Google is reportedly in the process of giving its Web-search formula a major makeover in an attempt to fix its shortcomings and maintain its dominance in the search market. In the coming months, the company is looking to use “semantic search” to analyze words and phrases and present more facts and direct answers to questions at the top of each results page. The changes are among the company’s biggest and could affect millions of websites that rely on Google’s current page-ranking results, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. A top Google search executive said that semantic search will allow the company to better match queries from a database containing hundreds of millions of “entities” — such as people, places and things — that the company has quietly built up over the past two years. For example, people who search for “Lake Tahoe” with semantic search will see “attributes” of the lake, such as its location, altitude and average temperature or salt content, while those who searched for it today would only get links. More →
Motorola Mobility does not expect any large changes following Google’s acquisition of the company. Alain Mutricy, Motorola’s senior vice president of portfolio and product management, said interview with Fierce Wireless that the vendor will not alter its plans once it comes under the Google “umbrella.” Until the deal closes, which may be soon, Motorola and Google are two separate companies and the manufacturer will continue on its path as subsidiary of Google. “I don’t see a very short term, complete change of the product direction,” Mutricy said. “I think that we have a business to run, and therefore I think that there is continuity to be expected for 2012.” Mutricy also believes that having closer collaboration on Google’s services, such as Google+ and YouTube, could be a great opportunity for Motorola. More →
Mozilla on Tuesday released the latest version of its Firefox browser. In addition to allowing users to run full-screen apps, Firefox 10 offers the following enhancements:
- The forward button is now hidden until you navigate back.
- Most add-ons are now compatible with new versions of Firefox by default.
- Anti-Aliasing for WebGL is now implemented.
- CSS3 3D-Transforms are now supported.
Mozilla also made some HTML5 changes and noted two bug fixes. The company said that it has fixed a Java-related crash, which Mac OS X users experienced in earlier versions, as well as a crash related to moving bookmarks. Firefox 10 is available immediately as a free download. More →
HP began rolling out the webOS 3.0.2 update to its TouchPad tablet on Monday evening. The software update is expected to improve the performance and stability of the device and also includes a number of enhancements. According to HP’s change log, webOS 3.0.2 offers improvements to the calendar, email, music, photos and videos, and web browser applications. Users should now see faster scrolling inside email with improved message content and image display. In addition, HP has reduced audio skipping while the TouchPad is multitasking and has improved the speed and accuracy of text assist. The company has also dropped the price of the TouchPad by $50 until September 10th, which means you can pick up a 16GB model for $449 or a 32GB model for $549. Read on for a full list of the webOS 3.0.2 changes. More →
Apple’s iOS platform is now on its fourth iteration and from the second it was announced, iOS has been arguably the most cohesive and advanced mobile operating system in the world. That’s not to say iOS is perfect, as competing operating systems like Android have greatly accelerated their advancements in near light-speed fashion. With Apple’s next version of iOS due to hit in the coming months, here’s what we have to see in iOS 5. More →
We’ve received a flurry of emails over the past few weeks questioning whether or not AT&T will let people out of contracts ETF-free due to substantial changes to its terms and conditions. First it was a series of changes to permissable data service usage and more recently AT&T has amended its arbitration clause to limit a customer’s right to sue, in theory at least. Common sense might suggest that changes these drastic would result in a window of opportunity, during which time customers may sever ties without a penalty, but since when has common sense applied to carriers? In short, no, these changes will not result in an ETF-free departure from AT&T. The CTIA’s current policy states that carriers will give customers an opportunity to cancel contracts without penalty in the event of material changes to the carrier’s TOS. How does AT&T define a “material change”? As PhoneNews.com recently ascertained in a conversation with Mark Siegel, Director of Media Relations at AT&T:
Under [AT&T's] terms of service, there are only two situations in which we would allow you to terminate your agreement because of a change in TOS without having to pay the ETF: If we increase the price of the service, or if we materially decrease the geographical area in which your airtime rate applies.
So what can you do if you disagree with this position? Filing a complaint with the FCC is surely a good start but you certainly shouldn’t expect this policy to change during the lifetime of your current contract. The bottom line is we’re all at the mercy of our carriers — at least until enough class action suits are filed that it becomes cheaper for carriers to change their policies than continue to pay out settlements…