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Google Backs Down From European Commission Investigation

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by Ashley No Comments


Two years ago, The European Commission started taking a closer interest in Google’s market dominance after receiving substantial complaints from its rivals.

Today a Google spokesperson announced that they would be looking to redress some of their business practices to fall in line with the European Commission’s concerns.

So far the European Commission have highlighted concerns in Google favouring its own services in search results, the management of adverts appearing next to search results as they are displayed, how it displays third party web content and how its business practices affect access to buy advertising on rival networks.

ICOMP (The Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace) were pleased with the announcement however we can only wonder as to ICOMP’s motives when a key partner in the venture, Microsoft, are set to benefit significantly from these changes in their own advertising ventures.

Internet news: Google’s new Privacy Policy, Good or Evil?

Posted on: March 5th, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


What’s up with Google’s Privacy Policy?

Google makes new changes to Privacy Policy

Google makes new changes to Privacy Policy

Google’s new Privacy policy has been causing a big stir this month.

In the last month the internet has been set alight by the ramblings of human rights activists and internet blog sites going mad with scary headlines, and predictions of a gloomy “Internet Overload” in the style of George Orwell’s 1984. So what’s the truth of the matter and should you be worried about these changes?

What’s actually changing?

Google main change is they will be having one unified privacy policy that covers all of the businesses and websites. i.e. YouTube, Google Search, Google buzz, Google Mail, Google Calender, Google Maps etc.

The idea is to simplify and enable the integration of user data across all of Google platforms. Which will enable them to Taylor advertising to an individuals taste based on a users browsing, search and internet activity.

What is the problem?

The main issue that Google’s user base are having is concerned about having so much personal data stored into one neat little package from the company to use. Worried that Google might end up knowing more about them then some of their own family members. Google representatives have repeatedly stated that they are not collecting any new information, just collating it. Of course this isn’t very reassuring for most people and if you don’t want to opt out of the data collection there is a very simple way to do it.

To Delete your history within Google simply Sign into your Google Account, go to https://www.google.com/history, click “remove all Web History” and click “OK” .

Simple as that.

Although it should be noted that if Google really had evil intentions. It would of been more worrying if they had been consolidating the data behind closed doors. They have access to all the information, there wouldn’t be much of a legal issue for Google to be consolidation information without a users permission. Google made the changes in their new policy very public, it was posted at the header of every website they own, plastered so in your face, that it was actually getting quite annoying. Given these facts, people should probably take these changes in Google’s privacy policy as a sign of honesty on Google’s behalf. Rather than the move of a sinister evil internet empire.

That being said, even though the policy is described as a simplified version, it is extremely complicated to understand. Even privacy specialists seem to be having a tough time getting the heads around some of the technical jargon intertwined through out the policy. Which has obviously made a lot of users suspicious that Google has something to hide.

But more and more, in the world of the data age. The only way you can avoid large amounts of data being collected about you and your every move, is just to avoid using the internet or any technology altogether. So it’s something we might just have to get used to.

At least if we have company’s like Google are being honest enough to make us aware of what they are collecting, we can take possible measures against being tracked.

‘Typosquatting’ phone companies fined £100,000 for misleading visitors

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


Tetrabyte Managed I.T. Support - Phone Companies scam consumers by using typosquatting sites.

I.T. Support - Phone Companies scam consumers by using typosquatting sites.

Two large premium rate phone companies have been fine £100,000 for typo squatting on their competitors.

The ruling said the customers were being “misled” by the company’s actions and were ordered to refund the callers that fell into the trap.

Typosquatters use misspelled variations of popular web addresses.

They rely on human error when typing in a popular web address, to steal a competitor’s web traffic.

“Premium-rate phone regulator PhonepayPlus said Amsterdam-based R&D Media Europe and Una Valley BV used typosquatted sites.” The BBC news correspondent stated.

The typosquatted sites resembled their competitors and failed to provide clear information about pricing.

The competitions comprised of giving participants the impression that entering contact details and answering a few questions would enable them to receive prizes from the website.

Unfortunately for the unknowing participants of these competitions they start to receive text messages asking them quiz or survey questions, each message received cost £1.50, and a further £1.50 was charged for replying.

