Net Neutrality, the principle that Internet operations should be free of government and big business control, is the fundamental precursor to free speech. On July 12, websites, Internet users, and hackers across the country will sound the alarm about the federal government’s newly invigorated attack on net neutrality.
Just when I assumed the era of goofy Microsoft business moves was over, they go and do it again. Yesterday Microsoft announced that they were doing away with their unlimited OneDrive storage option. According to Microsoft, some users had abused the “limit” by storing “entire moving collections and DVR recordings”.
As all website operators know, Google can be a bit iron-handed (and vague) when it comes to AdSense ad policies. Website’s must follow strict guidelines on content, placement of ads, and adhere to agreements prohibiting them from running certain competing ads on their sites. And if something goes wrong or Google perceives the website owner has broken the rules, AdSense accounts are shut down – permanently. There is no resolution for the “kiss of death” either. Yesterday a self-proclaimed disgruntled AdSense employee released a bombshell, claiming that Google purposely rips off its AdSense clients through program policies designed to shutdown accounts with opportune timing (for Google). Google swiftly denied the claims.
The popular geek subreddit r/technology has been caught censoring posts in what forum moderators are calling “a disaster” for the board. Reddit today removed the “default subreddit” status from r/technology meaning it has lost its “preferred” standing, a status only afforded to two dozen Reddit communities. The move was made after Reddit admins found r/technology was secretly deleting posts if they contained certain words. What types of words? Here’s the known list – and it’s suspected that there are many, many more.
Just when you think Microsoft won’t shoot themselves in the foot any longer – they do it again. Today they rolled out OneDrive, their replacement (or revamp) for their cloud storage product, SkyDrive, with a special offer for 100GB of free drive space while neglecting to mention that after a year the user must pay for an upgrade or lose their files to the cloud's nether-regions...
It’s no longer just a theory – despite their denials, major ISPs are ignoring net neutrality rules and throttling Netflix bandwidth and Netflix has the proof in hand which they provide through their publicly-available monthly statistics reports. Here’s how to find out if you’re being throttled by your ISP, why ISPs throttle network traffic from Netflix (and other competing streaming video providers), and what you can do about it.
Starting this year, over a thousand new domain name extensions (gTLDs) will begin to replace the ".com" in website name addresses. Soon, there will be website name endings with Brands, like .Google, or .Gucci, city names like .NYC and .LONDON, interests, like .ART, products for .BABY, .AUTO, .FOOD and more. The introduction of new domain extensions will result in a monumental shift in internet navigation, marketing and use. And it all begins now!
Yesterday Google forked its WebKit browser engine, the same engine used by Apple’s Safari browser and many other mobile browsers, and will now focus its efforts on “Blink”, which will gradually diverge from the WebKit project on which Google Chrome is based. Developers at Google expressed their excitement and enthusiasm for the change noting that the fork will make it easier to make changes to the core engine, allow them to improve the security of the web browser, and provide the framework for an even faster browser engine.
Amazon today announced the availability of their improved Amazon Cloud Drive cloud storage service. The new version of Amazon Cloud Drive allows file synchronization via a desktop app for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8, and Mac OS 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. No word on when support for Android, iOS, or other mobile platforms will be made available. Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free space (compared to Dropbox’s 2GB, Google Drive’s 5GB and SkyDrive’s 7GB free space options). Additional Amazon Cloud Drive space runs $1 per 2GB data - 20GB costs $10 a year, 50GB costs $25 a year, with several more tiers all the way up to 1,000GB for $500 a year. This puts the Amazon Cloud Drive price right even with SkyDrive, slightly cheaper than Google Drive, and half the price of Dropbox (come on guys, are you gonna wait until your market share begins to plummet before lowering the price?)
Bitcoin, the world's first open source cryptographic currency, set a new record yesterday afternoon as the price listed on the largest online exchange rose past US $92. With nearly 11 million Bitcoins in circulation, this sets the total worth of the currency at just over one billion dollars. Bitcoin is a digital currency that runs on a global peer-to-peer network without the backing of a nation or any other central authority. The recent ascent has traditional economists scratching their heads.
Yesterday, many, if not most, major websites including CNN, MSNBC, Yelp, New York Magazine, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Slate, Kickstarter, and many others were taken down by a Facebook Connect bug that redirected users to an error page upon loading, effectively bringing much of the Internet to its knees. Users who were not logged in to Facebook at the time were not affected.
It’s going to be interesting to see what direction Amazon takes with its newly announced virtual currency - “Coins”. The new concept could be promotional in nature, or possibly used to Amazon’s benefit by promoting customer loyalty and/or reeling in app developers and locking them in to Amazon’s App Store platform. Amazon Coins are a new virtual currency that consumers can use to purchase apps and games on the company's flagship device, the Kindle Fire tablet. The product will launch in May 2013 by which time, Amazon is expected to give away tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins in order to spur adoption of the new virtual currency. Amazon has confirmed that consumers will not be compelled to use the Coins, and will still have the ability to pay for items in the Amazon Appstore store using their credit cards. Still, we expect to see a pretty aggressive marketing campaign for the new product
According to Bloomberg, Google, who gets about 1,400 requests a month from U.S. authorities for users’ email and documents, is leading an effort to change key aspects of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act in order to limit or prohibit government access to citizen’s private communications. Google’s chief legal officer told Bloomberg: “Given the realities of how people live and where things are going in the digital world, it’s an important time for government to act” to update the law. It’s a bipartisan issue and I think the momentum is going to build because citizens are expecting this.”
Twitter uses can now add six-second looping videos to their 140-character tweets using technology Twitter bought last year from developer start-up Vine. Hey, it’s like animated GIFs with sound (or Instagram with video)! So far, the 5.7MB free application is only available to owners of iPads and the iPhone 3GS and above, and it's optimized for the iPhone 5, according to Vine. There's no word on when the application will be available for Android users but we suspect it will be soon.Each video is limited to 6 seconds and loops continuously like an animated GIF.
Amidst falling stock prices and a fleeing user base, Facebook introduced an upgraded search tool today – Graph Search, which will allow a more natural language search (e.g. search for “friends who like cats and UFOs” or “pictures taken on the beach in Mexico”). Mark Zuckerberg says “This is one of the coolest things we've done in a while.” According to Wired Magazine, the new product “promises to transform its user experience, threaten its competitors, and torment privacy activists.” Users will be able to get restaurant recommendations, search for job prospects amongst their peers, find pictures related to specific geographic locations, and much, much more.