Browsing "internet news"
Since last nights state of the union address, it’s been disected, analyzed, torn apart and chewed up by hundreds of thousands of people. As everyone has an opinion, we’ll all take away something a little different from the speech, but there were some points within which caused me to listen a little closer.
The main point I believe Obama tried to get across, is that for the US to become a world leader again, investments need to be made in the areas of innovation, education and infrastructure. A rather surprising statistic which was related, is that among the worlds nations, the US is 9th on the list with it’s current population having post secondary degrees. Obama is looking to reform the system, and hopefully by 2020 to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Innovation and inspiration remaining within the US was a strong point in the speech. Obama a number of times referred to the fact that while the rest of the world embraced the changes in the world and the way it does business, the States lagged behind, and is now paying the price. Illegal immigrants who had children in the US, who are going to University and excelling in their studies are being deported to compete with the industries within the US. He proposes a change to have that ingenuity, innovation and intelligence to remain in the country instead of being pushed out. A plan which is planned to be revealed within the coming weeks.
And moving ahead into the 21st century of business, Obama nearly pledged that in the next 5 years that high speed wireless internet would be available to 98% of all Americans. No small feat to be certain, but an incredibly worthy aspiration, as it’s an investment into the countries businesses. The world is online, Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging and researching. Collaborations are made every day across the globe between businesses that fuel their local economies. As Obama addressed in his speech, any business can setup shop anywhere and be profitable with an internet connnection. With the co-operation of the entire government, the hope is to double the US business exports by 2014. Obama knows the power of the internet, it was leveraged to fuel his political machine that drove him to the White House. The power is online, in the hands of the users and the US President knows it. It’s long time for business to get their heads out of the sand and move with the rest of the world, or get left further and further behind.
In a shift from the norm, with Google’s fourth quarter posted, near at the top of the list was a shake up of management structure. Eric is moving, Larry is in and Sergey will be coming up with new ideas.
Starting from April 4, Larry Page, Google Co-Founder, will take charge of Google’s day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer.Sergey Brin, Google Co-Founder, will devote his energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products.
Eric Schmidt will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing externally on deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership–all of which are increasingly important given Google’s global reach. Internally, he will continue to act as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.
It’s not a reflection on the news that’s been made in the last year in the privacy debate according to the trio, but it’s about streamlining the decision making process.
Eric said: “We’ve been talking about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making for a long time. By clarifying our individual roles we’ll create clearer responsibility and accountability at the top of the company. In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I’m excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come.”
Larry and Sergey of course have nothing to say poorly about Schmidt, as fulfilling the role of CEO for the last 10 years he’s piloted Google to the top of the internet and made the company profitable hand over fist. The proof of such can be seen in the earnings report, in the fourth quarter of 2010 revenue was up 26% from 2009 to $8.4 billion. You can read the full disclosure on the Google news release.
What is the greatest guessing game you ask? It’s the game which has made Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, as well as other search engine start ups and even failures, piles of money just by mention of the word. Search, is the greatest guessing game.
What happened when Google took the game and applied it’s own rules, was dominate the online community as it propelled itself forward, clawing and fighting for all of the infomation it could find. There are various illustrations of the web which come to mind when it’s pictured. Firstly as a web of course, of interconnecting websites and pages, all of which the search bots, spiders naturally, navigate their way around and build up this interconnectability between them. I’ve seen pictures of the internet visualized as planets in galaxies and solar systems, as continents on a map and even as a DNA strand at one point. The best visualization I can come up with is that of an ocean, and all of the websites and pages of the internet are just kind of floating around. People are like little fish, darting around from point to point, sometimes finding what they want, sometimes not. But it’s a fluid environment, never the same from day to day and always on the move.
An article written about which search engine is better at delivering relevant results was the inspiration for today. It tried to demonstrate that by using identical results in different search engines, that one could clearly deliver better and more relevant results than the other. The reality is I believe, much murkier than that. Google is absolutely a brand name, and used extensively in all walks of life. Bing is working hard on branding itself as a decision engine and not a search engine, but in the end both algorithms do primarily the same thing. They guess at what you’re looking for, they guess that they’re delivering you what you want to see and they guess mostly correct only because you’ve already told them what you want to see. Whether it’s via your search history, cookies saved on your computer or even your directly typed search query. Search is still just a game, and for now Google still plays it best. The internet and online technology being what it is, we’ll revisit the topic in a year and everything may be upside down.
In what could shape up to be a somewhat expensive fight for both parties, Microsoft filed a motion against Apple, blocking the company from trademarking the term “App Store”.
