Planet Ocean – SearchEngineNews.com April 2010

Planet Ocean – SearchEngineNews.com April 2010

Google Un-Censors Chinese Search Results
Although the company was previously complying with China’s censorship rules concerning Web search results, Google has recently stopped censoring these results. After Google executives discovered that the Gmail accounts of human rights activists in China were being hacked into on a regular basis, the engine started redirecting Chinese searchers from the heavily-censored Google.cn to Google.com.hk (since servers in Hong Kong have no censorship laws). However, the Chinese government has since stepped in to re-enforce its censorship laws using Internet filters (a.k.a. the Great Firewall) to block any websites or search information containing content that is not in line with the country’s Communist political views. There is now speculation about how much Google’s defiance will cost in terms of losing its sizable number of Chinese investors, users and advertisers. As has been shown by the recent drop in stock prices, many Chinese business owners are now afraid to advertise on the engine due to possible retaliation from the government.

Google TV Set Top Box Rumored to Be in Development
Through partnerships with Intel and Sony, Google is in the midst of developing TV software that will aim to offer browser-based services on home television sets. The technology is set to run through a set-top box, and will allow Google to air its advertisements on the Internet as well as on TVs across the country. Both Intel and Sony also have opportunities to expand their foothold in the electronics market by partnering with Google to create this offering. The new set-top box TV technology will be based on Google’s existing Android operating system, and will allow users to perform search functions, view Internet videos, social networking sites and games, and even download additional applications to support desired programs. Google is hoping that like its previous new technologies that have been released, programmers will improve upon the open source TV software. There is currently talk that Google is testing the service in conjunction with Dish Network.

Yahoo! to Acquire CitizenSports.com
Yahoo! has announced its plans to acquire CitizenSports.com, one of the leading sports-themed social networking and mobile applications sites on the Web. As part of an attempt to strengthen its existing Yahoo! Sports offerings, the engine plans to offer users the ability to create or participate in sports-related conversations or forums, broadcast allegiances, participate in fantasy sports leagues, and make posts on Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, Android, etc. about the sports news they have received from Yahoo! Sports. The acquisition is set to take place by the end of summer, although no definitive financial details or timeline have been released.

Bing Maps Adds WorldWide Telescope Feature
Bing has recently released WorldWide Telescope (WWT), an application offering all astronomy-lovers a chance to experience the world outside of the Earth. The application allows users access to real-time information about the Earth’s positioning, locations of celestial bodies, other planets, etc. WWT is navigated in much the same way as Bing Maps, except instead of a map of the world, the application uses a map of the universe. WWT provides the option of searching for something in particular, or searching the stars and solar system in general (providing identification along the way). For those who are already extremely knowledgeable about outer space, the program also has an option for people to contribute to the information that is already available. The WWT feature is located in the “map apps” section of Bing Maps.

AOL Expands Its Local Content Options
AOL is set to expand its local service offerings this year, both through Patch.com and by re-releasing its City’s Best properties. AOL plans to add a large number of new communities to Patch.com, a site currently offering hyper-local news and informational content to around 40 cities nationwide. The engine also plans to re-launch City’s Best in 25 cities, expanding upon its existing entertainment options with more relevant city-specific information. To reinforce the company’s belief that local search is an as-yet-untapped market, AOL has also announced a dedicated venture capital fund to encourage entrepreneurial start-ups and initiatives within the local space. Later this year, local content will also be found on the AOL.com home page using geo-targeting technology that evaluates each specific user’s location.

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