Google loses copyright suit in Belgian court

Kimmie sent me an email which pointed out a fairly recent Business Week article about Google losing in a copyright infringement suit filed by a Belgian publisher and copyright group.

Apparently, the Belgian publisher (Copiepresse) didn’t like the idea that some of their copyrighted titles and news articles appeared on the Belgian Google News or Google.be site.

If you take a look at the Google News site, you’ll notice that Google doesn’t actually reproduce entire articles, but instead, it posts news summaries and titles and includes links to the original or source website. This is part of their news aggregation service, which I, as a consumer and netizen, find extremely helpful and a blessing, in more ways than one.

My point is, come on, if you’re a news publisher and you don’t want your articles copied or acknowledged by the general public, then don’t publish over the web in the first place! There is a fine line between wanting to earn big bucks and having a sense of integrity and credibility (in this case I feel that the publisher took advantage of copyright loopholes to earn some “easy” money at the expense of Google). To add insult to injury, you can bet that a lot of traffic that went to the publisher’s website wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for its inclusion on the Google News aggregate list.

Can you imagine what will happen if Google and other search engines and aggregation services, such as MSN and Yahoo! suddenly decide to “de-list” or “un-index” sites of those who filed lawsuits against them? It’s possible that these sites will soon be forgotten and they’ll probably end up having to beg to be re-included in these search engines.

Do you think it was fair?

Google lifts its invitation-only gmail account restriction

I recently blogged about Google’s Google Book Project. Now get this, Google finally opened up Gmail to new comers just few hours ago. They finally decided to drop its ‘invitation-only’ restriction.

Gmail, which is now the 3rd largest email hosting company, currently has approximately 60 million users. And with the existing 2.8GB (and growing) mailbox capacity, powerful email search capability, and its tight integration with different, extremely useful Google apps, such as Google Talk, it will definitely keep its main competitors, namely MSN’s Hotmail (approx. 236 million users) and Yahoo! Mail (approx. 246 million users) on their toes.

You can take a gander at what the impact will be for us ‘netizens’. This will most likely mean an improvement in the overall global webmail service offering. Which spells good news for us!

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Sources:
People’s Daily Online
The Register

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Office relocation – An IT guy’s perspective

DWH will be expanding its operations and will therefore be relocating its Philippine office in a couple of weeks. We’ve kept our hands quite busy with the office relocation project. We’ve currently leased two floors (3rd and 4th) from a building across the street from our current office location. And a lot of renovation activities are currently ongoing as of this writing. You can see from the 3rd floor snapshots taken from the relocation site last December 2006 that there has been a lot of renovation and civil works done.

We’ll be going for a hybrid network this time. It’ll be a mix of Wireless (or WiFi) and traditional ‘wired’ networking (10/100/1000BaseT).

One challenge we faced was to design and provide a scalable, reliable, fast and secure, yet cost effective (yes, there always has to be a hitch), networking environment. And since we plan to have a wireless environment, there were a lot of performance-related issues and security concerns that we had to factor in with our design.

Barring any unforeseen delays, we hope to relocate everyone by the 2nd week of February. So this means we have to get the data center, network, telephony and security infrastructures up and running without a hitch. Oh boy.

Asian internet slowdown

Browsing the internet has been a nuisance for the past 3 weeks if you’re from the Asia Pacific region. Most Asian countries are still suffering from the aftermath of the quake that recently hit the region, which damaged undersea communications cables off the coast of Taiwan. The slowdown comes as a minor headache to the casual internet user, but for internet junkies and IT network administrators, this is one nightmare that one hopes to quickly wake up from.

In some networks, sites that have traditionally been the quickest to load, such as Google, took a massive dive in web page download speed and performance. In contrast, some bandwidth-intensive sites (streaming media, ftp download sites) can be accessed quite easily.

So why am I so pissed off? It’s simple. Our good ole’ Blogger is one such affected site. Bummer.

The Google book project

This is something very interesting. Google is working on a platform that would allow users to easily download the entire content of books in a format that could be read on mobile devices. This will be part of the Google Books Library Project. This is somewhat modeled after Apple’s iPod product. Google will be doing for books what Apple has done for music.

This “virtual library” seems like a great idea to me, a consumer. I’m not much into collecting music (.mp3’s and whatnot) even though I am a music lover (I can play a mean guitar – in my own right, ha!). But the bookworm (bookshark?) in me would most definitely love the idea of being able to carry a few e-books here and there in one small device instead of having to lug around bulky tomes.

Imagine this:

– You’re traveling and got stranded in an airport because of a storm coming in. Flights are canceled or postponed. So what do you do to while away the time? You pop out your Google Reader “thingy” and, oh what luck, you’ve stored your favorite books and are able to catch up on your reading.

– You’re a tourist. You’ll be traveling to a country you’ve never been to before. So how can the Google Reader “thingy” help you? Well, you could download and store almanacs, tourist books, translation dictionaries, phone directories, and maps of the place you intend to visit. Now tell me this isn’t handy.

That’s one side of the story, taken from the point of view of a consumer. But how would publishers, and authors react? I believe that one of the key success factors for this product is a collaboration between Google and publishers. If Apple was able to do it with record companies and artists, I don’t see why Google can’t do the same.
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References:
Technology News
Times Online
CNet News