Checking a fact? Planning a vacation? Want information on an illness, a restaurant, a historical event, pet care? Forget all those dusty reference books and do what nearly everyone with an Internet connection does: Google it. The Internet has become the place where much of modern society turns for answers to life's questions, both large and small. With around 85 percent of the search-engine market, including that of Germany, Google has become the modern version of the Delphic oracle. To an everyday user, the fact that there is one main method of sifting Internet information may seem like no big deal. And few people doing a search on Google or one of its competitors (Yahoo, MSN, and Alta Vista make up most of the remaining 10 percent of the market) give much thought to the fact that they are using the services of a for-profit US company. France, Germany involved But for Wolfgang Sander-Beuermann, head of the search-engine research lab at the University of Hanover and part of … [Read more...] about Europe’s Quaero Project Aims to Challenge Google
Google's change of position comes as hearings got under way on Monday at the European Commission in Brussels to asses how a settlement between the government and US publishers will affect the EU. The California-based company struck a deal with authors and publishers in the US regarding its Book Search program earlier this year, allowing it digitize books and post them on the Internet. Under the settlement, Google agreed to pay $125 million (87 million euros) to resolve outstanding claims and establish an independent "Book Rights Registry," which will provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books. But the deal has been criticized in the US and Europe. Germany has led the criticism, saying the settlement infringes on copyright and privacy laws and flouts German laws protecting German authors and publishers with respect to digital copying, publishing and the dissemination of their works. In a legal brief filed with the US … [Read more...] about Google tries to soothe EU concerns about digital library plans
Let's start by stating the obvious: Europe's refugee crisis may be happening here, but its scale is international. Not only are refugees arriving in Europe from outside the region, but refugees still attempt to get to other parts of the world, too, such as Australia. Others are internally displaced and never seem to get anywhere. Financially, though, the pressure has been on Europe to pay for refugee shelters, processing centers, transportation, food, sanitation, and security. At the same time, much of the story has been played out and discussed on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, using technology made or supported by Google and Apple. They are all American tech firms - some of the richest in the world - and their interests are likewise global. In fact, they are so rich there is even talk of their one day replacing traditional forms of government, which some Silicon Valley luminaries consider "inefficient." It begs the question: why, then, don't … [Read more...] about With Google calling for donations, should global tech firms do more to help refugees?
Google and Facebook on Wednesday announced plans for a new high-capacity internet cable across the Pacific. The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) will be the first direct connection of its kind between Los Angeles and Hong Kong. The 12,800-kilometer fiber optic cable will be able to transfer 120 terabytes of data per second, making it the fastest trans-Pacific cable, Google said. The internet giant said that would be enough capacity to enable 80 million high-definition video conference calls simultaneously - doubling the rate of the quickest existing cable, Google's Faster Cable System, which went online earlier this year. "PLCN will be among the lowest-latency fiber optic routes between Hong Kong and the US and the first to connect directly using ultra-high-capacity transmission,” PLDC Chairman Wei Junkang said. Apart from increasing capacity, the new cable provides a direct link from the US to China. Most existing trans-Pacific cables pass through Japan. A new approach The … [Read more...] about Google, Facebook team up for fast Pacific fiber
Google deleted the map showing the location of refugees across Germany on Friday after activists had urged the company to take it down. A click on the link now leads to a brief message stating the map was no longer available due to a violation of Google's terms of service. "We consider access to information and freedom of speech as very important," Google Germany spokesperson Lena Heuermann told DW in writing. "Whenever content is illegal, we will remove it from our products. The same procedure applies to content that violates our policies and terms of service which includes inflicting damage [on someone] or inciting hate." Many people had shared information on how to report the map to Google on Social Media. The Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which works against right-wing extremism, joined other rights groups in taking to Twitter to applaud Google's decision. "Good news! The map showing the refugee homes has been taken down - thanks to all who've helped and thanks for the important … [Read more...] about Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes
