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From: Glenn Petersen2/13/2012 8:34:16 PM
   of 15002
Google gets U.S., EU nod to buy Motorola Mobility

By Diane Bartz and Foo Yun Chee
Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:04pm EST

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. and European regulators approved Google Inc's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc and said they would keep a sharp eye on the web search giant to ensure patents critical to the telecommunications industry would be licensed at fair prices.

It was one of a series of approvals on Monday that underscored the scramble by technology companies to acquire big pools of patents.

The U.S. Justice Department also approved an Apple Inc-led consortium's purchase of a trove of patents from bankrupt Canadian company Nortel Networks Corp and signed off on Apple's purchase of patents formerly owned by Novell Inc.

Google, whose Android software is the top operating system for Internet-enabled smart phones, said in August it would buy phone-maker Motorola for its 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications, as it looks to compete with rivals such as Apple and defend itself and Android phone manufacturers in patent litigation.

The acquisition, the largest in Google's history, will also mark the Internet search company's most significant foray into the hardware business - a market in which it has little experience. Some investors have worried that Google's profit margins may suffer as it becomes a hardware maker, although Google has said it intends to run Motorola as a separate business unit.

Regulators in China, Taiwan and Israel have still not signed off on the Google purchase of Motorola.

Google shares finished Monday's regular trading session up 1 percent at $612.20.

Antitrust enforcers on both sides of the Atlantic want to prevent companies from gouging rivals when they license patents essential to ensuring different communications devices work together.

"This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters in Brussels.

The U.S. Justice Department said it was reassured by Apple's and Microsoft's public statements that they would not seek injunctions in filing infringement lawsuits based on the Nortel patents.

"Google's commitments have been less clear," the Justice Department added in a statement. "The division determined that the acquisition of the patents by Google did not substantially lessen competition, but how Google may exercise its patents in the future remains a significant concern."

Almunia said the EU might be obliged to open some cases in the future.

"This is not enough to block the merger, but we will be vigilant," he said.

Regulators in China have until March 20 to decide whether to approve the deal or start a third phase of review, according to a source close to the situation.

The purchase would give Google one of the mobile phone industry's largest patent libraries, as well as hardware manufacturing operations that will allow Google to develop its own line of smart phones.

Google, the newest major entrant to the mobile market, is already being sued for patent infringement by Oracle Corp, which is seeking up to $6 billion.

The legal battles over patents between technology and smartphone companies has prompted the European Commission to open an investigation into legal tactics used by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd against Apple and whether these breach EU antitrust rules.

Some regulatory experts said the DOJ's comments in approving Google's acquisition of Motorola appeared to be more than mere boilerplate.

"They have to proceed with caution and tread lightly," said Shubha Ghosh, a professor at University of Wisconsin Law School who specializes in antitrust law and intellectual property, with regards to Google.

Regulators will be on the lookout for practices that might limit the entry of new smartphones or new technologies.

"If Google makes it more difficult for new technologies to emerge, by locking-in existing licensees of the patents so that it becomes not profitable for them to adopt other technologies, that's the kind of thing that might give rise to antitrust scrutiny down the road," said Ghosh.

Google's move to buy Motorola Mobility came shortly after it tried and failed to buy Nortel's patents. The winner was an Apple-led consortium, which includes Research in Motion Ltd, Microsoft Corp, EMC Corp, Ericsson and Sony Corp, which agreed in July to pay $4.5 billion for 6,000 patents and patent applications.

