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The Week We Searched For- April 30, 2010

Google Victorious in Copyright Cases

Google won two separate trademark cases this week in Germany and the United States. Germany’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google on Thursday in a copyright case regarding Google’s Image Search. A German artist brought the court to case, claiming that the thumbnail images of her works on the search engine were a violation of German copyright law. According to Google Germany’s managing counsel Dr. Arnd Haller, “Today’s ruling makes it clear not just for Google, its users in Germany and all owners of websites containing images, but also for all providers of image search services operating in the country: showing thumbnail images within search results is legitimate and millions of users in Germany benefit from being able to discover visual information at the click of a mouse.” [1]

The second win for Google this week came against the foreign language education product producer Rosette Stone, which filed a lawsuit against Google for letting third party advertisers buy permission to use trademarked terms on AdWords. [2]

Zuckerberg Doesn’t Believe in Privacy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was outed as a non-believer, after NYTimes’ Bit Blog reporter Nick Biltion tweeted an excerpt from an “off the record” conversation with a Facebook employee.  Here’s the tweet:

“Off record chat w/ Facebook employee, Me: How does Zuck feel about privacy? Response: [laughter] He doesn’t believe in it.”

For a much wittier interpretation of this story, check out Eliot Van Buskirk’s article on Wired.com. [3]

Google vs. Germany

Google’s Street View service [4] has been a controversial topic in German politics since its announcement last year. Although Germany privacy laws and data protection concerns are stricter than in the States, politicians had agreed to let the project go through last July after Google agreed to blur out faces, license plate, and house numbers in photographs. As part of the compromise, the search giant also has to give citizens the right to option out of having their property seen online.

The argument resurfaced last week, however, when data protection regulators across Germany were shocked to learn that Google was recording the location of wireless routers. Leading opponents of Google’s project include Isle Aigner, Chancellor Merkel’s Consumer Protection Minister, who has demanded that Google respond to, “which private data is stored by Google and how that data is interlinked and marketed.” [5] So far, Google has not provided the government with any clear answers to these questions.

Jobs Attacks Flash

Apple CEO Steve Jobs attacked Adobe Systems on Thursday in on open letter on Apple’s Website. In the letter, Jobs listed his concerns with  Flash, particularly in its usability on mobile devices,  “Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs,” Jobs wrote. “But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open Web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.” [6] After a statement like that, it’s hard to imagine Apple longing to include Adobe in its future mobile endeavors.

HP Acquires Palm

Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm this week, leaving many of us trying to figure out what HP could possibly want with Palm. As the smartphone market become more and more difficult to crack, it seems unlikely that HP wants to venture further into the smartphone industry. Robert Armstrong and Sameer Bhatia take a stab at answering this question [7] in their article on the WSJ.com, it’s worth checking out. [7]

Amazon’s Kindle to Include Facebook and Twitter

Amazon announced this week that an upcoming software update [8] will allow Kindle users to share their favorite literary passages via Facebook and Twitter.

Apple to Acquire Siri

Apple acquired Siri , the makers of a popular personal assistant app for the iPhone, further escalating the growing competition between Apple and Google. To read more, check out Grace Kobayashi’s article on The Search Agent’s Blog. [9]

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 + [15]