Speaking at Google's annual Zeitgeist conference in Paradise Valley, Arizona on Tuesday, Google CEO Larry Page had some things to say about antitrust regulators in both the US and Europe. Page warned about the "over-regulation of the Internet and restriction of what people can do" as big threats to Google's future. Page adds:
That's something I worry about. We don't actually know how the Internet is going to work 10 years from now. So it's kind of, I think, a mistake to start carving out large classes that you don't really understand yet that you don't want to let people do. I think that's the approach a lot of regulators are taking, which I think is sad.
Page does go into more detail in the video above, and the CEO hopes that Google could hopefully successfully cooperate with antitrust regulators to work out their differences.
Google has posted this really cool walk through video of a Google datacenter. But, they didn't just stop with the video. They actually took their Street View cameras through the building and used those recorded images along with true video to make the cool video seen below. It's also narrated so that you get an idea of what everything does.
It's really rather incredible the sheer number of servers hosted in the datacenter shown in the video. The place is massive and features its own networking room that is separate from the cavernous room that hosts all the servers with data on them.
Take a look at the video, and if you fancy, head on over to Google Maps and check out the self-guided tour option.
The Pirate Bay is looking to say good-bye to downtime and police raids by moving its hosting into the cloud. With this move, the data will be replicated around the world, across multiple servers and countries, basically making it invulnerable to any sort of police action in a single country.
Since clouds span multiple countries and multiple servers, usage should be snappier and there should be better up time, due to it being in the cloud, and due to its perceived safety from police raids. "Moving to the cloud lets TPB move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime. All the servers don't even have to be hosted with the same provider, or even on the same continent," The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak.
"Running on VMs cuts down operation costs and complexity. For example, we never need anyone to do hands-on work like earlier this month when we were down for two days because someone had to fix a broken power distribution unit," The Pirate Bay says. Using VMs is a great way to allow The Pirate Bay to quickly move to a new provider.
"If one cloud-provider cuts us off, goes offline or goes bankrupt, we can just buy new virtual servers from the next provider. Then we only have to upload the VM-images and reconfigure the load-balancer to get the site up and running again."
Google have baked in some new changes into YouTube, which have resulted in changes to the way YouTube ranks content and then determines what closer matches what you're actually looking for.
The way it works now is that YouTube videos now get higher rankings based on how long viewers are actually watching the clip for, not how many clicks a video receives.
This is actually great, as spam videos or incorrectly titled clips won't receive higher ranks because people clicked on them. The change in YouTube's algorithm will also take into account how long users' overall visits to the site are, too. This will see videos gain a higher ranking if users not only watch the video all the way through to the end, but continue to stay on YouTube and watch other clips.
If only they had had this feature a couple of months ago, I would have missed that really important going away party, but alas, they have only been testing it with a small portion of their user base, and I clearly wasn't one of them. The feature I'm referring to is one that sends a reminder notification to the regular notification center an hour before an event starts that you RSVP'd "yes" to.
This is a feature we've been testing for a couple months with a small percentage of users. How it works is that people who RSVP "Join" to an event will receive a push notification and a jewel notification an hour before the event begins.
This feature should be of great use, and I'm not sure why they haven't done a complete rollout as of yet. Certainly just having the event on the rarely-checked right-hand side of the screen helps somewhat, but I certainly barely look to that portion of the screen as there is really no useful information over there.
This is likely just one of many new notifications that users will soon be receiving. Facebook is toying with the notion of releasing its notification APU, which would allow other people and programmers to take advantage of sending out notifications to users, such as President Obama apparently did when he sent out a notification about voter registration deadlines in Illinois.
ComScore's latest numbers for the US search market are making Google look even stronger than ever when it comes to the competition. Yahoo's Bing-powered search lost some percentage points, dropping from 12.8% in August to 12.2% last month.
Google added 0.3% in the same time frame, Microsoft stayed steady with 15.9% in both months, the Ask Network increased by 0.3% from 3.2% in August to 3.5% in September and AOL saw a 0.1% increase from 1.7% to $1.8%.
This means that Google commands a 66.7% chunk of the US search market, which is undeniably strong. comScore has also said that in September alone, around 16.3 billion searches were made, which is reportedly 4% down from August.
