Posts Tagged Search

China’s Baidu enters mobile browser fight

China’s dominant search engine Baidu Inc rolled out a mobile browser on Monday to help secure its share in a mobile Internet market that surpasses the US population in size and to fend off smaller rivals such as Qihoo 360 Technology Co.

In China, the number of users who access the Internet from mobile phones has risen to 388 million, according to a government report in July, outstripping the number of users who access it from a desktop computer for the first time.

The Baidu Mobile Browser, which will compete with UCWeb Inc’s UC Browser, Google Inc’s Chrome and default Android browser, and Apple Inc’s Safari, is about 20 per cent faster than its rivals based on internal tests, Li Mingyuan, Baidu’s general manager of mobile and cloud computing, told reporters on Friday at a pre-launch briefing.

Baidu’s mobile browser also allows users to access a plethora of web-based mobile applications (apps) and run high-definition video through the browser without having to download apps or supporting software.

The browser, together with Baidu’s other mobile products such as its mobile operating system and cheap smartphones launched with partners, forms the core of what Baidu hopes will eventually become a source of revenue.

“Monetizing mobile is hugely important for Baidu,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of RedTech Advisors, who added that the drive to monetize would be a medium-term concern for Baidu as its advertising clients still need to create mobile-friendly websites.

The shift to mobile could pose problems for Baidu if it can’t find a way to make money from search traffic. Baidu currently makes the bulk of its revenue from users searching from laptops and desktops.

Baidu’s goal is for 80 per cent of China’s Android handsets to have downloaded the Baidu Mobile Browser by the end of 2012, Li said.

The Baidu Mobile Browser also comes as Baidu is fending off threats on its home turf. Anti-virus software firm Qihoo 360 Technology’s entry last month into search caused Baidu’s shares to tumble 17 per cent to date.

Baidu is also moving into cloud computing, a term used to describe data storage or processing on the Web.

Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li said on Monday the firm will invest more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) to set up its cloud computing centre.

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Google to include information from Gmail accounts in search results

Google’s Internet search engine is getting more personal by highlighting information drawn from its users’ Gmail accounts on its main results page.

The feature announced Wednesday marks Google’s latest attempt to deliver data that people are seeking more quickly as it tries to maintain the dominance of its lucrative Internet search engine.

Google Inc. is initially testing the feature with 1 million Gmail users who must sign up to participate.

Gmail’s more than 425 million users already can search within their e-mail accounts to find something they need, such as an order from Amazon.com or an airline reservation.

Now, Gmail users who join the trial will be shown a list of relevant e-mails on Google’s main search results page if the correspondence contains a word entered in a search request.

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Google search for human traffickers, drug cartels

Forget videos of cute kittens or good deals on iPads. For the past few months, Google has been quietly turning its search capabilities to something far more challenging: Internet crime.

Drug cartels, money launderers and human traffickers run their sophisticated operations online. So Google Ideas, Google’s think tank, is working with the Council on Foreign Relations and others to look for ways to use technology to disrupt international crime.

At a summit in Westlake Village, California, this week, people working to halt illicit networks, from former child soldiers to an assistant defense secretary, will be sharing ideas about cracking down on global crime.

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Google asked to censor online content 225 times

NEW YORK: Internet giant Google has said it has logged 255 instances of India asking for online content censorship, marking a sharp rise of 49% in the second half of last year.

Google said India’s request formed part of 1,000 demands from governments around the world in the second half of last year to take down items such as YouTube videos and search listings, and it complied with them more than half the time.

India’s objections ranged from blockage of 133 YouTube videos, including 10 made on national security considerations and 77 on defamation, besides 26 web searches and 49 blogs, Google said in its report on Sunday.

Google said political comments were a prime target as the number of requests for the company to remove content from the reach of Internet users jumped manifold.

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New sensor-based search engine to be developed

LONDON: A new project to develop a search engine which will draw its results from sensors located in the physical world is being undertaken by computer scientists at the University of Glasgow.

As the internet continues to expand, public access to net-connected sensors such as cameras and microphone arrays is increasing.

The European-funded project, known as SMART, for “Search engine for Multimedia Environment generated content”, aims to develop and implement a system to allow internet users to search and analyse data from these sensors, a university release said.

By matching search queries with information from sensors and cross-referencing data from social networks such as Twitter, users will be able to receive detailed responses to questions such as “What part of the city hosts live music events which my friends have been to recently?” or “How busy is the city centre?”

Currently, standard search engines such as Google are not able to answer search queries of this type, the release added.

Dr Iadh Ounis, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science, said: “The SMART engine will be able to answer high-level queries by automatically identifying cameras, microphones and other sensors that can contribute to the query, then synthesising results stemming from distributed sources in an intelligent way”.

SMART, he said, builds upon the existing concept of “smart cities”, physical spaces which are covered in an array of intelligent sensors which communicate with each other and can be searched for information.

The search results sourced from these smart cities can be reused across multiple applications, making the system more effective.

SMART is likely to be tested in a real city by 2014. The SMART project is a joint research initiative of nine partners including Atos, Athens Information Technology, IBM’s Haifa Research Lab, Imperial College London, City of Santander, PRISA Digital, Telesto and Consorzio S3 Log.

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Yahoo! moves to reclaim Internet search crown

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo! on Wednesday set out to reclaim the Internet search crown from Google with the release of software that transforms the way users explore the Web using Apple’s coveted gadgets.

A Yahoo! Axis application was introduced for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices and also as “plug-in” software for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and other Web browsers featuring HTML-5 graphics capabilities.

“Yahoo! is still very much in search,” special projects product management director Ethan Batraski said while giving AFP an advance look at Axis. “We continue to flourish.”

Axis does away with the blue links that have defined Internet query results for a decade and replaced them with previews of pages that might provide the information being sought.

The application lets users easily “swipe” from one Web page to another or review a pull-down strip of preview pages instead of making them click on links to see what websites look like.

“We removed the entire search results page from the equation for a game-changing search experience,” Batraski said.

“The entire search experience is in the app,” he continued. “You will never have to use Safari ever again.”

Safari is the Web browsing program Apple builds into its devices.

The Axis search results pane instantly displays information of potential interest, such as the score from a most recent game if the query is a sports team.

Yahoo! also made it simple to email, tweet, “pin,” or bookmark pages with touches of screens.

Axis also gives users the option of synching pages across devices, so that driving directions, movie times or other pages left open on one gadget will automatically display on another, the demonstration showed.

“I could easily start something on my iPad and continue on my iPhone,” Batraski said. “The goal here is to connect all my devices together.”

Clicks of side tabs replace swipes in the plug-in version of Axis for desktop computer browsing software.

For now, Yahoo! is not displaying ads in Axis because the focus is on winning users before weaving in ways to make money without marring the smooth experience.

Yahoo! has been steadily losing ground to Google in the Internet search market. Google’s share inched up to 66.5 percent in April while Yahoo!’s portion slipped a fraction to 13.5 percent, according to comScore.

Microsoft’s Bing was the second most popular search service, handling 15.4 percent of queries, the industry tracker reported.

Yahoo! in 2009 made a deal with Microsoft to have Bing handle the labor-intensive job of finding and indexing content on the Internet, freeing itself to concentrate on interesting or personalized ways to present results.

“We outsourced a backend process that every search engine was trying to do,” Batraski said.

“It is grunt work and we are really focused on innovating.”

Axis became available at Apple’s online App Store late Wednesday.

Axis will be begin rolling out to France, Britain and a few other countries by the end of the year, according to Batraski.

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