Google parent Alphabet Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly revenues and earnings on Thursday, helped by strong advertising sales on mobile devices and YouTube. The company posted third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $9.06 on revenue of $22.45 billion (20.61 billion euros.) The results were driven by strong advertising sales on mobile devices and YouTube. Users spent more time on their smartphones and advertisers spent more money in trying to reach them. The company authorized a $7 billion stock buy-back. Despite the strong results, Google's stock rose just 1 percent in after-hours trading. Google has successfully faced down concerns about how it would push its vast web advertising business toward mobile. Wall Street appears to have been reassured, according to analyst Kerry Rice of Needham & Co. "They are just one of the best positioned companies for the future of the internet," Rice said. Amazon Online … [Read more...] about Google & Amazon post third quarter results
During a panel discussion on Tuesday, held on the sidelines of the 85th annual Geneva International Motor Show, leading automobile industry officials discussed whether Silicon Valley firms might challenge traditional carmakers for a slice of the market. The consensus: Yes. "We have to take these competitors very seriously," said BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer. "We have to expect that some competitors will emerge on the market that didn't build cars in the past." He mentioned Tesla Motors, a company founded by many-sided serial entrepreneur Elon Musk , as an example. Analysts see Tesla's success in building powerful, long-range all-electric luxury sedans as the key factor that has forced traditional carmakers to grapple seriously with electric mobility. Search engine giant Google has invested in a broad range of futuristic technologies in recent years, including robotics and driverless cars . Apple has not gone public with any carmaking plans, but several hundred of the company's … [Read more...] about BMW sees Apple, Google as serious competitors
Speaking to German magazine "Der Spiegel," Kauder said: "The time for roundtables is over. I've run out of patience." He said if companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter failed to remove offensive comments within a week of them being posted, they should be penalized with a 50,000 euro ($54,490) fine. Social media websites needed to rethink their strategy, he said. "Otherwise, I have another suggestion. Cigarette packs always carry a warning that smoking can be dangerous. Why don't we ask these [social network] providers to carry a warning on their websites, saying: 'Anyone who communicates here must expect insulting remarks,'" Kauder said. Kauder also insisted that the justice ministry should demand that the companies submit the IP addresses of people who posted hate messages on social networks. Facebook, Google and Twitter pledged last year to examine and remove hate posts from their websites within 24 hours. However, many users still complain that their … [Read more...] about German politician proposes fine on Facebook, Google, Twitter for hate comments
Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American exchange student, was among the 130 people who died in the terrorist attacks claimed by IS in Paris on November 13. Now her father is suing Facebook, Twitter and Google, the owner of YouTube, claiming the social media websites are complicit in his daughter's death. A suit filed by the lawyers of Reynaldo Gonzalez in the US District Court for Northern California claims the platforms have provided "material support" to groups like IS, allowing them to carry out attacks like the one in Paris. It goes on to argue that the three companies have for years "knowingly permitted" IS to use their sites as tools for recruitment, financing and propaganda. "Without defendants Twitter, Facebook and Google (YouTube), the explosive growth of [IS] over the last few years into the most-feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible," the suit claims. Twitter and Facebook have dismissed the merits of the case, while Google declined to comment … [Read more...] about Are Facebook, Twitter and Google to blame for the crimes of the ‘Islamic State’?
The Group of Seven (G7) countries and some of the world's biggest technology firms agreed on Friday on a plan to remove jihadi material from the web within two hours of being posted. "These are the first steps towards a great alliance in the name of freedom," Italian Interior Minister and host Marco Minniti said after a two-day meeting on the Italian island of Ischia off Naples. Security experts have been warning about the manner in which extremist groups around the world have been efficiently using the internet to radicalize, recruit and train new members. Read more: How IS radicalizes teenagers using the internet Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd insisted "companies need to go further and faster to not only take down extremist content but also stop it being uploaded in the first place." The UK, supported by France and Italy, in September urged social media companies to speed up the removal of terrorist content from the internet. 'Malware of terror' The Group … [Read more...] about G7, Facebook, Google, Twitter agree on plan to counter Islamist terror