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Google Releases a One-Stop Reference Source to Browser Security

Today via its Online Security Blog, Google announced the release of its Browser Security Handbook aimed at providing web application developers, browser engineers, and information security researchers a "one-stop reference" to critical security attributes of modern web browsers. "Insufficient understanding of these often poorly-documented characteristics is a major contributing factor to the prevalence of several classes of security vulnerabilities," says the introduction to the 60-page document. more

The Web’s Benevolent Dictators

Jeffrey Rosen has a great article in the New York Times Magazine this weekend titled Google's Gatekeepers. In it he deals with the question of whether we are becoming too overly dependent on a few big web companies like Google – and whether it's wise over the long run for us to trust their team of (currently) very nice, well-meaning people who are trying hard to do the right thing when faced with government censorship demands and surveillance pressures. He writes... more

A Link to Eternity

While Google is as secretive about its internal processes and systems as Apple is about product development, every now and then senior people post articles on the official Google blog and offer their thoughts on the development of the web. In the latest posting, two Google engineers, Alfred Spector and Franz Och, look at how search strategies will benefit from the faster computers, greater volumes of data and better algorithms we are likely to see in the next decade, speculating that "we could train our systems to discern not only the characters or place names in a YouTube video or a book, for example, but also to recognise the plot or the symbolism." more

Happy OneWebDay: Celebrations are Underway Around the World

Today marks the third annual OneWebDay (Earth Day for the Internet) and communities around the world are holding events to learn about and advocate the Internet. Gatherings are being held in major U.S. cities as well as Melbourne, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Singapore, Tunisia and elsewhere. more

Survey Indicates 69% of Internet Users Already Making Use of Cloud Computing

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center's Internet Project, 69% of all Internet users in U.S. have either stored data online or used a web-based software application. "These users are making use of 'cloud computing,' an emerging architecture by which data and applications reside in cyberspace, allowing users to access them through any web-connected device." At the same time, most of these users are still unfamiliar with the term "cloud computing." more

Google Chrome: Cloud Operating Environment

Rather than blathering on to the blogosphere about the superficial features of Google's new Chrome browser I've spent some time studying the available material and [re]writing a comprehensive Wikipedia article on the subject which I intend for anyone to be free to reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license rather than Wikipedia's usual strong copyleft GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This unusual freedom is extended in order to foster learning and critical analysis, particularly in terms of security. more

Chrome: Getting Microsoft’s Goat

Historically there has been nothing which gets Microsoft's attention as fast as a platform for applications which threatens Windows dominance. Google's Chrome is obviously such a platform; Google can afford to challenge Microsoft; it's healthy for innovation that it does. Can Microsoft still rise to the challenge? Way back when I was at Microsoft -- 1991 to 1994, Lotus Notes was the threat du jour... Since I was responsible for the development of what was to become Microsoft Exchange, I was in charge of that war for a while... more

Google Set to Launch Chrome Browser Today

Google announced on Monday that it has been working on an open-source browser known as Chrome and that it is going to release a beta version today in 100 countries. News about the launch of Google Chrome (originally planned for announcement after the holiday weekend) was accidentally emailed to outside sources according to reports. The new browser features include "isolated" tabs designed to prevent browser crashes and a more powerful JavaScript engine. Chrome is based on the open-source software Webkit which is also used to build Google's mobile software Android. more

Daily Search Engine Usage Reaching Email Usage

Use of search engines on a daily bases has been steadily rising from about one-third in 2002 to current rate of just under 50% according to a recent report by Pew Internet & American Life Project. With this increase, the search engine use will soon be reaching that of email which is currently 60% of internet users. The study also points out that these "new figures propel search further out of the pack, well ahead of other popular internet activities, such as checking the news, which 39% of internet users do on a typical day, or checking the weather, which 30% do on a typical day." more

Internet Companies in Negotiations for Agreement on Code of Conduct in China

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, in negotiations with other Internet companies and human rights organizations, have reached an agreement on a voluntary code of conduct for activities in China and other countries that censor the Internet. The participants are reviewing the agreement for final approval. more

Open Web Foundation Launches to Push Data Portability

A new nonprofit organization called the Open Web Foundation (OWF) launched today with a mission to be an independent non-profit dedicated to the development and protection of open, non-proprietary specifications for web technologies. "The Open Web needs Open Data, Open Date needs Open Specifications," is one of the statements used in today's opening presentation. With backing from some of the biggest companies including Google, MySpace, Facebook, and Yahoo, the foundation plans to serve as a placeholder for "all the legal dirty work that needs to happen in order for data portability to become a reality." more

Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more

Google, Viacom, Privacy and Copyright Meet the Social Web

In all the recent uproar (New York Times, "Google Told to Turn Over User Data of YouTube," Michael Helft, 4 July 2008) about the fact that Google has been forced to turn over a large pile of personally-identifiable information to Viacom as part of a copyright dispute (Opinion), there is a really interesting angle pointed out by Dan Brickley (co-creator of FOAF and general Semantic Web troublemaker)... more

Domain-Name Error Redirect: Incentives and Solutions

Some domainers, having forgone parking revenue to avoid any claims of trademark violation, have then found themselves thrown into legal trouble with trademark claimants because of actions taken by a third party (ISPs and PC manufacturers). In addition to the resulting direct legal cost, the possibility of action by a third party heightens uncertainty and steals management's attention away from its real job. The troubles for the domain name owner start when a surfer who enters in the browser an inactive domain name is redirected to a Web page with advertising instead of getting a page that says there is an input error... more

Storm Warning for Cloud Computing: More Like a Miasma

The approach is growing in popularity, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among the many large companies working on ways to attract users to their offerings, with Google Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon S3 all signing up customers as they try to figure out what works and what can turn a profit... In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play... The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection. more