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July 24 2013

Le 1er ministre anglais en croisade contre la pornographie

Le 1er ministre anglais en croisade contre la pornographie

David Cameron, le premier ministre anglais, estime que la présence de la pornographie sur Internet n’a que trop duré. Il mène depuis peu une campagne pour remédier à cela.

Selon lui, les acteurs majeurs d’Internet que sont google, Bing et Yahoo ! ont leur part de responsabilité dans l’accessibilité de la pornographie. Le politicien leur a demandé de mettre en place un filtre activé de base, ce qui obligerait les clients à contacter leur FAI pour en demander explicitement la désactivation.

David Cameron estime qu’il est temps que les FAI fassent preuve de moral afin de lutter plus efficacement contre la pornographie, particulièrement celle concernant les enfants, en mettant en blacklistant certains mots lors des recherches. Et si jamais cela n’est techniquement pas possible, le 1er ministre anglais les somme de mettre au travail leurs petits génies.❞

#pornographie #cameron #anglais #google #bing #yahoo

July 24 2012

Apps Rush: The Unilever Series, Bing Get MeThere, SoFit, Goldstar Savings Bank, Jurassic Park Builder and more

What's new on the app stores on Tuesday 24 July 2012

A selection of 13 new and notable apps for you today:

The Unilever Series at Tate Modern

London's Tate Modern has launched an official app for its 13-year "Unilever Series' of installations, "from Olafur Eliasson's sun to Ai Weiwei's carpet of sunflower seeds". That means more than 250 photos and 12 videos, as well as articles by curators and artists, and some of the early sketches for each exhibit.

Bing Get MeThere

Microsoft has launched a London travel app for iPhone using its Bing brand, promising "true door-to-door directions using Bing maps and live tube updates". Favourite journeys can also be set up for quick access.


SoFit is the latest social fitness app (hence the name, presumably), which awards points every time you exercise. It promises real-life rewards for this: "exclusive products from your favorite brands; downloads like music, videos and games; as well as fundraise for the causes you care about".

Goldstar Savings Bank

This iPad app wants to teach children about financial basics, without making it dry and boring. A tall order, but Goldstar Savings Bank may just have nailed it: the idea being it's an app for children to record their savings and earn money for household chores, in order to buy rewards.

Jurassic Park Builder

The latest family-friendly brand to spawn its own freemium game is Jurassic Park, with this new iOS game from Ludia. It follows the Smurfs' Village / FarmVille template with players building their own parks, buying virtual bucks through in-app purchases to fund it. $99.99 IAP in a game that's likely to appeal to children? Hmm. The game is US-only for now.
iPhone / iPad


Assistant is the latest Siri-like voice recognition app for a non-iOS platform. In this case: Windows Phone. It's a "virtual buddy for your smartphone that uses natural language technology" to answer questions, search for information and launch apps, hooking into Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Evernote and other services.
Windows Phone

The Icky Mr Fox

UK studio Ickypen has launched a children's book app that sees Icky Mr Fox trying to ruin the afternoon tea of Mr Rabbit and Mr Mole, with "tippy-tappy objects" that speak their name when touched. Unusually, it's available on Android and BlackBerry PlayBook as well as iPad.
Android / iPad / BlackBerry PlayBook

Around The Clock

Swedish developer Wombi Apps has a characterful new iOS app for children all about clocks. It includes a mini-game for each hour of the day, from teeth-brushing and biking home from pre-school to hammering nails and slicing butter. The idea being to familiarise children with the clock, rather than overtly teach them how to read it.
iPhone / iPad

X-Ray for Android

Android owners concerned about nasty malward have a number of apps to choose from, as security companies pile onto the platform to capitalise on reports of Android viruses. X-Ray for Android is the latest, promising to scan for vulnerabilities and "keep your carrier honest".

5K To Marathon Runmeter GPS

Completed the programme set by a "couch to 5k" app? Time to step up, perhaps: this app focuses on going beyond 5k races to "give you feedback and motivation to go farther, be healthier, and live longer".

