Google rebuts U.S. objections to digital book deal
Google Inc. wants the digital rights to millions of books badly enough that
it's willing to take on the U.S. Department of Justice in a court battle over
whether the Internet search leader's ambitions would break antitrust and
copyright laws. The stage for the showdown was set with a Google court filing that
defended the $125 million settlement of a classaction lawsuit the
company reached with U.S. authors and publishers more than 14 months
ago. Google's 67page filing includes a rebuttal to the Justice Department's
belief that the settlement would thwart competition in the book market
and undermine copyright law. The brief also tries to overcome a chorus of
criticism from several of its rivals, watchdog groups, state governments
and even some foreign governments. Google revised its original book agreement in
November in an attempt to win the Justice Department's support, only to have the nation's top law enforcement agency reiterate its opposition last week.
This time, though, Google decided to dig in its heels
and attempt to persuade U.S. District Judge Denny Chin that the Justice
Department and the settlement's other opponents are wrong.
The purpose of copyright law is to promote the creation and distribution of
expressive works Google's lawyers wrote the (settlement) advances this
purpose as much as any case or agreement in copyright history.
The decision to fight the Justice Department rather than seek another
compromise represents a calculated risk for Google. The company's
domination of Internet search and its expansion into other markets have
already been drawing more regulatory scrutiny. Locking horns with the
Justice Department raises the spectre of antitrust regulators magnifying
their focus on Google's search engine, which fuels an online advertising
system that generates virtually all the company's revenue. The Justice
Department's concerns include the possibility of Google gaining an unfair
advantage over its smaller Internet search rivals if it wins the right to a
digital database of books that it built up by ignoring copyright laws.
Microsoft and Yahoo are a part of a group trying to persuade Chin to reject
the book agreement. Google has made digital copies of more than 12
million books during the past five years "at an enormous cost, But the
company has only been able to show snippets from most of those books
because of a copyright dispute that culminated in the lawsuit filed in 2005
by groups representing U.S. authors and publishers.
The proposed settlement would unlock Google's electronic library and allow
the company to sell the titles in competition with Amazon.com Inc. and
other merchants. Most of the money from the sales would go to the
publishers and authors.
The Justice Department believes this arrangement could create a literary
cartel that would drive up prices, a notion that Google dismissed in its
filing. Google is a new entrant and currently has zero percent share in any book
market. It does not have monopoly power and there is no 'dangerous
probability' that it will acquire such power.
Facebook pulls 30 UK inmates' pages after taunts
Britain's Justice Minister says Facebook has deleted the pages of 30 UK prisoners after they used the Internet to taunt their victims. The move follows several incidents in which
British criminals have reportedly used the social networking site to communicate with
conspirators and act against victims Outrage over inmates' online activities prompted
Straw to contact Facebook. Mr. Straw said he hoped Facebook would soon
"press the delete button" whenever the government asked to have an
offending profile removed.
Google's Buzz sets internet humming
You've Googled those facts, you've updated your status on Facebook,
you've uploaded your pictures to Flickr, and you've tweeted about it on
Twitter. But now Google would like you to head back its way and join in
the Buzz. Attached to Google's Gmail webmail service, Buzz allows you to
have short, or very long, text chats with people who are also owners of
The company's executives describe it as the "poster child" for Google's
future: a social networking structure that automatically finds people to
connect with you. However, critics claim Buzz looks more like an attempt
to catch up with Facebook and Twitter, which are vying for internet users'
attention, than any solution to actual problems facing Google users.
There are also privacy concerns that it could distribute details about
people contacted by email.
Launched at Google's headquarters, Mountain View, California, Buzz has
now been rolled out to all of Gmail's 150 million users worldwide, though
not yet to those using Gmail inside organisations, where it is expected to
arrive next month. Buzz creates a "social circle" of people to whom you
are "connected", through having emailed them or visited their profile page.
It lets you post comments, pictures and videos.
During internal testing it was known as Taco Town, and proved popular for
sharing highdefinition videos, Google is really good at sorting information,
That's what we intend to do with social information as well. It is claimed
Buzz could become an aggregator for sites, as Google is now for news.
Presently, however, it only works on a few phones: Apple's iPhone, and
the latest Google Nexus.
Google has tried to build social networking systems before: Orkut, a
Facebooklike site, launched in 2004 and successful in Brazil, and Jaiku, a
Twitterlike system, acquired by Google in October 2007 but effectively
abandoned by the company in January last year.
Oxford exhibits ancient Indian art online
For the first time, images of rare objects and artefacts from ancient India
and other Asian countries have been made available online by the
Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. The centre will provide
global access to the University's Islamic and Asian Art collections held at
The collections span the Islamic Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent,
Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea, and comprise a wide range of
media, including ceramics, textiles, sculpture, metalwork, paintings, and
prints.The centre will initially focus on the objects and themes featured in the
Ashmolean's new galleries for the Islamic and Asian Collections, with over
1,400 of the Museum's great treasures of Eastern Art accessible online at
This resource will be an invaluable tool for
historians and students for research purposes, for
craftsmen and designers seeking inspiration, and
for an interested and curious public all over the
The project began in July 2007 .To digitise this
extensive collection, over 11,000 objects have been
photographed to date, providing high quality,
zoomable images of objects online.
There is an ongoing programme to update and publish all these objects on
the web, making this area of the Museum's collection available online for
the first time.
Knowledge should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time.
The Online Centre for Islamic and Asian Art will be a major step towards
achieving this goal.Reflecting the methodology of Crossing cultures
crossing time, The Centre of Islamic and Asian Art will explore the artistic
cultures of Asia collectively. By examining their similarities and differences
the online visitor will learn that art from the Islamic world coexists with the
other great Asian artistic traditions, from India to Japan.
Google plans superfast internet
Google plans to build a fiber optic broadband network that will connect
customers to the internet at speeds 100 times faster than most existing
broadband connections in the United States. Its goal is to experiment with
new ways to help make internet access better and faster for everyone.
Google plans to build and test the network in trial communities around the
country starting later this year and that the tests could encompass as
many as 5,00,000 people. They cited threedimensional medical imaging and quick, high definition film downloads among the applications of such
highspeed internet access.
It will deliver internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most
Americans have access to today with one gigabit per second, fibertothehome
It plans to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and
potentially up to 500,000 people. It is being done because it wants to
make the web better and faster to everyone.
Social networks profitable for employers, staff
Social networks are slowly emerging as "commercial networks" for
businesses, as they provide profitable opportunities for both individuals
and prospective employers, Social networks are really misnomer because
they are turning into commercial entities and changing the way companies
After the emergence of social networks, organisations can tap previously
invisible and inaccessible pools of talent in the form of virtual workforce.
"These untapped but highlyskilled workers are critical in the face of an
ageing global workforce and worsening talent mismatch. Through sites such as Facebook, employees can connect to their CEO, whose access to their unfiltered ideas can inform their view of the business in exciting new ways. The focus of
company efforts is to channel use of social networking in directions that benefit organisations and employees alike, rather than trying to control
employees social networking behavior. The key is to equip your employees with a framework for what's onmessage and the tone of your company, and then empower them to be ambassadors of your brand.
These findings have come at a time when social networking sites are
blamed for reducing the productivity of businesses.
Many employees feel that their respective companies do not have a formal
policy for the use of social networks. Most organisations that have
instituted a policy have done so in order to avoid productivity loss,
mirroring the corporate reaction to the growing popularity of the World
Wide Web in the 1990s, when it was feared that employees would waste
too much time idly surfing the Web.