Google is helping out the content creators who make videos on YouTube. They're now providing more in-depth analytics to content creators so that the creators can achieve better audience engagement and click through. The time viewed portion on analytics is an extension of the initiative YouTube started earlier this year when they started using time watched to suggest videos.
YouTube then goes on to stress that annotations are what drive audience engagement. They provide this as the reasoning behind why they have added an Annotations report to the analytics feature. The Annotations report provides insights into view click and view closure ratios so that creators can judge which annotations worked best.
YouTube has also brought back the Date slider so that creators can "adjust the date range and see how your videos performed across different time periods." All of these new features should help creators make better videos, which in turn results in a better viewing experience when surfing through YouTube.
Google drives home the point that they are better at mapping, releases biggest Street View update ever
Couch vacationing just got even easier as Google has just released their biggest update ever to Street View. With more than 250,000 miles of roads around the world updated and double the number of special collections, Google is the definitive mapping application and couch vacationing service.
Google specifically calls out the use of couch vacationing (my term, not theirs) in their announcement: "Street View, as you know, is a useful resource when you're planning a route or looking for a destination, but it can also magically transport you to some of the world's picturesque and culturally significant landmarks."
Google even throws in what I take to be a jab at Apple: "We hope you enjoy taking a virtual stroll around some of the world's beautiful places, and stay tuned for more Street View updates as we look to make our maps more comprehensive and useful for you." Apple does insist that their maps are getting better, but they have a long way to go to catch up to Google.
Roads in the following countries have been updated: Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, and Canada. New special collections are now available for South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil, Mexico, and others. The full collections of significant places can be seen on Google's website.
Twitter conducted a study after the first presidential debate and found some interesting statistics regarding Twitter users and a possible connection between seeing political tweets and donating. Even better is the fact that the trends don't vary significantly between political affiliation, meaning that both sides can take advantage of Twitter to further campaign contributions.
The study showed that the average Twitter user was 68 percent more likely to visit a campaign donation page than the general internet user at large. Even more incredible is the statistic that the average Twitter user exposed to political tweets is 97 percent more likely to visit a campaign donation page.
Furthermore, repetition works. Users who saw a tweet for three to seven days were more than 31 percent more likely to visit a donation page as opposed to someone who just saw a tweet for one or two days. Even repeating the tweet for more than eight days has a positive effect with a user being 130 percent more likely to visit.
Twitter's director of political ad sales, Peter Greenberger, wrote "The lifts in donation rates by Twitter users were found to be very similar across all candidates, groups, and parties. Republican handles accelerated donations to their candidates at virtually the same rate as Democratic handles did for theirs."
Google feels the need for speed. This is why the company started developing mod_pagespeed all the way back in 2010. This open-source Apache module tries to take some of the difficulty in optimizing webpages away by automatically doing it for web developers and webmasters.
Fast forward two years and eighteen releases and you'll find us here today with Google officially stripping the Beta tag from the module. Google is promising their commitment to continue working with the open-source to continue developing this really cool module which is already used by over 120,000 sites.
According to Google, "the product is used worldwide by individual sites, and is also offered by hosting providers, such as DreamHost, Go Daddy and content delivery networks like EdgeCast." Moving out of Beta should help the module pick up users and generally speed up the web around you.
Quick websites make all the difference for the end-user, and this is one of the main reasons we switched our servers over to something a bit quicker. If you're interested in the technical side of mod_pagespeed, Google has provided the following video to quench your thirst for knowledge:
Dropbox have just made some changes to their mobile site which will help users check out their photos while on the move, following the same type of changes we saw with their Android, iOS apps and their desktop site.
Dropbox have moved toward a gallery-style image viewer, which is available to anyone with a mobile device. Windows Phone is included, which is great news as there's no official Dropbox application on Microsoft's mobile OS.
The changes that Dropbox have pushed out give users a more streamlined experience across all apps, desktop and mobile sites. Dropbox have said:
Visit dropbox.com from your phone's browser, tap on the Dropbox icon at the top, and then the Photos button to see the photos in your Camera Uploads folder in a big, shiny gallery format. You can also tap to view them full size and flip through each one.