PhonepayPlus the Premium-rate phone regulator, said Amsterdam-based R&D Media Europe and Una Valley BV used unlawful tactics to fool consumers.

PhonepayPlus revealed one such victim was charged £63 after using a site mimicking the look of the popular video blogging site YouTube.

The organisation is responsible for sanctioning all premium-rate telephone service providers, who operate within the UK.

PayphonePlus say that “all providers are obliged to register with the organisation and abide by our code of practice over fair use.”

R&D Media Europe and Una Valley BV breached this code of practice.

PhonepayPlus’ tribunal has ordered the two phone companies to issue refunds to those affected by the scam.

Paul Whiteing, the organisation’s chief executive said: “These judgements send a clear message to providers that they cannot play on the public’s trust in well-known websites to promote services.”

R&D Media Europe nor Una Valley BV, were not available for comment.

Vice-president of brand protection firm Mark Monitor, Charlie Abrahams, told the BBC that

“The infringer is preying on the possibility of the consumer missing out a dot or making a mistake,”

“It is breaking the law by attempting to make profit by impersonating a trademark.”

Business I.T. Support Comedy: Jebs Jobs – Techincal Support Ep1

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


Funny I.T. Support Sketch

“The first episode of the award winning 3D animation series finds Jeb behind the tech support desk” – Sometimes working in the office can be  a hard grind so it’s nice to entertain ourselves with a nice bit of I.T. comedy. Of course we here at the offices of Tetrabyte aren’t as bad as this guy, but we can certainly appreciate the humor of this episode of Jeb’s jobs, so we encourage to take a few minutes to kick back and have giggle at this funny little I.T. Support sketch from Weakend Productions.

But if you’re looking for a more serious I.T. Support Company call us here at Tetrabyte Business I.T. Support, we promise to do a better job than Jeb.

I.T. News: IBM Releases Free Internet Security Training Tools to Educate on Digital Responsibility

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


IMB Logo

IMB Free Tools

 

Free Internet Tools from IBM

Yesterday IMB announced they would be releasing a selection of free internet security tools to help educate and raise public awareness of digital responsibility. The release will be given to teachers, students and businesses as a part of the three part package.

Control Your Online Identity is a volunteer education kit designed to help teenagers learn to protect their personal data and reputation online. Although t most teenagers appear to be knowledgeable about the basic functions and use of social media and online accounts. They are usually unaware of how data they share is used. Designed to help students learn how to protect personal data and how to reduce the risk of their identity being stolen or abused online.

Internet Safety Coaching is designed for teachers or personnel working with children. It is a general guide on basic Internet safety. Providing information about common Internet activities by young people including social media, blogging and instant messaging.  Specifically designed to raise awareness of the best online safety policies and how best to discuss this topic with children.

Cyberbullying is a constant threat for young people and adults alike on the world wide web, This tool is aimed at parents or adults who work with children. It is designed to help adults learn about how young people use the Internet today, how to recognize cyberbullying symptoms, and how to prevent online bullying from happening. There is also information on what steps to take if cyberbullying is discovered.

The release coincides with Safer Internet Day which is a global drive by awareness-raising partners to promote a safer Internet for all users. Organised by INSAFE in the framework of the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme.

 

For more information on Information Technology news please join us on Twitter. @Tetrabyte

I.T. News: Judging Twitter | London Supreme Court likes to Tweet

Posted on: February 8th, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


Twitter: London Supreme Court likes to Tweet

Social Media comes to the UKSC

Twitter comes to the supreme court

Twitter and Wiki Leaks in the UK's Supreme Court

Social media is certainly spreading into some unexpected places these days. The latest official government body to join the ranks of the Social Media website Twitter, is England’s Supreme Court in London.

The Supreme Court launched its microblogging page @UKSupremeCourt on Monday. The idea is to issue real time news on its latest rulings. The plan to kick off the new service started with the courts swearing-in ceremony of new justice Lord Robert Reed.

“The Supreme Court has allowed Tweeting from its courtrooms in most occasions since February 2011, but today marks the first time that the Court itself will ‘tweet’.” explained Ben Wilson, Spokesperson for the UKSC.

This move is a step towards the courts commitment to making the its proceedings more accessible to the public eye. It is also an attempt to engage a new audience, who might not be familiar with the court’s work.

