2009年12月19日 星期六

Google pays no tax on £1.6bn in Britain/ Google loses French digital-book case

Business Digest: Google loses French digital-book case
Washington Post
Google was also ordered to pay $430000 in damages and interest to French publisher La Martiniere, which brought the case on behalf of a group of French ...


December 20, 2009

Google pays no tax on £1.6bn in Britain

Google, the internet giant whose informal corporate motto is “don’t be evil”, did not pay any tax on its £1.6 billion advertising revenues in Britain last year.

The firm, which has a substantial presence in London, diverted all its advertising earnings from customers in Britain to its Irish subsidiary.

The arrangement allowed Google legally to avoid paying more than £450m in corporation tax to HM Revenue & Customs in 2008, The Sunday Times has established.

The disclosure prompted politicians to criticise Google, widely lauded as a pioneer of the internet age, for “ducking its social responsibility” and for “tax avoiding”.

Accounts filed with Companies House in the past week show Google’s 2008 UK corporation tax bill amounted to just £141,519 — and that was tax on the interest generated by its cash pile in UK bank deposits.

Vince Cable, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, urged the search firm to “pay its fair share” of tax.

“Avoidance like this is hard to stomach at the best of times,” said Cable. “But when the country is in recession and everyone is feeling the pain, it really sticks in the throat — it means higher taxes for the rest of us.

“Google’s reputation will be severely damaged if it continues to behave in this way. It is ducking its social responsibility.”

Google says its structure complies fully with UK tax rules and that the company makes a “substantial” contribution to tax receipts wherever it operates.

About 13% of Google’s global revenues now come from the UK, and 770 staff are based at its London offices.

Accountants said that if the firm’s £1.6 billion UK earnings were paid directly into Google UK Limited, the London operation, it would have been liable for UK corporation tax of between 28% and 30%.

This could have raised about £450m for the public finances — enough tax to fund three NHS hospitals, buy at least eight Chinook helicopters or pay the annual salaries of about 15,000 policemen.

Any British individual or company who places an advertisement with the search engine pays a fee to Google’s European headquarters in Ireland, where corporation tax is levied at between 10% and 25%.

The Dublin operation’s latest accounts show that only €7.5m (£6.7m) of Irish tax was paid in 2008, even though the bulk of Google’s €6.7 billion (£5.9 billion) European earnings flowed into Ireland.

Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP for Great Grimsby, who campaigns against tax avoidance, said: “Google isn’t just sucking money out of local newspapers and other people who rely on advertising for a living — it’s also draining money out of the public finances.

“The search engine is a marvellous service, but the company is run by tax avoiders. If they are going to make so much money here they need to give more back to society.”

As well as paying little tax, Google UK Limited’s latest accounts disclose that it made modest charitable donations of just £5,662 during the year.

The document also reveals that Google’s highest-paid UK director earned nearly £1.1m — an 80% rise on the previous year.

The average British-based Google worker earned more than £90,000 last year, with the company paying National Insurance and other social security contributions of £10m.

Peter Barron, director of communications for Google in northern Europe, said: “Google makes a big investment in the UK, with over 800 employees, and we make a substantial contribution to local and national taxation. But the fact is that our European headquarters is in Dublin. We comply fully with the tax laws in all the countries in which we operate.”

Google has established strong ties with British politicians in recent years.

Last February, David Cameron, the Tory leader, appointed Eric Schmidt, the company’s chairman, to the Conservatives’ economic recovery committee.

A few months later, Cameron suggested that NHS patient records could in future be maintained by Google.

2009年12月7日 星期一

Google Adds Live Updates to Results

Google Adds Live Updates to Results

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Vic Gundotra, Google’s vice president of engineering, introduces several new features at a press event in Mountain View, Calif., on Monday.

Published: December 7, 2009

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Unveiling significant changes to its dominant search engine on Monday, Google said it would begin supplementing its search results with the updates posted each second to sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

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What do you think of Google's changes to its search engine?

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Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Testing the new Google Goggles application.

As part of its much-anticipated entrance into the field known as real-time search, Google said that over the next few days its users would begin seeing brand-new tweets, blog items, news articles and social networking updates in results for certain topical searches.

Previously it took a few minutes for updates from social networks and blogs to filter into Google’s results.

“Clearly in today’s world, that’s not fast enough,” Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, said at a press conference at the Computer History Museum here. “Information is being posted at a pace we’ve never seen before, and in this environment, seconds matter.”

A search for “Copenhagen” on Google, for instance, where global climate talks are under way, produces the standard Web results, but with a box in the middle of the page where blog items, press releases, news articles and tweets scroll past.

The box updates every few seconds. A tweet from Tom Nguyen (@tomng) in the Bay Area read: “It’s snowing in North Beach. Explain that, Copenhagen.” Searching for “Pearl Harbor” on Monday, the 68th anniversary of the attack, turned up tweets from people who were memorializing those who died there, while the live results for “Tiger Woods” were less family-friendly.

Google struck formal partnerships with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to quickly bring updates from those services into its search index. The companies did not disclose terms of those deals. Facebook has said publicly it is not earning money from the deal, and is giving Google updates only from the public profile pages on the service, which can already be seen by anyone on the Web.

Twitter makes a search tool available on its own site. But Biz Stone, a Twitter co-founder, said that Google would be better able to provide Tweets that were relevant to a particular user’s questions. “We’re not good at relevancy right now, and they are,” he said. “More people will get more value out of Twitter because we are doing this with Google.”

Twitter has also struck a separate deal with Microsoft to make live updates available in the Bing search engine.

The new Google features are likely to be most useful for breaking news events like earthquakes, when people want constantly updated information without having to scan multiple sources, said Danny Sullivan, editor of the blog Search Engine Land.

In other situations, Mr. Sullivan said, the live scrolling is likely to be little more than diversions, since the information was always present in Google search results but just took slightly longer to get there.

Google introduced several other products at its event on Monday. The most ambitious, called Google Goggles, allows people to send Google a cellphone photograph of, say, a landmark or a book, and have information about the contents of the image returned to them instantly.

The technology has one potentially provocative use: someone could conceivably send Google a photo of a person — if they fail to remember an acquaintance’s name, for example — and get enough information about him or her to avoid an awkward encounter.

But Google said image recognition technology would have to improve and the privacy implications would have to be more fully considered before it would make that possible. Google Goggles works on phones running Google’s Android operating system and will be available for other phones soon.

Google also outlined developments in voice search, which will make it easier for people to search the Web from a mobile phone. It said it would now allow people to speak their queries to Google in Japanese, in addition to English and Chinese. The company plans to add new languages next year.

Demonstrating the feature, a Japanese-speaking Google employee spoke a long query into a Motorola Droid phone, asking for the best restaurants near Google’s offices in Tokyo. In response, the Droid phone returned a detailed map of the area, with restaurants pinpointed on the page.

“We are just in the third decade of the personal computer revolution, and it may be only now that our eyes open to what the possibilities may be,” said Vic Gundotra, a vice president for engineering at Google, citing improvements in wireless connectivity and Internet services. Mr. Gundotra also demonstrated a tool that would let a person speak a request into her phone in English and have it read back in another language. He said the feature could be introduced next year.

2009年12月6日 星期日

2009年11月27日 星期五

I’m fond of Google

Google’s Earth

Illustration by Joon Mo Kang

Published: November 27, 2009

I’m fond of Google, I have to say. I like Larry Page, who seems, at least in the YouTube videos I’ve watched, shy and smart, with salt-and-pepper bangs; and Sergey Brin, who seems less shy and jokier and also smart. Ken Auletta, the author of this absorbing, shaggy, name-droppy book, doesn’t seem to like either of them much — he says that Page has a “Kermit the Frog” voice, which isn’t nice, while Brin comes off as a swaggering, efficiency-obsessed overachiever who, at Stanford, aced tests, picked locks, “borrowed” computer equipment from the loading dock and once renumbered all the rooms in the computer science building. “Google’s leaders are not cold businessmen; they are cold engineers,” Auletta writes — but “cold” seems oddly wrong. Auletta’s own chilliness may be traceable in part to Brin’s and Page’s reluctance to be interviewed. “After months of my kicking at the door, they opened it,” he writes in the acknowledgments. “Google’s founders and many of its executives share a zeal to digitize books,” he observes, “but don’t have much interest in reading them.”

