Does BBC Worldwide's sale of Lonely Planet at an £80 million loss (after writing down its value by £67 million over 6 years), on top of Google's purchase of Frommer's last year, herald the end of travel guidebooks? [more inside]
As discussed over the weekend, in less than two weeks the millions of videos uploaded to six-year-old erstwhile YouTube competitor Google Video will no longer be viewable. Though a download button has been added to each video page for easy back-up, that will only be available though May 13th, and the company will not be offering transfer service for users with YouTube accounts. The search giant has been slowly winding down the service over the years since their billion-dollar buyout of YouTube, controversially revoking purchased content (with a refund) in 2007 and disabling new uploads in 2009. The shutdown is a big blow to the web video ecosystem, as Google Video was one of the few major services to allow free hosting of long-form video, including the content for many popular MetaFilter posts. But all is not lost! Reddit users have organized a virtual potluck to share the most interesting and unique videos not available anywhere else, and the Archive Team, preserver of doomed web properties like Geocities (previously), is partnering with Archive.org to back up as much content as possible. In that spirit, click inside for a list of some of the most popular Google Video-centric content posted here over the years. [more inside]
The BBC's Dimensions site lets you view a range of phenomena overlaid on different parts of the Earth. What if the moon was sitting on Alice Springs? What do the Pakistan floods look like if placed on England? What would the walls of Beijing look like around London? Much more to explore.
Search Wars The BBC reviews five search engines, including Google and the new MSN beta
The BBC is buying up search terms for 'Hutton Inquiry' and 'Hutton Report' through Google's Adwords service. I see this almost as the online journalistic equivalent of a government sexing up dossiers, and a first for any news organisation, according to the Guardian. Regardless of your (or Hutton's) opinion of the BBC's role in the Kelly affair, I don't see how they can possibly justify trying to control where people get their news from, especially as Hutton is almost certain to find the corporation (well, Andrew Gilligan anyway) to be a contributing factor in Kelly's suicide.
Nationalise Google? "Perhaps the time has come to recognise this dominant search engine for what it is - a public utility that must be regulated in the public interest." Bill Thompson from the BBC tells me that Google puts a cookie on my computer that can't be deleted till 2038: "This means that Google builds up a detailed profile of your search terms over many years. Google probably knew when you last thought you were pregnant, what diseases your children have had, and who your divorce lawyer is. It refuses to say why it wants this information or to admit whether it makes it available to the US Government for tracking purposes." Are they "a secretive, hyper-competitive company with no respect for the personal privacy of its users"? Are other search engines better behaved? And is this the beginning of search ethics?
China Blocks Google » In the highest praise yet for Google, China (as in "great firewall of China") blocks Google. Dissident search engines. It must be the future.