A man of ordinary sanity doesn’t need sophisticated e-mail filters for egregiously unconvincing messages from someone lodged in a war torn African country, informing the recipient of how the sender miraculously found him, of all Homo sapiens, and a deal worth millions awaits him. But, unfortunately enough, perfectly sane people do fall prey to such messages, and don’t fare too well against the slightly more plausible fake eBay and Paypal e-mails either.
eBay and its cognate company Paypal have tied-up with internet behemoth Google to immunize Gmail users from phishing attacks. Fraudulent e-mails, claiming to be from eBay or Paypal, would be purged by using DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). However, Paypal admits that the technology still needs some polishing. DomainKeys has been used for a while now and, in fact, most Yahoo Mail users might recall e-mails from some major domains including Paypal having a stamp of approval from Yahoo Domain Keys: Yahoo Domain Keys has verified that this message was sent by XYZ.com. All said, this is a good move.
Tip: If you want to be absolutely sure about your precious Paypal and eBay accounts, don’t ever click through to these websites from links embedded in emails, no matter how credible they might appear to your untrained eye. Also change your password as often as you can, preferably, as often as once a month.
In the world of online searches, there's Google and then there's everyone else. Take a peek inside Merriam-Webster and you'll find Google officially recognized as a verb. Of course, M-W hasn't exactly been stingy when it comes to including tech terms, but when you dominate the market with a 68 percent slice of the pie (and close to 90 percent depending on geographic location), perhaps you're entitled to alter the English language.
By comparison, Yahoo, the second most popular search engine behind Google, only accounts for about 20 percent of searches, according to Hitwise statistics. That leaves a considerable gap to close, and to help them do it, Yahoo has begun calling on start-ups to lend a hand. It's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours approach, whereby Yahoo is willing to open its search technology and data centers, giving start ups with limited funds a way to develop a search service from the ground up. Yahoo will then sell ads on those search engines and share the revenue.
Yahoo execs are calling the new strategy Boss, or build your own search service. How it ultimately pans out remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Google is still the real boss of the internet. Can the search giant be toppled?
As Google looks to sell more ads for its YouTube subsidiary in an attempt to make the video site more profitable, San Francisco video ad network VideoEgg thinks it has a better way. VideoEgg announced the launch of five new kinds of video ads designed to "give advertisers more effective engagement with users inside social environments." The new features include:
LIVE: Use real-time RSS feeds to continually update the ad experience
LOCAL: Deliver ZIP code-specific messaging
RICH: Easily deploy and track a rich multi-video ad experience to increase user interactivity
SHOP: Bring the browser to the user, merchandising multiple items in a single real-time ad experiences
SHARE: Viral capabilities help spread the message through virtually any communication or social channel
VideoEgg's pricing model is based on a cost per engagement (CPE) instead of tallying up page views or click counts. And while VideoEgg hasn't made mention of Google or YouTube, the new features might make for a better alternative than the pre- and post-roll ads Google is reportedly trying to sell.
At just four months old, VideoEgg's future has yet to be decided, but in that short, over 50 brands including Microsoft, Comcast, Disney, Nike, GM, Hershey, and others have advertised across the VideoEgg network. Could Google/YouTube be next?
Today's Roundup explores a few ways games reach the marketplace -- from free downloads, to piracy, to not being released at all. Between BioWare, the creator of Earthworm Jim, and even Google, everyone has their own way of placing games into the hungry mouths of gamers. Er, you know what I mean. Anyway, "Read More" and all that.
Google launched their take on Second Life called Lively. The idea behind both Lively and Second Life is to bring a better social dimension to online interaction, or chat in 3D basically. Better is the operative term here. Second Life didn’t hold any appeal for me, it got boring in very short order. I’m just not a sit and chat type person and listening to someone laughing repeatedly is so beyond lame that I would rather go deal with the wife’s “Honey do list” than socialize in Second Life. Give me good old IRC every time. Lively is on the same order of things.
Lively does however have different aspects to its similar approach. Where Second Life is an entire world, Lively is compartmentalized with rooms. I am sure that it would be fairly easy for Google to make that jump and sting the rooms together to be seamless, but it really doesn’t need that. I like the feel of Lively better. Avatars are a little more cartoon like than I remember in Second Life. There are a number of preprogrammed emotes set up for the characters, and there are sure to be more things added both by Google and users daily.
