The FTC’s internal memo on Google teaches companies a terrible lesson

FTC staffers spent enormous time pouring through Google’s business practices and documents as well as interviewing executives and rivals. They came to the conclusion that Google was acting in anti-competitive ways, such as restricting advertisers’ from working with rival search engines. But commissioners balked at the prospect of a lengthy and protracted legal fight, former FTC officials said.

via The FTC’s internal memo on Google teaches companies a terrible lesson – The Washington Post.

Official Google Blog: From the height of this place

When data is abundant, intelligence will win
Putting the power to publish and consume content into the hands of more people in more places enables everyone to start conversations with facts. With facts, negotiations can become less about who yells louder, but about who has the stronger data. They can also be an equalizer that enables better decisions and more civil discourse. Or, as Thomas Jefferson put it at the start of his first term, “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

via Official Google Blog: From the height of this place.

It then goes on to say this:

The vast majority of computing will occur in the cloud
Within the next decade, people will use their computers completely differently than how they do today. All of their files, correspondence, contacts, pictures, and videos will be stored or backed-up in the network cloud and they will access them from wherever they happen to be on whatever device they happen to hold.

Of course google wants this for everyone will need to use services like google to access their data.  Do people really need all their data accessible to them 24/7?   Can anyone trust the security of one’s data when placed in the hands of a stranger?

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  There is nothing more secure than a hard drive or more (one or more for backups) in a safety deposit box.   No one needs to access their tax returns from anywhere at any time just because they can.

Cyanogen Inc. Turns Down Acquisition Attempt by Google, Seeks $1 Billion Valuation

As many of you may know, Cyanogen is built from Android source code, with layers upon layers of custom code placed on top. These changes allow for users to highly customize the look and feel of the OS. For example, users running Cyanogen can place custom skins on the OS and also increase a device’s security thanks to additional settings. There are countless developers that contribute their code to make Cyanogen a better alternative to vanilla Android, which is provided straight from Google as open source.

Cyanogen has told potential investors that it has a deal in place to bring its custom version of the Android OS to India through a manufacturer called Micromax. Alongside Samsung, Micromax currently holds almost as much share of the smartphone market in India, making this deal a very large step to get Cyanogen into the hands of millions of more people.

via Report: Cyanogen Inc. Turns Down Acquisition Attempt by Google, Seeks $1 Billion Valuation | Droid Life.

Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget

The service, which appears to have been in the offering since at least January 2012, provides customers both a la carte and subscription rates. The prices range from $100 to block between three to ten ad units for 24 hours to $80 for 15 to 30 ad units. For a flat fee of $1,000, small businesses can use GoodGoogle’s software and service to sideline a handful of competitors’s ads indefinitely. Fees are paid up-front and in virtual currencies (WebMoney, e.g.), and the seller offers support and a warranty for his work for the first three weeks.

via Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget — Krebs on Security.

B.C. Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From its Worldwide Index

The implications are enormous since if a Canadian court has the power to limit access to information for the globe, presumably other courts would as well. While the court does not grapple with this possibility, what happens if a Russian court orders Google to remove gay and lesbian sites from its database? Or if Iran orders it remove Israeli sites from the database? The possibilities are endless since local rules of freedom of expression often differ from country to country. Yet the B.C. court adopts the view that it can issue an order with global effect.

via Michael Geist – Global Deletion Orders? B.C. Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From its Worldwide Index.

Google to Buy Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind for $400M

This is in large part an artificial intelligence talent acquisition, and Google CEO Larry Page led the deal himself, sources said. According to online bios, Hassabis in particular is quite a talent, a child prodigy in chess who was later called “probably the best games player in history” by the Mind Sports Olympiad.

via Exclusive: Google to Buy Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind for $400M | Re/code.

Google now proxies images sent to Gmail users

It’s simple for senders to do this. Embed in each message a viewable image—or if you’re feeling sneaky, a nearly invisible image—that contains a long, random-looking string in the URL that’s unique to each receiver or e-mail. When Google proxy servers request the image, the sender knows the user or message corresponding to the unique URL is active or has been viewed. In Moore’s tests, the proxy servers requested the image each subsequent time the Gmail message was opened, at least when he cleared the temporary Internet cache of his browser. That behavior could allow marketers—or possibly lawyers, stalkers, or other senders with questionable motives—to glean details many receivers would prefer to keep to themselves. For instance, a sender could track how often or at what times a Gmail user opened a particular message.

via Dear Gmailer: I know what you read last summer (and last night and today) | Ars Technica.

The key to this issue is that Gmail now defaults to images on in email which should always be off.  In order to fix this Google must cache all images upon receipt of every email.  Doing it when a user requests an email defeats the entire purpose.  It’s always good practice to view with images off on all email no matter what the provider claims.

What If IBM’s Watson Dethroned the King of Search?

Google continues to top the search game with the mission of “organiz[ing] the world’s information and mak[ing] it universally accessible and useful.” But now this mission is limited given how rapidly artificial intelligence has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s raised expectations of what we expect from computers. Even Siri has. In that mindset, Google is basically a gigantic database with rich access and retrieval mechanisms without the ability to create new knowledge.

via Google in Jeopardy: What If IBM’s Watson Dethroned the King of Search? | Wired Opinion |

In other words: Google can retrieve, but Watson can create.

Google wants a patent on splitting the restaurant bill

Google Patent Application, October 2013: “For example, continuing with the example of FIG. 4, assume that Users A-C have drinks at a bar and User B pays a bill of $45 for the drinks. User B adds the payment transaction as an expenditure of the group and allocates $15 of the transaction to User A, $20 to User B, $10 to User C. In this example, the balance module 308 would update the individual balances of Users A-C to indicate that User B now owes $115 to User A ($130-$15) and User C owes $10 to User B ($0+$10).”

via No joke: Google wants a patent on splitting the restaurant bill – GeekWire.

I didn’t think one could patent a mathematical formula.