Democratic Socialist Paradise of Australia. Stephen Conroy [redacted] has [redacted] list. The list contained [redacted] and is illegal under the [redacted] Act. Suggestions that the Government was acting like China and Iran were [redacted]. [redacted] [redacted URL]. This message is approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and complies with all local laws.
Will ACMA ban Google? There’s only one way to find out. On Thursday evening, I lodged a complaint with ACMA over links in Google to prohibited content on Wikileaks. Links to this content, as detailed in Schedule 7 Section 62 in the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Act 2007 and pointed out by ACMA on Thursday, constitute an offence and sites may be liable for a fine of up to $11,000 per day per link, or be banned. The links aren’t hosted in Australia, so a fine is probably out of the question. The only alternative is for ACMA to add pages in Google search to the prohibited sites list, as it did with Wikileaks originally, for the crime of linking to prohibited content.
Here’s the catch: if the Google search results are declared prohibited content (which they should be if ACMA is to apply the law evenly to all sites), linking to those search results would also be illegal. Any site linking to the search results becomes illegal, and any sites linking to the sites linking to the search results become illegal … and sometime next year, every site on the internet is illegal in Australia because of the Government’s crusade to save us all from the things they don’t like.
Microsoft can haz standards. Microsoft has launched Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), the latest version of its built-for-Windows web browser. The new version includes a range of features already offered by competitors, including phishing alerts, a private browser option and support for web standards.
The last point is the most important: Microsoft browsers to date have essentially ignored standards and instead implemented their own quirks. The result for a web designer has been the need to often design two versions of a site: one for IE, and one for other browsers.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in February that IE8 was about regaining market share; while still the market leader by default — because it comes pre-installed in Windows — IE’s share is now below 70%, down from 90% only a few years ago. Australians in the tech community may recall former Microsoft Australia Managing Director Steve Vamos boasting in 2004 that Firefox presented no threat to Internet Explorer, and that extra features didn’t make a browser. The long list of new features in IE8 can be viewed here.
FT takes search seriously. The Financial Times has entered the search space with Newssift, a business search engine that aims to bring the context and meaning that is allegedly missing from traditional keyword-based business news search engines.
The concept is different. Instead of typing a search term and hitting ‘enter’, users are presented with multiple search options — such as Topic, Organisation, Place, Person, and Theme/Keyword — for the term they type in. After selecting the preferred option, the results include analysis, such as whether an article is positive or negative, both charted and with links. For example, if you only wanted positive stories on bonuses at AIG, you can easily reach that point. Each search also extracts related terms, so you can further drill down what you are looking for.
Its only shortcoming so far is the depth of its index. It’s said to have “millions” of pages indexed, but compared to the billions indexed by Google, it feels a little like the internet in 1996. For a site created by a newspaper and printing group, not a bad effort.
Thumbs down for Facebook. Facebook rolled out its new Twitter-like profile pages last week, and like all changes in Facebook, users aren’t happy. 94% of users participating in a Facebook poll (716,000 people) have said they are not fans. [via Valleywag]
No flip of the finger. Cisco has announced its intent to acquire Pure Digital Technologies, the makers of the Flip video recorder for US$590 million. The small, handheld recorders are sold as a cheap and convenient way to capture and upload video to the web, and have found a willing market, taking a 20% market share in the United States. Pure Digital raised US$68 million in venture capital over five years from some of Silicon Valley’s most successful VC firms, including Sequoia, Benchmark, and the Disney backed Steamboat Ventures. Press release here.