Google, which runs world's No. 1 Internet search engine, has been under increasing regulatory scrutiny. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union are both investigating Google following accusations it uses its clout in the search market to beat rivals as it moves into related businesses.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz and Foo Yun Chee with additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Tim Dobbyn and Andre Grenon)

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From: zax2/20/2012 8:39:09 PM
1 Recommendation   of 15002
Google Bypassing User Privacy Settings

Windows Internet Explorer Engineering Team Blog
Monday, February 20, 2012 12:31 PM
    When the IE team heard that Google had bypassed user privacy settings on Safari, we asked ourselves a simple question: is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer users too? We’ve discovered the answer is yes: Google is employing similar methods to get around the default privacy protections in IE and track IE users with cookies. Below we spell out in more detail what we’ve discovered, as well as recommendations to IE users on how to protect their privacy from Google with the use of IE9's Tracking Protection feature. We’ve also contacted Google and asked them to commit to honoring P3P privacy settings for users of all browsers.

    We’ve found that Google bypasses the P3P Privacy Protection feature in IE. The result is similar to the recent reports of Google’s circumvention of privacy protections in Apple’s Safari Web browser, even though the actual bypass mechanism Google uses is different.

    Internet Explorer 9 has an additional privacy feature called Tracking Protection which is not susceptible to this type of bypass. Microsoft recommends that customers who want to protect themselves from Google’s bypass of P3P Privacy Protection use Internet Explorer 9 and click here to add a Tracking Protection List. Customers can find additional lists and information on this page.

    Background: Google Bypassing Apple’s Privacy Settings A recent front page Wall Street Journal article described how Google “bypassed Apple browser settings for guarding privacy.” The editor and CEO of Business Insider, a business news and analysis site, summarized the situation:

    Google secretly developed a way to circumvent default privacy settings established by a… competitor, Apple… [and] Google then used the workaround to drop ad-tracking cookies on the Safari users, which is exactly the sort of practice that Apple was trying to prevent.

    Third-party cookies are a common mechanism used to track what people do online. Safari protects its users from being tracked this way by a default user setting that blocks third-party cookies. Here’s Business Insider’s summary:

    What Safari does NOT allow, by default, is for third-party … cookies on users' computers without their permission. It is these ad-tracking cookies that cause lots of Internet users to freak out that their privacy is being violated, so it's understandable that Apple decided to block them by default.

    But these default settings have created a problem for Google, at least with respect to its goals for its advertising business.

    Google’s approach to third-party cookies seems to have the side effect of Safari believing they are first-party cookies.

    What Happens in IE By default, IE blocks third-party cookies unless the site presents a P3P Compact Policy Statement indicating how the site will use the cookie and that the site’s use does not include tracking the user. Google’s P3P policy causes Internet Explorer to accept Google’s cookies even though the policy does not state Google’s intent.

    P3P, an official recommendation of the W3C Web standards body, is a Web technology that all browsers and sites can support. Sites use P3P to describe how they intend to use cookies and user information. By supporting P3P, browsers can block or allow cookies to honor user privacy preferences with respect to the site’s stated intentions.

    It’s worth noting that users cannot easily access P3P policies. Web sites send these policies directly to Web browsers using HTTP headers. The only people who see P3P descriptions are technically skilled and use special tools, like the Cookie inspector in the Fiddler tool. For example, here is the P3P Compact Policy (CP) statement from


    Each token (e.g. ALL, IND) has a specific meaning for a P3P-compliant Web browser. For example, ‘SAMo’ indicates that ‘We [the site] share information with Legal entities following our practices,’ and ‘TAI’ indicates ‘Information may be used to tailor or modify content or design of the site where the information is used only for a single visit to the site and not used for any kind of future customization.’ The details of privacy are complex, and the P3P standard is complex as well. You can read more about P3P here.

    Technically, Google utilizes a nuance in the P3P specification that has the effect of bypassing user preferences about cookies. The P3P specification (in an attempt to leave room for future advances in privacy policies) states that browsers should ignore any undefined policies they encounter. Google sends a P3P policy that fails to inform the browser about Google’s use of cookies and user information. Google’s P3P policy is actually a statement that it is not a P3P policy. It’s intended for humans to read even though P3P policies are designed for browsers to “read”:

    P3P: CP="This is not a P3P policy! See for more info."

