Sun, Dec 19, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Google to highlight hacked sites

AFP AND AP, SAN FRANCISCO, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT AND BRUSSELS

Google on Friday announced search engine upgrades that included alerting people to hacked Web sites that make it into query results.

“We’ve added new notifications to the results page to warn you when sites may have been compromised, spammed or defaced,” Google director of product management Mike Cassidy said in a blog post. “In addition to helping users, these notices will also help webmasters more quickly discover when someone is abusing their sites.”

Google added automated tools designed to detect signs of hacking and then pin warnings reading “This site may be compromised” beneath potentially tainted entries in search results, according to Cassidy.

“Rest assured, once the problem has been fixed, the warning label will be automatically removed from our search results,” Google associate product manager Gideon Wald said.

The Mountain View, California-based Internet giant also added new languages and domains to its “Instant” search feature that delivers suggested results with each key stroke of a query.

Google’s translation service was given upgrades that include providing alternatives as to what the intended meaning of phrases might be.

Meanwhile, EU regulators said on Friday they have accepted the complaints of three more parties in their antitrust investigation against the online search engine.

German competition authorities had “transferred to the [European] Commission the parts of their -investigation that overlapped” with the Commission’s probe, European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres said.

The step was procedural “and does not constitute a deepening of the scope of the investigation,” Torres said.

Last month, the commission said it was investigating whether Google discriminated against competitors in the rankings of its search results.

Google spokesman Al Verney said the German complaints come from two newspaper and magazine publishing associations, BDZV and VDZ, and online mapping company Euro-Cities.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the commission and national regulators, explaining many aspects of our business,” Verney said. “There’s always going to be room for improvement, so we are working to address any concerns.”

In the US, Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says Google is refusing to give him access to data it collected about state residents from public Wi-Fi networks.

Google announced in May that it had inadvertently collected information from people’s online activities from unsecured networks in more than 30 countries while taking photographs for its Street View mapping project.

Blumenthal and officials in nearly 40 other states have been seeking to review the information to see if Google improperly accessed e-mails, passwords and other private data.

He had given Google until 5pm on Friday to turn over the data.

Blumenthal says he will now consider whether legal action is warranted.

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