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The End of the World as We Know It

By Ken Auletta

384 pp. The Penguin Press. $27.95


Up Front: Nicholson Baker (November 29, 2009)

Times Topics: Google Inc.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page at Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. in Sept. 2008

They’ll probably give more than a glance at “Googled.” I read the book in three huge gulps and learned a lot — about Google’s “cold war” with Facebook, about Google’s tussles with Viacom, about Google’s role in the “Yahoo-Microsoft melee” and about Google’s gradual estrangement from its former ally, Apple. Auletta is given to martial similes and parallels, from Prince Metternich in 19th-century Europe to Afghanistan now: “Privacy questions will continue to hover like a Predator drone,” he writes, “capable of firing a missile that can destroy the trust companies require to serve as trustees for personal data.” And he includes some revealing human moments: Larry Page, on the day of Google’s hugely successful stock offering, pulls out his cellphone and says, “I’m going to call my mom!”

But what Auletta mainly does is talk shop with C.E.O.’s, and that is the great strength of the book. Auletta seems to have interviewed every media chief in North America, and most of them are unhappy, one way or another, with what Google has become. Google is voracious, they say, it has gargantuan ambitions, it’s too rich, it’s too smug, it makes big money off of O.P.C. — other people’s content. One unnamed “prominent media executive” leaned toward Auletta at the 2007 Google Zeitgeist Conference and whispered a rhetorical question in his ear: What real value, he wanted to know, was Google producing for society?

Wait. What real value? Come now, my prominent executive friend. Have you not glanced at Street View in Google Maps? Have you not relied on the humble aid of the search-box calculator, or checked out Google’s movie showtimes, or marveled at the quick-and-dirtiness of Google Translate? Have you not made interesting recherché 19th-century discoveries in Google Books? Or played with the amazing expando-charts in Google Finance? Have you not designed a strange tall house in Google SketchUp, and did you not make a sudden cry of awed delight the first time you saw the planet begin to turn and loom closer in Google Earth? Are you not signed up for automatic Google News alerts on several topics? I would be very surprised if you are not signed up for a Google alert or two.

Surely no other software company has built a cluster of products that are anywhere near as cleverly engineered, as quick-loading and as fun to fiddle with, as Google has, all for free. Have you not searched?

Because, let me tell you, I remember the old days, the antegoogluvian era. It was O.K. — it wasn’t horrible by any means. There were cordless telephones, and people wore comfortable sweaters. There was AltaVista, and Ask Jeeves, and HotBot, and Excite, and Infoseek, and Northern Light — with its deep results and its elegant floating schooner logo — and if you wanted to drag through several oceans at once, there was MetaCrawler. But the haul was haphazard, and it came in slow. You chewed your peanut-butter cracker, waiting for the screen to fill.

Then Google arrived in 1998, sponged clean, impossibly fast. Google was like a sunlit white Formica countertop with a single vine-ripened tomato on it. No ads in sight — Google was anti-ad back then. It was weirdly smart, too; you almost never had a false hit. You didn’t have to know anything about the two graduate students who had aligned and tuned their secret algorithms — the inseparable Page and Brin — to sense that they were brilliant young software dudes, with all the sneakered sure-footedness of innocence: the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button in that broad blank expanse of screen space made that clear. Google would make us all lucky; that was the promise. And in fact, it did.

So why are the prominent media executives unhappy? Because Google is making lots of ad money, and there’s only so much ad money to go around. Last year almost all of Google’s revenue came from the one truly annoying thing that the company is responsible for: tiny, cheesy, three-line text advertisements. These AdWords or AdSense ads load fast, and they’re supposedly “polite,” in that they don’t flicker or have pop-ups, and they’re almost everywhere now — on high-traffic destinations like The Washington Post or MySpace or Discovery.com, and on hundreds of thousands of little Web sites and blogs as well. “It’s all of our revenue,” Larry Page said in a meeting that Auletta attended in 2007.

The headlines say things like “Laser Hair Removal,” “Christian Singles,” “Turn Traffic Into Money,” “Have You Been Injured?” “Belly Fat Diet Recipe,” “If U Can Blog U Can Earn,” “Are You Writing a Book?” and so on. Countless M.F.A., or Made for AdSense, Web sites have appeared; they use articles stolen or “scraped” or mashed together from sites like Wikipedia, and their edges are framed with Google’s text ads. The ads work on a cost-per-click scheme: the advertiser pays Google only if you actually click on the ad. If you do, he’s billed a quarter, or a dollar, or (for some sought-after keywords like “personal injury” or “mesothelioma lawyers”) $10 or more.

But think — when was the last time you clicked on a three-line text ad? Almost never? Me neither. And yet, in 2008, Google had $21.8 billion in revenue, about 95 percent of which flowed from AdWords/AdSense. (A trickle came from banner and video ads sold by Google’s new subsidiary, DoubleClick, and from other products and services.) These unartful, hard-sell irritants — which have none of the beauty or the humor of TV, magazine, radio or newspaper advertising — are the foundation of Google’s financial empire, if you can believe it. It’s an empire built on tiny grains of keyword-searchable sand.

The advertising revenue keeps Google’s stock high, and that allows the company to do whatever it feels like doing. In 2006, when Google’s stock was worth $132 billion, the company absorbed YouTube for $1.65 billion, almost with a shrug. “They can buy anything they want or lose money on anything they choose to,” Irwin Gotlieb, the chief of GroupM, one of Google’s biggest competitors in the media market, told Auletta. If Microsoft is courting DoubleClick, Google can swoop in and buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. If the business of “cloud” computing seems to hold great promise, Google can build 20 or 50 or 70 massive data centers in undisclosed locations around the world, each drawing enough power to light a small city. Earlier this month, Google announced it would pay $750 million in stock for a company called AdMob, to sell banner ads on cellphones. “Once you get to a certain size, you have to figure out new ways of growing,” Ivan Seidenberg, the chief executive of Verizon, said to Auletta. “And then you start leaking on everyone else’s industry.” That’s why Auletta’s C.E.O.’s are resentful.

True, the miracles keep coming: Google Voice, which can e-mail you a transcript of your voice mail messages; and Chrome, a quick, clever Web browser; and Android, the new operating system for mobile devices. One of the latest is an agreement to print books on an A.T.M.-style on-demand printer, the Espresso Book Machine. But perhaps there are too many miracles emanating from one campus now; perhaps brand fatigue is setting in. Google’s famous slogan, “Don’t be evil,” now sounds a little bell-tollingly dystopian.

When they were at Stanford, Page and Brin criticized search engines that had become too “advertising oriented.” “These guys were opposed to advertising,” Auletta quotes Ram Shriram, one of Google’s first investors, as saying. “They had a purist view of the world.” They aren’t opposed now. Now they must be forever finding forage for a hungry, $180 billion ad-maddened beast. Auletta describes an unusual job-interview test that Sergey Brin once gave to a prospective in-house lawyer: “I need you to draw me a contract,” Brin said to her. “I need the contract to be for me to sell my soul to the Devil.” That was in 2002, the year Google began work internally on what would become AdSense.

Now Page and Brin fly around in a customized Boeing 767 and talk sincerely about green computing, even as the free streamings of everyone’s home video clips on YouTube burn through mountaintops of coal. They haven’t figured out a way to “monetize” — that is, make a profit from — their money maelstrom, YouTube, although I notice that Coffee-mate and Samsung banners appear nowadays in Philip DeFranco’s popular video monologues. “The benefit of free is that you get 100 percent of the market,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, explained to Auletta. “Free is the right answer.” For a while, perhaps — but maybe free is unsustainable. For news­papers, Auletta writes, “free may be a death certificate.” Maybe in the end, even on the Internet, you get what you pay for.

