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Is Google legal? | The Register

Analysis A Belgian court ruled against Google’s use of newspaper stories in early September. If you believe Google, it did nothing wrong and failed to defend itself because it was unaware of the publishers’ lawsuit. If you believe the publishers, Google is lying and infringes copyright on a colossal scale. The parties return to court on 23rd November in a case that finds legal uncertainty looming over the world’s leading search engines.

The case focused on Google’s news aggregation service, which automatically scans the websites of newspapers, extracting headlines and snippets of text from each story. These are displayed at Google News and the headlines link users to the full stories on the source sites. Newspaper group Copiepresse, which represents leading Belgian, French and German publications, said this amounted to copyright infringement and a breach of database rules because its members had not been asked for permission.

Copiepresse could have stopped Google without going to court but chose not to. Instead, it wants Google to continue directing traffic to its sites – and it wants Google to pay for the privilege.

The court also ruled that Google’s cache, which is not part of Google News, infringed copyright.

When a person performs a search at Google, results are displayed with a link to the page on the third party site and also a link to a ‘cached’ copy of the same page stored at Google’s own site. The newspapers say this copy undermines their sale of archive stories. Why buy an archived story if you can find it in Google’s cache? Again, newspapers could have stopped their pages being cached.

Margaret Boribon, Secretary General of Copiepresse, told OUT-LAW that Google’s behaviour is “totally illegal” because it does not seek permission before extracting content for Google News or copying pages to its cache. Google disagrees.

Understanding Google’s position within the law means understanding how the search engine works.

Google uses an automated program to crawl across the internet, known as its Googlebot. It locates billions of pages and copies each one to its index. In doing so it breaks the page into tiny pieces, analysing and cross-referencing every element. That index is what Google interrogates to return search results for users. When the Googlebot visits a page, it also takes a snapshot that is stored in Google’s cache, a separate archive that lets users see how a page looked the last time the Googlebot visited.

It is easy for a website to keep Googlebot or other search engine robots away from all or particular pages. A standard has existed since 1994 called the robots exclusion standard.

Add ‘/robots.txt’ to the end of any site’s web address and you’ll find that site’s instructions for search engines. Google also offers a simple way to prevent a page being cached: just write the word ‘NOARCHIVE’ in the code of a page.

When asked why her members’ news sites didn’t follow these steps to exclude Google, Boribon replied, "then you admit that their reasoning is correct". She said all search engines should obtain permission before indexing pages that carry copyright notices.

But the real reason for not opting-out with a robots.txt file or mandating against caching is that Belgium’s newspapers want to be indexed by Google. “Yes, we have a problem with Google, but we don’t want to be out of Google,” Boribon said. “We want Google to respect the rules. If Google wanted to index us, they need to ask.”

Copiepresse also wants Google to pay for indexing sites. Boribon declined to discuss how or how much. "That has to be negotiated," she said.

The argument is not unique. The World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which represents 18,000 newspapers in 102 countries, said in January it would “explore ways to challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners.”

At that time, WAN did not have a strategy for challenge. Copiepresse did. It took direct action and convinced the Brussels Court of First Instance to order Google to withdraw from its sites all the articles and photographs of Copiepresse member sites. Google was given 10 days to comply with the threat of a €1 million fine for each day of delay.

Since the ruling, Google has pulled the plug on the news sites in the lawsuit. They are not just missing from Google News Belgium, they have disappeared from Google’s main index and cache too.

“They have done it to punish us,” said Boribon, who didn’t want Google to go that far. “They have a bad attitude.” Yet Boribon went on to complain that some of her members’ content can still be accessed via Google News France. “They don’t apply the judgment fully so we will ask for the fine,” she said.

Boribon does not seem to think she is cutting off her nose to spite her face. “What I’m achieving now is getting all the information to my European colleagues so we will have other publishers taking part in the court case. Then maybe Google will change its mind. If they see this is not a Belgian case but a concern for all publishers all over the world, they will have to review their business model.”

Her hope is that if enough publishers withdraw their content, Google will have significantly less content to index – and that will force it to the negotiating table.

