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EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
July 16, 2016
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
Yahoo to Have Giant Patent Garage Sale
June 9, 2016
Yahoo reportedly has notified potential buyers that it plans to auction off about 3,000 patents and will be accepting bids until mid-June. The intellectual property for sale includes patents for its original search technology. The patents "cover strategic areas such as search, e-commerce and online advertising," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Supreme Court Snubs Google's AdWords Appeal
June 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Google's appeal of a lower court ruling in a suit alleging the company used deceptive practices in the sale and placement of advertising through its AdWords program between 2004 and 2008. Google, a unit of Alphabet, sought to overturn the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals September 2015 ruling that the lawsuit could go forward as a class action case.
Facebook AI Digs Deep Into User Content
June 3, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday introduced DeepText, an artificial intelligence-fueled text analytics engine. "Text is a prevalent form of communication on Facebook," wrote Facebook software engineers Ahmad Abdulkader, Aparna Lakshmiratan and Joy Zhang in a post describing its capabilities. "Understanding the various ways text is used on Facebook can help us improve people's experiences with our products."
Report: Smartphone Ad Blockers Picking Up Steam
June 1, 2016
At least 419 million people around the world are blocking advertising on their smartphones, according to a report PageFair released Tuesday. Most of those people -- 408 million of them -- are using ad-blocking browsers, notes the report. The use of ad blockers doubled in 2015, and the use of mobile ad-blocking browsers increased 90 percent during the same year.
Yahoo Bids Could Seriously Underwhelm
May 24, 2016
Bids for Yahoo's core assets were expected to come in at between $2 billion and $3 billion, far below prior estimates that it could fetch $4 billion to $8 billion at auction, according to a news report published last week. Verizon, which remains the leading candidate for Yahoo's assets, and other contenders met with CEO Marissa Mayer at the company's Sunnyvale, California, headquarters
Tweets May Soon Breeze Past 140-Character Limit
May 19, 2016
In an effort to better monetize its platform and boost user traffic, Twitter may relax the 140-character limit on individual tweets by no longer counting photos and Web links. The tweak could take place within two weeks, according to a report that cited an unnamed source who asked for anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public. CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at the move earlier this year.
Google Boots Ads for Predatory Payday Lenders
May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.
Reddit Tech Forum May Ban Sites That Circumvent Ad Blockers
May 11, 2016
A forum on Reddit, /r/ Technology, on Monday announced it was considering blocking links to websites that require visitors to turn off their ad blockers before viewing content on the site. "It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content," said creq, the moderator of the site. "We see this as a security risk."
Adblock Plus to Websites: 'We've Got Your Back'
May 6, 2016
Adblock Plus, which has been in the forefront of online ad blocking, this week announced the beta of Flattr Plus, which promises no less than to revolutionize Web monetization. Users decide how much money they want to have distributed among their favorite sites, and the Flattr Plus algorithm automatically divvies up the proceeds among the sites they engage with the most.
Hulu May Offer a Live TV Broadcast Option
May 2, 2016
Hulu reportedly is in talks to launch a cable TV-like service early next year. Hulu, which is a joint venture of Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast's NBCUniversal, is said to be negotiating with Disney and Fox to deliver live broadcast and paid channels, including ABC, ESPN, Disney, Fox, Fox News, FX and Fox Sports. Other programmers and content providers apparently have discussed potential partnerships with Hulu.
Microsoft Curbs Cortana in Windows 10
April 30, 2016
Microsoft has decided to restrict its Cortana digital assistant to operating with the Edge browser and Bing search engine in Windows 10. "As Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent [its] design and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana," said Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana.
BlockIQ Escalates War on Ad Blockers
April 28, 2016
As consumers turn to ad blockers to avoid advertising on their mobile and computer screens, marketers and content providers who depend on pitches to pay the bills are searching frantically for ways to counter the pesky programs. BlockIQ offers them one. BlockIQ, owned by AdSupply, which recently merged with Adaptive Medias, has launched BlockBypass.
Google Fattens Up Entertainment Programming Search Results
April 21, 2016
Google will begin listing live air times for TV shows in its search results, Danial Alegre, president of global partnerships announced Wednesday at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas. This new feature will allow users to search for movies and TV shows. Results will show availability on broadcast and cable TV channels, as well as streaming and online rentals.
Publishers vs. Brave Software: Battle for the Ad Viewer
April 14, 2016
Brave Software is a startup that has ratcheted the ad-blocking game to a new level, and it is raising a lot of stink in the online community. For many people, Web-based ads have become an intolerable, costly distraction. That has led to a variety of ad-blocking approaches. The use of ad-blocking software is growing, because users feel they are being attacked by distracting Web-based ads.
