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Google has had to change the way its Chinese website operates, after the government there threatened to remove the company’s licence. But one expert in China says the real problem is Google’s competitor, Baidu, and the fact that its ongoing censorship is backed by U.S. investors. Read more »

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MapQuest not that long ago was the leader in online map services, but then Google came along and stole the crown. Now AOL has redesigned its service and added a range of new features in an attempt to regain some ground against its larger rival. Read more »

Facebook’s search results will now include all web pages that have been “liked” by users who clicked on buttons powered by the social network’s Open Graph protocol, in what is clearly the first step towards building a social search engine. But can “likes” rival Google’s PageRank? Read more »

There are public clouds like Amazon’s EC2, and private clouds run behind firewalls, but some networking experts believe the big opportunity for infrastructure companies and service providers in the future will be finding ways of blending the private and public, or creating bridges between the two. Read more »

Network engineers from Yahoo, Facebook, PayPal and Zynga said that startups and other companies need to think about how they are going to scale their infrastructure as they grow. However, they also said companies need to recognize their predictions will probably turn out to be wrong. Read more »

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The growth in bandwidth and cloud computing makes it easier to handle the massive amounts of data the world is producing every day, but latency — the lag in transferring that information across large networks — is still an issue, networking experts said at Structure today. Read more »

Does the rise of cloud computing mean that traditional SQL databases and solutions are dead, or dying? Not according to a panel of database companies at the Structure conference. Although the “noSQL” movement is gaining steam, most agreed there is still a place for traditional SQL. Read more »

A panel of GigaOM Pro analysts said the future of cloud computing will likely involve the development of shared standards for interoperability of private clouds, and that “platform as a service” is the inevitable successor to the SaaS industry that most companies have become accustomed to. Read more »

Supercomputer experts, including the chief information officer of NASA’s Ames Research Center and a computer strategist for the U.S. Army’s research and development center, said that scientists are still working towards developing an “exascale” computer — one that can do a million trillion calculations per second. Read more »

Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, said at GigaOM’s Structure conference that the biggest change in cloud computing over the past year is that “we went from talk to action.” Instead of just thinking about implementing cloud solutions, companies are rolling them out aggressively, he said. Read more »

Cloud computing is often seen as beneficial for companies primarily because it lowers information technology costs, but panelists at GigaOM’s Structure conference said that this is a misconception, and enterprises that focus solely on using cloud computing to cut costs will miss the point. Read more »

Esquire has done what it calls a “semi-scientific” analysis of tweets about the World Cup and said it found nothing of importance beyond score updates and the kind of outburst you might hear in a bar. But is that really any surprise? It’s a conversational medium. Read more »

An Internet security firm called KnujOn has released a report on illegal uses of the domain registration system that accuses Demand Media subsidiary eNom, one of the world’s largest domain registrars, of knowingly profiting from the sale of domain names to distributors of illegal pharmaceuticals. Read more »

Utah’s attorney general has come under fire for using Twitter to announce that a convicted murderer was executed by firing squad. But the reality is the social network has become a news delivery system for all kinds of important information. Why should an execution be different? Read more »

A number of users of the Q&A startup Quora are reporting that the site is unavailable to Facebook employees using the corporate network. It’s not clear why the startup service would do this, unless it sees Facebook’s testing of a similar product as a competitive threat. Read more »

OneRiot, which runs an advertising marketplace and a search engine for social networks, has added Facebook data to its real-time search features, which means that searches using the company’s API will now include links that have been shared or “liked” on the world’s largest social network. Read more »

Facebook had revenue of close to $800 million last year, according to a report from Reuters, more than double what the company had in 2008. That kind of growth rate is almost certain to place added pressure on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take the company public. Read more »

Does the world need a refuge for secret information provided by whistle-blowers? Iceland’s parliament seems to think so: they just approved a bill that would create exactly that. The initiative started with Wikileaks, the secretive group that recently leaked video of a contentious U.S. military attack. Read more »

Twitter has launched the next phase of its advertising strategy, in which companies can buy “promoted trending topics,” the first of which appeared last night. But the campaign blurs the line between Twitter’s role as a media filter and its intention to become an ad company. Read more »

As Twitter continues to struggle with repeated system outages and downtime, attention has turned to ways of extending — or even replacing — the social network as a communications platform. But what would such a world look like? It would involve multiple clients and open standards. Read more »

Blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball says that he doesn’t believe that comments on most blogs add any value, and that they are often just “cacaphonous shouting matches,” which is why he doesn’t allow them. But despite the noise, we believe comments are worth having. Read more »

Google recently launched a new search indexing system called Caffeine, which it says produces results that are 50 percent “fresher.” Why? Because Google needed to respond faster in a world that has become increasingly real-time. Not just because it wanted to, but because it had to. Read more »

Twitter’s downtime and reliability issues have continued to mount over the past couple of weeks, with repeated system errors and outages. All of which raises the question: Can Twitter handle its emerging status as the world’s real-time communications network, or does it need some help? Read more »

The media and entertainment industries have been through an unprecedented upheaval over the past several years, as consumers have moved their attention online and advertisers have followed, disrupting traditional business models. Now a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts even greater turmoil over the next five years. Read more »

When Twitter announced in May that it planned to launch a new feature called Points of Interest based on a user’s location, some expected it to be a “Foursquare-killer.” Instead, both Foursquare and Gowalla are partners in the feature now known simply as Twitter Places. Read more »

Twitter is rolling out its own link-shortening service for the social network, partly for security reasons and partly so it can offer analytical services based on the data. But the new feature is coming under fire from developers, including a member of the Google Buzz team. Read more »

Jive Software today launched what it hopes will become a Facebook-style social networking platform for businesses, complete with an activity stream, an open API and an application store. But whether Jive’s new offering can make social networking more palatable to business users remains to be seen. Read more »

Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker has joined in the ongoing debate over whether the Internet makes people smarter or dumber. He says using Twitter and spending time on the web doesn’t make us less intelligent, any more than reading an encyclopedia makes us more intelligent. Read more »

Lots of companies want to have Facebook “fan” pages, where customers or would-be customers can become part of their online community. But what are those fans actually worth? A media measurement firm called Syncapse has come up with an actual dollar value in a new report. Read more »

Google is experimenting with adding a human element to its News pages, a new feature called “Editor’s Picks.” But is it trying to curry favor with media outlets that have accused it of “stealing” their content? Or is it an admission that algorithms are not perfect? Read more »

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