Copiepresse is using the law as leverage in a commercial argument: its content contributes to Google’s $10bn-a-year in revenue and newspapers want a cut. That argument should not focus on Google News because Google News does not display ads. It is only when newspapers’ pages appear in the results of the main search engine that Google serves the ads that fuel the $125 billion company.

Copiepresse told the court that Google damages the publishers’ ad revenue by bypassing their homepages. “We want search engines to send people to our homepage,” she said, explaining that only the homepage always carries ads.

Google says its practices are lawful. It acts as an intermediary that connects users to sites. Europe’s Copyright Directive and E-commerce Directive recognise the role of intermediaries and afford them special legal protection, including a special right for intermediaries to cache material. Confusingly, however, Google’s cache may not be what the lawmakers had in mind.

Internet service providers use caches to save bandwidth on delivering frequently-accessed web pages. Rather than deliver a live page, it is more efficient to deliver a cached copy to customers. The customer will never know the difference because the cached copy is updated when the live page changes. The E-commerce Directive doesn’t distinguish internet service providers from search engine service providers. Instead it says “a service provider is not liable for the automatic, intermediate and temporary storage of that information, performed for the sole purpose of making more efficient the information’s onward transmission to other recipients of the service”. There are other conditions, including that “the provider does not modify the information” and that “the provider complies with conditions on access to the information”.

Google has explained the purpose of its cache before, when the function was challenged in a US court in January. Google listed three purposes for the Nevada District Court: it allows users to view pages that the user cannot access directly, perhaps because the destination site has gone down; it allows users to make comparisons between a live and cached web page; and it allows users to identify search query terms (which are highlighted wherever they appear in the cached page). Copiepresse might argue that these purposes go too far beyond the Directive’s “sole purpose of making more efficient the information’s onward transmission to other recipients of the service”.

Even the legality of the primary search function of a search engine is open to question. The Directive’s condition that a provider “does not modify the information” is arguably breached as soon as a search engine breaks a page into tiny elements for analysis and cross-referencing in its gigantic index. That argument was not raised in court but would cut to the heart of almost any search engine’s operation.

Google won the Nevada case. Its opponent, a lawyer called Blake Field, had “decided to manufacture a claim for copyright infringement against Google in the hopes of making money from Google’s standard practice,” according to Judge Robert Jones. Field knew how the system worked and he placed copyrighted articles on his site, waiting for Google to find and cache his work. When it did, he sued.

The court endorsed Google’s opt-out approach: because Field knew about the robots protocol and the NOARCHIVE command, Field’s conduct was interpreted by Judge Jones “as the grant of a licence to Google for that use.”

Google could use the implied licence argument when the Copiepresse case returns to court. The robot exclusion standard has been around for 12 years; Google could argue acquiescence.

Field also argued that Google’s cache was not “intermediate and temporary storage”, as required by a US law. Judge Jones said that Google’s caching for approximately 14–20 days at a time is temporary. That may or may not influence a European court if it has to decide the same issue: the wording is common to laws on both sides of the Atlantic.

If the legality of the cache is uncertain, the legality of Google News is no clearer. The Belgian court heard that it is an information portal , not a search engine. It uses 4,500 English-language news sources and a few hundred Belgian sources, in many cases without prior permission. Google says that’s okay.

“Copyright law allows for snippets to be published from results,” Google spokesman D-J Collins told OUT-LAW. “That’s why we have argued that the court order was flawed. Google News does not break copyright law.”

Copiepresse disagrees with Google’s view that snippets of text are unprotected. Copyright only protects against substantial copying; but publishers would argue that a snippet can be substantial in a qualitative sense, just as courts will protect short samples from songs. Google takes each story’s headline – the craft of a subeditor; and sometimes the entire first sentence or more from the intro – the most labour-intensive part of a journalist’s writing. The legality has never been fully resolved.

The publishers might also argue that thousands of snippets in aggregate amount to substantial copying in a quantitative sense. Google might counter that it is taking only one

snippet of each copyright work – i.e. its thousands of snippets are from thousands of works, not one work.

The Belgian court found that Google had also infringed database laws. The EU’s Database Directive says that the repeated and systematic extraction of insubstantial parts of a database can amount to infringement of a database right.