Facebook Entices VR Content Creators With Open Source Surround Cam
April 13, 2016
Facebook on Tuesday unveiled a high-quality 360-degree 3D camera suitable for creating virtual reality content. The Facebook Surround 360 system, which made its debut at the F8 developers conference, includes a production-ready camera -- which costs about $30,000 to build and looks like a flying saucer from a science fiction movie -- and software for controlling the camera and for stitching and rendering what the camera captures.
Marketers Poised to Run the Customer Experience Show, Survey Says
April 12, 2016
Marketing will shape the customer experience by 2020, based on a recent Marketo study of nearly 500 chief marketing officers and senior marketing executives worldwide. The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted the research on behalf of Marketo. Eighty-percent of the respondents believed their departments would exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020.
Publishers Put Brave Ad-Blocking Browser on Notice
April 11, 2016
A group of newspaper publishers last week sent what amounted to a cease-and-desist letter to Brave Software, which offers the HTTPS Brave browser with built-in ad blocking and tracking protection. Brave has offered to let publishers make money off blocked ads by partnering with them "for a lower fee than they pay their third-party data-tracking partners," CEO Brendan Eich said.
Blendle Bets Readers Will Micropay for Good Journalism
March 25, 2016
Blendle, a Netherlands-based news aggregation site that draws comparisons to Spotify, on Wednesday announced its beta launch in the U.S. Blendle made its debut with the participation of several major new organizations and financial backing from Axel Springer and The New York Times. The 5-year-old company, which recently expanded into Germany, has opened the beta phase to 10,000 users.
Google Reports Web Traffic Encryption Progress
March 18, 2016
Google this week launched a section of its transparency report to track the progress of efforts to encrypt the Web, by both the company and third-party sites estimated to account for about 25 percent of Web traffic. The report will be updated weekly with information about progress the company has made toward implementing HTTPS by default across its services.
Instagram's New Algorithm Promises Most Favorable Sorting
March 17, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday announced plans to dump chronological posts in favor of algorithmic recommendations. Users miss about 70 percent of the content that flows through their feeds, which the company attributed to its growth and its system for ordering content. The new algorithm, which will begin rolling out in the coming months, will weigh the content by relevancy to the user.
Opera Desktop Browser Comes With Ad Blocking Baked In
March 11, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced that new version of its desktop browser will have ad blocking built in. Users can block ads in other browsers, but only through add-on programs called "extensions." With ad blocking built in, Opera's Web engine can perform the task better than extensions. "People care about speed in a Web browser," said Krystian Kolondra, SVP for global engineering at Opera.
Malvertisers Use Digital Fingerprints to Avoid Detection
March 4, 2016
In the world of computer security, fingerprints are found in more places than where the tips of hands touch. That's because the term is applied to any data set that can be used to make a unique identification. Antifraud programs online retailers use can identify customers by the structure of the files on their computers. In fact, the technique works so well, malicious actors use it.
German Authorities to Examine Facebook's Data Practices
March 3, 2016
The German Cartel Office on Wednesday announced the launch of an investigation into Facebook over allegations that it abused its market position by infringing data protection rules, specifically in connection with the terms of service on the use of user data. The office, or Bundeskartellamt, is looking into whether Facebook's terms of service violate data protection provisions.
The Flip Side of the Shiny Internet Coin
March 3, 2016
There are two sides to every coin -- a good side and a bad side. One side helps you and the other side hurts you. The Internet is a great example: The good side lets you learn anything, about anything, anytime, any place. The bad side targets you with scams. They are running rampant, and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. How can this be, you may ask? Isn't this illegal?
Google Killed the Laptop Star
February 29, 2016
Anyone who went to business school recognizes the basic tenet that you use marketing to build demand in order to sell products. Through the 1990s, there was impressive marketing surrounding laptops. Apple aggressively marketed this class, as did Microsoft, and it seemed every other brand on TV was trying to convince us we needed a new PC. PC marketing dropped off a cliff in the last decade.
Facebook Gives Marketers a Blank Canvas
February 27, 2016
Facebook on Thursday yanked the drapery off its Canvas, inviting marketers to splash it with their best promotions. The new platform will provide brands with a new medium for storytelling, and it will return ad pages up to 10 times faster than mobile Web pages do, the company proclaimed. It's a big screen ad experience for the small screen, compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
Facebook Gives Us More Ways to Push Each Other's Buttons
February 24, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday rolled out a new set of options for its 1.5 billion monthly users to use when responding to posts in their News Feeds. The six "Reactions," as Facebook has termed them, allow users to make more nuanced responses to posts rather than simply clicking on Like. The additional options are Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry.
Time Scoops Up MySpace With Viant Buy
February 13, 2016
Time on Thursday announced an agreement to acquire the assets of Viant Technology. The deal will let Time combine its premium content, subscriber data and ad inventory with Viant's first-party data and targeting technology. "We're going to be able to deliver both data-driven capabilities and premier content in a single platform," Time spokesperson Jill Davison said.
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