Nicholson Baker’s most recent novel is “The Anthologist.”

2009年11月19日 星期四

Chrome OS

導語:谷歌在北京時間11月20日凌晨2點于美國總部ul開Chrome OS特別會議,首次公開演示了這款備受關注的作業系統。而谷歌官方博客也于當天發表文章,解釋了提前公布這一開源專案的初衷。


  谷歌Chromium OS開源專案發布

  發表者:谷歌產品經理凱撒‧桑古塔(Caesar Sengupta),工程總監馬修‧帕巴基波斯(Matt Papakipos)

  今年七月,我們宣布正在研發谷歌Chrome OS作業系統,這是一個專為深度使用網路的用戶而設的開源作業系統。

   今天我們發布的這個開源專案叫做Chromium OS。我們之所以在谷歌Chrome作業系統正式對用戶開放之前提前幾乎一年這樣做,是因為渴望與技術伙伴、開源社區和第三方開發者通力合作。從現在起, 基於谷歌Chrome瀏覽器,開發人員就可以自由參與開發過程。這意味這些免費的代碼將面向所有人開放,也歡迎公眾為其添磚加瓦。現有的Chromium OS專案包括了我們當前的代碼庫、早期的用戶界面體驗成果和一些設計開發人員可以以此為基礎進行進一步的完善。此次發布的只是雛型,在接下來的一年時間z 翩A我們會不斷地對它進行完善。


  首先,Chrome OS的一切皆基於網路。所有的應用程式都是網路應用程式。所有體驗都在瀏覽器內進行,不再需要傳統的桌面應用程式。這就意味著再也不用管理任何程式,再也不用為更新軟件而煩心,再也沒有複雜的安裝過程。

  其次,由於所有應用程式都存在於瀏覽器內,這對於提高安全性 能大有裨益。不同於傳統的作業系統,Chrome作業系統不完全信賴你所運行的應用,所以每一個應用程式都在一個安全沙盒中運行,這就限制了程式入侵您的 電腦的能力。此外,Chrome作業系統也不完全相信自己,所以每當您重啟電腦,Chrome作業系統便會確認其代碼的完整性,如果您的系統存在風險,它就會自動修複並重啟。誠然,沒有一台電腦是絕對安全的,我們只是盡量讓惡意的人更難得手(也更加無利可圖)。如果您想了解安全問題,請閱讀Chrome作業系統安全綜述。


  我們仍有許多工作需要完成,我們熱切盼望能與開源社區合作。以往,我們從GNU、Lin颱 Kernel、Moblin、Ubuntu和WebKit及其他專案的合作中獲益匪淺。我們將上傳代碼,並且與開源社區密切合作。

  谷歌Chrome作業系統即將於明年此時正式發布。敬請註冊Google Chrome OS,了解最新動態。如果您想開發自己的作業系統,可通過Chromium.org加入我們。

Google Offers Peek at Operating System, a Potential Challenge to Windows

Published: November 19, 2009

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google began lifting the veil on its planned Chrome operating system on Thursday, but it said that computers powered by the software would not be available for a year.

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Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

In September, Sundar Pichai of Google discussed the Chrome operating system, which will not be on computers for a year.


Times Topics: Google Inc.

The new operating system, which is closely tied to Google’s Web browser, also named Chrome, is seen as a potential challenge to Microsoft, whose Windows software powers the vast majority of personal computers.

But with the Chrome operating system, Google is not trying to build a better version of Windows. Instead, it is aiming to shift users toward its vision of “cloud computing,” a model in which programs are not installed on a PC but rather are used over the Internet and accessed through a Web browser. In Google’s approach, a user’s data will also reside on servers across the Internet, rather than on their PC.

Most PC users already rely on cloud computing, using their Internet browsers to access things like e-mail, photo albums and digital maps.

“Hundreds of millions of users are living on the cloud,” said Sundar Pichai, a vice president for product management at Google in charge of Chrome. Every program that users enjoy on their PCs today, Mr. Pichai said, will soon be available as a Web application. “The trend is very, very clear,” he said.

While Microsoft and others say they believe that cloud-based programs will coexist with traditional PC software, Google has often said that Web applications will replace all desktop software, another area that Microsoft dominates. Machines running the Chrome operating system, which initially will be limited to lightweight, portable computers known as netbooks, will not run any desktop applications other than the Chrome browser.

But even Mr. Pichai said that devices on the Chrome operating system were likely to be used, at least at first, as a complement to users’ more powerful computers at home.

Analysts said that the Chrome operating system could pose a challenge to Microsoft over the long term but said that Microsoft was not sitting still.

“Chrome OS moves the playing field to the cloud,” said Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner. “But Microsoft is a multifaceted company. They have a systematic effort to put a lot of their technology portfolio in the cloud as well.”

In a statement, Microsoft said that the Chrome operating system was in “early stages of development” and that “customers are already voicing their approval of the way Windows 7 just works — across the Web and on the desktop, and on all sizes and types of PCs.” Speaking to investors at Microsoft’s headquarters, Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive, said that Windows 7 was outselling any previous version of Microsoft’s operating system.

On Thursday, Google demonstrated an early version of the Chrome operating system on a netbook during a news conference at its Mountain View headquarters. Google also announced that it was releasing the underlying programming code for the operating system to anyone who wants to tinker with it under an open-source license.

Not surprisingly, the Chrome desktop looked similar to the Chrome browser. It included a handful of smaller tabs that Google calls application tabs, which are meant to run the programs people use most often, like e-mail or calendar software.

The netbook using the operating system booted in seven seconds, and Google said it was working to make the start-up time even faster. Google declined to say which hardware makers were planning to build machines that used the operating system, but said it would work closely with manufacturers. It said it had been pushing them to make netbooks that were slightly larger than today’s models and included full-size keyboards.

2009年11月5日 星期四





随着谷歌向人们提供的服务越来越多——从搜索到云计算(cloud computing)——相关机构对其隐私权惯例的审查也日渐加强。

今 年,一个主要隐私权团体呼吁美国联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission)关闭谷歌的网络服务,直至它能够确保对个人数据提供更好的保护。人们越来越担心,技术问题使得Google Docs、Google Desktop以及Gmail上的个人信息能为其他用户所见。

隐私权运动者对这个在马德里数据保护专员会议上新推出的dashboard工具表示欢迎。Privacy International的西蒙•戴维斯(Simon Davies)表示:“如果其它互联网公司也采取这种做法,将有助于我们开始解决关于隐私权的一些问题。”



2009年11月4日 星期三

free turn-by-turn navigation software

The Great Disruption
Wall Street Journal
By JEREMY PHILIPS Google's announcement last week that it would offer free turn-by-turn navigation software prompted a nosedive in the stocks of Garmin and ...

2009年10月15日 星期四

經濟危機 Google Inc.

NBC電視頻道週四報導﹐谷歌(Google Inc.)將於2010 明年上半年開辦網絡書店﹐發佈圖書供電腦、手機和某些電子閱讀器用戶閱讀。
歌(Google Inc.)第三財季淨利潤增長27%﹐超過華爾街分析師預期。收費廣告點擊量較第二財季增長。


雖然第二季度收費廣告點擊量在經濟衰退的打擊下下滑了2%﹐但該業務前景仍然光明﹐尤其是在微軟(Microsoft Corp.)必應(bing)搜索引擎目前尚不能動搖谷歌的市場主導地位的情況下。



接受湯森路透(Thomson Reuters)調查的分析師預計﹐不包括分享予網絡夥伴收入(TAC)的調整後每股收益為5.42美元﹐收入為42.4億美元。

2009年9月30日 星期三

Google Wave


不讓當紅社群網站Facebook、Plurk、Twitter等專美於前,Google宣布,即日起也將公開測試集即時通、電子郵件、文件處理、開放式編輯與社群網路等多功能於一身的Google Wave,將有已登錄的10萬人參與這一股「波浪」。