Everyone's favorite online radio, Pandora, had its CEO reveal some interesting numbers at the SF Musictech Summit in San Francisco. Among these tidbits of information is the bit about how some artists are making over $2 million dollars in revenue from Pandora. "You would be surprised how many artists are making over $100,000."
These payments to artists are hurting Pandora's bottom line. As it stands right now, Pandora has to pay much more in royalties than satellite providers and typical radio stations do. "We want the same standard being extended to web radio that currently is being applied to our competition," said Westergren.
Pandora pays over 55 percent of its entire revenue to Soundexchange, an agency that collects for licenses for performing musicians. This is something that normal radio stations don't have to do. Instead, they just pay money to composers. As Pandora has gained users, their losses have continued to mount. If musicians want Pandora to be able to stick around, they're going to need to lower their fees.
Another interesting bit that was released by Pandora at the summit is the fact that the company now streams more hours of music per month than YouTube streams hours of video. I'm sure YouTube is still transferring more data overall.
OK, so it might not be quite as bad as the title made it sound, but it certainly got your attention, right? Unfortunately, the title is mostly true in that Facebook does automatically increment share counts on websites where the Facebook social plugin is being utilized when a link to that page is shared through private messages.
So, if you copy the link to this page and send it over to a friend, indeed, the "Share" counter will increase by two. Now, Facebook does use robots to scan private messages in order to produce the preview that is shown when a link is sent and to look for sexual predators using the site to look for victims.
But, the fact that a private message is then turned into a public like or share is where the problem comes in. Even though no personally identifiable information is provided, transferred, etc, it still brings to light a massive issue with Facebook and privacy concerns. Facebook's full response is below:
YouTube has loads of content. Hours of video are uploaded every second, some of it legitimate home footage and some of it infringing footage. Formerly, if a content owner alleged that a video contained their copyrighted material, YouTube would allow them to monetize the content or take it down.
YouTube has updated this process so that users who have had their video taken down can appeal the claim. Furthermore, YouTube has updated the algorithms to detect false take-down notices, so this should help reduce the number of automated mass take-downs that shouldn't have been taken down.
"Users have always had the ability to dispute Content ID claims on their videos if they believe those claims are invalid. Prior to today, if a content owner rejected that dispute, the user was left with no recourse for certain types of Content ID claims (e.g., monetize claims). Based upon feedback from our community, today we're introducing an appeals process that gives eligible users a new choice when dealing with a rejected dispute. When the user files an appeal, a content owner has two options: release the claim or file a formal DMCA notification."
This almost forces content owners to choose the monetize option as going through a formal DMCA complaint takes a lot of work, not to mention they don't get any money from it. It also helps video uploaders who have uploaded a piece of content that would fall into the fair use category of the DMCA.
Facebook is attempting to earn more revenue from its users by offering up Promoted Posts for more than just pages. That's right, Promoted Posts have come to the United States for regular Facebook users so that your post will get more views from your friends. You'll likely get more "Likes" as well.
The actual idea for Promoted Posts is to increase the visibility of certain posts, such as garage sale announcements, wedding announcements, and the like. As it stands currently, most posts only get viewed by about 20 percent of your friends. Promoted Posts have already been rolled out to twenty other countries.
It's only available for people who have fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers. For a cost of $7, promoted posts will get placed higher in the news feed and showed more often. For example, this one post visible above has received 3.8x more views than a normal post would have. As long as there are limits in place to prevent too much promoting, this could be a good tool.
What are your thoughts on Promoted Posts?
Gmail becomes more awesome with each day, and I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love it. I'm a huge Google user and every little thing that they add to their software suite makes it better and better with each day.
Now the search giant have pushed out a new feature - letting you find old attachments by searching for text inside of them, yes, inside of the attachment itself. Before now, you could only find an attachment if your searched for the message's text, filename, or file type.
But, Gmail's new super power now lets you search for text within .doc, .pdf, .ppt, and other files where Gmail will display them in its search results. Google are rolling this feature out now, and the indexing within your Gmail account will take a little while, as expected.
A victim of a hacker has written up a long piece regarding Twitter's security processes and how he believes he became a victim. Twitter's password recovery system is reportedly to blame, as it allowed a hacker to use a brute-force style attack on his handle. A brute-force attack tries common passwords as quickly as it can until it finds a match or exhausts a word list.
