Google addresses FTC investigation into its business practices

By on June 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM.

Google addresses FTC investigation into its business practices

Google officially announced on Friday that it received word on Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission will begin reviewing its business. Google said that “it’s still unclear what the FTC’s concerns are,” but early reports have suggested the complaints involve the Internet giant’s search and online advertising businesses. Google said that it will continue to follow its five pillars: “do what’s best for the user,” “provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible,” “label advertisements clearly,” “be transparent,” and “loyalty, not lock-in.” “These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny. We’re committed to giving you choices, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs, and, ultimately, fostering an Internet that benefits us all,” Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, wrote on the company blog Friday. There are, however, some groups that are concerned Google is becoming a monopoly. Read on for more background. More →

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FTC may subpoena Google in anti-trust investigation

By on June 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM.

FTC may subpoena Google in anti-trust investigation

The Federal Communications Commission may subpoena Google during the next five days as part of an anti-trust investigation related to the company’s search and web advertising practices. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is only illegal to purchase or abuse a monopoly, and so a subpoena and an investigation aren’t particularly damning to Google. Reportedly, investigators will examine if the search giant has purposely pushed users towards using its own services, as opposed to those offered by its rivals, using its own online advertising and search network. “Google engages in anticompetitive behavior…that harms consumers by restricting the ability of other companies to compete to put the best products and services in front of Internet users, who should be allowed to pick winners and losers online, not Google,” Fairsearch.org said. The watchdog group is representing a number of Google competitors Expedia, Kayak, Sabre Holdings, and Microsoft. Google faced a similar threat from the Justice Department in April when it proposed buying ITA software, but it settled by allowing the government body to examine some of its practices. The WSJ said a subpoena and an investigation could take a year to wrap-up, and it’s entirely possible nothing will change. More →

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Google intros voice and image search [video]

By on June 15, 2011 at 7:31 AM.

Google intros voice and image search [video]

Google on Tuesday unveiled several tweaks to its core search product, including the ability to search by voice or image. Image-based searching has been around for quite a while now, but Google intends to popularize the alternative search method by supporting it right from within the main Google Images search engine. Users can initiate searches using images hosted on the Web, or they can upload images from a PC to start a search. Searches initiated by a photo will return both text and image-based results. The second major feature announced on Tuesday might have slightly less utility among the majority of users — voice search for Google’s desktop site. The service works just like Google’s mobile voice-based search service, but it is integrated with the company’s desktop search engine. We’re not sure what benefit voice-based desktop searches provide for the typical user, but the feature is live and ready to try in the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser. Hit the break for videos highlighting Google’s new voice and image-based search services. More →

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Twitter intros photo-sharing, revamped search [video]

By on June 1, 2011 at 3:10 PM.

Twitter intros photo-sharing, revamped search [video]

Twitter on Wednesday unveiled two new services tied to its massively popular social network. The first is one that companies like ImageShack and Twitpic will be none too happy about — a photo-sharing service built right into Twitter.com. Users will see a new camera icon beneath the tweet composition box on the site, and clicking it will allow them to upload images that will display with their tweets. Twitter has partnered with Photobucket to host the photos, and uploading will not initially be supported from mobile devices. Twitter says it is working with carriers on MMS upload support, and the company made no mention of integration with various official mobile apps. The other major announcement out of Twitter HQ is a revamped integrated search service that will now list images and videos alongside tweets on results pages. The new search is available immediately and Twitter’s photo-sharing service will roll out over the next several weeks. Hit the break for a video showcasing Twitter’s new photo sharing service. More →

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Google testing voice search on desktop site

By on May 3, 2011 at 5:03 PM.

Google testing voice search on desktop site

It looks as though Google may be testing a voice search feature for its desktop search homepage. According to blog Search Engine Roundtable, several users have begun seeing the oh-so-familiar microphone icon in the search box on google.com — we can confirm that we have seen it on our Google home page as well. The icon will look extremely familiar to those Android users out there, as voice search has been an operating system staple for nearly a year now. No word on when/if this feature will roll out to the masses. More →

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RIM and Microsoft announce Bing will power BlackBerry mobile search and maps

By on May 3, 2011 at 9:55 AM.

RIM and Microsoft announce Bing will power BlackBerry mobile search and maps

Just moments ago on stage at BlackBerry World 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (no, the other one is also CMO, dummy) announced a strategic mobile partnership with Microsoft (translation: we’re super scared of Andy Rubin). Starting around the holiday timeframe, Microsoft’s Bing maps and search will be the preferred search and mapping solutions for BlackBerry products. We’re talking about a system-level integration, “far beyond a search box,” RIM said. Check out our live coverage of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 keynote for more!

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Internet ad revenues surpass newspaper revenues for first time, report says

By on April 15, 2011 at 1:30 AM.

Internet ad revenues surpass newspaper revenues for first time, report says

Can’t say we all didn’t see this one coming. According to a new report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), annual revenue for Internet advertising surpassed newspaper ad revenues for the first time in 2010. The IAB said the record breaking $26 billion in ad revenue last year was up 15% from the $22.66 billion reported in 2009. Search remains the biggest category in online ads and represented 45% of all revenues during the fourth quarter of 2010, but the IAB says display/banner ads are growing the fastest. Retail outlets were the biggest spenders during 2010, followed by telecom services, banks, and auto manufacturers. More →

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Google posts 27% increase in revenues; Q1 earnings slightly miss mark

By on April 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM.