Google 在今年5月的Google I/O會議上宣布這項計畫,被市場視為是最有希望的創新產品之一。即日起進入下一階段,依照既定計畫發出邀請給10萬多名研發人員、個人測試者與經過挑選 的Google Apps企業用戶,大規模試用Google Wave,接受更徹底的擴充性與穩定性測試。

Google官方部落格也宣布,正在研究設立能夠賺錢的Wave商店可能性,讓產品開發商販賣Wave週邊應用軟體。Google Wave正式版時程仍未公佈,依照Google計畫,明年將讓所有Google Apps用戶都能使用這套新軟體。

官方指出,Google Wave的目標是重新設計網路通訊,把電子郵件、即時通訊、社群網路和職場協作軟體的要素整合成單一網路應用;就目前而言,Google Wave還不穩定,但是幾個月下來,目前的Google Wave已比先前的「開發者預覽版」好多了。

在現在的Google Wave版本中,使用者仍無法移除Wave或群組中的使用者,也還沒有支援草稿模式,也無使用者權限配置功能,Google說,在未來幾個月會完成這些功能的支援。

而受到注意的新功能則包括,有一個用來檢查語意錯誤的機器人,另外主管也能透過iPhone檢視團隊開發成果,也有提供氣象預報的AccuWeather、管理電話會議的Ribbi以及可計畫旅行的Lonely Planet。

2009年9月4日 星期五

Kai-Fu Lee to Quit

Google Executive to Quit

Google Inc. announced that Kai-Fu Lee, president of Google Inc.'s China operations, is resigning from the company after working to establish the Internet giant as a formidable player in the country.

Mr. Lee will be succeeded by two Google executives, the company said. Boon-Lock Yeo, currently director of Google's Shanghai engineering office, will run engineering for Google China. John Liu, who currently leads Google's sales team in greater China, will assume Mr. Lee's business and operational responsibilities.

Mr. Lee left Microsoft Corp. to join Google in 2005 to develop the company's operations in China, where Google was later than some of its rivals to establish a beachhead.

Mr. Lee's hiring kicked off a legal battle between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft, alleging Mr. Lee violated his employment contract, filed suit against Google. Google countersued, accusing Microsoft of "a shocking display of hubris," according to court documents. The companies settled privately in 2005.

Google said Mr. Lee is leaving to work on his own venture. "With a very strong leadership team in place, it seemed a very good moment for me to move to the next chapter in my career," Mr. Lee said in a statement.

During Mr. Lee's tenure, usage of Google products, including its search service, has grown among Chinese users. The company has also launched some products unique to the market, including an online music service. In announcing Mr. Lee's departure, Google said it was nearly doubling the size of its sales force in China in response to strong growth.

But Google continues to confront a range of headaches in China, which, as the country with the largest number of Internet users, is critical to its growth. Google still trails Chinese search leader Baidu by a wide margin. In the second quarter of 2009, Google drew around 20% of Chinese Internet searches, compared with Baidu's 76%, according to iResearch, an Internet research concern

Google has also continued to clash with Chinese authorities, who have selectively blocked services such as its video-sharing site, YouTube.

2009年8月29日 星期六

Sony and Amazon to Face Off Over Google Books Deal

August 28, 2009, 3:50 pm

Sony and Amazon to Face Off Over Google Books Deal

Policy and Law

The leading rivals in electronic book readers, Sony and Amazon, are poised to face off against each other over Google’s closely watched settlement with authors and publishers.

This week, Sony asked the judge who is reviewing the proposed settlement for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the agreement. “Sony Electronics believes it has a unique perspective on the various ways in which the settlement will foster competition, spur innovation and create efficiencies that will substantially benefit consumers,” Jennifer B. Coplan, a lawyer with Cooley Godward Kronish, wrote in a letter to the court.

Meanwhile, David Nimmer, a prominent copyright lawyer with Irell & Manella, asked the judge this week to be allowed to represent Amazon in the case. The filing does not indicate what arguments Amazon plans to make, but the company recently joined the Open Book Coalition, a group that opposes the settlement. And Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, has criticized the agreement.

The positions being taken by both companies are not surprising. Amazon sees Google as a potential threat in the e-book business. For its part, Sony has aligned itself with Google in the past.

2009年8月22日 星期六

YouTube, "channel of you."

譬如說我還沒選它為"channel of me"

YouTube's path to profitability: Extended interviews

On Monday, Aug. 24, The Chronicle business section will run a story about YouTube nearing profitability three years after Google Inc. bought the wildly popular video site for $1.65 billion. The company is improving its financial condition by adding more and new types of ads and striking more partnerships with mass media content companies like Disney and Time Warner.

Below are extended versions of technology reporter James Temple's interviews with two executives at the company on these topics.

Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube:

Q: How does YouTube see the online video world shaping up and what does it want its role within it to be?

The future of online video is that there is no such thing as online video, there's just video. Consumers are going to be accessing the content that interests them through a number of devices and what's really going to be at the center of that equation is that user, not any particular channel or device. It's the "channel of you."
We think the content you care about is really three types of content: mass/popular media, the stuff that everyone wants to watch, that everyone wants to talk about ... and more niche media that might relate to topics you care about, places you've been, people you know. But then there's also very personal media, the content created by you and your friends, the documenting of you and their lives.
Before that has never been brought to one platform together. Consumers have stapled that together, they've created the channel of you through multiple devices and multiple subscription packages, spending their time on lots of different information gathering. YouTube is the first place that really brings that all together.

Q: But is YouTube still coming up short on the mass market media, when you can't get full episodes of current TV shows like 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, whereas you can on Hulu.com or by simply turning on your television?

A: No one channel has the totality of all the content that's ever been created, but I think what you see is, content is quickly rushing to these platforms that offer consumers choice.
I look at where we were (just after Google acquired the company), versus two and a half years later and the tremendous amount of that mass media that's been filled in. In January 2007 you were still talking primarily about music, which is still a place where we have an incredible corpus. But since then, having added some long form television in the sense of classic TV or syndication TV, short form content from partners like CBS, ESPN, yesterday's sports highlights, NBA, BBC.
I think it continues to accelerate and my big bet is this content will continue to migrate to YouTube. But because the channel of you is so powerful that consumer will increasingly make consumption decisions based upon the content that is easily accessible to them and consumable by them on their terms.

Q: Could the rapid rise in popularity of Hulu make it harder to get full episodes and other professional content onto YouTube, and the ads that come with them?

A: I think the existence and growth of a site like Hulu has helped companies to decide to commit to online strategies and very often these strategies include YouTube and that is very productive for us.
Hulu is focused on one very particular niche of official content, and it's broadcast television that happens to be on air right now and it's largely content provided by its three majority owners. There's an incredible amount of content that goes beyond that definition and when you look at where that content is aggregating, YouTube is the place.
We're not a media company, but what I do think is we're a media catalyst. We use our platform, we use our technology, we use our monetization tools to accelerate the creation of media and the distribution of media. That's a vision and a mission that's very much in line with Google's broader strategy, which is about information and access to information.

Q: One analyst I spoke to made the point that, while it's all well and good that YouTube may be getting closer to profitability, it's still been three years after a nearly $2 billion acquisition and who knows how much additional money since. By this point they should be contributing a lot more on the revenue side to Google. What's your take on that concern?

A: From just about any objective metric if you look at YouTube's business, you'd be happy. The revenue growth over the last few years; the growth to the second largest search engine ... the impact that YouTube's been able to have on news and politics in the world.
We increasingly have generations of consumers who are looking at YouTube as the new TV, this is what's bringing them a visual on the world around them. Time spent on YouTube is incredibly high, I think it's almost 150 minutes per user a month and only growing.
I don't think there's a way to look at YouTube and be anything but bullish, whether you're looking at our business, whether you're looking at the general trends of how people are interacting with video online and via technology, and then when you look at the actual performance metrics of the site.