Party Wave

Cartoon-surfing game Party Wave looks fun on iOS, getting you to position a bunch of surfers to ride a big wave in top-down view, before switching to a side-on perspective to guide them through it. The game is also notable, though, for being the first from Japanese developer Mistwalker – founded by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.
iPhone / iPad

Cardagram Postcard

French digital-to-physical postcards app Cardagram has launched in the UK. Like established rival Touchnote, it turns iPhone photos into real postcards to be sent worldwide – usually charging £1.99, although it's £0.99 in a launch offer. One nice touch: it can pull in photos from Instagram and Facebook.

Historables: Marie Ant-toinette

Yes, Marie Antoinette re-imagined as a cartoon "ant queen" in a story-app for children. No, I have no idea how they handle the guillotine part. But yes, the app sees Marie baking and decorating a cake, setting up a castle room and wander through underground ant tunnels. More Historables apps are following from developer Base Camp Films: stand by for Teddy Bear Roosevelt and Lionardo Da Vinci...
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August 07 2011

Wochenrückblick: Dritter Korb, Leistungsschutzrecht, 9Live

Die Bundesregierung arbeitet am „Dritten Korb“ der Urheberrechtsreform, die Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer wendet sich gegen das geplante Presse-Leistungssc


May 06 2011

Search Notes: The high cost of search market share

Here's what caught my attention in the search world this week.

Bing's partnership with RIM: Will distribution lead to increased mobile search share?

Search market share isn't just about providing great search results. It's also about distribution. Become the default search provider in an application or on a device, and as a search engine, you've at least partially won the battle for those users (unless your search experience is so bad it drives users from their normal behavior of not changing defaults right to your competitor).

Google currently has 97% mobile market share in the United States, which is partially due to distribution — both with its Android OS and as the default search on the iPhone. (And consumers are increasingly interested in Android and iPhone over RIM and Microsoft Windows mobile.)

BingBut Bing is trying to change the market share balance, in part by becoming the default search provider on RIM BlackBerry devices. Microsoft Smartphones make up 9% of the SmartPhone market (vs. more than 50% for the combination of Android and iPhone). RIM makes up an additional 33%.

Some think that Microsoft's aggressive pursuit of distribution deals makes poor business sense:

Microsoft's Bing search engine is indeed gaining some share of search queries in the US market (globally, Bing is nowhere). But it is gaining this share at an absolutely mind-boggling cost. Specifically, Microsoft is gaining share for Bing by doing spectacularly expensive distribution deals, deals that don't even come close to paying for themselves in additional revenue.

How much is Microsoft spending to buy market share for Bing?

Based on an analysis of Microsoft's financial statements, Bing is paying about 3X as much for every incremental search query as it generates in revenue from that query.

Continued personalization of Google News

Radar's Alex Howard, writing recently about research around how we increasingly look online for political news, noted:

Polarization can express itself in how people group online and offline. As with so many activities online, political information gathering online requires news consumers to be more digitally literate. That may mean recognizing the potential for digital echo chambers, where unaware citizens become trapped in a filter bubble created by rapidly increasing personalization in search, commercial and social utilities like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

The research, conducted by the Pew Internet and Life Project, found that actually, we are exposed to a variety of viewpoints online. But those who are concerned about potential filter bubbles may be wary of new personalization features of Google News that use previous Google News activity to shape the "News for you" and a new "Recommended Sections" feature. Google says personalization uses both "subjects and sources," so it will expose content based on topics you're interested in (which may come from a variety of sources and viewpoints) and sources you've clicked on (which may be more likely to share your perspective).

Search and Osama Bin Laden

News events always cause search spikes, but the death of Osama Bin Laden caused an all out search frenzy. Yahoo reported a 98,550% increase in searches for the name on May 1, in part driven by teenagers wondering who he was.

