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Is Paltrow More Qualified Than Mayer to Run Yahoo?
February 16, 2015
While working on a piece about bad decisions recently, I revisited Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision not to hire Academy Award winner and successful lifestyle author and blogger Gwyneth Paltrow for a lifestyle editing position...because she didn't have a college degree. Let's explore the idea of Paltrow running Yahoo -- and we'll also take a look at my product of the week: an amazing new curved phone from LG.
Is an Apple Maps Upgrade in the Works?
February 9, 2015
The ad on Apple's job site is innocuous enough, seeking an engineering project manager for Apple Search. However, that raises questions about whether Apple has plans to further improve its Maps app, possibly by strengthening local listings, which are increasingly important to businesses. "Apple may well revamp its street maps, as that application has far more value in an increasingly mobile world," noted Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Group.
Facebook's Place Tips May Lead Advertisers to Pot of Gold
February 2, 2015
Facebook last week announced Place Tips for iPhones, a feature that will give subscribers location-based recommendations at the top of their News Feeds. No mention was made of launching Place Tips for Android or Windows Phone devices. Tapping on Place Tips will call up the information, which will include posts and photos friends have shared about a particular place.
Auto Insurance? Just Google It
January 12, 2015
Google reportedly is gearing up to launch a shopping and comparison site for auto insurance in the United States. The company has been operating such a site in the UK, dubbed "Google Compare," for the past two years. Although it apparently has been beset by delays, an entity called "Google Compare Auto Insurance Services Inc." now is licensed to do business in 26 states.
Google Joins Charlie Hebdo Solidarity Movement
January 9, 2015
Google has donated nearly $300,000 to help French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo make its largest print run ever, following Wednesday's massacre at the magazine's Paris office. Its normal production run numbers about 60,000 copies, but the surviving staff plan to print a million issues next week. A number of media outlets also have pledged to help keep the publication alive.
No News Is Google Spain News
December 11, 2014
Google on Thursday said it will close Google News in Spain, as of Dec. 16. That's in reaction to a new law that will take effect in Spain in January. The law requires all Spanish publications to charge content aggregators for publishing any part of their content. Spain's new law is "a perverse policy," said Ronald Gruia, director of emerging telecoms at Frost & Sullivan.
Facebook Search Tool Finds Posts in a Haystack
December 9, 2014
Facebook has made it possible for users to perform keyword searches for individual posts on the social network. "With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you've been meaning to read, or photos from your friend's wedding last summer," said Tom Stocky, Facebook's vice president of search. Users still have the option of using search phrases as well.
Google Sets Its Sights on the Under-12 Set
December 8, 2014
Google soon will begin targeting kids 12 and under with tailored versions of its products, likely including its search functionality, along with offerings such as YouTube and Chrome. The company is pushing to change make its products fun and safe for children, Pavni Diwanji, Google vice president of engineering, said last week. The new initiative reportedly will begin next year.
Google Dips a Toe in Ad-Free Waters
November 21, 2014
Google on Friday unveiled Contributor, an experimental service that lets users make a donation to support the websites they visit instead of viewing ads. Currently available only by invitation, Contributor begins by asking users to set a monthly contribution amount between $1 and $3. Then, when they visit a participating website, part of their contribution goes to the creators of that site.
Firefox Sheds Google for Yahoo
November 21, 2014
Mozilla on Wednesday announced that Yahoo would replace Google as its global default search option, in a move that has set the tech media abuzz. Pointing out that Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004, Mozilla painted the move as seizing the opportunity to review its competitive strategy and explore its options when the agreement came up for renewal this year.
Twitter Opens Entire Multibillion-Tweet Gold Mine to Searchers
November 20, 2014
Twitter this week began indexing every public tweet posted since it began operating in 2006. "Our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every tweet ever published," said Yi Zhuang, who led the project team. Use cases Zhuang cited for the new infrastructure include results for entire TV and sports seasons, conferences, industry discussions and long-lived hashtag conversations.
BBC to Preserve Memory of Its 'Forgotten' Articles
October 17, 2014
The BBC will publish and continually update a list of its published articles that were removed from Google searches under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the BBC, announced the move. The decision is a reaction to the EC ruling that search engines must remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links upon request.