Tom Pickett, director of online sales and operations, began the conversation by talking about efforts to make money at YouTube:

A: We are on a great positive trajectory with respect to revenue growth and we've done a lot of work to streamline our operations on the cost side. We've seen tremendous success with selling (ads on) the home page, particularly in the U.S. market and we're starting to get traction with that internationally as well, which represents a big opportunity. More recently (we launched) in-stream advertising (that plays before, during or after the video) on what we call our watch pages. That, I think, is going to be a big opportunity ahead of us as we monetize more and more of the video content that we have on YouTube.
We focused on a lot in the past on big brand advertisers and we're trying to move much more into a broader offering across the whole long tail of advertisers as well.
The way we think about content on YouTube is we want to be the place for all kinds of content, from premium content you might find on TV, to mid-sized content producers who are producing content directly for the web to users who have been able to generate an audience over time on YouTube. All of that content is very attractive to users and we also think very attractive to advertisers. It's going to be a very effective way for advertisers to reach their audience in the future.

Q: What are the broader goals and long-term opportunities of YouTube?

A: The more our partners make, the more we make. And the more content we have on YouTube creates more users coming to YouTube ... In the end, we're really about expanding the pie and we want to share that with our partners.
The home page has gotten us to a great start in getting traction with advertisers and now we're expanding on that, really going much deeper, with using the video content we have as an advertising mechanism.
We do have a viable business here. There have been a lot of doubts about that in the press and what we're saying is that we see ourselves on a really nice trajectory.
Our goal is not just to be a profitable company. Our goal is to be a huge economic force for our partners and for our advertisers -- and in the end, that will benefit our users.

Posted By: James Temple (Email) | August 22 2009 at 09:00 AM

2009年8月8日 星期六

Google book/ settlement.

August 7, 2009, 4:55 pm

William Morris Advises Clients to Say No to Google Settlement

William Morris Endeavor, one of the largest entertainment agencies, has advised the clients of its literary department to opt out of the Google book settlement.

The settlement, of a lawsuit brought by publisher and authors who argued that Google was violating their copyright by scanning books in libraries, would give Google the right not only to digitize those books, but also sell them either as part of databases or individually. Copyright holders who agree to the settlement would have the right to dictate how Google displayed content from the books, and could ask Google not to sell them.

In a memo to clients obtained by The New York Times, William Morris advises writers to opt out of the settlement because it would “bind copyright owners in any book published prior to January 9, 2009 to its terms.” The terms of the agreement call for authors and publishers to split 63 percent of any revenue that Google generates from the sale of a digitized book either individually or in a database, as well as ad revenues from pages where an author’s work appears.

“Now they’ve got this license to sell your books at a pre-negotiated one-time royalty that you’re stuck with unless a court changes the settlement,” Eric Zohn, an attorney in business affairs at William Morris, said in an interview. “It’s like a legislative change. Under copyright law, you don’t have anything without express written consent from the copyright holder. Now the court is saying Google is free to sell your book unless you expressly tell them not to.”

Mr. Zohn said that he was advising clients to allow Google to keep their digitized books in the Google’s database so that the books may be searched. He said he had no problem with snippets of clients’ works appearing in search results, and in fact believed that such uses would be largely beneficial to authors seeking publicity for their work.

from joan chung



免費圖書檢索 http://books.google.com.tw/books



2009年7月31日 星期五

Google Readies Its Book Business

Google Readies Its Book Business

As it prepares to become a major digital book seller, Google is striking partnerships with brick-and-mortar stores and trying to dispel concerns.

As it has done with its antitrust road show, Google is reaching out to explain how its plan to make books searchable and sellable online will benefit all concerned. On Thursday evening at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Book Search, is scheduled to discuss his company's book scanning efforts and its ambition to become a seller of digital books.

was introduced in 2004 under the name Google Print. The project involves scanning books, converting the scans to text using optical character recognition technology, and making the scanned books searchable. Publishers and their lawyers sued Google the following year for digitizing books without the permission of copyright holders.

To date, Google has scanned over 10 million books, according to Clancy, including 1.5 million public domain books and 1.5 million books belonging to Google's Book Search partners -- publishers and authors who have agreed to allow Google to index their books in exchange for increased visibility, ad revenue, and sales opportunities.

Last October, Google reached a settlement with the authors and publishers who brought the lawsuit. The settlement awaits approval from the judge overseeing the case. The U.S. Department of Justice is also conducting an antitrust inquiry into the deal.

A fairness hearing to consider approval of the settlement is scheduled for October 7. And the deadline for objections to the settlement is September 4.

The main objections have had to do with privacy -- Google's perennial nemesis -- and ensuring access to scanned material.

Resistance to Google's plan is also being driven by the company's competitors and by the not uncommon sentiment among Google's critics that the company has become an anticompetitive monopoly. For instance, Microsoft, which gave up on its own book scanning project last year, has committed $50,000 to fund several New York Law School projects seeking to delay or modify the settlement.

To counter such salvos, Google has published YouTube video testimonials from Howard University law professors Rhea Ballard-Thrower and Lateff Mtima, as well as Charles Brown from the National Federation of the Blind, to talk about how Google Book Search will expand access to books and knowledge.

Google's relationship with publishers and authors became more complicated in May when the company confirmed that it would begin selling e-books for Google Book Search partners online by the end of the year, a move seen as a challenge to Amazon and its Kindle. If Apple does release a reading tablet, as anticipated, later this year or early next and if that tablet is tied to Apple's iTunes Store for content, then Apple too is likely to see Google Editions -- that's what the book sales program is called -- as a competitor in the digital publishing market.

"We want to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device," a Google spokesperson said in May.

Clancy stresses that while Google and the authors and publishers who sued may disagree over what constitutes copyright infringement, both sides are willing to put aside their difference to make the settlement work. The company's goal isn't to force anyone to participate, he insists.

"Under the settlement, rights holders have choice, can opt out, can stay in or remove books from index," he said. "It's always been our policy that if people ask us not to scan or index their book, we'll respect that."

Under the settlement, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will spend $34 million to fund a Book Rights Registry, which will maintain a database of copyright holder information and will oversee the disbursement of at least $45 million in payments to authors for books scanned without permission. It will also handle payments to Google book search partners for Google Editions sold to consumers.

With the settlement costs, Google will have spent over $100 million on its book scanning effort. "This is a very expensive project," said Clancy.

According to Clancy, Google will pay 63% of digital book revenue and will keep 37% for itself. As a point of comparison, Amazon pays Kindle authors a 35% royalty. Google plans to develop an algorithmic pricing model to find the ideal price for Google Editions. Initially, said Clancy, over 50% of titles will be $5.99 or less and over 80% will be $14.99 or less.

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) allows authors and publishers to set their own price for Kindle titles, with the caveat that it must be consistent with the price provided to other retailers or wholesalers.

Clancy also said that, in addition to selling digital books online, Google plans to sell Google Editions through brick-and-mortar book stores. He said that Google's retail partners should be able to get a similar cut of the sale price as they do today for printed books. "You should be able to buy one of these digital books anywhere," he said. "We really think it's important that the future of the digital book is an open, competitive space."

The issue of orphaned books -- books with no identifiable rights holder -- won't be a significant one, Clancy insists, given that 97% of book sales are in-print books. And while some parties still want Google to provide a license to use the orphaned books in its index, he says that's beyond the scope of the settlement. "We don't believe the class action construct allows the registry to license works that have not been claimed," he said.

As for the privacy concerns raised by critics, Clancy maintains that Google is committed to user privacy. Yet he was unable to offer a clear commitment because the settlement has not been approved and Google is still working out the details. In principle, he said that Google doesn't want to track people. But any online interaction will leave a record of the user's IP address on Google's servers and that information can sometimes be used to identify a user.

Google, said Clancy, still trying to figure out an IP address retention policy for Google Books. The company, he said, has security requirements under the settlement so IP address information will need to be kept for some period of time to track abuse. "That's something we're evaluating now," he said.

bMighty has published a report on the secrets of e-mail management Download the report here (registration required).

2009年7月28日 星期二

Google Is Blocked


Even Google Is Blocked With Apps for iPhone

Published: July 28, 2009

Google might power the world’s most popular search engine, but its clout goes only so far. When it comes to getting one of its applications onto the iPhone, it seems Google has to wait in line for Apple’s approval like everyone else — and face the risk of rejection.

