Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room. CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of programme makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers. “We will work with content providers, but it is very unlikely that we will get into actual content production,” Schmidt told journalists after a keynote speech to the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Berlin. Sony said last week it had agreed to have Google TV on its television sets, and Samsung has said it was looking into using the service. The announcement comes less than a week after rival Apple unveiled its latest Apple TV product and will intensify a battle for consumers’ attention and potentially for the USD 180 billion global TV advertising market.
Google’s methods for internet search and ranking of websites are being scrutinised by the Texas’s Attorney General – yet another case of authorities closely looking at the core business of the company. The Attorney General’s move comes in the wake of allegations from small companies that they were not fairly ranked by Google when their names come up during the Internet search. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, which is conducting an antitrust review of Google,” the search engine major’s Deputy General Counsel Don Harrison has said. In a blog posted on Friday, Harrison pointed out that the firm works hard to explain its approach to Net search and how its ranking works. Abbott’s office has asked for information about a number of companies, including British price comparison site Foundem, which claim that Google’s algorithms demote their site “because they are a direct competitor to our search engine“. According to the blog, Foundem is backed by ICOMP, an entity that is largely funded by Microsoft. Going by reports, the European Commission is also looking into a complaint against Google.
Apple Inc unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its Web-to-TV device on Wednesday, stepping up a battle with Google Inc and Microsoft Corp for control of the digital living room. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also rolled out a completely overhauled lineup of iPod media players and the latest version of iTunes, with a new logo that does away with the outdated image of a CD. The new Apple TV device, which accesses content from the Internet and plays it on a TV, will sell for USD 99. It is a quarter the size of the original, which cost USD 229. The 4-inch-square device allows users to rent TV shows for 99 cents and first-run films for USD 4.99. Earlier models, which allowed users to only buy shows, failed to find a major audience. Alongside renting TV shows and movies, Apple TV users will be able to stream content from video rental site Netflix Inc. Analysts were lukewarm toward the device, though some saw it as only a small, initial step in a much more ambitious plan
The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future. The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.” The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event. America’s spy services have become increasingly interested in mining “open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the daily avalanche of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports
Google Inc has held talks with gaming companies as it looks to develop a new service to compete with social networking website Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Internet giant has had talks with makers of online games for the service including Playdom Inc, Electronic Arts Inc’s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc, the report said. The report said is unclear when the new offering will be launched. Google already owns and operates social networking site Orkut. The company could not be immediately reached for comment. Walt Disney Co said earlier on Tuesday it is planning to acquire Playdom for USD 563.2m, as the young but fast-growing market for Internet games on Facebook and other websites has exploded, increasing the links between social gaming developers and social networking.
Top Internet portal Yahoo! Japan on Tuesday announced a search alliance with Google, in a deal that would see both giants dominate the Japanese market in a possible blow to Microsoft. The deal would see Yahoo! Japan switch to Google’s search engine from the Yahoo! Inc. technology used previously. It will maintain its current user interface while also using Google’s online advertising and distribution system. Yahoo! Japan is 40 percent owned by telecoms operator Softbank, while Yahoo Inc. holds a 35 percent stake. It is therefore not directly affected by the Internet search partnership reached last year between Microsoft and Yahoo!, an alliance aimed at boosting competition with Google, which has two-thirds of the global market. Inoue added that Yahoo! Inc chief and founder Jerry Yang gave him the green light to pursue the tie up with Google in Japan. However, if Yahoo! Japan and Google team up, Microsoft is likely to try to block the deal from gaining regulatory approval in Japan, Dow Jones Newswires said. Yahoo! Japan currently has about a 57 percent share of the search market and Google has about 31 percent, Inoue said. Microsoft has almost a three percent share.
Google Inc. announced plans to sell special email, word-processing and other services to government agencies, keeping data generated by those applications in a system in the U.S. that is segregated from customers outside the government. The move won’t necessarily make the data more secure than it is for other users, Google executives said, but it accommodates the preferences of some federal agencies that are migrating to so-called “cloud computing” offerings and away from applications run on government servers. The Obama administration is pushing the shift to cut some of the federal government’s USD 76bn annual computing and software budget. Google is marketing its suite of Google Apps for Government as a way for the public sector to save money by not paying upfront licensing fees or operational maintenance expenses, since Google can make fixes to the software anytime. The announcement came shortly after Google received certification that its online services met certain security requirements for use by the federal government, as generally required by a federal law. Microsoft, whose software dominates the government information-technology market, says it is close to receiving the same certification for online software that is based on its popular Microsoft Exchange email system.