Some courts have characterised websites as databases and ruled against sites that aggregate content. But that was before controversial rulings by the European Court of Justice in 2004 over the use of horseracing and football fixtures data.

The upshot: many databases are only protected if the owners do not ‘create’ their own data but obtain the data from others.

Google told OUT-LAW that it does not believe that Google News breaks this database law. It did not elaborate, but might argue that a newspaper’s site is not a protected database because the database right does not cover the investment in creating the news; it would only cover the obtaining of news from others. It might say that there is no systematic extraction of a single database; it is systematic extraction from lots of databases. But publishers could argue that news stories are not the same as raw facts such as when two football teams will play each other; and that their websites are not a mere byproduct of investment, unlike the databases in the fixtures cases.

WAN and other publisher groups will watch the rematch between Copiepresse and Google with interest. A week after the September ruling they identified the strategy that they had been seeking since January: the Automated Content Access Protocol, or ACAP.

A briefing paper was sent to OUT-LAW. It describes a system very similar to the robots exclusion standard: “a standardised way of describing the permissions which apply to a website or webpage so that it can be decoded by a dumb machine without the help of an expensive lawyer.”

Angela Mills, executive director of the European Publishers’ Council, told OUT-LAW: “This isn’t about blocking content, it’s about enabling it but with more sophisticated rules than are currently possible. Right now we can say ‘don’t index’ – but that’s not sophisticated enough. It’s very boring to have the choice of yes or no.”

ACAP might say that text can be taken but not images; or that images can be taken on condition that the photographer’s name appears. Demanding payment for indexing might also be part of the protocol, said Mills.

The plan is for ACAP to be a voluntary system. “If people wanted to ignore the rights expression they could,” Mills said, “but that obviously puts them in a much weaker position if challenged in court.”

When asked what it thought of ACAP, Google’s Collins told OUT-LAW, “We welcome any initiative that en

ables search engines and publishers to work together more closely. We look forward to discussing this proposal with the WAN and in particular how it can build on robots.txt”. But asked if Google would pay publishers to index their content, Collins replied, “That’s not something we do.”

Google Announces Winner of Global Code Jam 2006

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced that Petr Mitrichev won today's Global Code Jam competition and was awarded with a $10,000 first prize. Mitrichev topped a field of over 21,000 registered competitors from around the world, a record number for GCJ. Second place went to Ying Wang of the United States. Andrey Stankevich came in third. Second through tenth places carry a cash prize of $5,000.

Additional cash prizes went to the other top 100 finalists, who represented 24 different countries. Each finalist was flown to New York this week to compete in the championship round and see firsthand what is happening in the Google New York office. Last year, Marek Cygan of Poland took home the grand prize.

"We're thrilled to bring together such a talented, diverse group of programmers here in New York to celebrate the best in engineering," said Craig Nevill Manning, engineering director. "Google is passionate about fostering a community of people who want to build the next generation of tools for users around the globe and providing them with the opportunity to meet and discuss challenging problems."

This is the fourth annual Global Code Jam, which is produced in conjunction with TopCoder, the leader in online programming competition, skills assessment and competitive software development. Google's Global Code Jam is a celebration of the art of computer science and demonstrates the value Google places on excellent coding.

The competition, which began Sept. 5, attracted 21,000 registrants from more than 100 countries. All entrants participated in an initial qualification round, and 1000 of those went on to a two-round competition field. The top 100 scorers from round two of this phase came to Google's New York offices for the finals. All of the programming for any round could be done in Java, C++, C#, Python or VB.NET.

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The Value of the Google News Archive Search for the Genealogist

In my role as Research Manager for a company that specializes in Search Engine Marketing, I often look at various Search Engine related tools and how they are used by my client's customers.

The Google News Archive Search was originally designed as a way to search through archived news articles. Google has been serving up news articles for a while in their regular results but they are limited to news from the last 30 days. The news archive search allows you to search a variety of different history records including newspaper and legal case abstracts and is different from a regular search on Google which is not restricted to news.

The idea of using news records of this nature for genealogical purposes is not new. Genealogists have been doing it for years but the difficulty has always been the lack of indexes for these records. Ancestry.com has tried to address this by indexing newspaper and other historic records for their subscribers. For a subscription fee you may access to these records through Ancestry.com. Google on the other hand is simply indexing what is available out on the web for free to help you find it more easily.