Skip to next paragraph

Sean Kovacs, whose GV Mobile was rejected by Apple, said he was creating versions for iPhone competitors.


Times Topics: Apple Inc. | Google Inc.

In recent weeks, Apple turned down two applications that Google had submitted for review in hopes that they would be added to the company’s App Store, highlighting the increasingly complex relationship between the two companies.

Google said in a blog post last week that Apple had rejected an application called Google Latitude that would have allowed users to broadcast their location and see where their friends were.

“We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users,” the company said. It added that Apple had asked it to build a mobile-friendly Web version of the service instead, to “avoid confusion” with the standard map application on the iPhone, which also uses Google map data.

On Tuesday, a Google spokeswoman, Sara Jew-Lim, said that several weeks ago Apple rejected an application that would bring Google Voice service to the iPhone. Ms. Lim declined to elaborate.

Google Voice provides users free or low-cost calling, free text messaging, call routing and a universal voice mailbox. There already are applications for Google Voice on BlackBerrys and on handsets that use Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

Jennifer Bowcock, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the matter. The news of Apple’s rejection of Google Voice was first reported by the blog TechCrunch.

Apple also rescinded its earlier approval of several applications created by third-party developers that worked with Google Voice, citing concerns that they duplicated features that come with the iPhone.

Analysts and industry experts said that the Google Voice ban may have been prompted by growing concern from AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the United States, about the potential damage the service might do to its revenue.

“What it comes down to is AT&T’s turf,” said Gene Munster, a senior research analyst at the investment firm Piper Jaffray. “It shows that contractually, Apple has agreed to keep apps that would hurt AT&T’s business out of the App Store, regardless of who developed them.”

Michael Coe, a spokesman for AT&T, declined to comment.

Calls made by Google Voice users are carried over the regular cellphone network to a special number, and are then routed over the Internet to their destination. This means they would use up minutes on AT&T customers’ plans, unlike calls made with the iPhone application for Skype, the Internet calling service. But the Skype application works only over a Wi-Fi connection in the United States, and does not allow calls over AT&T’s data network.

AT&T may see Google Voice as a bigger threat than Skype, said Jeff Pulver, chairman of the 140 Character Conference, who has long been involved in the Internet calling business.

“I don’t think people will go to their homes and have Skype as the carrier of their choice,” Mr. Pulver said. “Google, tactical and strategic as they are, may have put the fear of God into AT&T.”

The rejections of apps by Apple could dim the halo that has encircled the iPhone since it first became a lucrative platform for outside developers. The lengthy and opaque approval process required to get anything into the App Store has long been a source of frustration for iPhone developers and users alike.

Sean Kovacs, a 25-year-old programmer in Tampa, Fla., created GV Mobile, one of the Google Voice applications that was removed from the App Store. He said he was creating versions for the Palm Pre and other iPhone competitors instead. “My days of developing for the iPhone are probably done,” he said.

For now, Mr. Kovacs has elected to make his iPhone application available through Cydia, a popular repository for thousands of unauthorized iPhone applications and modifications. “I’d rather just make it available for free, instead of just not having it available to anyone,” he said.

Of course, Google is not just another iPhone app developer. Eric E. Schmidt, its chief executive, sits on Apple’s board. But Google’s Android operating system, which has not yet been widely adopted by cellphone makers, could one day threaten the iPhone.

Apple and Google “are competitors, but they cooperate on certain projects,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Brothers. The question, Mr. Wu said, is how long that good will can hold as the companies ramp up competition in many areas, including smartphones, Web browsers, photo editing tools and online media outlets.

Saul Hansell contributed reporting.

2009年7月8日 星期三

Google Plans a PC Operating System

Google Plans a PC Operating System
Google announced late Tuesday that it is developing an operating system for personal computers, a direct challenge to Microsoft.

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

7/07/2009 09:37:00 PM
It's been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

We have a lot of work to do, and we're definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. We're excited for what's to come and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall and have a great summer.

2009年7月1日 星期三

Google Wants Newspapers To Post Their Videos To YouTube/ Steve Chen Switches to Google

Updated: Google Wants Newspapers To Post Their Videos To YouTube
Reuters - USA
By Joseph Tartakoff - paidContent Updated below: Never mind that many newspapers may be upset about how their content is treated on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News ...

June 30, 2009, 6:11 pm
YouTube Co-Founder Switches to Google

YouTube confirmed on Tuesday that Steve Chen, a co-founder and most recently YouTube’s chief technology officer, was no longer working at the company. Mr. Chen left some time ago to work on unspecified engineering projects at its parent, Google.

In an e-mail, YouTube spokesman Ricard Reyes said: “Steve shifted his focus to help with some Google engineering projects. He’s still involved with YouTube and invested in its success.”

Mr. Chen co-founded YouTube in 2005 with Chad Hurley, who remains chief executive, and Jawed Karim who left the company early on to attend graduate school. Little more than a year later, Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, turning the three founders into millionaires many times over. Mr Hurley’s holdings were worth more than $345 million in February of 2007, Mr. Chen’s more than $326 million, and Mr. Karim’s more than $64 million.

Mr. Chen’s move, which was first reported by the industry blog AllThingsD, was never officially announced. In fact, the company’s Web site still lists him as chief technology officer.

2009年6月24日 星期三

Google site access in China briefly disrupted

Google site access in China briefly disrupted

Wed Jun 24, 2009

BEIJING, June 24 (Reuters) - Internet users in China were unable to open the main site of Google, the world's biggest search engine, late on Wednesday evening, and the company's China chief asked users for patience while it investigated.

Users in Shanghai and Beijing said they got an error message when they tried to reach the U.S. company's (GOOG.O) main search page (www.google.com), its Chinese search page (www.google.com.cn) and mail service (www.gmail.com) between around 10pm (1400 GMT) and 11pm local time.

It was not clear how widespread the blockage was, but the company's China chief Kai-Fu Lee put a posting on his twitter page after news of outages began to spread within China asking China users for patience while the company investigated.

"We have received your feedback, we are just investigating, please be patient and wait for feedback from Google overseas, thanks for your support," he wrote.

A company spokeswoman at Google in the U.S. said the firm was checking reports of problems with access in China. Most users appeared to get access again by 11 p.m.

The disruption came less than a week after China's Internet watchdog ordered Google (GOOG.O) to stop overseas websites with "pornographic and vulgar" content from being accessed through its Chinese-language search engine.

There was no mention of the blockage on Xinhua news agency or any other official Chinese news services.

Foreign Internet firms are keen to do business in the world's largest online market, but many western companies have been accused by critics of bowing to Beijing's demands for censorship in their bid to carve a niche in the China market.

The Chinese government recently ordered all new personal computers to carry Green Dam filtering software designed to block pornographic Internet content from July 1, leading to fears China was using its campaign to protect children from "unhealthy" content as a way of tightening censorship. [ID:nPEK51915] (Reporting by Chris Buckley and Emma Graham-Harrison in Beijing, Lucy Hornby in Shanghai, George Chen in Hong Kong and Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

2009年5月11日 星期一

Few Match Google; Does That Make It A Monopoly?

2009年 05月 11日 10:53
Few Match Google; Does That Make It A Monopoly?

If there was any doubt about whether or not Google is under the antitrust microscope, it has been erased by news that antitrust regulators may try to break up interlocking directors at Google and Apple.

This is now the fourth real or threatened antitrust action against Google in just a year, suggesting that regulators are itching to pull the trigger. Last year, the Justice Department already had drafted a complaint and was minutes from filing suit when Google (wisely) dropped its plan to handle some of Yahoo's Internet ad placements. Google was finally allowed to acquire DoubleClick, the online-ad company, but only after extensive antitrust investigations both in the U.S. and Europe delayed the deal and allowed competitors to streak ahead. Today, Google remains a distant sixth in online display ads, behind Yahoo, Microsoft and even AOL, according to Internet-information provider ComScore. So much for market dominance.

Why would the U.S. government be so eager to punish the country's most successful and innovative start-up in recent memory?

