Technology StocksAlphabet Inc. (Google)

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From: Glenn Petersen2/15/2007 11:03:56 AM
   of 14989
Google E-Mail Service Ready for All

AP Business Writer

Published February 13, 2007, 11:32 PM CST

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Inc.'s free e-mail service will shed the final remnants of its invitation-only restrictions Wednesday, extending the reach of an increasingly popular product that has emerged as a vital cog in the online search leader's expansion efforts.

Invitations will no longer be required to join the nearly 3-year-old "Gmail" service in the United States, Canada, Mexico and a swath of Asian and South American countries where the Mountain View-based company previously limited the number of users.

With those restrictions now lifted, Gmail will be open to all comers worldwide for the first time since Google unveiled the service on April Fool's Day in 2004.

"It's a pretty momentous time for Gmail," said Keith Coleman, Google's product manager for the service.

Although it will no longer require invitations to sign up, Gmail is retaining its "beta," or test, status, signaling that Google still considers the service to be a work in progress.

Making Gmail more widely available is important to Google because other key products like instant messaging and calendar management are tied into the e-mail service, company co-founder Sergey Brin said an interview. "It has become a real cornerstone for us."

Because Gmail users often remain logged into Google's Web site while they conduct online searches, the service also helps the company's engineers learn more about individual preferences -- knowledge that can help deliver more relevant search results and foster more loyalty.

The decision to lift all invitation requirements on Gmail signals Google finally believes it has adequate computing capacity to accommodate the generous amount of free storage provided by the e-mail service after investing heavily in additional data centers. Gmail offers each account at least 2.8 gigabytes of storage -- enough to fill about 1.4 million pages.

In 2006 alone, Google's capital expenditures totaled $1.9 billion, with much of the money going toward additional computing capacity. It's an investment that Google could easily afford, having earned $3.1 billion on revenue of $10.6 billion last year.

Now that Google has more computing muscle, Brin said the company will start selling additional storage capacity to e-mail users with extraordinary needs. Google still hasn't figured out the specifics, but Brin indicated the e-mail storage and fees to be introduced later this year would be similar to Google's photo-hosting service that charges $25 annually for 6.25 gigabytes and $500 annually for 250 gigabytes.

"We can't afford to give away everything for free," Brin said.

Google tries to make money off its e-mail service by electronically scanning the content of the communications so it can display advertising links tied to the topics being discussed.

Gmail's advertising methods have raised some privacy concerns and turned off some potential users who don't like the idea of their e-mail discussions being perused or commercialized.

Nevertheless, Gmail has been growing rapidly as Google gradually opened the service in other parts of the world and made it increasingly easy to wrangle an invitation where the restrictions were still in effect.

Like the other major providers of free e-mail, Google won't specify how many users it has. But statistics compiled by the research firm comScore Inc. indicate Google has surpassed AOL to become the world's third largest e-mail service behind longtime leaders Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

In December, Gmail attracted 60 million unique visitors, a 71 percent increase from the prior year, according to comScore Networks Inc.'s World Metrix. Despite that progress, Gmail remains far behind Yahoo Inc.'s free e-mail, which increased 11 percent to 249 million unique visitors and Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail, which rose 13 percent to 236 million, comScore said.

Representatives for Yahoo and Microsoft, which don't require invitations, declined to comment specifically on the broader access to Gmail.

Google seems unlikely to catch Yahoo's and Microsoft's competing e-mail services any time soon, particularly since so many people are reluctant to change their existing addresses. But Gmail still "should gain some serious traction this year," predicted Jack Flanagan, a comScore analyst who follows the e-mail market.

Brin said he doesn't especially care if Gmail ever becomes the largest e-mail service. "The trick isn't getting more people to use the service. The trick is to get more people to use the service more effectively."

Even though Gmail hasn't been universally available, its existence already has affected just about anyone with a free e-mail account by pressuring the market leaders to dramatically increase the storage capacity of individual mailboxes.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo now provides 1 gigabyte of free e-mail storage while Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft offers 2 gigabytes per e-mail account. "We will continue to listen to Yahoo users worldwide to evaluate our storage offering and to make sure our users always have as much as they need," Yahoo spokeswoman Karen Mahon said.

