Posts Tagged ‘Google’

>Facebook Loses Much Face In Secret Smear On Google
Facebook secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about Google, says Dan Lyons in a jaw dropping story at the Daily Beast.

For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.
The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”

Not good.
The source emails are here.
I’ve been patient with Facebook over the years as they’ve had their privacy stumbles. They’re forging new ground, and it’s not an exaggeration to say they’re changing the world’s notions on what privacy is. Give them time. They’ll figure it out eventually.
But secretly paying a PR firm to pitch bloggers on stories going after Google, even offering to help write those stories and then get them published elsewhere, is not just offensive, dishonest and cowardly. It’s also really, really dumb. I have no idea how the Facebook PR team thought that they’d avoid being caught doing this.
First, it lets the tech world know that Facebook is scared enough of what Google’s up to to pull a stunt like this. Facebook isn’t supposed to be scared, ever, about anything. Supreme confidence in their destiny is the the way they should be acting.
Second, it shows a willingness by Facebook to engage in cowardly behavior in battle. It’s hard to trust them on other things when we know they’ll engage in these types of campaigns.
And third, some of these criticisms of Google are probably valid, but it doesn’t matter any more. The story from now on will only be about how Facebook went about trying to secretly smear Google, and got caught.
The truth is Google is probably engaging in some somewhat borderline behavior by scraping Facebook content, and are almost certainly violating Facebook’s terms and conditions. But many people argue, me included, that the key data, the social graph, really should belong to the users, not Facebook. And regardless, users probably don’t mind that this is happening at all. It’s just Facebook trying to protect something that it considers to be its property.
Next time Facebook should take a page from Google’s playbook when they want to trash a competitor. Catch them in the act and then go toe to toe with them, slugging it out in person. Right or wrong, no one called Google a coward when they duped Bing earlier this year.
You’ve lost much face today, Facebook.
Update: Sleazy PR Firm Throws Scummy Facebook Under The Sordid Bus


Hello all readers of the MasterBlogs!

Excuse us for the breakdown in our blog service, but Blogger is to blame!!! – not us!!

The MasterBlog: Blogger is (Finally) back

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Google plans to tap Brazil’s fertile market / Technology – By Samantha Pearson in São Paulo
Published: April 22 2011 23:02 | Last updated: April 22 2011 23:02

Google expects revenue from its Brazilian operations to surge 80 per cent this year as the government pours huge amounts of investment into the sector, making the country one of the company’s most promising growth markets.
Giving Brazil’s poor more access to the internet and improving connection speeds is a priority of the country’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, who sees the web as the best way to accelerate social and economic development.

Latin America accounted for 2-3 per cent of Google’s $29.3bn revenue last year, with analysts estimating that Brazil brought in as much as $500m.
As more Brazilians move into the middle classes and buy their first computer, internet usage has soared.
But even as the economy slows this year, private and public investment under the country’s National Broadband Plan should keep up the momentum of growth in the sector.
“Brazil has a very low broadband penetration and out of 200m or more mobile phones, only about 12m to 14m are smart phones. Most are pre-paid,” Mr Coelho said. “There is a big eco-system to be developed here.”
This week, Paulo Bernardo, the communications minister, said Brazil’s government could spend up to R$1bn (US$640m) a year until 2014 to improve internet services, making the country an attractive destination for Google at a time when it is struggling with censorship issues in other emerging markets such as China and Russia.
Google Brazil plans to increase its workforce by 50 per cent this year from the current 350, said Mr Coelho, who joined the company last month after almost a decade at AT&T and stints at Citi and Gillette.
As well as growth in advertising via YouTube and the rising popularity of the Android mobile phone platform, Mr Coelho is optimistic about Orkut, Google’s social networking site and one of Facebook’s big competitors. Facebook overtook Orkut in India last year and has fast been gaining popularity among young Brazilians, but Orkut still has about four times as many users in Brazil.
Additional reporting by Richard Waters in San Francisco / Technology – Google plans to tap Brazil’s fertile market

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Google Invests in World’s Largest Solar Power Tower Plant