Google is indisputably a victim of its own success. Its market share of Internet search has continued to rise steadily, encompassing roughly two-thirds of total searches. At 76%, its share of search advertising is even higher, thanks to Google's technological prowess at matching ads to people's search queries. Given the accompanying high profit margins on this lucrative business, Google displays the telltale characteristics of a monopolist: high, even dominant market share, with high profits and pricing power that are evidence of high barriers to entry for competitors.

Of course, this is exactly what makes Google so attractive to investors, and why I've been a shareholder since the public offering in 2004, when I participated successfully in the auction. I've continued to recommend it at times of weakness in its share price.

Google's continued gains in market share bear out my contention that Google is that rare breed: the natural monopoly. By natural, I also mean lawful, since the monopoly derives from Google's skill and qualities inherent in the business, not from anticompetitive behavior.

I sometimes get the sense that antitrust regulators, in their single-minded zeal to promote competition, ignore the fact that monopolies, in and of themselves, aren't illegal, or even necessarily bad. To quote jurist Learned Hand in the oft-cited Alcoa case, 'A single producer may be the survivor out of a group of active competitors, merely by virtue of his superior skill, foresight, and industry. . . . The successful competitor, having been urged to compete, must not be turned upon when he wins.'

To me this fits Google precisely. Its search-market dominance is a function of its prowess in search and ad placement. I'm not an advertiser, so I can't speak to its effectiveness there, but as a frequent user of Google search, I continue to find it the most effective search engine by far. Google likes to say that its competition is 'just a click away,' so periodically I try the same search on some of those competitors. So far, none comes close to the effectiveness of Google (which isn't to say there isn't plenty of room for improvement). Apparently that's because Google created better algorithms, which it derived from a vastly larger database of search activity than its competitors. If that isn't the result of skill, foresight and industry, what is?

Google has been arguing that it isn't a monopolist because the market is much broader than search, or search advertising. (Pointing to a report by Cowen & Co. that says Google has just 3% of the global advertising market if you count things like billboards and radio, Google says it is only a bit player.) That strikes me as a stretch, but the government's apparent threat to separate two directors who sit on the boards of both Google and Apple seems to play right into Google's argument. If Google and Apple, which doesn't even have a search business, are competitors, then the relevant market is far bigger than even Google has argued.

I don't even need to make that argument. Given Google's original idealistic manifesto and subsequent innovations (many of which are losing money), Google strikes me as highly unlikely to abuse its market power. It knows as well as we do that its every move will be scrutinized. That doesn't mean antitrust regulators shouldn't be vigilant, but they should be just as careful not to punish competitive success. Given all the wrongdoing we have just witnessed in the financial crisis, I would think there would be plenty of more-pressing enforcement opportunities for regulators.

James B. Stewart

(James B. Stewart, a columnist for SmartMoney magazine and SmartMoney.com, writes weekly about his personal investing strategy. Unlike Dow Jones reporters, he may have positions in the stocks he writes about. For his past columns, see: www.smartmoney.com/commonsense.)


這 已經是一年里針對谷歌發起的第四次或實或虛的反壟斷行動了﹐顯示出監管機構正迫不及待地想扣動扳機。去年谷歌(明智地)放棄與雅虎(Yahoo)在互聯網 廣告業務上進行合作時﹐美國司法部已經起草了一份起訴書﹐馬上就要提起訴訟了。谷歌最後被獲准收購網絡廣告公司DoubleClick﹐不過在美國和歐洲 詳盡的反壟斷調查拖延了交易﹐讓谷歌的競爭對手搶到了前面。據互聯網信息提供商ComScore的數據﹐谷歌如今在網絡展示廣告上仍遠遠落在第六位﹐排在 雅虎、微軟(Microsoft)﹐甚至美國在線(AOL)的後面。市場壟斷也不過如此。

Getty Images

谷 歌無疑是自身成功的犧牲品。它在互聯網搜索業務上的市場份額一直持續穩步增長﹐約佔了總搜索數量的三分之二。由於谷歌的技術能力使廣告與用戶的搜索匹配起 來﹐它在搜索廣告業務上的份額還要大﹐有76%之多。考慮到伴隨這項賺錢的業務而來的高額利潤率﹐谷歌展示了一位壟斷者的特質﹕很大(甚至壟斷性)的市場 份額﹐高利潤和強大的定價實力(顯然對競爭對手的進入是個很高的障礙)。



我 有時候感覺一味追求倡導競爭的反壟斷監管機構忽視了這樣一個事實﹕壟斷本身並非不合法﹐也不一定就是壞的。引用法學家漢德(Learned Hand)在經常被引用的美國鋁業(Alcoa)的案子中的話﹕一個生產商可能僅僅憑藉自己高超的技能、遠見和勤奮而成為一群積極競爭者中的倖存 者......這個一直被敦促著要進行競爭的勝出者不應該在獲勝的時候被秋後算帳。

在我看來﹐這句話對谷歌非常貼切。谷歌在搜索市場上的 壟斷地位是它在搜索和廣告業務上實力的產物。我不是廣告商﹐所以我無法說谷歌在這方面的效率﹐不過作為一名經常使用谷歌搜索的用戶來說﹐我不斷發現它是目 前為止最高效的搜索引擎。谷歌喜歡說﹐它的競爭優勢“點擊一下﹐立見分曉”﹐所以我時不時地會在它的那些競爭對手上試試同樣的搜索。到目前為止﹐它們都遠 不如谷歌有效率(這並不是說谷歌已經沒有太多改善的空間了)。很明顯﹐這是因為谷歌創造了更好的算法﹐它是從比競爭對手大得多的搜索活動數據庫中研究出這 些算法的。如果這不是技能、遠見和勤奮的結果﹐那麼又是什麼呢﹖

谷歌一直在辯稱自己不是壟斷者﹐因為市場比搜索或是搜索廣告要廣闊得 多。(谷歌以Cowen & Co.的一份報告為證﹐說自己只是一個小小的參與者。這份報告說﹐如果算上戶外廣告牌和電台廣告﹐谷歌在全球廣告市場上只佔3%。)這讓我很吃驚﹐不過政 府欲將同時任職谷歌和蘋果的兩位董事分開的明顯威脅看來正好利用了谷歌的說法。如果谷歌和甚至沒有搜索引擎的蘋果是競爭對手的話﹐那麼相關的市場就比谷歌 所稱的要大得多了。

我甚至無需為此爭辯。鑒於谷歌最初理想主義式的宣言和之後的創新(很多是賠錢的)﹐谷歌讓我覺得它幾乎不可能濫用自己 的市場實力。谷歌和我們一樣明白它的每一步都會受到監督。這並不是說反壟斷監管機構不應該保持警惕﹐而是說他們也應該小心不要懲罰競爭成功。考慮到我們剛 剛目睹的金融危機中的所有錯事﹐我會想監管機構有著很多比這更緊迫的執法機會。

James B. Stewart

(編 者按:本文作者James B. Stewart是《財智月刊》(SmartMoney)雜志和SmartMoney.com的專欄作家。他每周都會撰文與讀者分享他的個人投資策略。和本 報記者不同﹐Stewart可能擁有他在文中所提及的股票。更多相關文章請見:www.smartmoney.com/commonsense)

2009年5月6日 星期三

Channel Tunnel


Entering the  Channel Tunnel
Entering the
Channel Tunnel
Fifteen years ago today, the Channel Tunnel linking England to France officially opened. Hailed as one of the century's greatest feats of civil engineering, it took some 15,000 workers seven years to dig the 50 kilometer/31 mile long underwater tunnels below the English Channel, from Folkestone to Coquelles (near Calais). Popularly known as the Chunnel, it consists of three tunnels: two rail tunnels and a central service tunnel for maintenance and ventilation. Passengers can travel either by ordinary rail coach or within their own motor vehicles, which are loaded onto special rail cars. With trains traveling through the tunnel at speeds as high as 100 miles (160 km) per hour, the trip takes about 35 minutes.