Both Yahoo and Microsoft were giving away less than 10 megabytes of e-mail storage when Gmail launched.

"We have already made e-mail better for everyone in the world," Google's Coleman boasted.

Since Gmail's arrival, both Yahoo and Microsoft have introduced upgraded versions of their free e-mail services that also remain in the beta phase. In another move that mimicked Gmail, Yahoo this week introduced a feature that allows instant messaging chats to be conducted within its e-mail service.

Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (12118)2/15/2007 5:22:29 PM
From: KeepItSimple
   of 14989's CEO pleads guilty to securities fraud for backdating options.

the amount of options he backdated was less than 1/100th of what Steve Jobs backdated.

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To: John Carragher who wrote (12115)2/16/2007 4:20:47 PM
From: Bridge Player
   of 14989
Well, the boys did it again. GOOG closed on option day at 470.00.

Damn, they are good! <g>.

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To: Bridge Player who wrote (12120)2/16/2007 4:43:26 PM
From: Trader J
   of 14989
Beautiful isn't it .... it is truly an art form. Just like looking at a Picasso, Rembrandt ... and Google option strike prices.

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From: Glenn Petersen2/17/2007 5:31:04 PM
   of 14989
It has become evident that the question of who will rule video on the Web is incredibly tangled. For now, most of the sticky strands lead to Google, and big media companies are trying to figure out whether to fight it or join it.

The Old Guard Flexes Its Muscles (While It Still Can)

February 18, 2007

Media Frenzy


JEFF ZUCKER, the newly minted chief executive of NBC Universal, ventured to the Times Square headquarters of Viacom two Wednesdays ago with Peter A. Chernin, president of the News Corporation. It was not a social call as much as a social-networking call, to see Philippe P. Dauman, Viacom’s chief executive. After all, Viacom had rather publicly ordered YouTube, the Internet’s most popular video-sharing site, to remove thousands of clips of MTV material.

A few weeks earlier, Viacom had also bowed out of a partnership with NBC and the News Corporation to set up their own alternative to YouTube, which was recently acquired by the search juggernaut Google. Not to be dissuaded, their idea is that a Web start-up featuring the broadcasters’ most Web-friendly fare (comedy clips and even whole episodes of their popular shows) could gather a crowd on its own and also be a powerful consortium for licensing content to other destinations around the Web — including, of course, “GoogTube.”

According to people briefed on the visit, Mr. Zucker and Mr. Chernin ran through a presentation on why they thought Viacom ought to rejoin their group. So far, Viacom has not rejoined the venture, and the project’s fate remains unclear. (No love is lost between Viacom and the News Corporation, since the latter snatched from under Viacom’s nose.)

Yahoo, meanwhile, eager to regain some ground on Google, has been courting the media giants to let it distribute their video wares.

YouTube is not standing still. It is trying to curry public sentiment in the same way that cable and satellite operators have done in battles with channels that won’t agree to terms with them: by public shaming.

When I tried to search for a Viacom clip on YouTube, it had not only vanished but had also been replaced by a red banner saying the video had been “removed at the request of Viacom International.”

It has become evident that the question of who will rule video on the Web is incredibly tangled. For now, most of the sticky strands lead to Google, and big media companies are trying to figure out whether to fight it or join it. That already hard question has been complicated by some fresh headaches for Google.

First, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Google had sold advertising that encouraged pirating of Hollywood movies to a couple of rogue Web sites. While the incident was minor in the context of Google’s huge advertising business, it didn’t help soothe its tense relationship with content providers.

Then, a few days later, a Belgian court ruled that Google’s news-aggregating service, Google News, has been violating copyright laws by providing links to French-language newspapers.

Google took pains to characterize both incidents as the sort that often confront big, fast-growing companies. As a company spokeswoman in London said of the Belgian ruling, “This is an isolated case, and it would be inaccurate to portray Google News as standing in conflict with the publishing industry.”