Make the jump to see what else Lively has to offer.
Once upon a time, YouTube could be relied on to find that funny snippet from last night's sitcom episode to share with family and friends that may have missed it. Now it's a crap shoot whether the video you're looking for will exist, or if it's been deleted over copyright concerns like so many others. And if you do find the clip you're looking for, are you giving up any privacy rights to watch it? Throw in the crummy video quality (Tip: Add &fmt=18 to the end of YouTube URLs), and one has to wonder if there's any suckage left to bestow upon YouTube.
Apparently there is; The Wall Street Journal reports Google is looking to sell pre-roll and post-roll ads because, well, the expected $200 million in anticipated ad revenue this year evidently isn't enough. Or course, Google must first find willing advertisers, a task that could prove more difficult than it seems. According to the story, Google is only selling ads against video clips that been approved by media companies and other partners, which equates to just 4 percent of the total clips on YouTube. That means the overwhelming majority of videos don't seem to be worth anything to the company. At this pace, could it be long before they're also not worth anything to viewers?
Following up from a previous post, Google is asking Viacom to respect users’ privacy and let them to anonymize the logs before handling them over to Viacom under the court order. “We are disappointed the court granted Viacom’s overreaching demand for viewing history,” Google said.
Efluxmedia.com says that Viacom had said in a New York Times interview, “The information that is produced by Google is going to be limited to outside advisors who can use it solely for the purpose of enforcing our rights against YouTube.”
So the data is going to go to third parties. Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel any better about user privacy. We can hope that there will be a legal challenge mounted in the next few days against releasing user data unfiltered to Viacom.
The battle between Adobe's Flash format and Microsoft's competing Silverlight software to deliver rich internet applications (RIAs, not to be confused with the RIAA, an entirely different beast in every sense of the word) to your browser may come down to which technology search engines are better able to index. Adobe recently announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo towards making the Flash file format (SWF) more easily visible to each site's respective spiders, leaving Microsoft noticeably missing from the group pow-wow.
But one company is taking notice of Microsoft. Find out who it is and what they want after the jump.
Google’s Street View service has already hit a roadblock in the UK, even before its launch across the Atlantic. Google would be hoping that this is just a hurdle and not a dead end for Street View’s UK version. Street View is an extension of Google’s navigational and mapping services that features photographs of locations on Google Maps and Google Earth.
A U.K rights organization, Privacy International, believes that the service violates people’s right to privacy as Street View photographs freely feature passers-by, that too, without their consent. The organization has been in constant touch with Google over the issue but seems unsatisfied with the answers it has received thus far. Google has tried to placate Privacy International with promises of a new technology - which it claims is under trial – that can identify human faces and blur them.
However, every bit the cantankerous and incredulous social rights organizations, Privacy International has asked Google to either furnish more details of the technology within a week or run the risk of being officially referred to the Information Commissioner, who can even gatecrash Google’s ‘Street View’ launch plans.
Privacy International has a plausible reason behind its skepticism. It points to Google’s track record of freely reneging on such promises; as it did with the promise of developing ‘crumbling cookies’ after acquiring DoubleClick.
Developers concerned about indexing have thus far been hesitant to incorporate Flash into websites because of the challenge involved in making the content searchable. This despite the fact that more than 98 percent of internet-connected computers have Adobe's Flash Player installed. Search engines are able to index static text and lnks within Flash SWF files, but as Adobe points out, "rich internet applications and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states," a problem which also exists in other RIA technologies.
To help get over that hurdle, Adobe announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files more indexable-friendly by search engines. For its part, Google says it developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way a surfer does, "by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on." Any text visible to a website visitor while interacting with a Flash file is also visible to Google's algorithm. And while Yahoo isn't quite as far along as Google, the collaboration with Adobe means it's now a matter of when, not if, SWF applications become more searchable.
Missing from this latest announcement is any mention of Microsoft and its MSN Search. It remains unclear whether Adobe purposely excluded the Redmond company, which owns Silverlight (a competitng format to Adobe's Flash), or if Microsoft chose not to participate. But regardless of Microsoft's level of involvement, expect to see more Flash content, whether you want it or not.