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Tag Archives: apps
Links for October 19th 2010 through October 23rd 2010:
- Facebook Advertisers Can Glean Private Data [NYTimes.com] – So Facebook is basically leaking private data? “Online advertising offers marketers the chance to aim ads at very specific groups of people — say, golf players in Illinois who make more than $150,000 a year and vacation in Hawaii. But two recent academic papers show some potential pitfalls of such precise tailoring. Both papers focus on Facebook ads and show that in certain circumstances, advertisers — or snoops posing as advertisers — may be able to learn sensitive profile information, like a person’s sexual orientation or religion, even if the person is sharing that information only with a small circle of friends. Facebook does not share such information with advertisers. The papers come amid an intense focus on vulnerabilities in Facebook’s privacy safeguards.”
- iMovie blocks studio names in new trailers [Engadget] – iMovie 11 and the words you can’t say: “Perhaps its testament to the quality of the iMovie ’11 trailers that Apple is blocking the use of big name studios in the titles. Ironic since Apple provides templates that ape the Paramount snow-capped mountain […] and familiar Universal Studios globe. Just don’t try to enter those studio names into the title sequence — the words “Paramount” and “Universal” will be replaced with hyphens. We suspect other studios are affected as well. Hard to say if this is Apple’s doing or the studios as both are notoriously controlling. We’d laugh if only we could stop crying.”
- Big Networks Block Web Shows From Google TV [NYTimes.com] – Will Google TV suffer the unending legal battles that have besieged Google Books? “In the latest sign that Google may struggle to transform television viewing with Google TV, its new service for Internet-connected TVs, three major broadcast networks and Hulu are blocking people from using the service to watch full-length TV shows on their Web sites. Initially, people could watch the full shows on TVs and set-top boxes that use the Google TV software, which Sony and Logitech began selling this month. But as of Thursday, most of the full shows on the sites of NBC, ABC, CBS and Hulu were blocked. People could still visit the sites to read text and, in some cases, watch short vignettes, but not full shows.”
- Google’s Street View broke Canadian privacy laws [The Register] – “The Canadian privacy watchdog today said Google’s Street View fleet broke the law when it collected payload data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. An investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, one of dozens launched around the world earlier this year, also found the practice was the result of a single Google engineer’s “careless error”, as well as a wider lack of controls at the firm. In some cases, Street View cars intercepted entire emails, said Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. […] She did not announce any punitive measures, but recommended Google should destroy the data, tighten its privacy governance processes, and improve privacy training for its employees. The investigation will be closed in February next year, subject to confirmation Google has taken those actions.”
- Facebook Vows to Fix a Flaw in Data Protection [NYTimes.com] – “When you sign up for Facebook, you enter into a bargain. You share personal information with the site, and Facebook agrees to obey your wishes when it comes to who can see what you post. At the same time, you agree that Facebook can use that data to decide what ads to show you. It is a complicated deal that many people enter into without perhaps fully understanding what will happen to their information. It also involves some trust — which is why any hint that Facebook may not be holding up its end of the bargain is sure to kick up plenty of controversy. The latest challenge to that trust came on Monday, when Facebook acknowledged that some applications on its site, including the popular game FarmVille, had improperly shared identifying information about users, and in some cases their friends, with advertisers and Web tracking companies.”
After announcing the service earlier this year, Google today began the hard sell of their forthcoming Google TV platform. It has hardware and software components, with the hardware either wired into new TVs (such as the flagship Sony Internet TV) or via a connected box (like a tuner or Apple TV box), but its main innovation is what looks to be a pretty sophisticated but non-threatening interface which combines web video, broadcast tv and recorded media. While it’s not out yet, it’s worth taking a look at the Quick Tour of Google TV as it demonstrates most of the capabilities and really emphasises how an application-driven web tv experience could be something pretty impressive. Twitter, for example, have already announced their Google TV app will come bundled in the initial software.
As Google moves further and further into the domain of big media distributors, there will inevitably be something of a power struggle, as this quote from the New York Times reminds us:
Google TV has been in talks with the major networks and Hollywood studios about optimizing their Web sites for TV screens and about obtaining data about their programs for search purposes. But one executive described the relationship between Google and the networks as being at the “first date” stage.
According to executives involved, some networks want Google to share revenue from the ads that it overlays on videos. Some want Google to weed out illegal Internet sources of their shows and make sure that their marquee programs still stand out on a service that potentially levels the playing field for all makers of video.
The struggle for our TV screens will reach new heights, and even the Apple TV box looks positively safe and conservative in comparison. Given the ongoing war between corporate copyright owners and unauthorised downloaders, Google TV seems like a fertile battleground since the experience of watching either streaming tv or unauthorised downloads may be very similar (with the absence of ads for unauthorised downloads being potentially the only meaningful difference).
For those of us outside the US, the question of international versions of this service is a thorny one. For each and every country, Google will have to negotiate new relationships with the existing broadcasters. Indeed, the analogue-era tradition of cutting the globe into national zones for the purposes of media distribution looks even more arbitrary than ever as the web and television edge even closer together. Certainly, there is the potential for the tyranny of digital distance to really throw a spanner in Google’s no doubt global aspirations for Google TV, but looking through Australian eyes, the service would definitely be welcomed by viewers. Indeed, if Google negotiate carefully, they can probably win the support of the networks, too, who are all seeking to profit on catch-up tv services. From ABC’s iView to Plus7, Nine’s FixPlay, Ten’s Full Episodes and Video site and even SBS’s developing catch-up service all the Australian national broadcasters have presences online from which viewers can stream full episodes. With some minor tweaks, most of these services could easily be optimised for Google’s TV platform.