Yet it’s also not hard to detect a worrying pattern here for Google — and for those who wish to be Google. The company controls as much as two-thirds of the market in search advertising, by some accounts. That has already caused plenty of worry among print publishers who wonder if the benefit of being on Google’s global platform is mitigated by what happens to their intellectual property once Google’s search engines get their robotic hands on it.

The worry widened to include the titans of television and cable programming after Google’s buyout of YouTube late last year. The buyout raised the possibility that Google would extend that advertising dominance into video — a business that is exploding online and for which advertisers already spend some $60 billion on conventional television.

The genius of Google, of course, is that it excels at organizing the world’s information and automatically attaching advertising to search results in an efficient, relevant way. If Google can more efficiently serve ads to people who are, say, watching the Grammys on 50-inch screens in their living rooms, that may add to its dominance.

It is hard not to conclude that the media establishment’s threats to start its own rival to YouTube — as well as Viacom’s yanking of its popular clips from the site — amount to posturing. What it might really be about is securing a lucrative deal from Google that would end hostilities in exchange for guaranteed cash and a healthy split of revenue from any advertising the company derives from their video content.

Google has consistently taken the position that it is the ally of those who create and own content — these latest hiccups notwithstanding — and that its technology can help them make more money online then they could on their own.

But Google’s sheer size and heft — including its rich margins and $140 billion market value — are viewed enviously and warily by media companies. They all wonder: Just how much of that value is coming out of my pocket?

Thus, the issue of making deals with content companies has quickly led to a kind of Catch-22 for Google. As one Hollywood executive, who didn’t want to be identified because of the continuing negotiations, said of Google: “The more content they license, it begs the question: what about all that other unlicensed stuff you’ve got up there?”

To make matters even more complicated, a big focus for media companies right now is to share the wealth with everyone who creates valuable content, not just the pros. YouTube has said that it will follow the trend of other video sites and Web businesses by figuring out a way to give some share of revenue to people whose homemade videos attract the most viewers.

Google’s media partner-rivals are also now asking why Google won’t just voluntarily use its technical prowess to ferret out copyrighted material. (After all, they say, the company seems to keep pornography off YouTube rather effectively.) To drive home the point, MySpace trumpeted just such a copyright filtering feature for videos on its popular social networking site last week.

INTELLECTUAL property law is clear that the legal impetus, for now, rests with the copyright holder to tell a Web site to take down unauthorized material. Indeed, it would be cumbersome to ask every kid with a community site to spend his days policing what the members have posted.

The media giants have a point, however, when they ask why they even have to cajole Google, a self-professed friend, to make nice.

Yet Google and its brethren also have a point when they wonder if the media giants are only hurting themselves by pressing the copyright issue. They point out that their sites have served as great promotional venues — and that they do not charge the media companies a dollar for that help. Moreover, there are no barriers to entry to stop NBC, Viacom or anyone else from starting its own Web video efforts.

What we have here is the most fascinating game of digital chicken the media world has seen. Who will cluck first?


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From: Arthur Tang2/19/2007 6:32:14 AM
   of 14989
Many of you found out that short interest was 5.800,000 shares that needed to be covered before too late. 7% was bought back, which enabled market to be maintained. When oversold happens, the market will improve with mew investors for Google(at pulled backed price). This is primarily what market makers do making a market. Get all their customers to share some wealth.

Oversold should happen before March 15.

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From: JakeStraw2/20/2007 7:57:40 AM
   of 14989
Google snags AdScape for $23 million, source says

Deal will help the search giant expand its online ad-serving system to a growing game market.
Fri Feb 16 10:19:00 PST 2007

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From: KeepItSimple2/21/2007 11:46:06 AM
   of 14989
CBS backs out of deal with Google:

yesterday Viacom, today it's CBS. What's google got left?

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To: KeepItSimple who wrote (12125)2/21/2007 12:23:54 PM
From: GVTucker
   of 14989
Notwithstanding that GOOG is up $18 per share since you most recently proclaimed it "FINISHED", you've actually got a valid point this time.

