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The Week We Searched For- January 15, 2010

This week’s stories are focused on Google’s threat to remove their search engine from China, Google’s troubled Nexus One launch and Facebook’s continuing efforts to improve their privacy policy.

Google Threatens to Pull out of China

Google threatened to pull their business out of China this week, in response to governmental censorship and cyber attacks. For years, human rights organizations, academics, journalists and others critical of China have accused the government of hacking into their computers and even infiltrating private companies. Previously, companies have remained silent about cyber attacks, afraid of exposing vulnerability, further attacks and undermining customer and investor confidence. [1] Since Google’s announcement, however, several other major corporations, such as Adobe Systems Inc. and Rackspace US Inc., have cited cyber attacks in China. To read more about how a potential pull out would affect Google’s international business, check out Miguel Helft’s article in the New York Times. [2] I would also suggest checking out Emma Barnett’s article [3], which discusses what a Google-free China could mean for Binghoo.

Google’s Nexus One Fails to Live up to Hype

Google’s smartphone Nexus One had a tough week. Not only were sales far below initial expectations [4], the smartphone has  also received heavy criticism from customers. One of the most talked about problems has been customer service, customers seem to have nowhere to turn to ask questions about their technical problems [5]. Google, which opted for direct sales, has been unable to field questions. Apparently unprepared on the customer service end, Google has been fielding customer service questions through email with little success, generating some very unhappy customers. [6]

Facebook Joins Forces with McAfee

Facebook announced on Tuesday a deal with McAfee, which will give Facebook users a free six-month subscription to McAfee’s internet security services. The deal comes after weeks of a dramatic rise in malware on the social networking site, creating embarrassing situations for Facebook and Facebook users alike. [7] Some remain skeptical [8], however, whether the six-month free trail will solve all of Facebook privacy issues or whether further steps will be required internally.

VMware Taunts Microsoft with Zimbra

VMware [9] bought Zimbra, an open-source collaboration software maker, this week from Yahoo, making VMware a serious competitor in the email/calendar service business, and an even bigger threat for Microsoft. I first wrote about VMware and Microsoft back in August and how, as the industry’s leading virtual machine software developer, VMware’s technology, which ingrates itself into operating systems like a browser does, poses a grave threat to Microsoft’s operative system. [10]

VMware is run by Paul Maritz, a former executive at Microsoft, who openly discusses wanting to challenge Microsoft’s dominance in the data center. [11] Their purchase of Zimbra shouldn’t be seen as an attack, however, explains Tod Nielsen, chief operating officer at VMware. According to Nielsen, “it wasn’t a kick against Microsoft. It was a gentle nudge.” [12] The question remains, however, a nudge in which direction?

Social Media Helps Haiti

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti this week, Twitter has become an important tool for fundraising efforts. The micro-blogging site reports [13] that Haiti-related tweets dominated traffic this week, which aided organizers to raise over $7 million dollars via Twitter.  To read more about how companies are helping disaster relief efforts, check out Richie Jennings’ blog. [14]

Google Continues to Win against Bing and Yahoo

Bing and Yahoo’s share of U.S. search queries fell slightly last month [15], despite their best efforts [16], while Google’s share increased yet again.

About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [21]