Google Trends result for May 2 2011
Google Trends result for May 2, 2011.

Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan compared Google results on September 11, 2001, when Google posted a message on their home page advising searchers looking for new information to go elsewhere, vs. May 1, 2011, when a combination of news articles and tweets provided up-to-the minute news in search results. (Google's inability to provide real-time news coverage on September 11, 2011 led to the creation of Google News.)


April 15 2011

Search Notes: More scrutiny for Google, more share for Bing

This week, worldwide courts continue their interest in Google while Bing is edging up in market share. That may actually be good news for Google as they fight antitrust allegations.

Google and privacy and governments

GoogleI've written in this column before about both U.S. and international courts looking at all aspects of Google, including antitrust and citizen privacy. That scrutiny continues. The Justice Department has given the go-ahead to Google's acquisition of travel technology company ITA, but the FTC has also instituted conditions to prevent the acquisition from substantially lessening competition. Google agreed to the terms and closed the deal on April 12.

This could pave the way for a FTC antitrust investigation, however. It remains to be seen if the FTC will see the concessions stipulated by the Justice Department to be enough to forgo the investigation. As the result of another FTC investigation, Google hasagreed to 20 years of privacy audits.

The U.S. isn't the only country keeping an eye over Google. Courts in Italy have ruled that for search results in Italy, Google has to filter out negative suggested queries in its autocomplete product.

Swiss courts have ruled that Google has to ensure all faces and license plates are blurred out in its Street View product. Google's technology currently catches and blurs out 98%-99% of both already, but the Swiss ruling mandates that Google blur out the remaining by hand if necessary.

In Germany, Google has stopped Street View photography, possibly to avoid burdensome requirements from German courts. Bing is already facing objections from the German government for its plans to operate a similar service.

Bing's growing market share

BingBoth Hitwise and comScore search engine market share numbers are out, and both show Bing gaining.

Hitwise shows that Bing gained 6% in March, for a current share of 14.32%. Bing-powered search (which includes Yahoo) now stands at 30.1%. (Google lost 3% for a share of 64.42%.)

comScore March data shows that Bing's gain from the previous month is much smaller at .3%, for a current share of 13.9% (and a total Bing-powered search share of 29.6%). ComScore's data shows Google with a .3% increase as well for a current share of 65.7%.

Bing's increase may be due, in part, to increased usage of Internet Explorer 9.

Yahoo BOSS relaunches

The original version of Yahoo BOSS was intended to spark innovation in the startup industry and provide a free, white labeled search index that developers could build from. The newest version, however is a fairly substantial change from the original mission, as it includes branding and pricing requirements.

Of course, Yahoo search itself has changed since the original launch. When BOSS was first envisioned, Yahoo had its own search engine and was looking to disrupt the search engine landscape and compete with both Bing and Google. Now, Yahoo uses Bing's search engine, and in fact, this new version of BOSS uses Bing's index as well.

Will applications built on Yahoo BOSS continue to use the platform with these new requirements? I'd be interested in talking to developers who are facing this decision.

Google rolls out its "content farm" algorithm internationally

In late February, Google launched a substantial change to its ranking algorithms that impacted nearly 12% of queries. This change was intended to identify low quality sites, such as those known as content farms and reduce their ranking.

Google has now made some tweaks and has rolled out the change worldwide for all English queries. Sites around the world are already beginning to see the impact.

One tweak is that Google is now taking into account data about which sites searchers block. Google uses hundreds of signals to determine what web pages are the most useful to searchers and this is one example of how user behavior can play into that.

Online reputation management

Nick Bilton recently wrote a piece in the New York Times about the rise of online reputation management. In today's online world, a quick search for a person's name or a company can surface old past discretions, mistakes, or the crazy rantings of someone with a grudge and passable HTML skills.

Mike Loukides followed this up with a Radar post about how he was disturbed by the idea of manipulating search results and using black hat SEO techniques to make negative information disappear.

