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Instagram Responds to User Backlash Over Terms of Use Confusion

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, test

Instagram did some quick back-tracking Dec. 18 after being subjected to user outrage over its new terms of use.

The photo-sharing app has made some policy changes — set to take effect next month — which users interpreted as giving Instagram the right to sell peoples’ uploaded photos without their permission and without compensation.

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” the terms of service read.

Many users threatened to leave service, believing Instagram would soon have the right to grab users pictures and other data to promote itself on its website or in advertising without mention of or compensation to the owner of the images.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, issued a lengthy statement to “answer your questions, fix any mistakes and eliminate the confusion.”

“It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing,” wrote Kevin Systrom, one of Instagram’s co-founders. “To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.”

The following is an excerpt from Systrom’s blog post addressing the user backlash:

Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.

The company also said:

• Nothing has changed about your photos’ ownership or who can see them.

• Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you.

• The updated terms of service help protect you, and prevent spam and abuse as Instagram grows.

Before Systrom’s clarification, the original blog post received a number of comments, mostly negative:

“These terms of service are complete and absolute bulls–t. What does Instagram now having the right to sell our photos have to do with safety or with avoiding spam? Absolutely nothing,” wrote one Instagram user. “This post was meant to cover our eyes and not let us see through the scandal that these Terms of Service constitute. Unless these ToS change radically, I will probably delete my account. As will many of the artists that regularly post on the app. Congratulations, Instagram, you just made the Internet a little less safer for those of us who want to share our work.”

Another Instagram user wrote: “Why do all the good companies become sell-outs, seriously. They always start out with such a good thing, and then the money talks and they all walk away from the user, the sole reason the service was created. I’m kinda surprised, though I probably shouldn’t be. I just thought the people at Instagram would be different. They couldn’t have been acquired by a worse media service.”

A Privacy watchdog — the Center for Digital Democracy — has also weighed in on the new terms of service change.

Executive director Jeffrey Chester told Bloomberg the perceived changes raised privacy and security issues where teenagers were concerned.

Facebook “sees teens as a digital goldmine,” said Chester. “We will be pressing the Federal Trade Commission to issue policies to protect teen privacy.”

In response to user outrage Wired published step-by-step instructions for those wishing to delete their account.


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Instagram Responds to User Backlash Over Terms of Use Confusion

Google Helps Bring Biblical History to the Internet

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, test

New images of the Dead Sea Scrolls are now online courtesy of an online partnership between Google and Israel.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has launched the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of more than 5,000 images of scroll fragments.

The ancient manuscripts include one of the first known copies of the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which tells of the creation of the world. Also online are hundreds of other 2,000-year-old texts, which illuminate Jesus’ time on earth as well as the history of Judaism.

“Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution,” reads a joint blog post by Eyal Miller, new business development, and Yossi Matias, head of Israel Research and Development Center.

“The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology.”

Google first partnered with the Israel Antiquities Authority last year when the technology giant helped put online five texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence. They included: The Great Isaiah Scroll, the War Scroll, the Commentary on Habakkuk Scroll, The Temple Scroll and the Community Rule Scroll.

“You can browse the Great Isaiah Scroll, the most well known scroll and the one that can be found in most home Bibles, by chapter and verse,” the blog post reads. “You can also click directly on the Hebrew text and get an English translation. While you’re there, leave a comment for others to see.”

The digital library, which took two years to compile, uses technology that was developed by NASA.

The high-resolution photographs of the ancient texts are up to 1,200 megapixels, enabling viewers to see even the smallest of details in the parchment.

By zooming in on the Temple Scroll, for instance, one can see the animal skin it’s written on — only one-tenth of a millimeter thick.

Google now wants to take the project a step further. The company has launched a “Cultural Institute,” a digital visual archive of historical events in co-operation with 17 museums and institutes around the world.

“We’re working to bring important cultural and historical materials online and help preserve them for future generations,” said Yossi Matias, head of Google’s Research and Development Center in Israel. “Our partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is another step toward enabling users to enjoy cultural material around the world.”


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Google Helps Bring Biblical History to the Internet

ITC Judge Rules in Favor of Apple in Motorola Patent Lawsuit

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, test

Apple emerged victorious from its latest bout with Motorola Mobility after an International Trade Commission judge ruled the iPhone maker did not violate Motorola’s sensor patent.

In his initial determination, Judge Thomas Pender said Apple’s iPhone did not violate the patent covering proximity sensor technology. Pender ruled the main claim in the patent lawsuit to be invalid.

“I hereby determine that no violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended has been found in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers and components thereof, in connection with claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862,” Pender wrote in his decision.

The preliminary ruling must still be approved by the six-person ITC panel before it can be declared final.

A Motorola representative told Bloomberg the company was “disappointed with this outcome and is evaluating our options.”

The ITC is a U.S. body that investigates patent infringement involving imported goods. It is an often-used site for patent lawsuits both because it has the power to ban the importation of products found to be in patent violation and because its rulings are usually prompt.

