June 30, 2010

Google's China website expires at midnight

The license for Google's China website expires at midnight, but as the workday ended it had not been renewed. The US firm antagonized Beijing this year by refusing to censor its search results.
Google closed its Beijing offices for the day Wednesday still uncertain whether its Chinese website would be legal in the morning.
As a midnight deadline for an annual license renewal loomed, Google was still awaiting a decision by the Chinese authorities on its application for a new permit to act as an Internet content provider.
The fate of the American search engine giant – which in January announced that it would no longer submit searches by mainland Chinese users to official censorship as required – has been watched as a test of Internet freedom in the country.
“We are still waiting to hear from the government,” said Marsha Wang, Google spokeswoman in Beijing, on Wednesday afternoon. “We do not know.”
Google said it decided to stop censoring its search results after it had detected cyberattacks coming from China against human rights activists’ Gmail accounts.
It has circumvented Chinese censorship since March by automatically redirecting any user who visited google.cn to the company’s uncensored website in Hong Kong, at google.com.hk.  
The Chinese authorities objected, however. “It is clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable – and that if we continue redirecting users, our Internet Content Provider license will not be renewed,” Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said on Google’s official blog.
“Without an ICP license, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn – so Google would effectively go dark in China,” Mr. Drummond wrote. 
Compromise solution?
Google responded this week to government concerns by adding a step that users on the Chinese mainland must take themselves to find their way to the Hong Kong site. It was still unclear Wednesday evening whether Beijing would accept this technical gesture.
The uncertainty over Google’s website, which channels about one third of Chinese Web searches, has also raised doubts over the company’s other business activities in China, such as its research and development center and its bid to persuade Chinese mobile phonemakers to install its Android software.
On Tuesday, Sina.com published screenshots from the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce website, apparently showing that the four companies through which Google operates in China have all had their business licenses renewed. Those pages could no longer be accessed on Wednesday, and Ms. Wang said she could not comment on the status of Google’s business license applications.
In any case, Google’s website requires a separate license from the Beijing Communications Administration. The agency’s spokesman was not available for comment Wednesday evening.

June 11, 2010

Google’s new kind of display ads let advertisers attract more followers to their Twitter accounts

Google is testing out a new kind of display ad that lets advertisers attract more followers to their Twitter accounts. Ads appear in a box with the Twitter bird icon, the advertisers’ latest tweet and a button prompting viewers to follow the advertiser on Twitter, which they can do without having to leave Google. Clicking on any other part of the ad directs the user to the advertiser’s Twitter page.

“To provide more marketing opportunities for our advertisers to reach users in moments that are relevant and useful to them, we are currently testing different ways that allow advertisers to better update their ads in real time,” a Google spokesperson has said, adding, “We are currently in a limited test with a small number of advertisers and publishers.” 
Source: ClickZ via Mashable

June 5, 2010

Turkey bans Google's Services, Twitter and Friendfeed

The Turkish government has reportedly blocked access to some or all of Google’s services in that country. Turkish citizens on Twitter and other social networks such as FriendFeed have also reported access problems, and have been sharing comments about the blockage using hashtags such as TurkeyCensorGoogle, TurkeyGoogleBan and NoGoogleNoWeb. 

It’s not clear whether this is a deliberate attempt to block all of Google’s websites and services, or whether the latest access restrictions are related to the government’s ongoing attempts to block YouTube. Access to Google’s video service was cut off in 2008 after complaints that videos critical of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk — the founder of modern Turkey — were available on YouTube. Criticism of Turkey, or any “insult to Turkishness,” is a criminal offence in that country, reports GigaOm. 

A Google spokesman has said, “We have received reports that some Google applications are unable to be accessed in Turkey. The difficulty in accessing some Google services in Turkey appears to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube. We are working to get our services back up as soon as possible.” 

The telecommunication and communication ministry (TIB), a government body that can control internet accessibility in Turkey are reportedly attempting to block certain IPs (internet protocol addresses) belonging to Google due to ‘legal reason’. ISPs in the country are understood to have told users that they would suffer accessibility problems to Google’s home page in Turkey, websites that use Google Analytics, and use of the Google Toolbar. [Source: National Turk]
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June 3, 2010

September 2010 witness Google Chrome OS

At the on-going Computex 2010 Expo, Google announced that Chrome OS would be released in Fall (September) this year.

Google's vice president of product management, Sundar Pichai said, "We are working on bringing the device later this fall." So now, we have a fixed time frame when Chrome OS will finally be made available on notebooks and desktops. It was in July 2009 that Google had announced Linux kernel based Chrome OS for desktops and notebooks. This open source operating system is based on Google's Chrome browser and is designed to work seamlessly with web applications.

Pichai added, "It's something which we are very excited by ... We expect it to reach millions of users on day one." Untill we come across and use a Chrome OS based device, we cannot say whether Google will beat Microsoft or not. Google Chrome OS would be available on notebooks and desktops from partners like Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo. Techtree

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June 1, 2010

Google Security Concern: Mac or Linux, No to Windows

According to the Financial Times, the technology titan has been slowly phasing out the use of Windows internally since January, not long after it was assaulted by Chinese hackers. For example, new hires are no longer offered Windows PCs — the choices are now an Apple Mac computer or a PC loaded with Linux.
Google’s policies surrounding the internal use of Windows aren’t clear-cut, though. Some employees can still install Windows on their laptops, but not their desktop computers. However, Googlers need explicit permission from “quite senior levels” in order to keep using the Windows OS.
The move makes sense: Windows and Internet Explorer have been implicated as vectors in which hackers accessed personal accounts and confidential data from Google’s servers. And of course, Microsoft is one of Google’s primary competitors.
It’s important to note that later this year, Google is expected to release Chrome OS, the company’s web-centric operating system. However, the decision to leave Windows behind doesn’t seem to be motivated by the impending release of its experimental OS.
Source: Mashable