The issue seems to stem from the fact that Twitter doesn't limit login attempts per account, rather they limit them per IP. What this means is a hacker just needs to use a proxy network or some other way of IP switching and they would be able to brute-force an account indefinitely, or at least until the password was found.
However, why the victim, Daniel Dennis Jones, had chosen to use a simple, common password that could be brute-forced is beyond me. His story makes sense, though, and is why most password recovery systems limit login attempts on a per account basis, or at minimum throw up a CAPTCHA after a few failed attempts at logging into an account.
The happy ending: Eventually Jones was able to recover his @blanket handle with the help of Twitter.
Google gives and Google takes. Today sees a rarer event of the latter as Google does it's annual fall "spring cleaning." Many of the features that are being discontinued today are ones that I hadn't even heard of, so likely you haven't heard of them either. In the rare chance that you have, we'll give you the information you need.
The majority of today's discontinuations will likely only affect a small portion of the population at large. One of the main "spring cleaning" changes that will affect the most people is the change to storage. Google is combining Picasa and Drive storage into one single pool AND the free 5GB of storage will count towards your paid storage limit.
The rest of the changes are detailed in Google's blog post.
Google, almost as if to take a shot at Apple, has released more new imagery for their mapping service so that users can "virtually visit more places in high-resolution." Maps now features more high resolution aerial and satellite imagery, as well as a bunch of new 45 degree imagery for places around the world.
As you can see, some of the new 45 degree imagery includes famous places such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, located in Pisa, Italy. The following are all of the cities with new imagery:
United States: Ames, IA; Anderson, IN; Billings, MT; Bloomington, IL; Carmel Valley, CA; Cedar Rapids, IA; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Corvallis, OR; Danville, IL; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Dubuque, IA; Elizabethtown, KY; Enid, OK; Florence, SC; Grand Forks, ND; Great Falls, MT; Gulfport, MS; Hartford, CT; Kankakee, IL; Kenosha, WI; Lafayette, IN; Lancaster, CA; Lansing, MI; Lewiston, ID; Los Banos, CA; Madison, WI; Medford, OR; Michigan City, IN; Olympia, WA; Pocatello, ID; Sheboygan, WI; Sioux City, IA; Sioux Falls, SD; South Bend, IN; Terre Haute, IN; Utica, NY.
International: Angers, France; Clermont-Ferrand, France; Coimbra, Portugal; Dijon, France; Grenoble, France; Livorno, Italy; Lyon, France; Newcastle, United Kingdom; Oberhausen, Germany; Palermo, Italy; Pisa, Italy; Toulouse, France; Troyes, France; Winnipeg, Canada.
Not only can you automatically add captions to videos, you can now automatically translate those captions into foreign languages so that your video can be consumed by more viewers. Google has updated YouTube with a feature that will automatically translate your video's captions into a foreign language by using Google's Translate and Translator Toolkit.
Even cooler, Google has provided the option to crowd-source the translation to community members. The crowd-sourced version will likely be better than anything the automated tool can produce, but at least the automated tool gives users a place to start. And think about how much fun this tool is likely to create!
Since we know that YouTube's automatic captioning tool isn't the best--hey, it's hard to get speech-to-text to work well--translations, which are oft plagued with mistakes as well, of the already bad captions could result in some really funny captions. Trouble is, I'll need to learn a foreign language to know that they are bad.
Remembering all of the login and password details to your various accounts, e-mail, websites, social networks, banking details and countless other sites can be tiresome, annoying and repetitive. A Google software developer has opened up, hinting at a world without multiple logins.
Tim Bray, a Google software developer, mentions that logging in is annoying and slows you down, through his blog post. Bray says that his work with the company is pegged on getting rid of the annoying, time waster for two reasons. The first point, is that logging into various websites takes time, which makes a user less productive. Reduced login time makes more time available to improve the overall experience.
Secondly, Bray makes a point that most people begin a new search for a product, or service, they don't immediately head to a search engine. They type in the address of a large retail chain, bookstore, or even Craigslist. Bray says that these people don't want to go through the hassle of registering a new account, or create a new set of login credentials to find the product they're after with a new merchant.