    P3P-compliant browsers interpret Google’s policy as indicating that the cookie will not be used for any tracking purpose or any purpose at all. By sending this text, Google bypasses the cookie protection and enables its third-party cookies to be allowed rather than blocked. The P3P specification (“ 4.2 Compact Policy Vocabulary”) calls for IE’s implemented behavior when handling unknown tokens: “If an unrecognized token appears in a compact policy, the compact policy has the same semantics as if that token was not present.”

    Similarly, it’s worth noting section “3.2 Policies” from the P3P specification:

    3.2 Policies In cases where the P3P vocabulary is not precise enough to describe a Web site's practices, sites should use the vocabulary terms that most closely match their practices and provide further explanation in the CONSEQUENCE field and/or their human-readable policy. However, policies MUST NOT make false or misleading statements.

    P3P is designed to support sites that convey their privacy intentions. Google’s use of P3P does not convey those intentions in a manner consistent with the technology.

    Because of the issues noted above, and the ongoing development of new mechanisms to track users that do not involve cookies, our focus is on the new Tracking Protection technology.

    Next Steps After investigating what Google sends to IE, we confirmed what we describe above. We have made a Tracking Protection List available that IE9 users can add by clicking here as a protection in the event that Google continues this practice. Customers can find additional lists and information on this page.

    The premise of Tracking Protection in IE9 is that tracking servers never have the opportunity to use cookies or any other mechanism to track the user if the user never sends anything to a tracking server. This logic underlies why Tracking Protection blocks network requests entirely. This new technology approach is currently undergoing the standardization process at the W3C.

    This blog post has additional information about IE’s cookie controls, and shows how you can block all cookies from a given site (e.g. * regardless of whether they are first- or third-party. This method of blocking cookies would not be subject to the methods Google used. We recommend that users not yet running IE9 take steps described in this post.

    Given this real-world behavior, we are investigating what additional changes to make to our products. The P3P specification says that browsers should ignore unknown tokens. Privacy advocates involved in the original specification have recently suggested that IE ignore the specification and block cookies with unrecognized tokens. We are actively investigating that course of action.

    Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer

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    From: zax2/21/2012 1:23:10 PM
       of 15002
    Google now facing class-action suit over Safari cookie circumvention
    By Jacqui Cheng via iggyl

    A class-action complaint has now been filed against Google for its circumvention of Safari's privacy features. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for Delaware, accuses Google of willfully violating of the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communication Act, and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    Google was discovered to have been working its way around Safari's blockage of third-party cookies last week by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer. The company immediately denied that the behavior was intentional and disabled the code that allowed it to install the tracking cookies in Safari. In a statement sent to Ars, Google Senior VP of Communications and Public Policy Rachel Whetstone claimed that the cookies didn't collect personal information and that the behavior was limited to Safari, though Microsoft claimed on Monday that Google was also tricking Internet Explorer into accepting the tracking cookies as well. (Google argues that Microsoft is using an impractical and outdated protocol that practically no one complies with.)

    Still, privacy groups were up in arms and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Google's behavior, and the new class-action lawsuit won't make things any easier. The plaintiff, Matthew Soble, argues that Google violated numerous federal laws designed to protect user privacy on the Web and asks the court for damages for all Safari-using Googlers like himself. Google declined to comment to BusinessWeek when asked about the lawsuit, but given the company's earlier responses, it looks like Google is maintaining that the tracking was a mistake, and that those who have opted out of Google's " interest-based advertising program" were unaffected—including Safari users.

