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It’s Google Versus Amazon in the Top-Level Domain Applications

Like this but with Internet addresses instead of homesteads. (Photo: flickr.com/sergemelki

Boy oh boy: The list of applicants for ICANN’s new top-level domains dropped today, and it looks like Google and Amazon like a lot of the same words.

Things are different from when the world (wide web) was young and no one yet recognized its promise. In those days, you could grab prime real estate and flip it for profit quicker than someone who bought a Soho loft circa 1978. But now everyone recognizes that a promising domain name means money, honey, and that means the term “land grab” is getting thrown around an awful lot. Read More

Awkward Conversations

European Regulators Are Apparently Not Happy With Google Right Now

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The FCC might have let the company off with just a $25,000 noncompliance fine, but it doesn’t look like Google’s StreetView troubles are over just yet. The agency’s final report found that, no, the unsecured Wifi data grab wasn’t actually the rogue act of some out-of-control engineer. The supposed lone gunman was open with at least one senior manager about what he was doing–there just wasn’t interest in either stopping or encouraging his behavior.

This new gloss on the matter has European regulators reconsidering their initial leniency–and apparently they are none too pleased with Google.  All but two investigations (both German) were closed when the company ascribed blame to a single out-of-line engineer, and now, according to Jacob Kohnstamm, who is the chair of the E.U.’s data privacy working group, they feel misled. “We certainly will discuss the matter” at an upcoming convention, he told the New York Times, adding, “My first reaction is, this is a bloody shame.” Read More

Legal Troubles

Lookout, GOOG: The FTC Just Hired a Famous Litigator to Help Investigate

Ms. Wilkinson. (www.paulweiss.com)

Well, it doesn’t look like Google’s antitrust investigation is disappearing any time soon. The FTC hasn’t decided whether to bring a lawsuit, but the agency is bringing in a famous litigator to help run things. Reuters reports that former federal prosecutor and courtroom badass Beth Wilkinson will join the investigation Monday. She is perhaps best known for helping send Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to death row.

Now, the FTC does not want anyone assuming that this guarantees a lawsuit. Richard Feinstein, who is the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, told the AP that they are simply “delighted to have someone of her caliber helping us on such an important matter.” But former FTC official David Wales was more colorful: Read More

Legalese

Google Isn’t Making Any Promises About Stuff Working, Okay?

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 1.45.54 PM

The advent of Google Drive has prompted the Internet to take another look at those recently updated terms of service, and the Internet does not like what it sees. Written largely in legalese (which we like to think of as “lawyer wizard-speak”), the document isn’t entirely clear regarding whether users retain ownership of the content they upload and what Google can do with that content. The result: A tempest in a teapot, Twitter being the teapot–when in fact, the policy isn’t substantively that different than those from Dropbox and SkyDrive. It’s just far less plainspoken. (Though there is a chance files set as “public” could end up in Google promotional materials.)

But while nosing around Google’s terms of service, Betabeat found something rather interesting/amusing nestled under “Our Warranties and Disclaimers.” And that’s a pretty clear refusal to make a blanket promise that their products will work like you want, when you want. Read More