theEweekly Wrap – New Bing features, Google court case and paid online news
|Bing’s busy week||Microsoft search site Bing announced a raft of changes this week. Aside from revealing a potentially lucrative partnership with computational search engine Wolfram Alpha, the fledgling Microsoft venture also publicised a number of brand new features.
The major Bing news of the week came as the search engine unveiled a new video portal. The obviously named Bing Video replaces the Microsoft Video site and features content from the likes of YouTube, Hulu and US television network ABC.
Bing also rolled out a new layout for its search engine results pages. The ‘Advanced Hover Preview Feature’ gives users the chance to view pictures of a website featured in a user query, as well as the inclusion of popular ‘deep links’ on listed sites.
|Google goes to the bar||Google is back in court again. When it’s not batting away lawsuits regarding the controversial book-scanning scheme, the search engine giant is regularly summoned by the law to defend its Google Maps application.
This week, a Swiss data protection commissioner decided to pick a fight with the search engine after privacy concerns over the 360-degree map service.
Hanspeter Thuer argued the current protection employed by Google to conceal the faces of those featured in the service was insufficient. He said:
“Numerous faces and vehicle number plates are not made sufficiently unrecognisable.”
The move could see the maps service blocked from Switzerland until the ruling is complete. Google said it was ‘disappointed’ by the decision. Or, in three of the national languages of Switzerland, enttäuschen, décevoir and deludere.
|Murdoch moves with the times||News kingpin Rupert Murdoch launched a scathing attack on the search industry this week as he accused Google and their ilk of stealing content.
Murdoch, owner of News International (the company behind The Times and The Sun newspapers), blamed search engines for the decline in revenue across the print industry as a whole.
“The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it – steal our stories, we say they steal our stories – they just take them,” he said. “That’s Google, that’s Microsoft, that’s Ask.com, a whole lot of people … they shouldn’t have had it free all the time, and I think we’ve been asleep.”
Murdoch, speaking to Sky News Australia, focused his rage of the news aggregation feeds offered by Google, Bing and all. He went on to say that all News International publications would deny Google access to content following the conversion to a subscription-only model in 2010.
|Cutts’ Christmas cheer||Mr. Matt Cutts, liked and loved in equal measure by the search industry, has let slip some news about the release of the Google Caffeine update.
Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, revealed that Caffeine – an update which slightly alters the way the search engine indexes web pages – would be released in 2010.
Why the delay? According to Cutts, Google doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas by plummeting sites out of the rankings before the seasonal shopping rush.
He wrote on his official blog:
“I know that webmasters can get anxious around this time of year, so I wanted to reassure site owners that the full Caffeine roll out will happen after the holiday. [We want to] minimize the stress on webmasters during the holidays.”
Well, it’s a better present than a pair of socks.