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Another week, another complaint about piracy from the Recording Industry Association of America. This time the RIAA is saying that Google is not making pirate sites harder to find in its search results. Six months ago, Google offered up a change to the way it ranks sites that could cause pirate sites to appear lower in rankings.
Specifically, the company said: "Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily."
The RIAA say that finding pirate sites in Google's search results is just as easy as it ever has been. They issued a new report regarding the matter, in which they allege the following: "We have found no evidence that Google's policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy."
Google has responded to the report saying,
We have invested heavily in copyright tools for content owners and process takedown notices faster than ever. In the last month we received more than 14 million copyright removal requests for Google Search, quickly removing more than 97% from search results. In addition, Google's growing partnerships and distribution deals with the content industry benefit both creators and users, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the industry each year.
Google often hosts these "Doodle 4 Google" competitions in which Google encourages users to submit a doodle to become the homepage logo of Google for a day. Google has just announced this year's Doodle 4 Google in the United States and has kicked off the 30-day countdown to the March 22 submission deadline.
To make the competition more interesting and fun, Google has produced an interactive map that shows where submissions are coming from and which state has the most submissions. Google wants you to encourage fellow students and teachers to enter the competition.
One winner from each state will win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in May for the awards ceremony. The contestant with the winning doodle design will win a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will win a $50,000 technology grant.
You can download the entry form here and start doodling right away.
In the wake of a series of high-profile hacks, Twitter has updated it's e-mail sending systems to help prevent phishing attacks from being successful. Known as DMARC, the new technology helps identify an e-mail as legitimate and allows e-mail providers to block e-mails that come from forged domains.
The technology is rather new and has been created to help fight e-mail phishing attacks. All four of the major e-mail providers--AOL, Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook, and Yahoo--have gotten on board with the new technology and are already rejecting e-mails coming from forged domains.
It will be interesting to see just how well this technology works to cut down on Twitter hacks. If you'd like a more technical explanation of the technology, you can find more information about the DMARC technology on their website.
For more than a decade now email has been a way of life, and as with all electronic services that become staples, hackers have found ways to get your information. Fortunately Google has found a way to all but end account hacks to its Gmail service.
Nine times out of ten, a program breaks into your email accounts with the intention of blasting out spam to both your contacts and a list of thousands of others. This is why we see so much spam in our inbox's. Gmail was not left out and the number of hacked accounts soon began to rise. As a result, Google developed a complicated handshake to ensure you are actually you, when logging into your account.
The system performs a complex risk analysis each time your account is logged into. In fact more than 120 variables have to be authenticated before the system will validate you as the correct user. In the event some of these variables do not match, Google will ask you some simple questions. This is why you sometimes get asked for your mobile phone number when logging in.
As a result of this system, Google says they have reduced the number of hacked accounts by 99.7 percent since 2011.
Today Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, unveiled a redesigned Yahoo homepage, via the company's official blog. The basic layout is still quite familiar, with some changes to add in social media integration. The site has also gained an endless scroll feature that has become popular as of late.
The new front page is able to tap into your Facebook profile, and even give you recommendations from the social network. The site has also been optimized for mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.
"The new Yahoo experience works well on the go -- we've optimized it for smartphones and tablets," Mayer wrote. "And, thanks to some under-the-hood improvements, Yahoo is also faster."
The new look is not yet live, but will begin to roll out over the next few days.
In an effort to stem the unending stream of pirated material, search giant Google could do something unprecedented (I feel like I'm writing a speech for Obama using that word) and block all funding to websites offering links to pirated material.
This could be films, music, books, games - you name it - any site that is making money from illegal material. Google's plans, while still in the discussion stage, would see them block funding to websites that don't respond to legal challenges, such as being offshore. If this does go ahead, it wouldn't be the first time a website has had its funding cut off, where we saw donations to WikiLeaks cut off from Mastercard, PayPal and Visa back in 2011.
Google would have no troubles getting the support of book publishing firms, or the music and film industries, who would like to see those extra 0's in their bank accounts instead of piracy websites. Google are aware that their move could have unintended consequences - which I'm sure we'll see Anonymous pop up and have a word or two of input - but the Mountain View-based search giant could iron out some issues in the coming months, and put their plan into action in the spring.
Posterous, a popular blogging platform that was acquired by Twitter last year, has announced that it will be shutting down as of April 30. The site says that they are shutting down in order to focus on Twitter and there will be no more viewing or editing content past the shutdown date.
Because of this, Posterous is offering users the ability to download their data. WordPress and Squarespace are alternatives and both feature importers for Posterous data. A "backup" option is also provided and it will provide you with a zip file containing your data. You can request a backup by heading to the Posterous site.
"We'd like to thank the millions of Posterous users who have supported us on our incredible journey. We hope to provide you with as easy a transition as possible, and look forward to seeing you on Twitter."
Billionaire FilmOn founder Alki David, along with a number of film and music artists, are accusing CBS and CNET for the rise in piracy through BitTorrent programs. The accusations are based on the fact that Download.com provides BitTorrent programs for download as well as giving each program a review.
In the past year, David and his unnamed group of artists have achieved several minor victories in court with one judge stating that Download.com can be held liable as they distribute and promote torrent clients through review ratings. He said that the review, if favorable, was encouraging the use of said software.
CNET's counter claims that BitTorrent is also used to distribute unique content that is approved by the creator. According to the artists, this is irrelevant. The plaintiffs go on to state: "The fact that other entities such as the torrent publisher or a torrent website like the Pirate Bay might be jointly and severally liable for this infringement does not affect CBSI's inducement."
If you're still on the hunt for a Nexus 4 and can't get your hands on one, Google have your back with their Nexus Store Locator tool. This tool will will allow you to search local retailers for Nexus devices.
All you have to do is type in your address, and it'll find you a retailer that deals in Nexus devices. At the moment, the only Nexus 4 retailer in the US is T-Mobile, so right now if you're looking for a Nexus 4, then this tool is kind of like a T-Mobile store locator. If you're after a Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, then it branches out a little more.
The Nexus 4 should reach other retailers soon, where this tool will become more useful.
In an attempt to further beat a dead horse, Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC ripped off the style sheets (CSS) from the Pirate Bay website to style its own website. The group claims that they pulled such a move to make a point as to how easy it is to download things from the internet.
In a serious moment of irony, the group has placed itself in a position where it needs to either pay The Pirate Bay for infringing on its copyright, or admit that copyright law does not matter. The organization was able to theme their website to look like The Pirate Bay's website by scraping The Pirate Bay's website and "stealing" the CSS design code.
Usually The Pirate Bay founders have no issues with copying and sharing everything, but in this instance, they were simply unable to let such a small matter slide. In a statement, a spokesman for The Pirate Bay said:
"We are outraged by this behavior. People must understand what is right and wrong. Stealing material like this on the internet is a threat to economies worldwide. We feel that we must make a statement and therefore we will sue them for copyright infringement."