Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Microsoft Willing to Purge Search Data After Six Months

Microsoft told European authorities Tuesday that it is open to purging it's search caches after six months, assuming Google and Yahoo do the same. Currently, Microsoft holds on to search data for 18 months. Google currently keeps search data on hand for nine months, and Yahoo for 13 months.

The advisory panel of the European Commission recently put in a request that all search companies keep search data for six months only. Microsoft at first was hesitant to comply in their initial response to the European Commission stating, "that keeping search data on hand gives a company a competitive advantage."

The European Commission advisory panel was scheduled to meet either today or tomorrow. However, the members have decided to delay their decision on whether to take legal action against the companies until February. They have requested the three major search companies make presentations before the panel to plead their cases.

This comes just after Swiss and German officials expressed major concerns over Google's Street View map program, which puts photographs of landowners property on the internet without consent, which completely violates privacy laws in those two countries.

Google's use of IP targeting data has also come under scrutiny by the European Commission. Google committed to partial IP address anonymization, which involves deleting one of the four octets in a users IP address. For example, 301.8.2.555 would become 301.8.2.xxx. However, many believe this does not fully protect the users, as other data may be able to be gathered to piece together a particular user.

Monday, December 8, 2008

comScore Reports Online Shopping Spike in December

Web tracking firm comScore released a report today that claims online shopping for the first five days of December was up 9% from last year.

comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a released statement, "While this growth is certainly a positive development in this tough retail season, it also needs to be put into perspective. With the compressed time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year -- five days shorter than last year -- we need to see continued strong growth during the critical weeks between today and Christmas if this year's shopping season is to at least match that of last year."

Some of the growth online can be attributed to two websites extreme recent traffic spikes. Traffic to online retailer Amazon (AMZN) has been up 10% during the first week of December compared with last year. Apple (AAPL) has seen 29% more traffic to it's online store from this time last year.

ComScore also noted overall sales of Technology products last week rose 24%, trailing only sports and fitness products, which enjoyed 35% growth. Sales of video games, consoles and accessories rose only 9%, and sales of music, movies and videos plunged 24%.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Intel to Bring Free Energy to Mobile Phones

has announced it is researching technology to harvest free energy from the environment, which could lead to devices such as mobile phones having the capability to run for indefinite periods without recharging.

Intel is working on tiny sensors that can capture energy from sources such as body heat and sunlight. This type of energy could possibly be used to run cell phones and other personal electronic devices.

Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner had this to say, "Wouldn't it be nice if, in fact, you were able to go almost indefinitely without charging the battery, if you were able to scavenge enough free energy from the environment?"

"It wouldn't have any batteries, you wouldn't have to come out and service them, and you don't have to run any power. They are completely self-contained, and most importantly, self-powered as a result of scavenging energy from the environment," Rattner said.

"I never have to ... come along with some sort of external fixture and have to recharge this. These become ... install-and-forget systems, because they can scavenge energy from the environment and power themselves up," Rattner said.

Wow, can you imagine if every major company took this type of initiative? I think they are really setting a great example to the rest of their industry.

To learn more about Intel's upcoming programs you can check them out here:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston - Windows 95

I ran across this old video today from the Windows 95 release. I remember watching this back so many years ago thinking how cool and new this system was at the time.

SanDisk Looking to Stop Production

Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk (SNDK) the world’s largest maker of memory cards used in digital cameras, has announced it will stop production over the holidays at it's plant in Japan due to a recent slowdown in the flash memory industry.

A spokesman for SanDisk had this to say regarding the stoppage Friday, "The joint venture is evaluating plans for operations over the holiday season, including a possible stoppage of some production lines." "We constantly consider manufacturing schedules in light of market requirements and this is particularly true during the holiday season," he added.

SanDisk shares their manufacturing plant in Japan with Toshiba, who also announced a likely stoppage in their production. Toshiba was rumored to be possibly staging a buyout of SanDisk earlier in the week. The purchase of SanDisk would give Toshiba access to a great deal of patents as it seeks to close the gap on Samsung Electronics in the $12 billion market for NAND flash chips. However, those rumors have not been confirmed by either company.

In October SanDisk Chief Executive Officer Eli Harari denied an unsolicited offer by Samsung for $5.85 billion.

Revenue for the NAND flash market is expected to fall 14%, according to October estimates by iSuppli Corp.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Google Releases Friend Connect To All Websites

The race to own your online identity is now heating up. With the success of Facebook's FB Connect, Google (GOOG) has now answered with their wide release of "Friend Connect." It was in a limited release for the past few months, but now any website can add Google Friend Connect as a login option.

Google Friend Connect and Facebook FB Connect allow you to create applications on your website which allows your users to engage with the site and their friends by logging in with their Google, Facebook, or OpenID credentials.

The main difference between the two is simply that Facebook is one social network, and on the other hand Google Friend Connect is available to any site, service or social network that uses OpenID for identification. If you are using Google Friend Connect your users are able to sign in using their Gmail login, so they aren't constricted to just one social network. Facebook Connect is only helpful if you are a Facebook member.

Google's Product Manager said in a blog post, "The goal is to facilitate an open social web. Using standards like OpenID and OAuth, FriendConnect makes it simple for people to instantly interact with one another on the sites they already love to visit. Additionally, web sites that use Friend Connect become OpenSocial containers capable of running applications created by the OpenSocial developer community."

It wouldn't be fair if we didn't let Facebook chime in on their service offering as well, so here's what Mark Zuckerberg said on in his blog post. "For example, you can use Facebook Connect with the reviews web site Citysearch. You can easily log in using your Facebook account, and from there you'll be able to interact with all of your Facebook friends. They'll be able to see some of the same profile information they can see on Facebook, which is fully controlled by your privacy settings."

"When you write a review for a restaurant, you'll have the option to publish that story back to Facebook where your friends can see it too. This makes finding your friends' reviews on Citysearch a snap. With Facebook Connect, it will be easier for you to share and connect with your friends across the web."

In terms of implementation, from my limited use with these two applications, it appears to me that Google Friend Connect is a much easier tool for the average user. Facebook's is aimed more to the savvy programming type. Google's FC is essentially just cut and paste, where Facebook's FB you actually have to do a little more work to create the application and get it live.

In my opinion, I think Google wins this round. What do you guys think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Apple Announces Release of Netflix's Instant Video Feature

Apple (AAPL) announced today that it has released the Netflix (NFLX) "Watch Instantly" feature for all Mac users. This has been in the works for months and Apple released this service to a small group of users in October to test the program.

Netflix wanted to make this available sooner, however they said the lack of support from the Apple team slowed down the release considerably.

The only issue is if you do not have the minimum system requirements (Intel Mac running OS X 10.4.8 or higher, and at least one GB of RAM), then you are out of luck. You must also install the Microsoft Silverlight plugin if you haven't done that already. Watch Instantly works in Safari 3 or better and Firefox 2 or higher.

I myself have the Netflix unlimited plan and a Mac, so I don't see myself leaving the house anytime soon. This will most likely put the final nail in the coffin of my already unfortunate social life.