“From producing summaries of judgments to streaming proceedings live online, taking to Twitter is another step to opening the doors of the highest court in the land to as many people as possible,” said Wilson.

The opening of the UKSC’s Twitter account coincides with the ruling of Julian Assange’s (Founder of Wiki leaks) extradition appeal, the courts most High Profile case since it’s opening in 2009.

“Twitter provides a channel to rapidly publish the outcome of this case, and others to a large number of interested parties.” Wilson goes on to explain.

It seems only fair to say, with Wiki Leaks history having been so intertwined with social media sites, such as Twitter, it only seems appropriate that the hearing would be covered in this manner.

Assange is set to challenge Sweden’s public prosecutor for issuing a European Arrest warrant for his extradition to the United States.

The ruling in Assange’s hearing last week, is not expected to be decided by the Court justices for another few weeks. Plenty of time to get their Twitter up and running smoothly.

 

If you interested in more I.T. News you can subcribe to Tetrabyte’s Twitter account @Tetrabyte for live updates.

 

Google makes changes algorithm to penalise websites for spamming users with adverts

Posted on: February 3rd, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


Google Changes Algorithm

Google makes new changes to serach algorithm

Google have introduced a new page layout algorithm improvement.

Google is of course known for its on-going efforts to improve search results, this is to help their users find high-quality content from the websites listed in their search results. To this end they have recently launched an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a webpage, and the amount of content the user sees on the page once they click on a search result.

“We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience.” Google reports on a slew of complaints they have received in recent months. They go on to say “Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.” The new feature is designed to penalise those sights that do not show relevant content above the line at the bottom of the user’s page or “Above-the-fold”.

Problematically, this line is apparently different depending on how large the user’s resolution is. So how Google have chosen to define what really counts as “above” isn’t as clear as one might hope. Common sense would suggest it will most likely be dependent on the average resolution of the websites own user base, whether this is the case, Google have not stated. They do say this change will affect less than 1% of all its pages, but even 1% of Google’s listings has to be in the billions, therefore it has to be remembered that while 1% is small in relative terms, it still accounts for a large number of web pages.

What does this mean for users?

For users this is a great improvement and Google is to be commended by them, No user likes to be spammed with adverts when visiting any website, so for the users, this is only a user enhancing experience, less ads and more content. I doubt any sane internet surfer could argue with that, unless their favourite website is penalized, but there is always bookmarks to get around that.

What does this mean for webmasters and developers?

This is certainly the more important question. Whether you consider Google’s new changes fair or not is not really up for debate here, as this change clearly improves overall user experience. What it does mean is that web designers/developers and webmasters will have to be more selective over their strategy when it comes to advertising. Web developers will now have to consider carefully where they place a websites search engine readable content in relation to the websites cash cows.

Although many websites already take this into consideration to deliver the best user experience they can, this is clearly not the case for all websites, and many of them have been happy to game the search engines by hiding content at the bottom of a page below a large field of advertisements, making any visitors fight their way through them, before reaching what they want to see. Forcing websites to comply with this kind of standard will hopefully improve overall website design in order to appeal to the search engines new changes and improve user experience.

Google has commented that this is only one of over 500 new changes they are making during the next 12 months, which means that website designers better stay on top of their game if they want to stay on top of Google’s listings. This year is looking to be a big one for Google, with Google Plus still on the rise and rolling out so many new features, exciting times are ahead in the world of the internet.

Broadband News: Lincolnshire to get superfast broadband

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by Tetrabyte No Comments


Superfast Broadband

Superfast Broadband comes to Lincolnshire

Today local authorities in the Lincolnshire area have assured businesses that they will have access to superfast business broadband no later than five years from now.

Councillor Kelly Smith commented on the plans “Improved broadband is vital for business growth, for all residents accessing services, including the growing number of silver surfers, and for young people looking to download learning materials,”

The county council’s proposed plans have been accept by the government to move forward to introduce the latest internet technology to the consumer and business market in Sleaford and the surround area.

The plans that have been proposed should benefit at least 90% of all premises’ in the area, giving them access to speeds of up to 24Mb/s (up to three times faster than today’s current broadband speeds) by the year 2015, and by 2017 superfast broadband will be available to all other areas in the county.

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