When you use a search engine like Yahoo or Google you expect to get relevant results for your efforts. In many cases this does really happen, but often times we enter what we are looking for and find very little that relates to the actual search. One of the reasons for this is (and has been for a long time) the ability of search providers to artificially alter the search results through internal ranking systems. Google and Yahoo both have done this in the past and in some cases with good reason.
Yahoo has acquired startup company Wander which is behind the application Days. It is a form of personal visual diary. Users can set their photos and animated GIFs in one package during the day. The idea is to give the photo some extra context which is often not the case when images are individually mounted on services like Instagram.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo has reportedly entered into an agreement with Yelp to integrate their reviews in the search results.
Lately the news has had a few articles about how companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo etc. are pushing the government for radical changes to their surveillance policies and demanding better protections for their customers. We have seen new ads focused on explaining how important our data is to them (and in some cases how the other guys are abusing it). The groups lining up and demanding change are many of the same companies that Edward Snowden’s bevy of leaked documents claimed were working hand in hand with the NSA to allow for mass spying on peoples’ data and that in cases where they were not directly cooperating lax security practices allowed for easy retrieval of user information.
Yahoo continues its series of takeovers of smaller companies, and this time they took over the company Ptch, best known for its eponymous application for processing video designed for mobile devices.
According to recently published figures from comScore, Google for the first time in five years (ie, since April 2008.) has not finished in the first place as most visited U.S. website. They were beaten by Yahoo, which in July had 196.5 million unique visitors, while Google in the second place came with more than 192 million.
Over the last couple of weeks the new has been flooded with articles about the US Government’s surveillance program called PRISM. It is possibly one of the largest invasions of privacy that has been leaked to the general public. What makes this program all the more concerning is that the NSA appears to have cooperation from each of the companies involved. This apparent breach of consumer trust has caused quite a stir and almost all of the companies that were shown in the leaked power point about PRISM have released statements claiming they only cooperate within the limits of the law. This raises an interesting question though; if a broad request is approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court wouldn’t a company be within the law to grant access?
What do Apple, Microsoft (Including Skype), Google (YouTube), Facebook, Yahoo, and PalTalk have in common? Well they all participate knowingly in one rather invasive program run by the NSA under the guise of National Security. The program called PRISM was started in 2007 in the last moths of the George W. Bush’s administration the program creates a cooperative system with the listed companies to allow the NSA to query systems for information. Ostensibly the program is intended to protect the US from foreign threats including terrorism, but it has such a wide license that it has already been shown to have captured data about US citizens. To make matters worse certain members of Congress knew about the project back in 2007 and even granted the DOJ the power to force companies to comply in 2008.
Looks like Yahoo wants to invest a lot of money in its future. First they purchased Tumblr last week for 1.1 billion U.S. dollars, then for an unspecified amount obtained PlayerScale, and now Hulu is their next target. The company is reportedly ready to offer 800 million U.S. dollars for this acquisition.
Although Tumblr is often derisively described as a heaven for hipsters and misunderstood teenagers, it does not change the fact that it is one of the largest blog services that exist. Tumblr now has over a hundred million blogs, hence rumors that Yahoo wants to buy it for a billion dollars does not really sound surprising.