm that provides lyrics of songs. As a result of the collaboration, users will now see song lyrics directly in the search results, both the companies have announced. From a BillBoard report:A query for the lyrics to a specific song will pull up the words to much of that song, freeing users from having to click through to another website. Google rolled out the lyrics feature in the U.S. today (June 27), though it has licenses to display the lyrics internationally as well. While the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, LyricFinder Chief Executive and co-founder Darryl Ballantyne projects publishers and songwriters seeing "millions" of dollars in additional revenue from this arrangement.The move comes six years after Microsoft partnered with LyricFind to display lyrics on Bing.com (Archived link).
Google

Google To Offer Better Medical Advice When You Search Your Symptoms (cnbc.com) 104

An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNBC: Google said Monday that it will be improving its catalog of searched Googled health symptoms by adding information on related health conditions that have been vetted by the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. For example, if you type "headache on one side," Google will offer up a list of associated conditions like "migraine," "common cold" or "tension headache." When it comes to general searches like "headache," the company will also give an overview description along with information on self-treatment options or symptoms that warrant a doctor's visit. In Google's official blog post, the company said roughly 1 percent of the searches on Google, which equates to millions of searches, are related to symptoms users are researching. However, search results can be confusing, and result in "unnecessary anxiety and stress," Google said. It plans to use its Knowledge Graph feature, which contains high-quality medical information collected from doctors, to enhance search results.
Google

Google Announces Support of the Controversial TPP (recode.net) 231

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced in a blog post Friday their support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). Recode reports: "The trade agreement includes key provisions about the global passage of digital data, intellectual property and copyright -- measures that have drawn criticism from both the political right and left, including several outspoken tech groups. Google's endorsement isn't exactly full-throated, but its stake clearly demonstrates another key area of support with the Obama administration, to which Google is close." Google's SVP and general counsel Kent Walker wrote: "The TPP is not perfect, and the trade negotiation process would certainly benefit from greater transparency. We will continue to advocate for process reforms, including the opportunity for all stakeholders to have a meaningful opportunity for input into trade negotiations." The company has already shown support of the TPP behind the Internet Association, which endorsed the trade agreement in March. Google joins a list of other tech titans, like Apple and Microsoft, who have shown their support as well. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the TPP a "secretive, multinational trade agreement" that will restrict IP laws and enforce digital policies that "benefit big corporations at the expense of the public." The TPP is still awaiting congressional approval after being signed in February.
Medicine

Microsoft Analyzes Web Searches, Finds Clues For Early Cancer Detection (computerworld.com) 73

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Computerworld: Analyzing online activities can provide clues as to a person's chances of having cancer, Microsoft researchers showed in a paper published this week. Specifically, the researchers demonstrated that by analyzing web query logs they were able to identify internet users who had pancreatic cancer even before they'd been diagnosed. The study suggest that "low-cost, high-coverage surveillance systems" can be created to passively observe search behavior and to provide early warning for pancreatic cancer, and with extension of the methodology, for other challenging cancers," the researchers concluded. "Surveillance systems could also provide for automated capture and summarization of data and landmarks over time so as to provide patients with talking points in their discussion with medical professionals." The researchers used proprietary logs of 9.2 million web queries on Microsoft's own Bing search engine but focused exclusively on English-speaking people in the U.S. from October 2013 to May 2015. First, the team identified searchers in logs of online search activity who made "special queries" that are suggestive of a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Those queries included phrases such as "Why did I get cancer in pancreas," and "I was told I have pancreatic cancer, what to expect." The team then went back "many months" before the initial queries were made to examine patterns of symptoms as they were expressed by web searches about pancreatic cancer symptoms. "We showed specifically that we can identify 5% to 15% of cases, while preserving extremely low false-positive rates," the researchers said in their paper. The false positives ranged from one in 10,000 to one in 100,000.
Censorship

There's No Evidence That Google Is Manipulating Searches To Help Hillary Clinton (vox.com) 142

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Vox: A recent report via SourceFed surfaced suggesting that Google is suppressing the phrase "Hillary Clinton crimes" from autocomplete results, thus helping her candidacy. In the video, it shows that if you type "Donald Trump rac," Google will suggest the word "racist" to complete the phrase. However, if you type "Hillary Clinton cri," Google will suggest "crime reform" and "crisis" but not "crimes," despite the fact that Google Trend results show that people search for "Hillary Clinton crimes" a lot more than "Hillary Clinton crime reform." The video suggests some sort of reliance between the Clinton campaign and Eric Schmidt. But Vox reports there's a simpler explanation: "Choose any famous American who has been accused of a serious crime and Google their name followed by the letters "cri," and in no case does Google suggest the word "crimes." Apparently, Google has a policy of not suggesting that customers do searches on people's crimes. I have no inside knowledge of why it runs its search engine this way. Maybe Google is just uncomfortable with having an algorithm suggesting that people search for other people's crimes. In any event, there's no evidence that this is specific to Hillary Clinton, and therefore no reason to think this is a conspiracy by Google to help Clinton win the election." Earlier this week, Julian Assange stated Google is "directly engaged" with the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. It goes hand-in-hand with SourceFed's report, as they both mention Eric Schmidt's role in helping the Clinton campaign. Assange said, "The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, set up a company to run the digital component of Hillary Clinton's campaign."
Patents

Yahoo Preps Auction For 3,000 Patents Worth $1 Billion (arstechnica.com) 66

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Wall Street Journal reports that bids are being accepted for nearly 3,000 Yahoo patents and pending applications. In April, Yahoo moved 2,659 patents into a patent-holding company called Excalibur IP LLC, which was seen as a first step toward a patent sale. "This represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the Internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to Web search and advertising," Yahoo said in a statement. Those invited to join the auction include "strategic buyers, private-equity firms, and investment firms focused on intellectual property," according to the Journal. Preliminary bids are due by the middle of this month, and the patents are expected to fetch more than $1 billion, according to "people familiar with the matter" who spoke to the Journal. Bloomberg, which also reported on the patent sale, said there was no official reserve price or bidding guidelines. Yesterday, Verizon submitted a $3 billion bid for Yahoo's core internet business. The sale will include 500 U.S. patents and more than 600 pending applications, but will not include the larger collection of patents going in the patent sale.
Google

Google Boosts Mobile Web Speed On Apple Devices With Accelerated Mobile Pages (fortune.com) 28

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: The Google iOS app for devices like the iPhone and iPad now supports the search giant's Accelerated Mobile Pages project, created to increase the loading times of news articles on the Internet. Now when users search for news from their Apple devices using the Google app, they should see streamlined news articles from media companies like The Washington Post that chose to participate in Google's web project. The AMP project is a Google-led initiative to standardize the software code behind each news article on the mobile web. AMP was designed to remove years of accumulated software code that has built up on online publishers' websites. As of Friday, iOS users should see a lightning bolt graphic and the letters "AMP" next to news articles from participating publishers in the "Top Stories" section of their search results in the Google app.

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