Google posts 27% increase in revenues; Q1 earnings slightly miss mark

Internet juggernaut Google has released its financial results from the first-quarter of 2011, and things are looking pretty good. The company posted revenues of $8.58 billion during the quarter — which represents a 27% increase year-over-year — with $5.88 billion of that figure being generated by Google-owned websites. The company failed to meet Wall Street’s earning expectations, however, coming in $0.03 shy of the predicted $8.11 earnings per share. “These results demonstrate the value of search and search ads to our users and customers, as well as the extraordinary potential of areas like display and mobile,” said Patrick Pichette, the company’s CFO. “It’s clear that our past investments have been crucial to our success today–which is why we continue to invest for the long term.” said Patrick Pichette, the company’s CFO. The company’s stock was trading down nearly 5% in after-hours trading at time of article writing. The full Q1 report is after the break. More →

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Bing continues to ding Google, share of U.S. search market hits 30%

By on April 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM.

Bing continues to ding Google, share of U.S. search market hits 30%

According to data collected by Experian Hitwise, Bing’s share of the U.S. search market surpassed 30% last month. Microsoft’s Bing search engine is less than two years old, but a series of key deals and increasingly effective mobile integration pushed the service’s share of the U.S. search market up nearly 6% between February and March to 30.01%. Yahoo!’s share of the U.S. market grew as well, from 14.99% in February to 15.69% in March, while Google’s share declined 3% to 64.42% for the month. Google still owns the lion’s share of the U.S. search market of course, but the Internet giant’s search engine is less effective than Bing and Yahoo! according to Experian Hitwise. The firm notes that over 80% of searches performed with Bing and Yahoo! result in a visit to a website while only 65.91% of Google searches result in a visit. Hit the break for the full press release. More →

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iPad, tablets clearly disrupting PC market, survey finds

By on April 12, 2011 at 5:22 AM.

iPad, tablets clearly disrupting PC market, survey finds

A survey conducted recently by Google-owned AdMob found that tablets are eating into the quality time U.S. consumers spend with their desktop and laptop PCs — and the majority of tablet owners might not use their devices the way many pundits believe. A survey of 1,430 tablet owners in the U.S. conducted March of this year suggests that the most popular use for tablets at this point could be gaming. An overwhelming 84% of respondents said they use their tablets for playing games of some type, while 78% said they searched for information on their tablets and 74% said they used email. Another indication tablets could be as disruptive as many analysts believe is the fact that 43% of those surveyed said they use their tablets more than than their desktop or laptop computers, and 33% said they spent more time with their tablet than they spend watching television. 77% of respondents said their use of traditional computers has decreased since buying a tablet, and 28% said the tablet is now their primary computer. More →

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FTC may investigate Google in antitrust case

By on April 6, 2011 at 6:45 AM.

FTC may investigate Google in antitrust case

Google’s plan to acquire ITA Software may result in an antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), two sources speaking to Bloomberg said Tuesday. The FTC is currently waiting for the Justice Department to render a decision on whether or not the acquisition will stifle competition among firms competing for clicks in the travel search engine market. Both the FTC and the Justice Department are capable of executing an antitrust investigation, and some pundits believe the scale of this probe could match that of the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of Microsoft during the 1990’s. The search engine giant “could fight the FTC, but that’s going to cost a lot of money and time,” Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law told Bloomberg. Google also faces an antitrust probes abroad. On March 31st Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations and practices in the European Union, alleging that Google has made it harder for other firms to compete in the search market there. Google announced that it had plans to acquire ITA Software, a firm that helps airlines manage flight times and sell tickets at the best prices, in July of 2010. Google hopes to use the acquisition to create new flight search tools that will allow consumers to find better flight options and prices. More →

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Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ update possibly spotted on film [video]

By on March 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM.

Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ update possibly spotted on film [video]

This feels like a bit of a stretch to us, but Windows Phone Secrets believes it caught a glimpse of Microsoft’s upcoming “Mango” update for Windows Phone 7. During a YouTube user’s NoDo update walkthrough video, right around the 2:48 mark, the cameraman pans his shooter to a second Windows Phone 7 smartphone for just a few seconds. Oddly enough, that smartphone has a feature we’ve never seen before in current builds of Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Inside the main menu, there’s a search button clearly visible. Is this Mango? We’re not sure, but we do know that it’s an option that’s not currently available in the latest NoDo update. That hints that Microsoft either has another minor update up its sleeves, or that this is a feature due out in the bigger Mango update. Microsoft is expected to launch Mango later this year, and it should deliver Internet Explorer 9 along with the Trident 5 rendering engine, HTML 5 and Silverlight, and gesture support to Windows Phone users. A release date is not yet known. Hit the link for the video. More →

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Microsoft files complaint against Google with European Commission

By on March 31, 2011 at 5:04 PM.

Microsoft files complaint against Google with European Commission

Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →

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