To test Google News Archive Search as a genealogical tool, I decided to search on the name of the boat my mother-in-law’s ancestors arrived on. I already know a little about this steamship, The State of Nevada, including having a copy of the ship passenger list and newspaper cutting of its arrival into New York in May 1884 (both from Ancestry.com) for these ancestors' voyage. But what else could I find out that could be relevant or useful for genealogical purposes?

To find out, I performed a search for "Allan Line State of Nevada" using a date filter of “Before 1900”. I chose this more detailed term because “State of Nevada” on its own produced hundreds of records on the physical state of Nevada in the USA rather than the steamship. This more refined search revealed the following information:

The Trenton Times (Newspaper) - September 15, 1892, Trenton, New ...
Subscription - Trenton Times - NewspaperArchive - Sep 15, 1892
The anivul of the State of Nevada, of the Allan line, from Glasgow Sept. 2 and Mo- ville Sept. 3, is of special interest, as she is the first ship to bring ...

[a new on the the afiival OF the STATE OF NEVADA from Olbsgow, the firet ship amenable to the twenty day rule OF t.he treasury circular, and Dr. Jenkins' STATEment that in spite OF cholera cases in the city will be no diminution iu the stringency OF quarantine Dr. Jenkins, in shaking OF the iw would not have admitted the deaths were from cholera until a bacteriological examin- ation had confirmed the diagnosis that the disease was OF the Asiatic type. When it was suggested that perhaps the geiuis might have gained on trance to the city in baggage or effects OF passengers entering before the present rigid quarantine had been estab- lished, the health OFficer said he was confi- dent it had not. The reason for his STATEment is that evor he has been health OFficer all baggage and effects OF Russian immigrants and OF like suspected jwrsons has been disinfected, Pud this has been particularly thorough pince the typhus cases in the spring. He was not incLINEd to lay much stress on Dr. Walser's belief that in a cholera period even ordinary diarrhea among members OF a ship's crew was productive OF a danger- ous infection. In answer to a specific in- quiry he expre.vscd the opinion that it might perhaps be possible for a person es- raping cholera to btill convey the infection from a victim to a third party, provided the incubating germs got into the alimenta- ry canal OF the latter, but he deemed such a transmission as extremely unlikely. Questioned as to the effect the existence OF tho disease in the city would have on the severity OF quarantine regulations, the health OFficer said there would be absolutely no change in the present restrictions. He decLINEd to say whether or not he thought the Canadian border was the source OF the disease in the city, spying, "It is not for me to throw blame on anybody engaged iu the Work OF barring out the disease." The Quarantined Passengers. The anivul OF the STATE OF NEVADA, OF the ALLAN LINE, from Glasgow Sept. 2 and Mo- ville Sept. 3, is OF special interest, as she is the first ship to bring immigrants which left port after the publication OF the treas- ury circular. She brings 221 cabin and 55 steerage passengers. Though the latter are not from an in- fected country, Dr Jenkins says he will have to hold them for the full twenty days unless sooner authorized to release them by orders from Washington. The first and second cabin people will bo treated accord- ing to the health OFficer's discretion, as in previous cases, and will therefore not be detained longer than five days. As to the deposition OF on the Ships which have been detained, Dr. Jen- kins said the Normannia's cabin people, having been OFf the vessel for five days, would be free to go tomoirow. This brought up the very important ques-ti m OF tune OF detention necessary. To this the doctor said: "The actual time OF possible development after incubation varies from twenty-four hours to sixteen days, according to differ- ent authorities. We prefer to make the ex- treme limit five days among well people and ten days among those who have been exposed to infection. "In the case OF passengers remaining on the infected ships, ten days after the last cmo developing on board will be deemed a safe detention." Goveruor Flower left his headquarters this morning to retuiu on Friday night. Where the governor is going he decLINEd to say, but before going he had a conference with Dr. Jenkins. After the conference Ooveiiior Flower on being interviewed said: "The reports from quarantine are very en- comaging. I will make arrangements so that the Nonnannia's passengers on Fire island will be released either tomorrow or the next day. It is now simply a question OF transportation, which will be arranged for by Dr. Jenkins No definite anango- ments have yet been made for the removal OF the Eugia's steerage passengers. Sandy Hook quarters are not yet ready, but they will be Friday." Troops on Fire Island. Dr. Jenkins retuiued to quaiautiue short- ly after the conferences -He did not care to tallr, but said that he thought that every- thing was now under control and that he would be fully able to cope with any out- break OF the cholera that might occur, though he was not OF the opinion that it would present itself in anymore nggiavated a degico than it had already done. ]

