Media News

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  • 11 January 2012 |

    Google incorporates Google+ social data into search results

    Google has announced the first major integration of data from its Google+ social service with other products in its portfolio with "Search plus Your World", which is designed to return personal information alongside web results in search. The move is the latest by Google in its on-going attempt to peg Facebook back in the social market. It will be hoping that by including personal information in search results the use of its Google+ service will continue to grow. Google fellow Amit Singhal wrote in a blog post that the update was designed to transform Google "into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships" in a bid to improve its service. The update is based around three new features. Personal Results uses information posted by contacts on Google+ to return results, while Profile in Search searches for contacts on Google+ directly, Singhal explained. The third feature is called People and Pages and works by returning results on relevant contacts and pages on the Google+ site that may be of interest. The firm produced a video of the new system in action to give a demonstration of how it works.
  • 11 January 2012 | DPA via Media Network

    Roj TV to continue broadcasting, Danish court rules

    A Danish court on Tuesday fined a Kurdish satellite TV channel for broadcasting propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but did not withdraw its licence. The Copenhagen district court ordered two firms linked to Roj TV to pay DNK 5.2m (USD 893,000) in fines for supporting terror. The ruling stated that the channel had broadcast PKK propaganda and was financed by the PKK, which has been labelled a terrorist organization by the European Union and United States. Prosecutors had wanted the court to withdraw the broadcaster’s licence, and had called for a 20-million-kroner fine. Shortly after the ruling, defence attorney Bjorn Elmquist told reporters the ruling was ‘erroneous,’ but said it was ‘good that the channel had not been shut down.’ He said the case was brought due to political pressure from Turkey and the United States. The trial opened in August.
  • 11 January 2012 | CNET News

    Facebook inserts ads into users’ news feeds

    Facebook on Tuesday began inserting advertisements directly into users' news feeds. There won't be a lot of ads - just one per day - but they will be unsolicited. Instead of being on the right hand side of the page and marked "sponsored," they will appear randomly within users' news feeds and be labeled "featured." According to Facebook's Help Center, "Businesses can pay to feature a post so there's a better chance you'll notice it." As an example, the Help Center writes, "Say you like your gym's Facebook Page. Some friends see the story in their news feeds, others may miss it. The owner of the gym can pay to feature the story so your friends are more likely to see it." This is pretty much the way the "sponsored" stories work, but those are much easier to distinguish since they're not embedded in the news feed. To figure out whether a post is legitimate or an ad, Facebook users can hover their mouse over the word "featured" and a black box of text will pop up saying, "A sponsor paid to feature it here." The only way to get rid of the ads is to click the "x" on the right corner of each post, deleting them one by one. Facebook's Help Center also says that ads can be included in various ways, such as when a page you like posts something new or when a friend likes something, check-ins, uses an app, or plays a game. The Help Center emphasizes, "If a story does get featured, it's shown to the same people you originally shared it with."
  • 11 January 2012 | AFP via Media Network

    Iran jamming Al-Jazeera: Arabsat

    Iran is jamming broadcasts by Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera, satellite operator Arabsat said in a statement received Tuesday. “Al-Jazeera is affected… from two different locations in Iran,” near Tehran and near the northwestern city of Maragheh, it said, adding that the cause was located at the request of the pan-Arab news channel. The satellite television on Sunday announced a new frequency for Arabsat viewers due to “continued interference.” “Over the past few months, Al-Jazeera has faced sustained interference to our satellite transmissions,” it said in a statement. The influential channel has been criticised by many Arab governments for its coverage of the anti-regime uprisings which have swept the region since the start of 2011. Officials in Iran’s regional ally Syria, have repeatedly slammed Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the deadly revolt in the country, which has largely remained sealed off from the foreign media. The Qatari channel has relied for its coverage on footage of protests posted on the Internet from Syrian activists’ mobile phones and webcams. Egypt’s Nilesat satellite operator suspended carrying Al-Jazeera on 30 January, 2011 for its coverage of demonstrations before the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. Last February, Al-Jazeera accused Libya’s intelligence services of jamming its broadcasts in the country where a NATO-backed uprising ended the rule of dictator Moamer Gaddafi.
  • 11 January 2012 | AFP via The Local

    Jailed Swedish reporters will not appeal verdict

    Two Swedish reporters, sentenced to prison by an Ethiopian court in December, have chosen not to appeal their guilty verdict and instead pin their hopes of being released on the country's "tradition of pardon". “There is a tradition of pardon and forgiveness in Ethiopia and we choose to put our trust in this tradition,” Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson said in a short statement after reaching their decision. The deadline to appeal the verdict lapsed at 3pm CET on Tuesday. As neither the prosecutors nor the Swedes have filed an appeal, the sentence will come into force on Wednesday. Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were arrested in Ethiopia's Ogaden region on July 1st in the company of rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) after entering Ethiopia from Somalia. Both journalists had admitted contact with the ONLF and to entering Ethiopia illegally, but rejected terrorism charges, which included accusations that they had received weapons training. In December Persson and Schibbye were convicted by the Ethiopian court and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. It was not known until the very last minute whether they would appeal or not. For a pardoning process to commence, the two Swedes will have to pen a letter to the Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, according to Dagens Nyheter. They will also need to confess in writing and apologize for entering the country illegally and being in contact with the ONLF.
  • 11 January 2012 | Reuters

    Facebook’s newest frontier: inside the car

    Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars, with a special version of the service that is built-in to a new in-vehicle telematics system that will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Accessing Facebook on the road is not the exactly the same as using the social network on a personal computer or a smartphone. The version of Facebook offered in Daimler AG's Mercedes is stripped down to a limited set of features, specially designed for drivers and centered around the locations of friends and businesses. But according to Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose, the Mercedes version of Facebook reflects the social networking service's expansion to a growing list of settings where screens and Internet connections are available. He noted Facebook is also increasingly being integrated into televisions, with various TV manufacturers expected to showcase built-in Facebook integration at CES. DirectTV will show off a new social TV app with Facebook capabilities at CES, allowing people to share what they are watching and to add commentary. But unlike television sets, offering Facebook in motor vehicles involves critical safety considerations. The Facebook application displays a variety of standard, pre-written postings that a driver can publish on Facebook with quick taps or turns of a knob.