In a schoolyard bully battle royale, Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces to target Google, with the aim of relieving the company of its search engine dominance.
A Congressional panel is looking into drafting new online privacy laws, but Yahoo says such legislation isn’t necessary because the e-industry has done such a bang-up job of regulating itself.
If Microsoft has its way bending your brain with a megabucks ad budget for its forthcoming Bing search engine, someday you’ll replace the verb “googled” with “binged.” Which could give new meaning to the phrase “binged and purged,” but whatever.
The ease with which a student was able to reset Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email password highlights a vulnerability of so-called “challenge questions” designed to verify your identity: if the questions are about personal details from your life, there’s a risk that somewhere out there on the web, that info is visible to the public. That might be a realistic risk only for public figures, but it’s also possible that friends or family members could answer your questions with a little guesswork. If you want better security, make up fake answers that you’ll remember.
When Yahoo announced last week that they were turning off their DRM-restricted music store store in September, thereby abandoning customers with songs that would no longer play, people were understantably angry. At the time, Yahoo suggested you burn the songs to CD while you still can, then re-rip them into unprotected MP3 files—but that was a lousy solution that took time and money, and resulted in lower-quality audio files. Now they’ve come back with a proper solution that seems to more than make up for the trouble—especially if we can believe what their spokesperson told the LA Times.
Yet another example of why DRM sucks: Yahoo! is shutting down their music store. Don’t worry, all you have to do is burn all that music to CD then re-upload it to your computer. As Ars Technica says: “Sure, you’ll lose a bunch of blank CDs, sound quality, and all the metadata, but that’s a small price to pay for the privilege of being able to listen to that music you lawfully acquired. Good thing you didn’t download it illegally or just buy it on CD!” [Ars Technica]
If your email account is with Google or Yahoo, your days of seeing phishing emails from fake eBay or PayPal addresses should be over. Google announced last week that it’s now using DomainKeys to verify messages really do come from paypal.com or ebay.com—if they don’t, they never even make it to your In Box. This is possible because eBay and PayPal are now making sure “that all their email is signed with DomainKeys and DKIM.” Since Yahoo! also uses DomainKeys and DKIM (they developed it, in fact), phishing attacks for Yahoo! Mail accounts should also disappear.
Yahoo’s “Unlimited” email, isn’t. [WSJ]
Yahoo rejects Microsoft’s takeover bid for reals for reals. We are safe from the threat of the creation of the world’s largest, crappiest, search engine…for now. [AP]
Microsoft has been trying to make Google seem like a threat to privacy, when in fact it’s both of them,” says Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD). “We may now have two companies that will rival the National Security Agency in their ability to compile detailed profiles of users wherever they go online.”
Yahoo is re-opening talks with Google about a possible business alliance in an effort to rebuff Microsoft’s takeover proposal, which Yahoo says undervalues the company at $31 a share.
Microsoft is interested in buying Yahoo! [Ars Technica]
Yahoo Personals surprised technology guru Russell Shaw with a charge for $74.95 when he signed up for Yahoo Voice. Russell had let his subscription to Yahoo Personals lapse last February and ignored Yahoo’s repeated entreaties to renew his membership. He assumed his account was cancelled, told his credit card company not to authorize any new charges, and did not inform Yahoo when he lost his credit card last May.
Eliot Van Buskirk over at Wired found that he was no longer in need of his Rhapsody, Napster and Yahoo! Music subscriptions now that the RIAA is starting to warm up to the idea of DRM-free music.
A friend of a friend’s Yahoo account was hacked and now all the guy’s personal and professional contacts are getting emails saying that he’s stuck in Africa and needs to be wired money immediately. Here’s some solutions we found that might help him reset his password.
The companies were accused of receiving money from online gambling businesses to advertise illegal betting from 1997 through 2007.