Tech wrap: Google bypassed Safari privacy settings

February 17, 2012

Google landed in hot water over revelations that the search giant and ad companies had bypassed the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple’s Safari Web browser, using special computer code that tracked their movements online. Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer discovered the code. Subsequently, a technical adviser to the Wall Street Journal found that ads on 22 of the top 100 websites installed the Google tracking code on a test computer, and ads on 23 sites installed it on an iPhone browser. Google disabled the code after being contacted by the Journal, the newspaper said, and Google issued a statement, saying: “The Journal mischaracterizes what happened and why. We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.”

Facebook’s Timeline: A catalog of nothing

By Kevin Kelleher
February 17, 2012

We have seen the past, and it doesn’t work.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been rolling out Timeline, its effort to remake its members’ profile pages into scrapbooks that, like nearly everything published on the social web, is told in a reverse chronology. While redesigns always inspire grumbling, the discontent seems particularly strong this time — 70 percent of users surveyed say they just don’t like it, and Facebook’s own blog page announcing Timeline is filled with complaints in the comments.

Microsoft’s msnNOW targets hot news, gossip

February 16, 2012

Microsoft’s MSN portal, like Yahoo’s, is finding it tough to compete with Facebook and Twitter as people’s first port of call on the Internet.

OpenX opens kimono to reveal financials – prepwork for an IPO?

February 14, 2012

It’s the season for getting a peek at private Internet companies’ financial results.

from Paul Smalera:

The piracy of online privacy

February 10, 2012

Online privacy doesn’t exist. It was lost years ago. And not only was it taken, we’ve all already gotten used to it. Loss of privacy is a fundamental tradeoff at the very core of social networking. Our privacy has been taken in service of the social tools we so crave and suddenly cannot live without. If not for the piracy of privacy, Facebook wouldn’t exist. Nor would Twitter. Nor even would Gmail, Foursquare, Groupon, Zynga, etc.

Trolling for a tech showdown

February 10, 2012

The scene: A federal courtroom in Tyler, Texas.

The drama: A lawsuit by a patent troll who said he owned the rights to the “interactive web.” The troll says he’s owed some back rent for owning the Web we all use every day.

All about the Benjamins, or How Mark Zuckerberg cemented control of Facebook $100 at a time

February 8, 2012

One hundred dollars doesn’t go very far these days.

But for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, a C-Note was the key to cementing his control over the social networking phenomenon.

How ‘don’t be evil’ became ‘let’s all be evil’

By Kevin Kelleher
February 6, 2012

It’s been nearly a decade since the tagline “don’t be evil” was attached to Google in a Wired magazine profile. Google, a little more than four years old, adopted the phrase as a code of conduct as it navigated through a growing list of hard questions, and as it increasingly shaped the Web itself. Since then, the term has been hurled back at its founders again and again — every time a saucy blogger or disgruntled user had a bone to pick with the company.

from Paul Smalera:

Facebook.coop

February 2, 2012

Facebook shouldn't pay its users. Its users should pay to own Facebook.

“Facebook was not originally created to be a company,” founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his letter to investors announcing the IPO of his already hugely successful and profitable company. “It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”

Corporate co-dependence: when good partnerships go bad

February 3, 2012

One of the biggest surprises in Facebook’s IPO filing was that it depended on game-maker Zynga  for 12 percent of its sales last year.