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Chrome Encourages Searchers to Speak Up
February 28, 2014
Google has added hands-free voice search to the latest beta version of the Chrome Web browser. Users need not have to interrupt messy housework and first wash their hands in order to search for a recipe for homemade glass cleaner, for example. All they need to do is open a new tab or go to the Google homepage, say the words "OK Google," and dictate their search terms.
Bear Witness: Street View Heads North for Polar Bears
February 27, 2014
Google's Street View team has captured images of polar bears in northern Canada, a successful end to its first-ever wildlife-specific quest. Google Street View has long been in the business of capturing things other than streets, including, for example, the world's tallest mountains and Antarctica. These photo-mapping quests aren't always without incident.
French Teen in Hot Water Over Drone Footage
February 21, 2014
A French teen faces charges of "endangering the lives of others" over his use of a drone, which he sent skyward to capture impressive (and seemingly harmless) footage of the city Nancy. Eighteen-year-old Nans Thomas affixed an Internet-bought drone with a GoPro camera and then sent the contraption skyward. The ensuing video has been viewed more than 270,000 times already on YouTube.
China Calls Kerry's Internet Comments 'Na´ve'
February 18, 2014
Maybe they aren't fighting words, but they sure aren't friendly. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks about Chinese Internet freedom were, shall we say, a bit base. Kerry had a half-hour-plus chat with bloggers Saturday in Beijing, during which time he expressed support for more online freedom in China.
Microsoft Accidentally Applies Chinese Censoring Outside of China
February 13, 2014
Microsoft cited an "error in our system" for quirky results given to users making searches in Chinese on the company's Bing search engine. Chinese-language searches outside of mainland China were yielding results that mirrored those inside mainland China, where Bing filters in accordance with the whims of Beijing. This resulted in wildly different results for English vs. Chinese language searches.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Google, EC Antitrust Settlement in the Wind
January 29, 2014
Google reportedly is close to settling the antitrust case the EC brought against it more than three years ago. This is its third offer to the EC so far, and it reportedly includes commitments from Google on how it will treat rivals and how it will use content from other providers. "We are ... at a critical point in the Google investigation," said Antoine Colombani, EC spokesperson for competition.
Lenovo Rising, IBM Evolving
January 27, 2014
The new deal IBM and Lenovo announced last week showcases that the companies are on very different paths toward two widely divergent but equally powerful goals in what is a rapidly changing market. Lenovo is on a path to dominate the hardware side's second technology wave, while IBM is jumping to what may be the fourth technology wave. IBM dominated the first wave -- mainframes.
Microsoft May Breathe New Life Into Halo's Cortana AI
January 17, 2014
The hottest rumor for Microsoft Xbox Halo fans is that the voice and text-based virtual assistant service -- code-named "Cortana" and planned for release with Windows Phone 8.1 -- actually might be created with the real-life voice behind Cortana, Jen Taylor. There is no evidence to back up the rumor, but millions of Halo fans will be totally freakin' stoked if it's true.
Facebook to Share User Data With Russian Search Engine
January 15, 2014
Facebook will start peddling user data to Yandex, Russia's top search engine, as part of a deal between the two tech giants. Yandex will get full access to public data from users in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yandex will use the data in question -- which includes posts and comments that have not been classified as "private" -- to enhance its search results.
There's a New Fair Use Law in Town
December 16, 2013
More than eight years ago, the Authors Guild filed a class action against Google on behalf of thousands of authors, claiming that Google infringed the authors' copyrights. The Authors Guild recently lost its case based on the fair use doctrine that's generally reserved for nonprofit use by academic institutions, libraries and the press.
Yahoo Buys SkyPhrase in Surprising Search Play
December 04, 2013
Yahoo has purchased SkyPhrase with the intention of enabling computers to deeply understand natural language and intentions. SkyPhrase will be joining Yahoo Labs. "Yahoo uses Bing for their search engine, so it's unclear why they would buy a natural language technology for search because they can use Microsoft's technology," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Topsy Buy Gives Apple Mountains of Twitter Data
December 03, 2013
Apple reportedly has acquired Topsy in order to gain more access to real-time consumer information. Topsy provides Twitter data for business clients, helping them to gauge consumer sentiment, find influential social media voices, and measure overall exposure on any topic that's been mentioned in a tweet. Earlier this year, Topsy debuted a search engine designed to parse tweets.
Where Have All the Forests Gone?
November 23, 2013
Earlier this month, researchers published a report discussing global forest coverage, and supplementing their findings was a first-of-its-kind interactive mapping tool that was created in partnership with Google. In this TechNewsWorld podcast, we discuss the research with the study's lead author, geographer Matthew Hansen.
Microchips May Haunt Tombstone Thieves
November 18, 2013
A private company in South Africa has created "Memorial Alert," a microchip-based technology designed to thwart tombstone robberies. There recently has been a spate of these crimes in Johannesburg. The microchip is inserted into a memorial. When it is disturbed, it will sound an alarm and send a text message to relatives and integrated security companies.
UK Gets Google, Microsoft to Step Up Online Child Porn Fight
November 18, 2013
Google and Microsoft have ramped up their efforts to fight online child porn following months of pressure by the office of UK Prime Minister James Cameron. The two have created a blacklist of search terms for which results will be blocked. When Cameron asked Google and Microsoft to create such a system in July, the companies told him blocking search results could not and should not be done.
French Ruling Puts Google Between a Rock and an Orgy
November 07, 2013
A French court has ruled that Google must automatically block links to nine images of Max Mosley participating in an orgy. Mosley is the former president of the International Automobile Federation. The company must find a way to prevent all links to the images from appearing in its image search results for a period of five years. The order takes effect two months after the ruling.
Google, Partners Caught in Patent Lawsuit Blizzard
November 01, 2013
A consortium of technology companies is suing Google and Android manufacturers in its first patent lawsuits after it outbid the search giant for thousands of patents previously owned by Nortel. Rockstar, owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony and EMC, has accused Google of infringing on seven patents relating to technology that matches search terms to advertising.
Strong Encryption, Natural Language Search Make Potent Cocktail
October 22, 2013
Strong encryption and natural language search can be like oil and water. That's because encrypted data can't be digested by your typical search engine. However, CipherCloud announced a solution to that knotty problem last week. The latest version of the 3-year-old company's cloud-based service includes something it's calling "searchable strong encryption."
26 Years Later, Google Earth Helps Lost Indian Boy Go Home
October 16, 2013
Indian Saroo Munshi Khan used Google Earth to track down his long-lost family 26 years after accidentally falling asleep on a train. Then 5-year-old Saroo reportedly took a break from searching for change with his brother in Berhanpur, India, and hopped onto a stationary train where he fell asleep. Hours later, he woke up in Calcutta, alone and more than 900 miles away from home.

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