Google has just sealed a deal to invest $168 million in a Mojave Desert solar energy plant.
The investment is going to BrightSource Energy, a company that developes and operates large-scale solar power plants, specifically to fund its Ivanpah project.
Ivanpah is a solar electric generating system that uses solar thermal technology and “an environmentally responsible design,” according to the project’s website, to deliver reliable, clean and low-cost power to Californians.
The plant will generate energy with a technology called power towers. Mirrors, called heliostats, are arranged in an array and aim the sun’s rays at a receiver atop a tower. The receiver generates steam; the steam causes a turbine to rotate; the rotation causes a generator to generate electricity. Because such large quantities of solar energy are being directed to such a small area, the power towers are very efficient.
The power tower at Ivanpah will be around 450 feet tall. The plant will use 173,000 heliostats, and each heliostat will have two mirrors, making Ivanpah the largest project of its kind.
Construction at Ivanpah should be completed in 2013. Here’s a video from the plant’s groundbreaking ceremony:
Google’s been on something of a clean energy investment kick over the past year or so. The company was granted the ability to buy and sell energy as a public utility last February, ostensibly to find better ways to power its own massive data centers.
A short time later, Google began making significant investments in green energy technologies. The company sealed a $38 million wind farm investment in May, bought 20 years’ worth of wind farm energy in July, and provided a substantial investment for a huge offshore wind farm in October.
Rick Needham is Google’s Director of Green Business Operations. On the company blog, writes, “We hope that investing in Ivanpah spurs continued development and deployment of this promising technology while encouraging other companies to make similar investments in renewable energy.”

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>Google founder hopes to prove he’s ready to be CEO
AP via Yahoo! News

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writer – Fri Apr 1, 4:48 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Google co-founder Larry Page is known for his vision, passion and intelligence.

Yet there is a fair amount of concern that Page’s other known traits — his aloofness, rebellious streak and affinity for pursuing wacky ideas — might lead the company astray. Page takes over as CEO on Monday as fast-rising rivals and tougher regulators threaten Google’s growth.

Investors used to Google Inc.’s consistency in exceeding financial targets worry that new leadership will bring more emphasis on long-term projects that take years to pay off. And many people still aren’t sure he has enough management skills to steer the Internet’s most powerful company.

Page already has learned that smarts alone won’t make him a great leader. Although Page impressed Google’s early investors with his ingenuity, they still insisted that he step down in 2001 as Google’s first CEO. He turned over the job to Eric Schmidt, a veteran executive who began working in Silicon Valley in the early 1980s while Page was still in grammar school.

Page’s admirers say that at 38, he is more mature and less apt to be chronically late to meetings or tune out of conversations that don’t stimulate his intellect — habits that he fell into during his first stint as CEO.

‘There are parts of being CEO that don’t fit Larry’s personality,’ said Craig Silverstein, the first employee that Page and Google’s other founder, Sergey Brin, hired when they started the company in 1998. ‘You wear a lot of different hats when you’re CEO. Some of them are very interesting to Larry and some of them, presumably, are less interesting.’

True to his taciturn form, Page hasn’t said much publicly since Google made its stunning announcement in January that he will replace Schmidt as CEO. Google said Page wasn’t available for an interview.

Page, though, has left little doubt about his top priority: to dissolve the bureaucracy and complacency that accompanied the company’s rapid transformation into a 21st-century empire. Google is expected to end the year with more than 30,000 employees and $35 billion in annual revenue.

In Page’s mind, the 13-year-old company needs to return to thinking and acting like a feisty startup. Rising Internet stars such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon, all less than 8 years old, are developing products that could challenge Google and make its dominance of Internet search less lucrative.

Page has drawn comparisons to two high-tech geniuses who are even more accomplished: Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs. Like those two pioneers in personal technology, Page invented and cultivated a product that changed the world.

But Page has yet to match them in this respect: as CEOs, Gates and Jobs brought out the best in the companies that they created, delighting stockholders as their investments soared.

Page doesn’t fit the CEO mold, even by the standards of Silicon Valley’s free-wheeling culture. He dropped out of graduate school at Stanford to start Google and doesn’t have a business degree.

Science and technology, though, seems to be in his DNA even though he grew up in Michigan, where automobiles rule.

His late father, Carl, was a computer scientist and pioneer in artificial intelligence, and his mother taught computer programming. Page began working on personal computers when he was just 6 years old in 1979, when home computers were a rarity. The geeky impulses carried into his adulthood, leading him to once build an inkjet printer out of Legos.

Page relishes challenging the status quo and encourages his employees to do so, too. Those who know Page suspect he picked up the anti-establishment mindset as a boy who attended Montessori schools, which discourage structured curricula and encourage independent activities.

Page has wanted to control his own destiny — and legacy — since reading a biography of the inventor Nikola Tesla before he was even in high school. Tesla wasn’t rewarded or widely recognized for his breakthroughs in X-ray, wireless communications and electricity. Page didn’t want that to happen to him as an entrepreneur.

For that reason, Page embraced the chance to be Google’s CEO when the company started in a rented garage not far from the company’s current headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. It also helps explain why he and Brin created a separate class of stock with greater voting power so they and Schmidt could remain in charge after the company went public in 2004. Page’s stake in Google has made him one of the world’s wealthiest people with an estimated fortune of $20 billion.

Although the contours of his personality and background are known quantities, Page remains an enigmatic figure on Wall Street.

To some, he remains best known for uncompromising idealism, reflected in his embrace of his company’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ motto and his pledge to never cater to investors’ desire for ever-rising quarterly earnings at the expense of long-term investments.