The commission ruled in August that Apple had not breached three other Motorola patents, and ordered Pender to further scrutinize the touchscreen sensor patent.

Apple and Google-owned Motorola have been in an ongoing patent power-struggle that is complicated by the fact that Google’s Android is the biggest rival of Apple’s iOS.


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ITC Judge Rules in Favor of Apple in Motorola Patent Lawsuit

Apple Loses Bid to Have Samsung Devices Banned

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, test

A federal judge has denied Apple’s request for an injunction against Samsung, thwarting the iPhone maker’s efforts to have 26 of its rival’s devices banned for sale in the U.S.

Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling came in spite of a jury verdict in August finding Samsung violated six of Apple’s patents. The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion. If the ruling holds up, it will set the record as the largest patent verdict in history.

Koh said Apple was unable to prove the demand for Samsung Smartphones in the U.S. was due to the Apple technology it copied.

“Samsung may have cut into Apple’s customer base somewhat, but there is no suggestion that Samsung will wipe out Apple’s customer base, or force Apple out of the business of making Smartphones,” Koh writes in her decision. “The present case involves lost sales — not a lost ability to be a viable market participant.”

Samsung said of the 26 products Apple wanted banned, only three are still being sold: the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy S II Epic and the Galaxy S II Skyrocket. The remaining three Smartphones have also been altered by design-arounds so they no longer infringe Apple patents.

In light of Koh’s decision, Samsung has opted to drop its lawsuit seeking to ban the sale of some Apple products in Europe. Samsung had claimed the Apple devices violated its patents.

“Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court,” the company said in a statement. “In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.”

Back in the U.S., Koh also denied Samsung’s motion for a new trial. Samsung contended the decision of the jury, who awarded Apple $1.05 billion in August, is questionable because the jury’s foreman, Velvin Hogan, withheld information that could indicate a prejudice against the company.

Hogan neglected to tell the court he was sued by Seagate Technology, his former employer. The company is now partly owned by Samsung. He also omitted the fact that he was forced to file for bankruptcy due to the lawsuit.

Koh is still contemplating Samsung’s appeal to reduce the $1.05 billion verdict awarded by the jury.

Both firms have since added devices to new legal complaints as the companies continue to accuse one another of patent infringement.

Samsung filed a request  Nov. 21 asking the iPad Mini, the fourth-generation iPad and the fifth-generation iPod Touch be included in a California case which already includes the iPhone 5.

Apple responded in kind on Black Friday, requesting the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, powered by the new Android Jelly Bean operating system, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wifi, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 running on Ice Cream Sandwich, the Rugby Pro, and the Galaxy S III Mini be included in the case, according to the court filing.

This lawsuit addresses software and user interface patents, which could mean Google, maker of the Android operating system, may be dragged into the dispute.

Koh is set to hear the case in 2014.

Samsung and Apple are embroiled in patent fracas in 10 countries as each accuses the other of copying one another’s mobile devices.

The companies are going head-to-head during the holiday season in a bid to dominate the mobile market.


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Apple Loses Bid to Have Samsung Devices Banned

Technology News Briefs — Dec. 19, 2012

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, test

SpongeBob App Pulled Over Privacy Issues

Privacy continues to be an issue for children’s app makers.

The SpongeBob Diner Dash app was pulled from Apple’s iTunes app store this week after a privacy advocate group complained it had violated children’s privacy rights.

Nickelodeon removed the app after the Center for Digital Democracy contacted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue a complaint.

The Center for Digital Democracy said children’s e-mail addresses had been collected without parental consent.

“The SpongeBob Diner Dash game asks children to provide a wide range of personal information, including full name, email address, and other online contact information, without providing notice to parents or obtaining prior parental consent, as required by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” a statement by the organization reads.

Children’s app Mobbles was temporarily pulled last week after the organization filed a similar complaint with the FTC.

Google Maps for iOS Downloaded 10M-Plus Times in Two Days

Google Maps for iOS was downloaded more than 10 million times less than 48 hours after its release, Google has announced.

We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world,” writes Google’s Jeff Huber in a Google+ post. “Congratulations to the Maps team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last seven-plus years.”

Google launched the app Dec. 13 in response to Apple’s decision to replace the search engine’s app with its own. Apple’s Maps app has been widely criticized for its errors and inaccuracies.

Google Maps for iOS can be downloaded on iTunes.

YouTube Launches App for Immediate Video Posting

YouTube has launched its Capture app for iPhone and iPod touch users.

The app allows users to capture and share videos instantly on the Google-owned video-sharing site.

“Capture life’s moments in fewer clicks and less lag time,” the website reads. “YouTube Capture was designed for speed.”

Users can also add a caption and a location before uploading to YouTube and sharing on sites such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter simultaneously.

YouTube Capture also has editing/enhancing options such as automatic color correction, stabilization, trimming and music tracks.

The new app can be downloaded here.


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Technology News Briefs — Dec. 19, 2012