The first thing that struck me about this record (and many subsequent records) was that they were commonly being poorly transcribed. In fact the mistakes I noticed indicated that the records were being automatically transcribed using optical character recognition (OCR) technology which tries to decipher words based on their shape. Reading these articles was difficult but not impossible and the originals were available but for a fee.

This news article (and in fact the news article above it which I have not reproduced) talks about the cholera outbreak in 1892 which was sweeping across India, the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as major ports of Western Europe. Dr William Jenkins, New York's Health Officer, implemented measures to protect the city from this disease by having each the passengers from each ship remain on board in quarantine for 20 days.

While I had previously found a list of voyages online there is no mention of any cholera outbreak on its arrival and the quarantine imposed on the passengers of this 1892 voyage. This is interesting information if you happened to have ancestors arriving on this ship and even more so, if your ancestors died either aboard or shortly after its arrival.

My second search, this time for “allan line state of nevada steamship” and filtered on 1880s date range (closer to my MIL's ancestors voyage) and the New York Times publication only (as this was the port of their arrival), gave me the following result.

The first listing is an arrival announcement for the ship which was commonly printed in the newspaper a day or so after the ships arrival. I found a number of these but could not find one for the day I was looking for, on or after 30 May 1884 (even though I knew it existed as I had a copy).

The New York Times (Newspaper) - December 5, 1882, New York, New York
Subscription - New York Times - NewspaperArchive - Dec 5, 1882
Allan Line stearrnhlp Peru- Tlan, Capt. Rltuhle. from Montreal Nov. ... OLXBQOW, DPO i State Line steam sblo State of Nevada. Capt. ...

[STATE LINE steam sblo STATE OF NEVADA. Capt. Stewart, from New-Yori Nov. 28. arr. hern at 7 o olock thii morning]

While looking through the results I did find a couple of interesting records:

The New York Times (Newspaper) - March 1, 1880, New York, New York
Subscription - New York Times - NewspaperArchive - Mar 1, 1880
LONG BRANCH, Fob. steam- ship State of Nevada, of the Stato Line, from Glasgow for Now-York, got aground last night about half a mile north-east of tho ...

The text was as follows:

[TEE STATE OF NEVADA STRANDED. SUE RUNS AGROUND HEAR BANDY HOOK POINT BUT IS FLOATED WITHOUT DAMAGE. LONG BRANCH, Fob. steam- ship STATE OF NEVADA, OF the Stato LINE, from Glasgow for Now-York, got aground last night about half a mile north-east OF tho point OF Sandy Hook, and a quarur OF a mile south OF tho ship channel. She atruck on the bar about P. M., during a for, at nearly high water. Four W. Seymour, Hudson, J. S. Smith, and at work this morning trying to pull her OFf, but wore unsuc- cessful. Tbo Captain sent to Now-York for assistance, and another attempt to eat her OFf was mado to-night at high, tide, which resulted successfully, and at P. M. sho started for Now-York. Tbo bar on which she struck must have been made during the last storm, as previ- ous to that steamers OF her capacity were able to run in much nearer to tbe point OF the Hook with safety. She had a pilot on board, and no danger was anticipated at tho time sho struck. The STATE OF NEVADA was launched in June, at Glasgow, having been built 'on tho Clyde, for the STATE Lino, by the London and Glasgow Engineering and Shlp-bnildlnz Com- pany. She is a screw steamer, schoonor-riggod, with tbreo masts. Her length is 332 feet 1 inch; breadth, 30 feet 3 inches, and depth, 28 feet 0 inches. Sho has three decks, is OF tons burden, and has a draught OF 21 feet Hor engines aro OF extra strength, with a nominal OF 400 horses, indicating 1.400- horse power. Thoro aro two cylinders, one OF 82 inches in diameter, tie OF 46 inches, tho atroko being 3 feet 0 inches. Hor cabins are at ted in the most substantial manner. The main saloon Is amidships, runninar aoross tho vessel, well lighted and ventilated. Tho STATE-rooms are ot extra size and provided with all modern Improvements." Tho first voyago OF tho NEVADA was mado in July, 1874, from Glasgow to this port, which she reached on tho last day OF the month. On'Jane 10.1875. on a voyago from Antwerp -to this port, sho was overtaken by a dense fog, and, 'soon after noon, came In collision with a huge Ico- berjr. Her forecastle was stovo in. the plates under tho spar-deck and a portion OF 'the stern, toosall and topgALLANt stays carried away. No more serious damage was. done to the vesaol, and she proceeded safely on hor voyage. Another ncaJdont occurred to tba NEVADA, Jan. ]