Page already raised concerns by pushing Google into renewable energy and robotic cars. Those who know him say he has discussed even more far-flung projects behind closed doors.

‘Sometimes his ideas are just way out there and you’re kind of like, ‘Wow, that came out of left field,” said Ethan Anderson, a former Google product manager who now runs Redbeacon, a startup that operates a search engine for finding neighborhood businesses.

Uncertainty about whether Page will be as interested as Schmidt in appeasing Wall Street has contributed to a 6 percent drop in Google’s stock price since the CEO change was announced Jan. 20. The technology-driven Nasdaq index has added 3 percent during that time.

BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that Google revealed it would hire more than 6,200 employees this year — a 25 percent boost, and the most in its history — less than a week after it announced Page’s comeback as CEO.

‘Don’t be surprised if Google’s spending goes up, even it means its earnings per share might go down,’ Gillis said.

Page’s supporters believe Google’s current market value of about $190 billion will climb even higher under his leadership. That would mirror what happened after Jobs finally got his chance to run Apple in 1997 after a decade in exile. Since then, Apple has brought out the iconic iPod, iPhone and iPad devices and created more than $300 billion in shareholder wealth.

But the returns of company founders haven’t always been triumphant. Consider Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang’s second stint as CEO from June 2007 to January 2009. Yahoo’s stock fell 56 percent during that period, larger than the 41 percent drop for Nasdaq. Unlike the rest of the Nasdaq, Yahoo shares aren’t close to rebounding to their June 2007 levels.

Hoping to smooth the transition to a new CEO, Google is keeping Schmidt, 55, in a prominent role as executive chairman and chief liaison with lawmakers and regulators around the world. That’s an important job as Google faces growing scrutiny over its ambitions to use its dominance in search to enter new markets. Brin, 37, intends to focus on long-term projects, leaving Page to manage Google’s daily operations.

‘I am quite convinced that this change will result in faster decision-making, better success for the business and ultimately greater value for the shareholders,’ Schmidt told The Associated Press after Google announced its shake-up in January.

In the past, the three made key decisions by committee, though Schmidt was the one responsible as CEO. Schmidt guided Google through an uninterrupted stretch of prosperity that has topped the performances of other technology trailblazers, including Apple and Microsoft, at similar stages of their corporate lives.

Page is better prepared to be CEO after a decade as Schmidt’s apprentice, said Douglas Merrill, who worked with both executives before leaving Google in 2008 as vice president of engineering.

‘Larry has grown over time,’ Merrill said. ‘He has learned how to make projects work. He has learned how to make sure things happen on time and in a predictable fashion. Larry is a sort of a learning machine.’


AP Technology Writer Rachel Metz in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Google founder hopes to prove he’s ready to be CEO – Yahoo! News


Incredible the industry that it has become! 
Google Chases Computer Criminals to Search-Engine Competitors – Bloomberg
Google Inc. has almost cut in half the malicious software affecting users of its search engine, driving hackers to competitors including Microsoft Inc.’s BingYahoo! Inc. and Twitter Inc., a report says.
Hackers targeted Google, owner of the most popular search engine, 38 percent of the time as of Dec. 31, according to the report to be released later this month by Barracuda Networks Inc., a web security firm. Mountain View, California-based Google accounted for 69 percent of the attacks in a sample conducted around June, the report says. A Barracuda report in July labeled Google “king of malware.”
Even as Google improved its security, the number of attacks increased. In the December sample, Barracuda said it found 226 pieces of bad software a day, compared with 146 in June. Meanwhile, Google’s competitors recorded an increase in malware- laced search results: Cyber criminals placed 30 percent of their bad software on Yahoo! search results in December, up from 18 percent in June. Bing accounted for 24 percent in December, up from 12 percent in June. And the targeting of Twitter rose to 8 percent from 1 percent, the report says.
Google said it has ratcheted up efforts to identify and scrub attempts at so-called search poisoning, which allows criminals to take control of computers to perpetuate cyber attacks, as well as large-scale banking and identity-theft swindles.

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Google Adds Two-step Verification To All Accounts |

Google has added additional security features to all Google Accounts, allowing users to undergo a two-step verification process in order to access their accounts.

The two step verification process was earlier set-up by Google as an additional security option to Google Apps users, but now the functionality is being offered to all Google Account holders.

When a user types in a password for their Google Account, the user will be redirected to a page where an additional code – which is sent directly to a user’s registered mobile – will be required before they can access their account.

Google product manager Nishit Shah wrote in a blog post: “Two-step verification requires two independent factors for authentication, much like you might see on your banking Web site: your password, plus a code obtained using your phone.”

To activate the two step authentication feature, users have to click on the ‘Using 2-step verification’ link under their account settings menu. Google said that the activation process could take up to 15 minutes to finish.

Read more:

Google Adds Two-step Verification To All Accounts |

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