European Parliament approves proposal to break up Google – but it doesn’t mean much

google-europe

A European Parliament motion calling for the breakup of Google, separating out the search business from the company’s other activities, has been overwhelmingly approved, reports the WSJ.

In a vote in Strasbourg, 384 legislators voted in favor of the controversial initiative, with 174 against and 56 abstentions […]

“Clear adoption by the EP of Digital Single Market motion, including unbundling for search engine if needed,” tweeted Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker from Spain who backed the proposal.

The vote comes just a day after a separate European call for the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling to be extended to google.com as well as the European versions of its sites …  Read more

Google revamps Google Shopping results in time for your Black Friday research

s1

If you want to check out what deals are available online before you hit the stores on Black Friday, Google has just made the task a little easier with revamped Google Shopping results.

Google Shopping results now include more detailed product information, customer reviews and show which stores have it in stock. Selected products also have 360-degree views …  Read more

Google’s latest moves to fight pirate sites “will visibly affect rankings of most notorious sites”

piracy

Google has updated its How Google Fights Piracy report with details of its latest moves to remove pirate sites from its search results. A key element is improved automated demotion of sites that have received high numbers of DMCA takedown notices.

In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices. We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting [this week].

The “most notorious sites” are likely to include rapidgator.net, filestube.com and dilandau.eu, each of which has, notes Gizmodo, received at least 11 million individual takedown requests …  Read more

British government committee says EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling is unreasonable and impossible

forgotten

And so the saga continues … In the short time since the EU ruled that individuals have the right to be forgotten when sensitive information found in search results is considered “outdated or irrelevant,” we’ve seen what is probably best described as the makings of a damn good sitcom. (Note to networks: if you make it, I want my ten percent.)

We first had the amusement of deleted links being reported by the media, bringing the stories back into the limelight. We then had Google describing the impossible position in which it has been placed, being asked to make “difficult and debatable judgements” based on “very vague and subjective tests.”

This was followed by the EU rapping Google’s knuckles for doing it wrong, and we now have a bipartisan British governmental committee disagreeing with the EU and agreeing with Google that it is being asked to “enforce the impossible” …  Read more

‘Right to be forgotten’ mess gets messier as European regulators complain about Google’s approach

Google-offices-1

The mess and uncertainty created by an European court ruling that individuals have a ‘right to be forgotten‘ by search-engines when sensitive information is deemed to be “outdated or irrelevant” just got worse. Regulators are meeting with Google today to express concerns about the way in which Google has chosen to implement the ruling, reports Business Insider.

Under particular scrutiny is Google’s decision to only remove results from its European search engines, such as google.co.uk, meaning anyone can easily access the hidden information by switching to the widely used google.com […]

Another issue likely to be raised by the EU watchdogs is Google’s decision to notify the owners of the websites that have been removed from search results …

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Now you can set Google Now reminders in the desktop Google searchbar

reminder

Setting Google Now reminders by voice is all very well when you’re walking down the street, but you can feel just a little self-conscious doing it in an open-plan office or coffee-shop. Google now allows you to add reminders by typing them directly into the searchbar on your laptop, reveals the Google Blog.

You don’t have to use the mobile Google Search app to add reminders. Just search Google for add reminder or create reminder, enter a name, a date or a place. You can also enter specific queries like: add reminder to buy milk tomorrow or create reminder to buy sandwich when I am in Chicago. Just click “remind me on Google Now” …

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First search results removed as Google acts on ‘Right to be forgotten’ requests

wsj

The WSJ is reporting that Google has begun removing search results following a European court decision that individuals have a right to require Google to remove links to information which is “outdated or irrelevant.”

Following the ruling – known as the ‘right to be forgotten’ – Google created a webpage application and announced that each would be evaluated by hand on a case-by-case basis, balancing the right to privacy against legitimate public interest. The company now says that it has begun acting on these requests …  Read more

Canadian court orders Google to remove company from web search results

google-canada

A recent ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Google to remove old web search results that could possibly have a negative impact on a person’s reputation. Often referred to as “the right to be forgotten,” individuals are able to request that “outdated or irrelevant” information about them be purged from the web, but what about non-living entities? Taking its cues from this controversial ruling, a Canadian court has ruled that Google must remove search results for a company’s rival — not only in Canada but around the world.

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Europe’s top court finds you can delete things from the Internet after all …

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

The European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that individuals have a right to require Google to remove sensitive information from search results, reports Reuters.

The ruling […] came after a Spanish man complained to the Spanish data protection agency that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy […]

Google says forcing it to remove such data amounts to censorship.

The ruling reflects a 2012 proposal by the EU known as the “right to be forgotten,” in which it was argued that even accurate information may become “outdated or irrelevant” after a period of time has elapsed …  Read more

Google just made it easier to find music videos with prioritized Youtube search results

daft-punk-get-lucky-google-search

Finding a playable music video can sometimes involve a bit of trial-and-error, where the top link might be only a short clip, or indeed something unrelated that was mislabelled. To solve this, Google is now offering prioritised links to the first playable music video in a separate box above the remaining search results …  Read more

Google finally settles EU anti-trust case, agrees to give equal prominence to rival services

Photo: npr.org

Photo: npr.org

After more than three years of investigations and negotiations, Google and the European Union anti-trust authorities have finally settled the case in which the company was accused of abusing its dominant position in search.

The tl;dr version of the dispute was that Google search results were giving undue prominence to its own services – such as Google News and Google Shopping – and freezing out rivals. Google was eventually given a deadline of 31st January last year to submit proposals on how it would resolve the problem …  Read more

Google does U-turn to clean up results in searches for child pornography

Google-Images

Google has done a U-turn on its previous policy of stopping short of directly interfering with search results and is now actively trapping more than 100,000 searches for material which constitutes child abuse, reports UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

The world’s biggest media firm has agreed to introduce changes which will prevent depraved images and videos from appearing for more than 100,000 different searches.

The company’s chairman Eric Schmidt, writing in today’s Daily Mail ahead of a Downing Street summit on internet pornography, says: ‘We’ve listened. We’ve fine-tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results’ …  Read more