Wow, a full description of the ship including launch date, physical description both inside and out, and first voyage! Interestingly enough, the article explains that the running aground was not the only mishap to befall the steamship and goes on to explain an incident where the steamship hit an iceberg during a period of dense fog.

In another article referenced on the results page, I found another incident involving the State of Nevada:

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Newspaper) - February 10, 1880 ...
Subscription - Oshkosh Daily Northwestern - NewspaperArchive - Feb 10, 1880
Hain and Otter Streets, OSHKOSH, wis I keep a full line of foreign and ... 10 Steamship State of Nevada from Olasgow for New York was put back with her ...

[STEAM NAVIGATION. Loneon, Feb. 10 STEAMSHIP STATE OF NEVADA from Olasgow for New York was put back with her propellor brok- Chim- boraio, from Australia, returned in con- Hpquence OF damage during a gale OFl" Ubhant. Two persons were wtuihed overboard, two killed, and seventeen injured. The steamer lost six boats and received other damage. ]

While the Google News Archive Search has its flaws, the most obvious being the quality of the transcribed record, the benefits of this tool to the genealogist are clear. It enables the researcher to search records spanning over a hundred years for a large number of different newspapers and legal journals.

The time saving to the researcher is huge and the news records cover a large number of relevant topics, ships, crimes, public announcements and other newsworthy events. While most of the results said subscription required, it seems that in most cases you only pay to access the original record with the transcription being available for free.

You can find the Google News Archive Search at: http://news.google.com/archivesearch

This article may be reproduced in full or in part as long as credit is given to the author.

Google News Links To Blogsearch













Steve Rubel noticed that Google News now includes a link to Google Blogsearch. I’ve wanted many times to use Blogsearch, but the URL is ridiculous (blogsearch.google.com). Couldn’t Google buy a decent URL? The link is nice, but think of how to get there:

  • Option 1: type blogsearch.google.com, a 21-character URL
  • Option 2: type google.com
  • Click “News”
  • Click “Blog search”

Consider that Google Blogsearch’s competitors, all of which have less-than-perfect URLs, are still shorter and easier. Technorati.com. Bloglines.com. Icerocket.com. Feedster.com. Even ask.com/blogsearch is shorter. What really annoys me is that the Blog Search link on News isn’t dynamic, like the other Google tabs, that you could type something in Google.com, click the News then Blog Search link and the search term would carry over. Also, the link doesn’t appear on Google News results pages.

Still, Blog Search is pretty good, and deserves the better positioning. I’d be even happier if it were in the “More” box on Google.com, but it’s a start.


Google News and Google Search Engine are on a campaign of political correct

They banned The New Media Journal. They banned MichNews.com. They banned The Jawa Report. Google News and Google Search Engine are on a campaign of political correctness that sees them denying access to their service to any website - be it news, opinion or a hybrid of both - that dares to address the subject of radical Islam.

Google Now Donating To GOP Candidates

Looks like Google's been watching Fox News -- its new Google NetPAC, launched last month, made contributions to three Republicans congressional candidates, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The Merc's Frank Davies reports $1,000 contributions to each of Reps. Heather Wilson of New Mexico, Deborah Pryce of Ohio, and James Sensenbrenner, head of the House Judiciary Committee and sometime gavel-wielding control freak. At least two of the candidates, Wilson and Sensenbrenner, have porfolios that implicate the use and regulation of the Internet.

