Recent changes to Facebook's privacy controls, as well as a litany of new products that share more user and demographic information with third-party partners, are ticking off a lot of users.
Weblogs and Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis recently joined GDGT founder Peter Rojas and prominent Googler Matt Cutts in the ranks of notable tech industry figures who have announced that they're deleting their profiles altogether. Rumors have been swirling about internal disputes at Facebook over whether the company really did cross the line and whether changes should be in store.
A Seattle cartoonist's satirical suggestion that Thursday be dubbed "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" has led to anything but humor in some quarters, particularly Pakistan, which on Wednesday evening shut down Facebook.
An Islamic lawyers association in Lahore, Pakistan, argued that the contest essentially was blasphemous and won a court injunction against the social-networking site on Wednesday. A Facebook page promoting the idea had drawn more than 81,000 members as of 6:30 a.m. PDT Thursday. The cartoonist, Molly Norris, did not create the Facebook page and is actively opposing it.
Known for its online video search engine, Blinkx is now trying to wend its way into the mobile market.
The video search provider announced Wednesday a beta of a new Web site designed to let people find and play videos through their mobile devices. The new mobile site is geared toward any phone that has a Web browser and can play MP4 files, such as the Apple iPhone, Palm Pre, and Google Nexus One, among several others.
Differing from its standard Web site, Blinkx's new site is optimized to display on a smaller device, the company said. A video … Read more
Taking a page out of the FBI book on crime fighting, the trade groups for some of the top entertainment sectors released for the first time a list of the most "notorious sites."
The International Anti-Piracy Caucus, a group of lawmakers that works closely with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and a lobbying group for the software industry, named six Web sites that have made themselves infamous for being "overwhelmingly used for the global exchange of illegal movies, music and other copyrighted works." The sites were named Wednesday at … Read more
Google unveiled an open-source, royalty-free video format called WebM on Wednesday, lining up commitments from Mozilla and Opera to support the encoding technology in their browsers and pledging to support it on its YouTube site.
"The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the Web that is freely available to everyone," the WebM Web page states. As expected, Google made the move in conjunction with its Google I/O conference Wednesday.
It's not yet clear how much success Google will have spreading WebM, but the company has big Web ambitions, a powerful … Read more
Facebook's new mobile site, dubbed 0.facebook.com, is promising quick and data-charge-free access, though it's only accessible through certain mobile carriers.
The popular social-networking site already offers a mobile site designed to display on smartphones and other portable gadgets. But the new 0.facebook.com is being targeted toward mobile users in specific countries who normally face data charges from their carriers when they hop online. Thanks to special deals with more than 50 mobile carriers across 45 different countries and regions, accessing 0.facebook.com won't rack up any data charges.
The lawyers who do most of the jousting over Internet copyright issues were abuzz last week after learning that a federal court judge suggested one of the more prominent among them had advised clients to destroy evidence.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood issued a 59-page decision in Manhattan granting summary judgment in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America in its long-running copyright fight against file-sharing service LimeWire. The order opened the door for the top four record companies to force a closure of the service.
In addressing an issue of whether statements made by … Read more
I'm just sooo happy to be sitting here reading through an eight-page PDF on algorithms. Seriously. Nothing in this world makes me happier than poring over phrases like "detailed results of the 5-fold cross validation of various components of the algorithm are summarized in Table 2."
If a new sarcasm-detecting algorithm out of Jerusalem's Hebrew University really knows what it's doing, it should be able to tell that I was just kidding there. Yeah, right. No, actually I was.
After an exhaustive look at word, syntax, and punctuation patterns in written user-generated content, the researchers came up with SASI (PDF), or Semi-supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification, which can recognize sarcasm in online sentences and assign each sentence to a sarcastic class (not all sarcasm is created equal, of course). Meager attempts at sarcasm aside, this is a pretty novel idea that could possibly aid those pure souls who lack a sarcasm and irony meter--and could even have commercial applications.
One idea here is that automated sarcasm recognition could help improve review summarization and opinion-mining systems, since the inherently subtle and ambiguous nature of sarcasm sometimes makes it hard even for humans to decide whether a comment is sarcastic. According to the researchers--Oren Tsur, Dmitry Davidov, and Ari Rappoport--studies of user preferences suggest some consumers find sarcastic reviews biased and less helpful.
Identifying cues common to sarcasm in online communication (excessive use of capital letters as in: "Well you know what happened. ALMOST NOTHING HAPPENED!!!"; puns; and explicit contradictions), the researchers created a complex algorithm in which a small number of sarcastic sentences "teach" the software to recognize sarcasm. They say the software precisely identifies sarcastic sentences 77 percent of the time--no small feat given the elusive nature of sarcasm, its intractable relationship to cultural context, and differences between the spoken and written varieties. … Read more
This puts Yahoo, inching away from its roots as a search company into the same game as "content mill" Demand Media, as well as AOL and its Seed.com division--but AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will be getting a boost here, as he had been an investor in Associated Content. The 6-year-old … Read more
On-demand music service Spotify, which is currently available only in Europe, has been broadly praised by users (including me) for its large selection of music and exceptional responsiveness. Today, Spotify added two new levels of service: Open and Unlimited. The Open tier is more notable because, once again, it opens the service to users without an invitation.
The new levels are the latest step in Spotify's ongoing experiment to broaden its audience without compromising performance. When it launched in 2008, Spotify was free and offered unlimited streams to a PC, but an invitation was required. In February 2009, it … Read more
Wearables are largely aimed at the person who just wants to maintain a good weight, sleep enough, and maybe get in a little cardio. CNET's Brian Cooley tells you why 2014 could be the breakout year for wearable tech.