Let’s face it, privacy is dead. In this increasingly electronic and inter-linked world, with its capacity to capture, store, and analyze data by the digital ton, the minute you step foot into it you’ve surrendered any claim to privacy you ever thought you had.
Sprint coughed-up GPS information to law enforcement eight million times last year. Not on eight million users, Sprint is quick to point out. Rather law enforcement can request GPS information on any particular user every three minutes for up to 60 days. (After that Sprint doesn’t say what happens.)
And Sprint isn’t the only one handing out information about you.
Yahoo is taking this whole Facebook thing pretty seriously. Earlier this year, the search company started allowing users to preview messages from their Facebook friends right on their Yahoo homepage, and going forward, the company plans to tie the two services even more closely together.
Sometime in the first half of 2010, Yahoo will roll out is support of the Facebook Connect service, which is a universal ID that lets people automatically log into participating sites using their Facebook account. The service also keeps Facebook friends in the loop about activities taking place on third-party sites. As it applies to Yahoo, the company announced it will let users of its email, photo sharing, and other online products link their content and goings-on right into Facebook.
This tighter integration, Yahoo says, will drive visitors back to Yahoo. And that's something that's important as the company looks for ways to grow and expand under CEO Carol Bartz, who took the position back in January of this year.
A recent ComScore survey on Internet usage is reporting that Microsoft might not be leading the way in search, but in terms of total hours spend online, it has a commanding lead over its competition. The survey, which measured a whopping 27 billion hours of Internet usage by Web users aged 15 or older is an increase of nearly 24% over the year prior, and of those studied, over 3.9 billion hours were spent using Microsoft services. Google came in a not so close second place with around 2.5 billion hours.
The big winner in the Microsoft portfolio might surprise you however, with about 70 percent of the usage being attributed to Windows Live Messenger. Of course, this number measures time spent “online” and not just those “actively engaged” with the service, but it certainly shows the popularity of Microsoft’s instant messenger. Google’s numbers are pretty typical explain analysts, since they make it their business using search to try and get you “in and out” as quickly as possible. The most successful Google property continues to be YouTube with nearly 1.2 billion hours logged watching video.
Yahoo placed third with 1.7 billion hours, and Facebook commanded a respectable fourth place with 1.4 billion hours. The individual rankings may have been a bit of a shock, but the trend showing “Internet usage on the rise” certainly isn’t. Did any of these results surprise you? Let us know what you think.
In a filing with the SEC, Yahoo said more time is needed to complete the search and advertising deal with Microsoft. The two sides had agreed in late July to have everything squared away by October 27, but hammering out the details of a long term deal is taking longer than expected.
"The parties are working diligently finalizing the agreements, have made good progress to date, and have agreed to execute the agreements as expeditiously as possible," Yahoo wrote.
Assuming the two sides can get this done -- and both sides said they are committed to doing so -- Microsoft's Bing will power Yahoo's search results in exchange for those all important advertising dollars. In a joint statement, Microsoft said the companies are "optimistic" they'll be able to close the deal by early 2010, but did not specify a new deadline.
As we bring in the new, out must go the old. And the old is GeoCities which, with about 15 years of life, the last ten under the benign neglect of Yahoo, has finally been pushed out the door. Today is GeoCities last day, may it rest in peace.
GeoCities seems old school by today’s standards, but at the time of its introduction in late 1994, the ability for individuals to quickly and easily post a web page was visionary. Thousands took advantage of the opportunity to post pictures, poems, tributes, opinions, likes, and dislikes. Created by David Bohnett and John Rezner GeoCities became the place to be on the web.
And like many early Internet ventures it made quite a splash while making little or no money, despite determined efforts to do so. GeoCities did make its founders rich, both when GeoCities went public in 1998, and later when Yahoo, looking to expand its Internet presence, bought GeoCities at the peak of the dot.com bubble for a cool $3.57 billion in Yahoo stock. Yahoo’s heavy-handed management drove away a good number of subscribers, leaving GeoCities bordering on becoming a ghost-town rather than a thriving metropolis, and, for some, marked the beginning of the end of a vibrant experiment in social networking.