Google News, Adsense and Online Biz in China

A lot has been written about the apparent blocking of google news. The China Herald pointed out that it might be that:

“The internet filters have caused a damaging slowdown on the internet traffic in general and perhaps by closing some of the generators of potentially sensitive traffic that bottleneck is temporarily ’solved’.”

His assumption might be right. During the day I noticed it’s hard to get into the news part, late in the evening there is no problem.

But besides the nuisance of not being able to read the news through Google, an additional pitfall is the fact that at times Adsense also seems to be affected during the day. As a consequence the likelihood of making any advertizing money is frustrated by the fact that filters obstruct normal online business. For a blog like this adsense is more like an add-on but the number of websites that (partly) generate money through advertizing is numerous. China is always boasting to be IT ready and has ambitions to at least take some business from India and elsewhere. Filtering and slowing down the internet is a sine qua non to achieve the opposite.

Google Yanks Anti-Church Sites

WASHINGTON -- The Church of Scientology has managed to yank references to anti-Scientology websites from the Google search engine.

Citing the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Scientology lawyers are claiming that Google may no longer include anti-Scientology sites that allegedly infringe upon the Church of Scientology's intellectual property.

A letter from Google to the Xenu.net Scientology-protest site says: "We removed certain specific URLs in response to a notification.... Had we not removed these URLs, we would be subject to a claim for copyright infringement, regardless of its merits."

So far, the DMCA has come under fire because it bans most attempts to bypass or disable copy-protection technology. But Scientology is relying on another section of the 1998 law, which says a "service provider shall not be liable" for copyright infringements -- if it moves with dispatch to delete any "reference or link to material or activity claimed to be infringing."

Until this week, anyone typing in "Scientology" on the wildly popular search engine found references to the Xenu.net site in the first page of results.

Now Xenu.net and clambake.org have virtually disappeared from Google's database.

When using the DMCA as a legal club to thwap critics, Scientology must claim that its copyrighted material has been unlawfully expropriated.

Among the ostensibly infringing sites: Excerpts from an internal report on a Scientology member who died under mysterious circumstances after allegedly being held against her will, and photographs of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and others juxtaposed with Adolf Hitler.

This isn't the first time Scientology has used copyright threats to stifle criticism.

As far back as August 1995, Scientology sued one of its former members for posting anti-church information to the Internet and persuaded a federal judge to permit the seizure of his computer. The church then sued The Washington Post for reporting on the computer seizure and quoting from public court records.

Last November, Scientology used the DMCA to pressure a U.S. Internet provider to remove the church's secret scriptures from the scientology-kills.org site. DMCA threats from the church seem to be becoming so common that Dave Touretzsky, a scientist at Carnegie Mellon, has even drafted a form letter that can be sent in reply.

Since Xenu.net and its companion sites are in the Netherlands, Scientology can't use U.S. law to remove the pages directly. But in getting Google to delete them from its mammoth database, the church hopes to remove one of the most obvious ways that Internet users can stumble across the sites.

Xenu.net does have the option to reply to Google and try to make its way back into the database by refuting Scientology's claims. The DMCA offers that way out -- but Xenu.net's publisher would have to agree to the jurisdiction of a U.S. court.

One Internet executive in the Netherlands reported this week that Scientology "harassed" him and his upstream providers for years because he hosted an anti-Scientology site.

Hubbard's secret scriptures teach that 75 million years ago, an evil galactic overlord named Xenu solved the galaxy's overpopulation problem by freezing excess people and transporting the bodies to Teegeeack, now called Earth. After the hapless travelers were defrosted, they were chained to volcanoes that were blown up by hydrogen bombs -- and their disembodied spirits continue to haunt mankind today.

Google's Soaring Profits Stoke Stock

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE (AP Business Writer)

From Associated Press

October 19, 2006 11:22 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO - Still mindful of the dot-com bubble, plenty of skeptics scoffed earlier this year when several Wall Street analysts rated Google Inc.'s stock price as a bargain at $400. Those bullish appraisals don't look so outrageous after Google dazzled investors with a third-quarter profit that nearly doubled, topping analyst estimates by a breathtaking 20 cents per share.

