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The Pichai Era: Google's New Age of Innocence?
August 13, 2015
"A" is for new Google parent company "Alphabet," for Sundar Pichai's "ascension" to CEO, and for a slimmed-down search engine company that seeks to become more "agile." Consumers may wonder if that "A" also stands for "altruism." Pichai's work ethic and congeniality helped drive his ascension to the top, and he'll need both to redirect the mounting mistrust of Google -- his greatest challenge yet.
Now Google Knows Its ABCs
August 11, 2015
Google on Monday announced a restructuring that will make it a wholly owned subsidiary of a new umbrella company called "Alphabet." Product Chief Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of Google, while Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergei Brin will be CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet. Pichai "is ... the right person to lead the core Google search effort," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
Google on Universal Right to Be Forgotten: Fuhgeddaboudit
August 7, 2015
Google last week asked French regulators to withdraw a demand to universally delist from search results links to information about French citizens who wish to be forgotten on the Internet. Any European can ask to have certain links about them removed from search results that appear in Europe, and Google will grant those requests if they meet specific criteria.
Google May Goose Mobile Device Impulse Buys
July 15, 2015
Google on Wednesday announced that it is giving tablet and smartphone users more purchase options in an effort to respond to shoppers' "micro moments." Mobile devices influenced about 28 percent of in-store sales in the U.S. last year, noted Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product management for Google Shopping. However, "it's way too hard to buy things on your phone," he added.
The Art of E-Commerce Site Search
July 6, 2015
Providing an effortless shopping experience is a key driver to the success of any e-commerce business. E-commerce search is a big factor in this experience and when done right can provide a significant competitive advantage. An effective on-site search experience leads to higher sales and increased customer loyalty. A substandard search experience can lead to the permanent loss of a customer.
Microsoft Is Looking More Like the House Nadella Built
June 30, 2015
Some aspects of CEO Satya Nadella's vision for Microsoft are becoming more clear. For one thing, the company's interest in advertising is seriously on the wane. Microsoft reportedly has handed off most of its digital advertising sales business to AOL. Microsoft will retain control of its search advertising sales, however, and Bing will replace Google as the engine powering AOL's consumer searches.
Yelp Study Blasts Google for Screwing With Search
June 30, 2015
Google has been tampering with the responses its search engine gives to queries and, as a result, has been hurting social welfare, alleges a survey conducted by Michael Luca, a Harvard Business School economist, and Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School and former FTC advisor. Yelp sponsored the research. The team last week sent a paper reporting the results to the European Commission.
Google Makes It Easier for Online Hunters to Gather Food
May 12, 2015
Google last week added an option that lets users place a food order directly from search results. Six providers are participating in the service: Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. More are expected to join later this year. This could provide Google with an entry into the growing food-delivery market. Consumers increasingly are searching online for food options.
Google Unleashes Mobilegeddon on Unprepared Websites
April 21, 2015
Google on Tuesday initiated changes to its search algorithm to address increased use of mobile devices, and there is about a week left before the full impact of its new metric is felt in full. Due to its ability to seriously hurt the revenues of small and mid-sized sites, the change is being referred to as "Mobilegeddon." About 60 percent of all Web traffic arrives on the wheels of mobile devices.
Cortana Could Edge Out Siri, Google Now
March 13, 2015
Microsoft later this year will offer its Cortana personal assistant as a standalone app for iOS and Android devices. The engine behind Cortana is "arguably better than [Siri or Google Now] simply because it's far more mature and comprehensive," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. The Cortana personal assistant evolved from the AI character Cortana in the Halo video game series.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Firefox Develops a Case of Selective Amnesia
November 11, 2014
Roughly 10 years to the day after the release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla on Monday announced an updated version of its open source browser complete with a new Forget button aimed at protecting users' privacy. Forget asks you only one question, said Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale. "How much do you want to forget?" Once you supply a time frame, "it takes care of the rest."
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.
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.
NSA Shares Its Data Wealth
August 26, 2014
The United States National Security Agency secretly shares the communications data it has amassed over the years with nearly 24 U.S. government agencies using a search engine resembling Google Search, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. That's more than 850 billion records of phone calls, emails, cellphone locations and Internet chats.
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 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.

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Targeted advertising...
Gives me the creeps -- I hate it.
Is really helpful -- I like the personalization.
Is effective -- it makes business sense.
Is irrelevant to me -- I use an ad blocker.