In April Yahoo announced plans to close GeoCities down, and stopped accepting new registrations. GeoCities inhabitants were helped to move their web content to their hard drives, and offered the opportunity to move to Yahoo’s pay web hosting service. While all of those web sites, that intimately portrayed the lives of millions of subscribers, are now on their way to the ash heap of history, they won’t much be missed. We’ve still got Facebook, Myspace, Ning and Twitter to keep us occupied.
Yahoo was able to report positive numbers to the tune of $186m so far this year compared to the disappointing $54m they reported this time last year. While those numbers seem promising, sales fell about 12% this year with revenue down to $1.58b.
They can report these numbers because thye slashed more than 2,000 jobs during the past year, freeing some of their overhead costs. Further, they deployed some large service changes, such as welcoming the use of rivals onto its portal, and upgrading and enhancing its web search tools. They also initiated a $100m global advertising campaign for its portal and advertising services.
Most likely, Microsoft is happiest to hear this positive growth as they signed a deal in July to utilize Yahoo’s advertising sales in exchange for Microsoft’s search services. The Federal Trade Commission is still finalizing the deal.
Email spam is on the rise, no surprise there, but new information is suggesting that these emails could be coming from good old mom and dad as well. According to researchers over at Websense, personalized spam emails are being sent from tens of thousands of compromised accounts spanning all of the usual suspects including Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail.
Security researchers have suggested that given the sheer volume of spam emails being observed, the recent leak of some 10,000+ Hotmail accounts obtained through a phishing scam isn’t the only source of compromised email addresses, and it is very likely malware key loggers have helped to contribute to the rise in fraud. "The quantity of people hit makes me think that it was key logging — the success rate for phishing is only about one in 1,000," said Shulman, chief technology officer for security firm Imperva. "Secondly, when I went through the list of email account credentials, there were entries with the same username, but a slightly different password, which suggests that they're typos.
According to Patrick Runald from Websense “"Generally phishing is declining and being replaced by key logging, and considering the number of compromised accounts, it could be a combination of both." Apparently it also helps if your password isn’t 1-2-3-4-5. Time to go change the combination on my luggage!
As part of its mega-million ad campaign, Yahoo has tapped into India's largest English-language newspaper, The Times of India, with a giant yellow ad on the front page pushing the company's 'It's Y!ou' slogan.
Citing circulation statistics from 2008, TechCrunch says the newspaper reaches 3.14 million readers, which is more than any other English-language newspaper on the planet. But whether or not a full-page spread spread makes sense is questionable, as Yahoo's presence in India is already pretty strong, reaching 26 million of the 35 million online users, according to data from comScore.
Yahoo plans to spend $100 million or more on its new marketing campaign, which will also include TV ads on AMC, ESPN, USA, Comedy Central, Bravo, and a bunch of other broadcast networks in the U.S.
Yahoo this past summer committed to a ten year deal agreeing to use Microsoft's search technology in exchange for selling both its own and Microsoft's search ads. But as far as everything else going on at Yahoo, the search company wants to make it clear it's getting along just fine on its own.
"What impact does the Microsoft search deal have on the Yahoo cloud? It has no impact," Shelton Shugar, Yahoo's senior VP of cloud computing, told The Register. "All the services we're building, we will continue to build. All the roadmaps we have in place, we will continue to work towards."
Yahoo has diverted a lot of its attention to cloud computing in recent years, and its search technologies were gobbling up half of the resources on its open-source, cloud-based infrastructure consisting of roughly 25,000 servers. With the Microsoft pact freeing up those resources, Yahoo can focus on other uses.
"Search is just one of the many services [in use across the platform]. We use it for advertising. We use it for content. We use it for all of our usage logs. It is essentially becoming the data warehouse for all of Yahoo," Shugar added.
You have to spend money to make money, and Yahoo will spend $100 million (or more) on its new marketing campaign, which formerly rolled out on Monday. As part of the pricey campaign, TV ads will begin airing on AMC, ESPN, USA, Comedy Central, Bravo, and several other broadcast networks in the U.S.
"You are about to enter a place. A place where time and space collide, and breed wonder, and joy, and wow. Where news travel faster, where friends come closer, and you go farther," Yahoo's new Anthem ad starts out.
The initial ad appears to be more about pushing the company's 'It's Y!ou' slogan than anything else, as there's no mention of specific Yahoo products or technologies. But according to Elisa Steel, Chief Marketing Officer for Yahoo, the search company is planning on rolling out some new products and promoting them through future ads.