This topic becomes more important as our lives and culture move online. Justask Rick Santorum.

So what can you do that's not "black hat" if negative information starts appearing about you or your organization? Google recommends that you "proactively publish [positive] information." For example, make sure your business website is optimized well for search and claim ownership of your business listings on the major search engine maps.

Make sure that you've filled out profiles on social media sites, use traditional public relations to raise visibility, and get involved in the conversation. For instance, if negative forum posts appear about your company in search results, reply in those forums with additional information.

[Note: If the "traditional public relations" that you use is to raise visibility of the negative issue a la Rick Santorum, you'll likely only increase the number of search results that appear about the negative issue, as he's perhaps learned.]

If you're able to get a site owner to take down negative information about you, you can request that Google remove that page from its index. And if you have gotten a court order related to unlawful content, you can request Google remove that content from its index as well.


April 11 2011

Der Wochenrückblick: Schutzfristen, Geschmacksmuster, Netzsperren

Eine Schutzfristverlängerung für Musik auf 70 Jahre könnte nun doch kommen, eine Werbe-Abbildung eines Geschmacksmusters ist kein Zitat, die


March 30 2011

Search Notes: The future of advertising could get really personal

This week, we imagine the future of advertising as we think about how much can really be tracked about us, including what we watch, our chats with our friends, and if we buy a lot of bacon.

Google expands its predictions

Search engines such as Google have an amazing amount of data, both in general (they do store the entire web, after all) and about what we search for (in aggregate, regionally, and categorized in all kinds of segments). In 2009, Google published a fascinating paper about predictions based on search data. The company has made use of this data in kinds of ways, such forecasting flu trends and predicting the impact of the Gulf oil spill on Florida tourism.

You can see the forecasted interest for all kinds of things using Google Insights for Search. Own a gardening web site? You might want to know that people are going to be looking for information on planting bulbs in April and October.

Web Search Interest: planting bulbs
Click to enlarge

Those predictions are all based on search data, but search engines can do similar things with data from websites. Google is now predicting answers to searches using its Google Squared technology. Want to know the release date of a movie or video game? Just ask Google. A Google spokesperson said this feature is for any type of query as long as they have "enough high quality sites corroborating the answer."

Movie guess
Click to enlarge

Yahoo and Bing evolve the search experience

We hear a lot about Google's experiments with changes in the user experience of search, but the other major search engines are changing as well.

When Yahoo replaced their search engine with Bing's, they said they would continue to innovate the search experience. The most recent change they've made is with Search Direct, which is similar to Google's instant search but includes rich media and advertising directly in a dropdown box.

Bing also continues to revise their user interface, the latest being tweets shown on the Bing news search results page (in a box called "public updates"). This is in addition to their "most recent" box.

Bing results
Click to enlarge

Search engines and social networks continue to change the face of advertising

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about the ads that appear next to Google search results, but search-based ads were an amazing transformation in advertising. For the first time, advertisers could target consumers who were looking for exactly what those advertisers had to offer. At scale. Want to target an audience looking to buy black waterproof boots? A snowboard roof rack for a 2007 Mini Cooper? A sparkly pink mini skirt? No problem!

Several years ago, Google introduced ads in Gmail that were intended to be contextually relevant to the email you were reading. This attempt was a bit more hit or miss. Contextual advertising is always going to be a bit less relevant than search advertising. If I'm searching for "best hiking gear," I'm likely looking to buy some. If I'm reading an article in the New York Times about hiking trails in Vermont, I might just be filling time while I wait in line to renew my driver's license. And matching advertising to email is even harder. I might open an email about hiking and wonder how I got on an outdoor mailing list.

For Gmail ads, Google is now looking to use additional signals about how you interact with your mail beyond just the content of the message. They noted that when working on the Priority Inbox feature, they found that signals that determined what mail was important could also potentially be used to figure out what types of ads you might be most interested in.

For example, if you've recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting. On the other hand if you've reported these messages as spam, you probably don't want to see that deal.