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    From: Glenn Petersen2/24/2012 2:20:14 PM
       of 15002
    GOOG prepares to bail on Clearwire:

    Google to sell stake in Clearwire for $47m, a tenth of the price it originally paid

    By Vlad Savov
    The Verge
    on February 24, 2012 07:22 am

    Google has filed documents with the SEC today in preparation for the sale of its entire stake in the troubled Clearwire Corporation. Having spent $500 million to acquire a 6.5 percent share back in 2008, Google is now cutting its losses and looking to sell up for approximately $47 million. The proposed $1.60 price per share dramatically undercuts the current $2.27 level, and Google's move will undoubtedly put even more pressure on the already financially constrained company. Clearwire's wireless broadband business was built on the premise that WiMAX will prosper and flourish in the US, but that forecast failed to materialize and now every major carrier — including Sprint, Clearwire's largest shareholder — is in the process of transitioning to LTE.

    The SEC documentation explains Google's exit from Clearwire as an act of rebalancing its portfolio of investments, but a more candid assessment would be that Google expects Clearwire to sink beneath its mountain of debt and is getting out while it can. Sales of Google's shares in Clearwire will begin on February 27th, with the other equity holders getting first dibs, and should close by the end of March.

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    From: Glenn Petersen2/28/2012 9:26:35 AM
       of 15002
    The Mounting Minuses at Google+

    Playing Catchup to Facebook, Google's Social Network Is a Virtual Ghost Town by Comparison

    Message 27976780

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    To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (13247)3/1/2012 10:58:36 PM
    From: zax
       of 15002
    Users spent 136x more time on Facebook than Google+ in January

    ... Although Google+ visitors are seemingly stricken with poor attention spans, what may be more worrisome for Google is that the attention deficit continues to grow. In November, Google+ users were spending an average of 5.1 minutes which slipped to 4.8 in December and 3.3 in January ...

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    To: zax who wrote (13248)3/2/2012 6:27:32 PM
    From: Kirk ©
    1 Recommendation   of 15002
    "Users spent 136x more time on Facebook than Google+ in January"

    I spent a a decent amount of time on Facebook yesterday and today but didn't click an ad or look to buy anything. I uploaded a photo that they have to pay to store.

    Yesterday I spent about 10 minutes searching with Google for places to buy a $2,000 to $4,000 Integra high fi receiver. I found the address for two stores near me and the specs for the models friends recommended I check out to replace my 19 yr old Yamaha unit that is crapping out. I haven't spent any time today on Google but to enter a dinner appointment for next week on the calendar.

    I can see how Google could make a lot of money offering help find what I was looking for as well as alternatives to buy but all Facebook did was lose a bit of money storing my photo for me.

    I have a hard time figuring how FB will be much different than Yahoo! with a better user experience. I actually find Yahoo! finance quite useful for stock research.... a busness need vs playing

    BTW, facebook shows ads related to the photos. I uploaded a photo of my garden starting to bloom and discussed it with friends and relatives. We are shown ads but I have already learned to ignore that part of the screen so I can't tell you what they were....

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    To: zax who wrote (13244)3/3/2012 7:56:45 PM
    From: MJ
       of 15002
    Google is everywhere-------doesn't matter what one I uses-----MSFT or Mozella or other.

    In addition to Google there are sites that are set up as Blogger sites under various url's.

    Recently, a Bloggers site came to my attention due to having current personal information with a picture of a person that should never have appeared on the Bloggers site.

    I have talked with the person whom I know well, he/she is shocked. The person doesn't even use a computer and has no interest in having one--------has never put a picture on the net nor given permission to a blogger to do so.

    As I followed the blogger's links---------the information and picture then get used on a money making site
    by the blogger.

    Something is not right with this scenario, I am considering what can be done if anything to get the picture and info off of the bloggers site and stop the use of the info to generate money for the blogger.

    If anyone has thoughts, send me a private note. Thanks.



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    From: Sr K3/6/2012 3:35:36 PM
       of 15002
    Google ...

    The company has retired the Android Market name for its store that sells apps, videos, music and electronic books on the Web and on mobile devices. From Tuesday, the store will be rebranded as the Google Play Store.

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    To: Sr K who wrote (13251)3/6/2012 6:38:55 PM
    From: Win-Lose-Draw
       of 15002

    Serious Zune appeal with that rebranding, for sure!


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