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Russia's massive internet service provider Mail.ru has announced today that it will be dropping Google in favor of using its own proprietary search engine for all queries searched through its service. We first heard rumors that this may take place back in November of last year when Mail.ru suggested it would be canceling are Google contract.
Mail.ru is essentially the Google of Russia and operates a range of online services including 2 social networks, instant messaging services, online gaming properties, its own proprietary browser, and of course it's very own search engine. That search engine for the most part has been powered by other search engines in the past including Google and most recently fellow Russian search engine Yandex.
"It's remarkable that there are fewer countries with their own search engines today than those with their own space program," says Dmitry Grishin, Co-Founder and CEO of Mail.Ru Group. Mail.ru says that in the past few years it is expanded its search engine team from just 15 people to well over 200 while its index volume has doubled in size from 5,000,000,000 to 10,000,000,000 documents.
Newegg.com announced today that it has launched a new members-only sale site that features daily bargains in a variety of product categories including consumer electronics, home electronics, jewelry, fashion, and much more. The new site, NeweggFlash.com will focus around so-called "flash sales" which are much like the existing Deal-of-the-Day sales that existing Newegg customers have grown to love.
Newegg says that through this new site quick online shoppers can now snap up a very wide an exciting range of popular consumer products at extremely low prices. Customers will have to be ready to move fast as the offers are designed to sell out fast with discounts of up to 75 percent. While the new site is members only, membership is free and only requires a quick and simple sign up.
Soren Mills, chief marketing officer at Newegg:
We're thrilled to launch NeweggFlash and join in on the flash sale phenomenon. Newegg is proud of the deep relationships we've built with our vendor partners over the years. It's these relationships that allow us to offer very compelling deals on NeweggFlash and give us an edge over competing flash sale sites.
You would have thought Nintendo owned WiiU.com, but they don't, as it's owned by a cybersquatter. Nintendo submitted a complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization, but have been denied.
WiiU.com was registered quite some time ago, on January 13, 2004 to be precise. No reason has been given by WIPO, with WiiU.com currently a placeholder page that redirects its visitors to a bunch of links, some of which are related to the WiiU, some to other sites.
Yahoo announced today that they would be doing a Google-like summer cleaning in which they sunset older and out-of-date products. One of the most notable products to make Yahoo's sunset list is the ancient search engine AltaVista. There are many other products on list, which you can see below. Most of the product closures take place by the end of July, though two don't happen until the end of September.
CEO Marissa Mayer, a former Googler, appears to be taking the Google approach to these products. Many of these product shutdowns aren't surprising. Previous rumors had suggested that AltaVista was going to be shut down in 2010. Many of these products are legacy or duplicate a function provided by another aspect of Yahoo's offerings. As such, they are just costing the company money.
Google will pull the plug on Reader Sunday at midnight, users scramble to Feedly and other alternatives in preparation
Sunday night after the clock strikes midnight, Google will shut down its Reader service for good. That's right after eight long years the search giant is pulling the plug on its popular RSS feed importer. The project was created back in early 2005 by Google engineer Chris Wetherell and after two years of development was released to the public through Google Labs in 2007.
With the pending shutdown, many alternatives of popped up with big-name sites such as AOL and Digg both developing their own replacements. Other alternatives have been around for quite a while now such as The Old Reader, Pusle, and my personal favorite, Feedly. All of these alternatives except for Pulse allow for the importation of your Google reader feeds via XML file.
Here at TweakTown most of us have already switched over to Feedly which seems to be winning the race as the most popular Google reader replacement with more than 8 million new subscribers being added since Google announced Reader's shutdown. This is partially because Feedly makes the importation process so simple as all you need to do is log into your Google account and it will import your Google Reader settings automatically. Additionally, the interface is very Google Reader like with some UI improvements for a more refined experience.
Google has announced that they are opening up their Street View Trekker program to third-party non-profits. Google is looking to expand Street View imagery off the beat path. To do this, they need to take their Trekker backpacks by foot into areas not accessible by cars or other imaging devices.
So, who better to trek into the unknown than the tourism boards or non-profits responsible for protecting those areas? This is exactly why Google has opened their program up to the public. Google is now accepting applications, though the details of the program aren't exactly clear. You can fill out an application at Source #2 below.
It was leaked today that Facebook is working on a Chat Room feature. This feature is currently in testing, so don't expect it to be coming to a profile near you for quite sometime, if at all. Facebook confirmed that the feature is being tested, but wouldn't confirm any details regarding the feature.
Luckily for us, someone who has the new feature was more than happy to talk. The option to start a chat room would be above the Update Status box. Clicking "Host Chat" would open up a chat box that then anyone could join. A status update would be pushed out to your friends inviting them to join.
The host would have the ability to set a topic for discussion, expel people, and set privacy options, though these chat rooms could ultimately end up connecting friends of friends. Privacy details could prove troublesome and could result in the project never seeing the light of day, however, it could end up being a valuable way to discover new friends via trusted mutual friends.
Google has processed hundreds of terabytes of Earth imagery to construct a cloud-free version of its satellite imagery used in its Maps and Earth products. The data is also now higher resolution, providing the ability to see the Earth in greater detail. The new imagery comes from NASA's and USGS' Landsat 7 satellite. Due to a hardware failure early in life, this was no easy feat.
Landsat 7's imagery has black stripes in the normal images due to said hardware failure. Google had to combine multiple images in order to remove those black stripes. This same process is essentially how they managed to get a cloudless version of their imagery, even in tropical zones that almost always have some cloud cover.
Google has also focused on bringing the new imagery to zones that hadn't been updated in a while. This means the new imagery focuses on Russia, Indonesia, and central Africa. Google notes that the new image is over 800,000 megapixels. In other words, it would take a piece of paper the size of a city block to print it out at the standard 300dpi.
Facebook strongly denies allegations that it handed over user data to the Turkish government in relation to the ongoing protests currently taking place in Turkey. Facebook notes that they rarely provide any user data to Turkish law enforcement or government officials, with the only exception being if there appears to be an immediate threat to life or a child.
Facebook has not provided user data to Turkish authorities in response to government requests relating to the protests. More generally, we reject all government data requests from Turkish authorities and push them to formal legal channels unless it appears that there is an immediate threat to life or a child, which has been the case in only a small fraction of the requests we have received.
We are concerned about legislative proposals that might purport to require Internet companies to provide user information to Turkish law enforcement authorities more frequently. We will be meeting with representatives of the Turkish government when they visit Silicon Valley this week, and we intend to communicate our strong concerns about these proposals directly at that time.
Reports of Facebook providing Turkish officials with user data stemmed from an NPR report that cited a Turkish minister. He claimed that Facebook was "in cooperation with the state" and that Twitter refused to supply user data. Facebook and others are worried about pending litigation that could force them to provide more data to the Turkish government. Some of Turkey's legislators have called for stronger social media use rules in light of the protests.
Should Facebook and Twitter be required to cooperate more with the Turkish government?
Google has just announced an addition to its popular Transparency Report. Google will now be including information about malware, broken down by country. Google has included various interesting tidbits including how many users they protect through their SafeBrowsing technology, how long it takes for a site to become reinfected after being cleaned of malware, and various other bits of information Google has gleaned.
Glancing over the data, it's easily seen that malware doesn't seem to be on the rise, unlike government data requests. India has the highest percentage--16, for those keeping count--of infected sites, but via total number of hosted sites, the United States is way ahead of India. The United States has two percent of all scanned sites infected with malware, but this amounts to two percent of 14 million sites. India is 16 percent of just 26,000 sites.
To check out Google's interactive map of malware infections, head to Google's updated Transparency Report.