Facebook is also looking to show us ads based on conversations we're having online. This type of advertising has been available in a more general way on Facebook for some time, but this newest test shows ads based on posts in real time. AdAge's description of it sounds like it hits upon the core reason search ads are so effective:

The moment between a potential customer expressing a desire and deciding on how to fulfill that desire is an advertiser sweet spot, and the real-time ad model puts advertisers in front of a user at that very delicate, decisive moment.

Simply showing better ads in email and next to conversations in social networks is one thing, but the more interesting idea is how this idea can be used more broadly. Advertising has always provided the profit for most media (television, newspapers, websites) and innovation as we saw with the original search ads is critical in thinking through the future of journalism.

A breakthrough that makes advertising in online versions of videos more successful than commercials on television could be key in the transition of television to online viewing. Americans engaged in 5 billion online video viewing sessions in February 2011. We watched 3.8 billion ads, but if you are like me and watch a lot of Hulu (and many of you are, as Hulu served more video ads than anyone else), you might wonder if all of those ad views were of the same PSA.

Part of why mainstream advertisers haven't taken the leap from traditional television commercials to video ads is that TV commercials are tried and true. Why transition away from that? A good motivator would be an entirely new ad platform that takes real advantage of the online medium. (In the future, perhaps awebcam will track our facial expressions and use that data to stop showing us that annoying commercial!)

Ad platforms have been evolving use of behavioral targeting for a while, but it's still early days. As for the changes in Gmail ads, it will be interesting to see if the types of email we get one day is part of the personalization algorithm for our search (and search ad) results and if what kinds of email lists we subscribe to and what types of things we search for impact the video ads we see on YouTube.

Add to that the predictive elements of search and that organizations such as Rapleaf can tie our email addresses to what we buy at the grocery store (Googlers drink a lot of Mountain Dew and snack on Dorritos ... and bacon) and it's pretty clear that radical shifts in personalized advertising are likely not too far away.

Google still the top place to work

One in four job applicants wants to work at Google. That's nearly twice the number who want to work at Apple. The top write-in company (a list of 150 was offered in the study) was Facebook, followed by the Department of Homeland Security. No, I don't know why either.

Google was also named the top brand of 2011. So,despite their legal woes, consumers and potential employees are still fans.


February 22 2011

Search Notes: Paid links don't pay off

Americans conducted 18.2 billions searches in December 210. We use search to research products, get advice about our health, find local businesses, and track down government resources. Search is a ubiquitous part of our lives, technology, and our business strategies.

With that in mind, I'll be offering up a weekly roundup of what's happening in the world of search. I'll primarily focus on unpaid (organic) search, not advertising — both what's happening with the search engines and with searcher behavior.

That said, here's what recently caught my eye in the search space.

J.C. Penney and Forbes run afoul of Google's guidelines

The core focus of Google's search team is to provide the most relevant and useful results possible to searchers. This effort is complex and includes all kinds of things, such as working to store a comprehensive index of the web, understanding searcher intent from just a few words in a query, and using a variety of signals to figure out what pages web users like the most.

One such value signal has historically been the linking structure of the web. A page that a lot of sites link to might be a pretty useful page. Understandably, links in ads are excluded from this value signal.

Google has published guidelines (as has Bing) that basically say that if sites try to manipulate the signals that Google uses in ranking sites, Google might remove those sites from their index or reduce their rankings.

Some of these tactics are obvious. We've all come across web spam — pages with no value at all — and it makes sense that search engines would remove these pages entirely. But then there are sites that are legitimate businesses and do have value. Google takes action when they find these sites are trying to manipulate the algorithms in order to preserve the integrity of the search results.

The New York Times published a story last weekend that outlined how seemed to suspiciously rank number one in Google for every possible query. On closer investigation, it was found that the site had a lot of external links that had been brokered through a paid link network. These weren't advertising links. They were links intended to artificially increase PageRank (Google's calculation of value from the web's linking structure).

