Google will soon bury alleged piracy sites low in the search results, the company announced today. Specifically, starting next week, Google will take into account the number of legitimate takedown notices it receives when determining sites' rankings, Amit Singhal, senior vice president of engineering, said in a blog post. Singhal says the change "should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily -- whether it's a song previewed on NPR's music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify."
Seems as if the Federal Trade Commission still isn't happy about a recent ProPublica report that painted the agency as "toothless," and hampered by technological constraints, like Internet filters that prevent researchers from accessing key sites. That report, which came out two months ago, specifically explores how Jonathan Mayer "scooped" the FTC with a report that Google circumvented the no-tracking settings on Safari's browser. The Wall Street Journal reported on Mayer's findings in February, prompting Google to promise to delete all tracking data that it collected.
A copyright and patent dispute between Oracle and Google could have unexpected result: exposure of company shills. This week, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ordered both companies to disclose whether they had paid any journalists, bloggers or other commentators who wrote about the case.
Microsoft has refined its decision to enable do-not-track by default in the upcoming version of Internet Explorer 10. The company now says that Windows 8 will offer users two choices at installation: "express settings" or customized. Only the express settings will include do-not-track by default. Microsoft clearly hopes that the move will quell complaints by the online ad industry, which generally says that companies need only follow do-not-track headers that users have expressly activated.
Capitol Records' lawsuit against used digital music seller ReDigi could well determine whether consumers who purchase tracks through iTunes, Amazon or other digital sellers have the same right to resell them as people who purchase CDs.
Here's some unsettling news for mobile marketers: Sixty-nine percent of mobile phone users who text say they receive spam, with one in four text users receiving spam at least weekly. That's according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. One reason why those findings could spell trouble for marketers (and their agencies) is that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act gives people the right to sue -- for up to $1,500 per incident -- when companies use automated dialing systems to send them unwanted text ads.
When Comcast merged with NBC Universal, the cable giant vowed not to unfairly thwart other companies that offer online video programming. Did Comcast violate that promise with the Xfinity for Xbox app? Advocacy group Public Knowledge says the answer is yes.