Google's Doctor Is In
October 13, 2014
Google is offering a limited trial of a feature that offers people conducting searches of medical terms the opportunity to engage in a video chat with a health professional via its Helpouts service. Helpouts, which launched last November, connects users with experts in a variety of fields such as Art & Music, Fitness & Nutrition, and Health. The experts typically charge a fee for their service.
Attorney Slams Google for Making Money Off Nude Celeb Pics
October 2, 2014
Google may be on the receiving end of a $100 million lawsuit from attorneys representing some of the celebrities whose nude photos were hacked from their iCloud accounts and subsequently posted online. Entertainment lawyer Martin Singer has sent a letter to Google's top executives and its legal staff, accusing the company of ignoring a take-down request sent to it four weeks ago.
Google Brings Hamster-Eating Into Sticks-and-Stones Brawl With News Corp.
September 19, 2014
News Corp. and Google have lashed out at each other as the EU reconsiders the terms of its proposed antitrust settlement with the latter. News Corp. essentially accused Google of nefarious behavior in a letter to the European Competition Commissioner over the EU's proposed antitrust settlement with Google. Perhaps the irony of the situation hit Google hard.
If Google Were French
September 11, 2014
Europeans are relentlessly attacking Google: A German official called for its breakup, a French minister charged it was a threat to sovereignty, and a publisher compared it to a dragon, according to a report. Really? I would have thought the euro and the draconian austerity program needed to keep it functioning threatened sovereignty more than Google.
Google Autocomplete's Brushes With Libel
August 25, 2014
Can an automated Google feature that ostensibly helps users with a search be a basis for libel? Courts in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong have had to field that question. Google's position is that there is no human intervention, and that its algorithm is based merely on what others have searched for, or strings of words in indexed pages. Autocomplete predictions are just possible search terms.
Google Gets in a Trusted Stores Encryption Tangle
August 21, 2014
A conflict between Google's push to make the Web more secure and its Trusted Store program may be costing at least one business money. Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies, which encrypts all the pages on its website, reportedly has had its application for Google's Trusted Stores program turned down. Think of the badge as the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Google May Start Grooming Little Googlers
August 19, 2014
Google may soon allow kids under 13 to have their own personal accounts on services such as YouTube and Gmail. Under the new system, parents would be able to set up accounts for their children, control their use of those accounts, and regulate the information collected about them. "You could say that Google is just recognizing reality," said the Local Search Association's Greg Sterling.
Google Straps On Jetpac to Take Search to New Heights
August 19, 2014
Google has acquired Jetpac, according to a statement that appeared Friday on the Jetpac website. Jetpac is the creator of a handful of apps, including City Guides, which analyzes Instagram photos and then automatically creates guides based on the collected data. That information gives users a lot of search options. Not only can they find coffee shops, for example -- they can find the hippest.
Secure Sites to Get the Google Bump
August 7, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced that it has begun factoring websites' use of HTTPS into its search rankings, resulting in more favorable results for those that use the security-minded protocol. Use of the protocol still is considered just a minor factor, though, affecting fewer than 1 percent of global queries and carrying less weight than high-quality content.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 6, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
Down the EU's Right-to-Be-Forgotten Rabbit Hole
July 17, 2014
Telecom regulators from each EU member state, together with the Article 29 Working Party -- a group comprised of a data protection authority representative from each state, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the European Commission -- reportedly have invited search engines to a meeting next week. Microsoft, which just started fielding link removal requests to Bing, plans to attend.
Can I Get My Reputation Back?
July 9, 2014
Ray Donovan was U.S. Labor Secretary under Ronald Reagan and a colorful figure. During his tenure he was indicted by a Bronx, N.Y., grand jury on corruption charges stemming from a contract to build a subway line. The trial involved unions and the mob and was automatically sensational. The verdict turned on whether a construction company got a contract due to mob influence.

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Should humans colonize Mars?
Yes. It's human nature to explore.
Yes. Earth is running out of resources.
No. It's too impractical and risky.
No. We should focus on saving Earth.
Maybe -- but not until a round-trip is possible.
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