JC Penney search result
Screenshot of the JCPenney's organic search results.

Google took action and plummeted in the search rankings. J.C. Penney promptly fired their search engine optimization agency. In a piece on Search Engine Land, I detailed what happened, and how to avoid a similar fate.

Just as that was cooling down, Forbes outed itself for being on the other side of a link scheme. was selling links for PageRank (rather than advertising) at least as far back as 2007. Google took action; Forbes fixed the situation. But then last week, someone from Forbes posted in the Google webmaster discussion forum that they'd received a notification from Google (Google sometimes sends these notifications to verified owners in webmaster tools) about "artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank." He posted because he was stumped as to what those links might be. TechCrunch soon pointed them out and Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, posted in the forum that the links identified in the TechCrunch article did indeed violate Google's guidelines as they apparently were links coming from a paid link network (different than the one used to buy links to, but a similar idea). Cutts said:

If I could recommend a single post that discusses our policies against buying/selling links that pass PageRank, I would recommend [this]. That post discusses why we think paid links that pass PageRank are a bad idea and gives a timeline with pointers to posts that we've done in the past about this topic.

Cutts recommended that Forbes remove those paid links and then file a reconsideration request with Google.

Forbes then posted a statement on their own site that "there was a period of time in the past when Forbes did sell links through a partner. This is no longer the case, and we began removing those links late last year." They noted that some links still exist on the site, and that was an oversight.

The lesson? If you operate a business online and rely on search traffic as a primary acquisition method, make sure you have a good handle on everything that goes into operating a business online, including the guidelines published by the major search engines. If you hire an agency to help with this, make sure that agency is one that follows the guidelines. And be patient. Success from unpaid search may take longer when you don't use tricks to manipulate the search algorithms. The upside is that the search traffic you acquire won't be at risk of drying up at any moment.

Bing gains slight market share, redesign its toolbar

According to comScore, Bing went from 12% to 13.1% search market share in January (and Google dropped from 66.6% to 65.5%). All Bing-powered searches (including Yahoo), are at 24.4% share and Google-powered searches are at 69.4%. This is good news for Microsoft, who has been investing substantial resources in search.

Bing toolbar
Screenshot of the Bing toolbar

Bing also launched a new version of its toolbar that features dropdown elements that make it more like a portal than a toolbar. You can keep up with your stocks, get weather information, play games, and see Facebook activity right from the toolbar.

Bing's reasons for investing in such a fancy toolbar are likely two-fold. If you use the toolbar a lot, you're likely to search directly from it, and that means you're not using Google to search. And as became clear if you watched the Colbert Report a couple of weeks ago, search engines use toolbar data to gain insight on how people search. One data point Bing uses is clickstream information, includingwhat searchers click on when using Google. The more clickstream data Bing has, the more informed their search results can be.

Chrome's personal blocklist lets you block sites from Google search results

The community at Hacker News has been asking for a way to block sites from appearing in search results, and Google has delivered. Matt Cutts posted there that the feature was a direct result of a request from Hacker News. Just install the Chrome extension, click "block URL" under any search result, and you'll never see that page again.

Google adds more social signals to search results

If you specify your social networks in your Google profile, your search results will now show when those you're connected to have shared that content. For instance, pages that those you follow on Twitter have shared in tweets may get a rankings boost in your search results. This makes your search results not only more social, but also more personalized. It's yet another way that we all see different results.

Here's some more coverage on Google's inclusion of social signals:

Upload your own data to Google Public Data Explorer

Google's Public Data Explorer lets you access, analyze, and visualize large data sets. Now you can upload data sets of your own for sharing and visualization. Google is also looking for partnerships with "official providers" of public data for the directory. Anyone who is working with large datasets should check this out, as Google has made it easy to work with and it provides some great visualizations.

Got news?

News tips are always welcome, so please send them along.

February 03 2011

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