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theEweekly Wrap – Google and China, Twitter spam and Yahoo mobile

Google’s gamble Google followed through on its threat to stop censoring results from the Chinese version of its search engine this week, directing Chinese citizens to its unfiltered Hong Kong service. The move came in response to a cyber attack originating from the country in January.

David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google said he hoped the decision would be accepted by the government.

“We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services,” he said.

Chinese officials quickly responded to the search engine’s decision, saying Google had “violated a written promise” and its actions were “totally wrong”. A spokesperson for the US National Security Department said the administration was “disappointed [the two parties] were not able to reach an agreement.”

Twitter’s spam shortage The Twittersphere celebrated this week after the social network site revealed it had drastically reduced the amount of spammers using the service.

Writing on the official Twitter blog, Abdur Chowdhury, lead scientist at the site, said spam accounts on the network currently contributed one per cent of all tweets. This total is down from its peak of 11 per cent in August 2009.

“We’re constantly battling against spam to improve the Twitter experience and we’re happy to report that it’s working,” he wrote.

“While the battle will never be over, we’re doing well on the front lines. Advertising Age recently profiled our Trust and Safety team noting the strong progress we’ve made keeping Twitter light on spam.”

Despite this victory, industry analysts are speculating that spammers will continue to abuse the social networking site.

“The interesting thing now will be to see whether the spammers will try to come back in this arms race – and quite how they’ll do it,” wrote the Guardian’s Charles Arthur.

Mobile market Mobile marketing hit the SEO headlines this week as both Google and Yahoo provided industry professionals with some tasty news morsels to digest.

Google caused a stir as Diana Pouliot, director of mobile advertising at the company, revealed one third of all Google searches via the mobile web relate to the user’s local area. It’s worth nothing that Google has made some interesting changes to its mobile search, most recently allowing advertisers to include a link to their number in sponsored searches.

Meanwhile, Yahoo celebrated successfully completing the gauntlet of iPhone app approval after its innovative Sketch-a-Search was released by Apple. The app allows users to see local listings in a specific region on a map.

“With the fast pace of mobile browser development, this is an exciting time for our industry,” said Shashi Seth, senior vice president of Yahoo Search Products.

Written by Tom Mason

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