"France is delighted at this new opportunity to show the world that when one has the will one can succeed in joining peoples who have been brought close by history."François Mitterand, announcing plans for the Channel Tunnel in 1986

2009年4月28日 星期二

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

我使用 Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary) 近十年
今天注意到它有Google公司的Adsense 廣告 特記下

2009年4月27日 星期一

Google profiles

Why Google Wants You to Google Yourself

By Tom McNichol

Google profiles are the search giant's fiendishly clever attempt to turn your egosurfing pain into their gain

2009年4月6日 星期一

Google Insists It’s a Friend to Newspapers; AP case

Google Insists It’s a Friend to Newspapers

Published: April 7, 2009

SAN DIEGO — It had the makings of a high-tension face-off: Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, spoke Tuesday at a convention of newspaper executives at a time when a growing chorus in the struggling industry is accusing Google of succeeding, in part, at their expense.

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Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, Tuesday at the Newspaper Association of America conference in San Diego. He spoke on the fair use of news content, among other concerns.

Any open controversy reverberated little more than a soggy newspaper hitting a doorstep. Mr. Schmidt’s speech closing the annual meeting of the Newspaper Association of America here was a lengthy discourse on the importance of newspapers and the challenges and opportunities brought about by technologies like mobile phones.

His speech was followed by polite questions from industry executives that only briefly touched upon a perennially sore point: whether the use of headlines and snippets of newspaper stories on Google News is “fair use” under copyright law or a misappropriation of newspaper content.

“I was surprised that the publishers really let Google off the hook,” said Jim Chisholm, a consultant with iMedia Advisory, which advises newspaper companies around the world. “While Google News generates a lot of audience, ultimately, the question is going to be who is going to make the money out of that: Google or the publishers.”

On Monday, The Associated Press said that it would work to require Web sites that use the work of news organizations, including The Associated Press and its member newspapers, to obtain permission and share revenue with them.

“The ultimate resolution of all is this will be determined by how you interpret fair use,” Mr. Schmidt said of the broader debate around Google News. But Mr. Schmidt said that he was “a little confused” by news reports that singled out Google as a target of The A.P. effort. He noted that Google currently licensed and hosted news stories from The A.P. He did not directly address newspaper content, which the company does not license.

Google has long insisted that its use of snippets and headlines in Google News is legal. It also said Google News drove a huge amount of traffic to newspaper Web sites, which the publishers monetize through advertising.

Newspaper publishers do not want to cut off the traffic they get from Google’s search and news services and from other search engines. It is technologically simple for any newspaper Web site to keep content off Google and Google News, but few if any newspapers have chosen to do that.

Publishers do resent that the company, which recently began showing ads on Google News, is profiting from their content.

The A.P. has not given details about exactly how it plans to tackle the issue. Just before Mr. Schmidt’s speech, William Dean Singleton, chairman of The A.P. and chief executive of the MediaNews Group, said: “We don’t plan for anyone to use our content unless they pay for it. The licenses we do in the future will limit how and where our content is used.”

Mr. Singleton said that executives at The A.P. would offer recommendations on how to proceed in the coming weeks. Newspaper companies have been unwilling to test the issue in court, where Google’s fair-use arguments could prevail, and it is not clear that The A.P. plans to do so.

Mr. Singleton said he expected some of MediaNews’s newspapers, which include The San Jose Mercury News and The Denver Post, would come up with a way to charge for some of their content by midyear, a model that a growing number of publishers are considering.

“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “We’d like to have a pay wall but we like the traffic we get from search engines.”

In his speech, Mr. Schmidt encouraged publishers to create more personalized news products that could be delivered effectively on the Web, cellphones and other devices. “We think we can build a business — again, with you guys — with significant advertising resources, where the advertising is targeted to the content,” he said. He acknowledged that many publishers were increasingly thinking about charging for their content, and said he expected the newspaper industry to eventually resemble television, where some content was free, some was purchased by subscription and some was paid for every time it was viewed. But he said he expected that advertising would remain the leading revenue model in online media.

In a meeting with reporters afterward, Mr. Schmidt said Google was unlikely to license newspaper content, as it has done with The A.P., even if that content was behind a pay wall.

“In a scenario where a newspaper had a subscription product, what would Google do?” he asked. “It’s highly unlikely that we would buy a subscription and give the content away free. We might be able to help the distribution of that content, but the user would have to pay.”

Published: April 6, 2009

Taking aim at the way news is spread across the Internet, The Associated Press said on Monday that Web sites that used the work of news organizations must obtain permission and share revenue with them, and that it would take legal action against those that did not.
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Reed Saxon/Associated Press

William Dean Singleton, chairman of The Associated Press, at the group’s meeting.
A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds.

They said they did not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it.

The group’s new stance applies to thousands of news organizations whose work is distributed by The A.P., as well as its own material, but the debate about unauthorized use has focused on newspapers, which are in serious financial trouble, and which own The A.P. The policies were adopted by the A.P. board, composed mostly of newspaper industry executives.

The A.P. will “work with portals and other partners who legally license our content” and will “seek legal and legislative remedies against those who don’t,” the A.P. chairman, William Dean Singleton, said Monday in a speech at the group’s annual meeting, in San Diego. “We can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.”
News aggregators and search companies have long asserted that collecting snippets of articles — usually headlines and a sentence or two — is allowed under the legal doctrine of “fair use.” News organizations have been reluctant to test that idea in court, and it is still not clear whether The A.P. is willing to test the fair use doctrine.

“This is not about defining fair use,” said Sue A. Cross, a senior vice president of the group, who added several times during an interview that news organizations want to work with the aggregators, not against them. “There’s a bigger economic issue at stake here that we’re trying to tackle.”
But the details remain to be worked out, she said, including how to limit use of articles and how to share revenue. When asked if The A.P. would require a licensing agreement before a search engine could show specific material, Ms. Cross said, “that could be an element of it,” but added, “it’s not that formed.”
One goal of The A.P. and its members, she said, is to make sure that the top search engine results for news are “the original source or the most authoritative source,” not a site that copied or paraphrased the work.
The A.P. will also pursue sites that reproduce large parts of articles, rather than using brief links, and it is developing a system to track articles online and determine whether they were used legally.
Neither Mr. Singleton nor a statement released by The A.P. mentioned any adversary by name. But many news executives, including some at The A.P., have voiced concern that their work has become a source of revenue for Google and other sites that can sell search terms or ads on pages that turn up articles.
At a time when newspaper revenue is collapsing and some papers are closing, the prospect of a share of revenue from Yahoo or Google is more tempting than ever. But executives at some news organizations have called the ire at the search engines misguided, saying that much of their own Web traffic arrives through links on search pages.
“We believe search engines are of real benefit to newspapers, driving valuable traffic to their Web sites and connecting them with new readers around the world,” said Gabriel Stricker, a Google spokesman. “We believe that both Google Web Search and Google News are fully consistent with copyright law — we simply link users to the site at which the news story appears.”
Mario Ruiz, a spokesman for Huffington Post, said that the site is an A.P. client, and “we pay for everything we use of theirs.” He declined to address the idea of paying for links to other news organizations.
In essence, The A.P. has taken on the role of acting as a representative for the entire industry, particularly the newspapers — including The New York Times and virtually all large newspapers — that are the group’s owners. Some owners have rebelled against The A.P. in the last year, protesting that it charges them too much.
“The A.P. is trying to assert its value to the member newspapers,” by shifting the industry discussion “from fair use to fair share,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell, a media research firm.
The A.P. and other wire services have licensing agreements with Google, Yahoo and others, for some of their content to appear on those sites’ news pages, while newspapers generally do not. But general Web searches on those sites often turn up wire service material that is not covered by the agreements.
In parts of Europe, newspapers have gone further in trying to block unauthorized use of their work online. In 2007, a Belgian court blocked Google from using articles from some newspapers in that country, and Danish newspapers warned Google away from using their material without first reaching some kind of agreement. Several days ago, the British newspaper industry asked the government to intervene on its behalf to force Google to stop using newspaper articles without paying for them.