Paul Vigna at Dow Jones puts it well:

"Viacom and other legacy media companies should not overrate YouTube as anything more than what it is: an online, on-demand video delivery system for short, snappy clips, most of which are not watched by anyone other than the poster," notes Rich Hanley, director of graduate programs in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. File-swapping crippled the music industry almost overnight. But for all its popularity, YouTube still doesn't have a proven revenue model.

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From: Sam Citron2/21/2007 1:50:39 PM
   of 14989
Google class debuts at the UW [Seattle P-I]
Students learn firm's approach to programming

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated since it was first published. Christophe Bisciglia's name was originally misspelled.]

At 26 and at the top of his game as one of Google's vaunted software engineers, Christophe Bisciglia found himself bored and restless. Writing computer code at the world's most successful Internet company had become a mind-numbing chore. Even the outside diversions his hefty Google salary afforded him -- weekly pedicures, Costa Rica getaways and wind farm investments -- didn't get his juices flowing.

Leaving Google was out of the question, so he toyed with the idea of a change of pace -- perhaps a stint in the China or India offices. Then he had a brainstorm: Why not create a Google 101 class to teach college students how to program the way that Google does?

Bisciglia would design the course under Google's "10 percent" program, which allows employees to use 10 percent of their work time to dream up big ideas. Some of Google's most successful features were born that way, such as the "did you mean?" function, which helps users correct misspelled search terms.

His idea was launched last month as Google's new pilot project at the University of Washington. The class is aimed at creating programming prodigies and revamping the way colleges teach computer science.

"When I interview college students, they have a grasp of computing, but it's fundamentally different," Bisciglia said. The youngest of Google's employees need months of training, he said, because what they've learned in school is outdated. The hope is that the class will mitigate that problem.

Unlike typical computer science, which teaches people to use one computer for solving problems such as how to count the number of times the word "mild" appears in a Charles Dickens classic, Google will teach students to use 40 computers to solve problems such as how many times the word "mild" appears on the Internet and which "mild" is most relevant to Internet users.

Outside of the classroom, Google solves these kinds of questions using hundreds of thousands of servers all over the world. Since 1999, when Google started, the company has developed its own programs to manage the Internet's massive data. Competitors Yahoo and Microsoft have been playing catch-up to Google's technology.

Most companies are following Google's lead in the quest for the perfect search, said computer science professor Ed Lazowska at the University of Washington, and now his students are following, too. They're learning to create a computing system that organizes and makes sense of massive amounts of information. "It's incredible," Lazowska said. "It helps us keep our curriculum current in ways we couldn't do ourselves."

Google isn't alone in its corporate presence on campus. Microsoft built the school's new $7.2 million computer science building. Intel donated all of its computers. The computer science department gets no state funding for equipment or course development, Lazowska said, so it relies heavily on outside contributions.

Bisciglia, who graduated from the UW in 2003, went to Lazowska with his idea in October, and they worked with engineers in Google's Kirkland office to develop a syllabus for 15 undergraduates selected to take the five-week class, which recently wrapped up. No proprietary Google software was used, no internal secrets revealed, Bisciglia said. It was all open source.

Students who took the course may not end up working for Google at all but may instead use their new skills to work for the competition. That's a risk Google is willing to take.

"It's not about our competitors," Google program manager Chris DiBona said. Companies have to think about pushing technology forward, he said.

Over the years, Lazowska said, he has seen hundreds of his engineering students snag jobs at Google's offices in Santa Monica and Mountain View, Calif.; Kirkland; New York; and Zurich. About half are undergraduates.

One undergraduate in the course is fourth-year student Sierra Michels-Slettvet.

"I'm so pumped," she said. "This is a different way to solve problems, a different way to think about the world."

If students like Michels-Slettvet grasp the new techniques, Google will offer the course at other top schools, including the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University.

"The plan," DiBona said, "is that we try it with one, then three or four, and then hundreds of schools."

Bisciglia hopes that happens, too. In the meantime, he's dreaming up new 10 percent innovations.

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