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Posts Tagged ‘google’

Google Pulls 21 Apps In Android Malware Scare

Google has just pulled 21 popular free apps from the Android Market. According to the company, the apps are malware aimed at getting root access to the user’s device, gathering a wide range of available data, and downloading more code to it without the user’s knowledge.

Although Google has swiftly removed the apps after being notified (by the ever-vigilant Android Police bloggers), the apps in question have already been downloaded by at least 50,000 Android users.

The apps are particularly insidious because they look just like knockoff versions of already popular apps. For example, there’s an app called simply “Chess.” The user would download what he’d assume to be a chess game, only to be presented with a very different sort of app.

These apps are all pirated versions of popular games and utilities — an expeditious solution for busy hackers. Once downloaded, the apps root the user’s device using a method like rageagainstthecage, then use an Android executable file (APK) to nab user and device data, such as your mobile provider and user ID. Finally, the app acts as a wide-open backdoor for your device to quietly download more malicious code.

Below is a complete list of the bad apps, all of which were made by an entity called Myournet. If you’ve downloaded one of these apps, it might be best to take your device to your carrier and exchange it for a new one, since you can’t be sure that your device and user information is truly secure. Considering how much we do on our phones — shopping and mobile banking included — it’s better to take precautions.

  • Falling Down
  • Super Guitar Solo
  • Super History Eraser
  • Photo Editor
  • Super Ringtone Maker
  • Super Sex Positions
  • Hot Sexy Videos
  • Chess
  • 下坠滚球_Falldown
  • Hilton Sex Sound
  • Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls
  • Falling Ball Dodge
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Dice Roller
  • 躲避弹球
  • Advanced Currency Converter
  • APP Uninstaller
  • 几何战机_PewPew
  • Funny Paint
  • Spider Man
  • 蜘蛛侠

Remember, the Android Market is open, which can be great and unfortunate in different circumstances. Always read user reviews before you download; and if you have any doubts, play it safe.

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Websites to Google: ‘You’re killing our business!’

February 27, 2011 4 comments

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Google made one of the biggest changes ever to its search results this week, which immediately had a noticeable effect on many Web properties that rely on the world’s biggest search engine to drive traffic to their sites.

The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google’s search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google’s results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday.

“Our goal is simple: to give users the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible,” said Gabriel Stricker, Google spokesman. “This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content — both good and bad — comes online all the time. Recently we’ve heard from our users that they want to see fewer low quality sites in our results.”

Typically, Google’s algorithm changes are so subtle that few people notice them. But these most recent changes could be seen immediately.

How to test the change: The IP address 64.233.179.104 displays Google search results as they would have appeared before the recent algorithm change, according to several webmasters posting to the WebmasterWorld.com forum.

Google would not confirm that IP address uses the older algorithm, but comparing searches of trending topics on google.com with searches using the special Google IP address reveals how the search engine now seems to be favoring certain content.

The changes appear to be affecting so-called “content farms” the most, which are websites that amass content based on the most-searched terms of the day. Demand Media, AOL, Mahalo and the Huffington Post have all been accused of such tactics, including a notable “story” from HuffPo about the Super Bowl that Slate.com media critic Jack Shafer called “the greatest example of SEO whoring of all time.”

Tests using trending topics show Google’s tweaks in action.

The current top Google result for a search of Charlie Sheen rant target “Haim Levine” is a New York Daily News page, followed by a story from gossipcop.com. The old algorithm would have featured two Huffington Post stories at the top, with the New York Daily News story not appearing appear until the second results page.

A controversial decision: Any change to Google’s algorithm is a zero-sum game. Some websites win, some lose.

Comments from site operators lit up on the WebmasterWorld.com forum starting on Wednesday. Many webmasters complained that traffic to their sites dropped dramatically overnight, and others expressed concern that they can’t adapt quickly enough to Google’s changes to its algorithm.

“Why is it that every single time the search engine result page starts to stabilize and sales return, Google has to throw a monkey wrench in the system again?” asked commenter backdraft7. “Hey Google, this is not fun anymore – YOU’RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!”

“My God. I just lost 40% of my traffic from Google today,” said commenter DickBaker. “Referrals from Yahoo, Bing, direct sources, and other sources are the same, but Google dropped like a rock.”

There are many legitimate ways content creators optimize their sites to rise to the top of Google’s results. But Google has been cracking down on what it regards as inappropriate attempts to do so: The company recently penalized Overstock.com and JC Penney in its search results after the companies were found to have set up fake websites that linked to their own, causing Google’s algorithm to rank them higher.

When it comes to site content, the lines get very fuzzy. Operators like Demand Media (DMD) — which now has a market valuation of $1.9 billion, more than the New York Times Co. is worth — sit right on the ever-shifting boundaries.