"I am pretty amazed," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said during an interview Thursday after the results were released. "I did not expect us to do as well as we did.

The surprise had investors scrambling to buy Google's stock, lifting the shares by more than 7 percent in an after-hours move that signaled the company's market value may rise by another $10 billion Friday. That's enough wealth to finance another six deals similar to Google's recently announced plans to buy the Web's hottest video service, YouTube Inc.

The stock price now appears poised to reach its highest levels since January when it peaked at $475.11.

Besides reminding investors of Google's moneymaking prowess, the third-quarter performance underscored the Mountain View-based company's widening advantage over its main Internet rivals.

Yahoo Inc., which runs the Internet's second-largest advertising network behind Google, has been hurt by slowing revenue growth most of this year - a problem that contributed to a 38 percent drop in its third-quarter profit.

"The difference between Google and the second and third place players has become enormous," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry said. "This definitely shows that Google is going to own the next generation of the computing environment."

Chowdhry believes it won't be long before Google shares hit $600 - a target first established at the beginning of the year by Piper & Jaffray Safa Rashtchy.

No matter the industry, few companies have ever matched Google's remarkable run of growth in the eight years since co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched their quirky business in a Silicon Valley garage - part of a house that Google recently bought as a keepsake.

Most companies find it increasingly difficult to sustain their growth pace as they grow larger, but Google so far has been able to defy conventional thinking.

The third quarter, for instance, is supposed to be the most sluggish season for Internet companies because the summer tends to lure more people away from their computers. That tendency means Google should have fewer opportunities for its search engine to display the short text-based ads that account for most of its profits.

Google instead fared even better in the summer than in the winter, both in total profit and growth rates.

The company earned $733.4 million, or $2.36 per share, for the three months ended in September. That represented a 92 percent increase from net income of $381.2 million, or $1.32 per share, at the same time last year.

Back in the first quarter, Google's profit rose by a more pedestrian 60 percent from last year.

If not for expenses to cover employee stock compensation, Google said it would have earned $2.62 per share in the third quarter- well above the average estimate of $2.42 per share among analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Revenue for the period totaled $2.69 billion, a 70 percent increase from $1.58 billion last year.

After subtracting the commissions paid to Google's ad partners, revenue fell to $1.86 billion. That figure also topped analyst estimates by about $50 million.

Surpassing Wall Street's lofty expectations is nothing new for Google, which now has blown past analysts' projections in all but one of the nine quarters since its much-ballyhooed initial public offering of stock in August 2004.

The routine delights investors. Google shares gained $6.75 to close Thursday at $426.06 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then climbed by $31.94, or 7.5 percent, in after-hours trading.

Google's success so far has hinged on its search engine, a piece of revolutionary technology that continues to attract new users.

In September, Google's held a 45 percent share of the U.S. search market, up from 44 percent in August, according to comScore Media Metrix. Yahoo's search share dipped to 28 percent in September, down from 29 percent the previous month while Microsoft Corp.'s share continued to hover around 12 percent, Media Metrix said.

That comfortable lead apparently hasn't made the company lackadaisical. Brin told analysts that Google recently introduced several improvements that increased the breadth and freshness of the search engine's index.

Meanwhile, Google continues to find new ways to pick out the ads most likely to pique enough interest to be clicked on, as Google makes money based on the number of clicks, Brin said.

"There are always new ways to monetize," Brin said during a Thursday conference call with analysts. "I don't see an obvious ceiling."

Toward that end, Google already is eyeing new opportunities for online video ads with its planned acquisition of YouTube Inc., which has become one of the Internet's hottest entertainment hubs. Google hopes to complete the $1.65 billion deal in the next month or so.

Although Google is buying San Bruno-based YouTube with its prized stock, the company also has plenty of money to finance its grand ambitions. Google ended September with $10.4 billion in cash.

As it grows, Google is hiring more workers at a furious pace. More than 1,400 more workers joined Google in the third quarter, expanding its payroll to just under 9,400 employees. For the past year, Google has been hiring an average of a dozen new employees per day.