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Archive for January, 2010

26
Jan

Ubuntu dumps Google as default search engine for Yahoo

Lots of commentators are saying this is taking a page out of Mozilla's playbook (Mozilla has a deal with Google). But Mozilla wasn't the first to strike such a deal, and as Canonical has shown, it won't be the last:

The next release of Ubuntu will scrap Google as the default search engine on its Firefox browser in favor of Yahoo!, thanks to a new revenue-sharing deal between Yahoo! and commercial Ubuntu backer Canonical.

With regulators set to approve Yahoo!'s search pact with Microsoft, this means that Redmond will power the future of Firefox on Ubuntu, a combination with decidedly anti-Redmond connotations. The ultimate irony is that Microsoft will essentially be paying people to build a Linux distro.

Canonical's Rick Spencer announced the Yahoo! revenue deal on Tuesday, with a post to the Ubuntu developer mailing list.

Microsoft has likewise struck deals to make Bing the default search engine on certain devices (Verizon smartphones come to mind) and applications. Bing is also featured in a recurring segment on the soon-to-be-retired Jay Leno Show.

It's a bit odd that Canonical is doing a deal with Yahoo, which is basically turning over its search R&D to Microsoft and allowing Bing to power its search engine. But maybe Canonical's folks felt that dealing directly with Microsoft (which also makes Windows) just wasn't an option. Whatever. At least they're ditching Google. Next step: Quit collaborating with the Monster of Mountain View on its forthcoming Chrome operating system Big Brother portal.

18
Jan

GDrive now a reality; Google is the new SanDisk: "Store your world in ours"

Since LGB's inception, this site has contained sarcastic references to the eventual arrival of “GDrive”, an online storage “service” for users where data of all filetypes can be stored. Those references are unfortunately no longer a joke:

Google is making files more universally accessible through Google Docs, letting Google Apps users upload to Docs all file types up to 250MB, including large graphic files, .zip folders, RAW photos or personal videos shot with a smartphone. Essentially, Docs is now a universal storage repository. This proposition is not unlike the long-rumored GDrive, which since 2006 was believed to be as mythical as a unicorn until evidence of it was discovered in a Google Pack file in January 2009. Google denies that this Docs move is a move toward the GDrive.

Yeah, and not so long ago, Google was denying that it had any interest in creating its own browser. Even more recently, Google denied that it had any intention of making its own phone. And prior to all of that, Google denied that it had any plans to sell low-cost PCs running its own software, engineered with Google malware. It took a few years for the plans to materialize, but they did.

Google's product denials are just as worthless as the Monster of Mountain View's supposed commitment to the privacy and security of its users. The expansion of Google Docs is just the beginning of GDrive.

How can we tell? Because Google's appetite for user data is only getting bigger. Not everyone will buy a Google Chrome netbook with all of its contents automatically uploaded to Google datacenters, so a GDrive offering for users of other operating systems is a certainty.

So… how long before people start to realize that Google really is the modern day equivalent of George Orwell's 1984 nightmare?

13
Jan

Surprise! No support for Google's "Nexus One"

Wow, didn't see this coming… (sorry for the heavy sarcasm)

New owners of the Nexus One, the latest touch-screen smartphone to run on Android, Google’s mobile operating system, have found themselves at a loss when it comes to resolving problems with the handset. They cannot call Google for help, and the company warns that it may take up to 48 hours to respond to e-mail messages.

This is what we mean when we say support for Google's products is lackluster at best and terrible at worst. Of course, the people who rushed to buy this invasive device are now reaping their reward:

Early buyers of the device, like Kiran Konathala, a 27-year-old database programmer in Long Branch, N.J., have complained of dropped calls, plodding download speeds and connectivity snags. “The hardware is great, but the software is a mess,” he said. “It’s not been a happy experience so far.”

It's a Google phone, Kiran. Did you honestly think the software was going to just work? Or that if it didn't, there would be a toll-free number you could call to get help?

Savvy smartphone users: Stay far, far away from the Google “Nexus One”, and any phone running Android. iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile are all superior, in any case.

12
Jan

Google threatens to exit China after massive cyberattack

Karma has finally caught up with Google's evil decision to do the bidding of the Chinese government on its “google.cn” site:

Google said Tuesday that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country altogether, citing assaults from hackers on its computer systems and China’s attempts to “limit free speech on the Web.”

The move, if followed through, would be a highly unusual rebuke of China by one of the largest and most admired technology companies, which had for years coveted China’s 300 million Web users.

Google has not publicly confirmed that it believes the Chinese government is behind the attack, but its response pretty much suggests that, and sources inside the company are telling reporters that Google is sure it was some agents working on behalf of the Chinese government.

The Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists were the apparent target, or a target, of the cyberattack. Not surprising, since Google encourages its users to never delete anything, and even if they do, Google has the ability to keep permanent backups anyway, making the company's data centers a great target for very determined hackers.

So much for privacy and security.

Google's response isn't commendable, either, because the company never should have been censoring search results on the orders of the Chinese government in the first place. They're only doing the right thing now because they're mad at the Chinese. They didn't just decide one day to abide by their own self-professed principles, they were provoked into doing so.

Par for the course at Google.