“Sites of this type have always been controversial,” said Daniel Ruby, research director at Chitika, Inc. a search advertising analytics company. “On one hand, they often do produce extremely informative, well-written articles. On the other hand, they put out countless articles on a daily basis, and some claim they exist only to generate the top result on as many keywords as possible.”

Demand put out a very carefully worded response to Google’s changes.

“As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results,” Larry Fitzgibbon, the company’s executive vice president of media and operations, wrote in a blog post. “It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term — but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact.”

So will Google’s changes have a lasting effect on search quality? Perhaps. But it’s an arms race: Any time the company adjusts its algorithms, those determined to beat them immediately adjust.

“Content originators make money, and Google makes money,” said Whit Andrews, analyst for Gartner. “Their interests will always be in conflict, and as long as there is greed, people will try to game system.” To top of page

Google Search Becomes More Social, Integrates Flickr, Twitter & Quora

Google has launched major updates to Social Search, integrating information from Twitter, Flickr and Quora throughout its search engine.

The search giant launched Social Search in 2009; the feature integrates search results from your friends at the bottom of the search page. It utilizes social profiles connected to your Google Account to deliver items like photo or blog results that come from your friends.

Google’s now making some prominent changes to Google Social Search, and it is announcing three new websites that will appear prominently in social search results. We had a chance to speak with Mike Cassidy, product management director for search, about the changes.

The first major change is that Google Social Search results will no longer appear only at the bottom of the page, but will instead be “blended” throughout the page. This is done through an annotation system that lets you know when a friend has shared a specific link or search result. If your friend writes a blog about how to create honey, that result will have an annotation that your friend has “shared this,” either via Google or through one of Google’s three major social integrations.

That leads into the second update to social search: a vast increase in its appearance in search. Any content shared by your friends on Quora, Flickr and Twitter can appear as a social annotation in search results. If a friend has tweeted a link to a Mashable article and your Google account is connected to Twitter, you’re likely to see an annotation saying that your friend “shared this on Twitter.”

The final update focuses on increasing the control users have over what gets displayed in social search. Google has revamped its options page to give users the ability to both publicly and privately connect their social profiles to their Google accounts. It even suggests which social profiles are likely to be the ones you control by cross referencing your friends on Google’s network of sites (such as Google Talk or Google Buzz) and seeing if that list matches your friend list on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

One thing this update doesn’t include is Facebook “Like” data, a prominent feature of Microsoft Bing. Unlike Google, Bing has access to instant personalization and the user data behind Facebook’s walled garden. As one of Google’s archenemies, it’s unlikely the search giant gave much serious thought to deep Facebook integration, instead choosing Quora, Flickr and Twitter as its inaugural integrations.

Google Wants to Plan Your Wedding

Google is taking on an unlikely role: wedding planner.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Google has rolled out a dedicated site where consumers can create a wedding website, edit photos and plan their wedding using wedding-specific templates in Google Sites, Google Docs and Picnik. The company announced the move today on its official Google blog.

Google teamed up with wedding planner Michelle Rago for the templates, and Rago also provides tips to the soon-to-be-betrothed. To spread the word, Google is also hosting a wedding sweepstakes offering a prize of $25,000 and the chance to get Rago to help plan your wedding.

The site is the latest attempt by Google to insinuate itself into consumers’ lifestyles. In 2008, Google launched Google Health, which is designed to let users organize, monitor, track and use health information on the site. But there’s a thin line between providing helpful information and invading privacy: In 2009, Google Health partnered with CVS to provide patients online access to their prescription drug history via their Google Health accounts, raising issues about Google’s access to sensitive personal information.

Would Google or Facebook Pay $10 Billion For Twitter?

We’re hearing chatter about a possible sale of Twitter, and extraordinary valuations are part of the conversation, with various executives talking about numbers upwards of $10 billion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook and Google executives have engaged in “low-level talks” with Twitter. According to the WSJ’s “people familiar with the matter,” those discussions are estimating the value of the microblogging service “in the neighborhood of $8 billion to $10 billion.”

But don’t get your hopes up, because those same sources are saying that the talks aren’t getting anywhere yet. Could that $10 billion number be too low? It’s hard to believe that just two months ago, Owen Thomas at Venture Beat was calling a $3 billion valuation for Twitter “nonsense.”

High, indeed, but there’s a high value placed on attention, and Twitter’s getting that: In fact, the company set an all-time record for tweets during a sporting event during the final minutes of last weekend’s Super Bowl, recording an astonishing 4064 tweets in a single second.

The overall record was set last New Year’s Eve in Japan where revelers sent a total of 6,939 tweets per second just after the clock struck midnight. Now that’s engagement.

What do you think, readers? Is Twitter actually worth somewhere between $8 billion and $10 billion? Please let us know in the comments.