The brief outlines basically that the terms app and store both have generic definitions in society, and the combined app store also has meaning to the masses. Because of the widespread use of the term in the mobile industry, Microsoft also demonstrated that even Steve Jobs has used the phrase as a definition of services offered by it’s competitors in the same space. And indeed if you search on Google for app store, you’ll receive a results page with some 110 million results, with related search terms comprising of android app store, blackberry app store and nokia app store just to name a couple.
There is no doubt that Apple paired the terms and began using the phrase app store in conjuction with it’s offerings for it’s iPhone and other hardware, but it hardly warrants exclusive trademark rights. If Apple were granted the trademark rights to the term, no doubt we’d start to see many other applications submitted for other generic pairings. Microsoft in their motion listed quite a few examples of similar circumstances where trademark applications were denied as the terms applied for were too generic. The ball is in Apple’s court now and how will they reply? Only time will tell.
One of the largest issues online and one that especially plagues Facebook and other networks like it, is the privacy issue. Facebook likes to use the argument, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt caught fire for the same sentiment, that if you’re online and don’t want the world to know something of you, don’t share it.
At present the general demographic of internet users range from the 12 year olds doing book reports and discovering social networking, to 80+ grandparents keeping in touch with family with email, Facebook and so on. When you through an idea as complicated as ‘privacy’ into the mix of a demographic so large, problems are created. Looking at the definition of privacy:
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share basic common themes.
The ‘basic common themes’ would be the language pertaining too ‘the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively’. The idea that you control what others know about you isn’t a strange ideal to uphold, and Facebook et al would escape a lot of criticism if they made one simple change to their policies; instead of having users opt out, allow them instead to opt in to new features and services. Where a lot of the concerns and issues come from is the second part of the definition which says ‘boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals’.
Privacy at it’s root, is a value shared by every person innately, but just like everyone has an opinion, everyone has a different take on privacy as a whole. What the privacy commissioners of the world deem as protection of privacy today, will be different for my childrens generation. Each generation as well, is becoming more and more comfortable with controlling their information online which will also contribute to changes in outlook. So before you click ‘Allow’ on that next Facebook application that your cousin sent you, take a minute instead to actively read what information it will be collecting and sharing about you. Privacy online has always been in the users control, the majority just fail to seize it.
It’s not news that online shopping, mobile browsing and internet use for decision making is growing in leaps and bounds. But mobile shopping, not only searching for sales, locations and possible purchases, but making direct purchases via your mobile phone is.
The tech isn’t neww, it’s similar to Speed Pass you can use to pay for gas or convenience purchases at gas stations, but embedding the same chips into a users mobile phone containing your purchase information is a new direction for it. Mobile payments is expected to reach more than $1 trillion by 2014, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s some big names trying to get in on the action. Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, as well as Verizon AT&T and even eBay are making their bids for their slice of the mobile payment pie. On November 16, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile formed Isis, a national mobile commerce network in a future making move.
“We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes..”
Michael Abbott, Isis CEO
With mobile search, mobile browsing and now mobile shopping and payments making such rapid progression, it won’t be long until we no longer need to carry an information laden wallet. Everything, who you are, what you have and what you own, will all be on a single chip carried with you embedded on your mobile device.
Is Apple the next in line for ‘Anonymous’, the Wikileaks honorary guard? Companies who’ve removed the ability for money to be sent to the organization, have all in turn been attacked with direct denial of service attacks (DDOS) basically flooding the target with website requests which bring the site to a stand still.
And most recently, Apple has dropped the Wikileaks app from the App Store. “Is it likely that Apple could become a target? Of course, anyone that distances themselves from WikiLeaks could potentially become a cyber target.” said John Bumgarner, chief technology officer for the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit. In all of the interviews and known information about the DDOS crusaders, the basic idea is there is no true leadership. It’s more of a group concensus about which target is going to be flooded, and the attacks are coordinated from there. Perhaps Jobs is betting that the ‘Anonymous’ group are Apple fan boys at heart. With a demographic of no fixed size or income, it’s a stretch to make believe that’s true.
And an additional take of the darker side of search, an interesting article which was rife with blackhat truths. the column had a number of colorful quips like: “The black hat SEO is the king of offshoring. Whether it’s programmers from Russia, Latvia, the Ukraine, or content creators from the Philippines, he knows how to create leverage and do it on the cheap.” And probably my personal favorite: “What are the tactics of the black hatter? Well, if I told you I’d have to kill you. Seriously though, do you think a black hatter would actually list them all out for me to publish in an article that Googlers are going to read?”
It’s an amusing read, and offers a couple of insights into the probable targets of black hat SEO techniques. Take a look through the short list provided and take it with a grain of salt, the average time a blackhat site stays live isn’t very long, a few weeks on average, but being able to rank above them irregardless of all the tricks takes the skills and qualities of SEO experts.
During the past year, Google has made their mistakes along the way as discussed previously. They also however, made a number of upgrades and changes to the way the world searches. They’re always tweaking and changing the game, and it can play havoc with the SERPs and your clients rankings.
The largest and most dramatic of such changes took on the form of the ‘Mayday’ update. It was a fundamental algorithmic change, and affected a great many sites which focused primarily on long tail searches, most of which catalogue sites with hundreds if ‘item’ pages with little to no links or content within. While a lot of sites cried foul, it was really a culling of the SERPs and removed a great deal of fluff from the results pages. Soon after came the Caffiene upgrade to the algorithm, adding speed to the search results. The largest shift in the search game since the Mayday update, it served up a cached version of the search performed and allowed users to reach their destination a tad faster than previous visits.
The next two largest changes that were brought to the search game were Google instant, and previews. Google Instant served up instant search results, as a user typed the terms into the search box. It essentially allows the caffeine update to serve up results for searches. The Pageviews update added a small magnifying glass to the search results, and while that may not seem significant, it served up results in a small frame on the search performed. The frame detailed on the page, in a small screenshot, where the search phrase was located, further speeding up the search experience for users.
As with the mistakes made during the past year by Google, there have been a number of upgrades to the engine as well. 2011 is just a few more days away, and who knows, another Mayday may be on it’s way.
It’s been a long and busy year all around for every business out there, but Google hit a few more potholes than most however. Here are just a couple of the hiccups the giant experienced along the way in ’10.
The biggest newsmaker for Google this year unfortunately would have to be their admission of capturing unencrypted Wi-Fi data by the Street View cars. What was it that happened? Google revealed that the Street View cars had inadvertently scooped hundreds of gigabytes of data from unsecured networks in more than 30 countries around the world since 2007. The culprit turned out to be an engineer who had written code without Google’s permission. Google has been under scrutiny since.
Google Fires Engineer for Accessing Gmail Accounts
As if the Street View cars capturing data wasn’t bad enough, one Google engineer was fired from his position for snooping on four minors Gmail accounts. After Gawker broke the story, Google retorted: “We dismissed David Barksdale for breaking Google’s strict internal privacy policies. We carefully control the number of employees who have access to our systems, and we regularly upgrade our security controls. For example, we are significantly increasing the amount of time we spend auditing our logs to ensure those controls are effective. That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly—which is why we take any breach so seriously.”
Google Investigated by the European Commission
Everyone likes to have an even playing field, and the EU’s antitrust commission is great at playing on an even field. It happened to Microsoft, it happened to Intel and now it’s happening with Google. Foundem, Ciao, ejustice, Euro-Cities and German publishers complained that Google is pumping up its own services at the expense of theirs. The Commission, after having Microsoft and Intel pay out billions to continue operations in the EU, is taking this seriously.
Add to the above the failures of a few acquisitions like Groupon and the ITA software, there were the unfortunate passing of some products as well. Both some aged in the case of Wave and Buzz, which hit it’s own privacy problems that needed to be paid out, to the promised Google TV. It’s been a tough year for the big G, here’s to the prospects of a new year.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, chances are somewhere along the way you’ve seen the news about Wikileaks. The ‘definition’ from Wikipedia: WikiLeaks is an international new media non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks. The publish news and information that’s just really difficult to obtain in simple terms.
The sites founder, Julian Assange, has had a rather interesting few weeks. He’s gone from the voice of open government and free speech, to being placed on Interpols most wanted list for the recent debacle. WikiLkeaks, is currently in the process of leaking over 250,000 documents onto the internet. A great many people have called Assange many things, terrorist, dissident, guilty of treason, the list seemingly gets added to daily. The website doesn’t earn money, it’s powered purely by donation presumably, and as a result, they have a few friends.
It now seems however, that Mastercard, PayPal and Visa have pulled the ability to donate to WikiLeaks, a few friends have been angered. A few would be putting it mildly, as there’s no confirmed number but it’s somewhere in the area of 8000 plus. A group, calling itself ‘Anonymous’ is retaliating against the payment agencies, saying they’re hindering free speech on the internet. From D-DoS attacks, to mirroring the WikiLeaks site, they’re doing their part to keep the information flowing. And seeing as at a recent tally, just over 1200 of the 250,000 cables have been produced, it’s going to be a long push with a great many people helping along the way.
If you’d like to know more about the Wiki Hacktivists, or just keep up to date on what’s being said, join the discussion! There’s lots to be done.