21 November 2014

Search Engine Land: “Yahoo Replaces Google as Default Search Provider in Firefox”

Firefox Yahoo US search deal

Yahoo and Mozilla just announced a strategic five-year partnership that makes Yahoo the default search experience for Firefox in the United States on mobile and desktop. The companies said they will explore other potential future product integrations and distribution opportunities to other markets.

Greg Sterling

A classic case of the blind leading the blind: Yahoo struggling for relevance by buying (and usually shutting down) every other semi-successful startup, Mozilla trying to catch up to other desktop browsers and chasing impossible dreams of becoming the next mobile OS – neither could see a good strategic decision if it hit them in the face. Maybe someone should explain to them that people prefer ’s search engine and browser because they are better products than Yahoo and , either separate or combined.

Five Hundred Words: “A Few Thoughts On WatchKit And The Initial Apple Watch”

First of all, it’s now beyond clear that Apple Watch, at least at first, is an iPhone accessory, not a stand-alone product. It requires the iPhone to do basically anything. Hell, it may even require the iPhone to turn on (unclear at this point, but it wouldn’t shock me). This won’t always be the case, but this is very much the case with the v1 of the product. It’s not just that you need the iPhone’s connectivity to make the Apple Watch apps useful, the Apple Watch apps for the most part actually execute on the iPhone.

M.G. Siegler

fans and developers are mostly excited about these revelations on the upcoming Apple Watch, comparing it usually with the first version of the iPhone. But the thing is, as limited as the original iPhone might have been, it could still operate independently; the Watch can’t. Could you imagine the iPhone turning into a massive success if you had to carry your laptop around in order for the apps on the smartphone to work?!

20 November 2014

Twitter Blogs: “Building a complete Tweet index”

Since that first simple Tweet over eight years ago, hundreds of billions of Tweets have captured everyday human experiences and major historical events. Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency. But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.

For now, complete results from the full index will appear in the “All” tab of search results on the Twitter web client and Twitter for iOS & Twitter for Android apps. Over time, you’ll see more Tweets from this index appearing in the “Top” tab of search results and in new product experiences powered by this index. Try it out: you can search for the first Tweets about New Years between Dec. 30, 2006 and Jan. 2, 2007.

Yi Zhuang

Great news from : finally a search engine for all public tweets since 2006! I have the feeling this will be an area where will continue to experiment and expand, to deliver more exciting updates in the future. may yet see its dominance in web search threatened, if develops a reliable ranking algorithm for the links and content shared here every second of every day. could start crawling web pages as well, connecting them to the follower graph to build the first successful social search engine – something both Google and failed to do.

18 November 2014

Quartz: “Forget Taylor Swift: Spotify is facing a much bigger problem”

But as Spotify itself has admitted, YouTube is already, easily, the biggest streaming music site on the planet, and that’s without it even really trying. The YouTube brand, which gets a staggering 1 billion unique visitors each month, might be in a stronger position to convert users into paying music subscribers than its parent company has been. The service will include the ability to watch videos without advertising, and the ability to save music for listening offline, the FT reported.

John McDuling

I’m not sure about the idea of being more successful at converting viewers into active subscribers. The brand has been associated with ‘free’ music for so long that I think it will be hard to change this perception for users. On the other hand, the user numbers shared by Spotify over the years show consistent growth in active users, combined with a very stable portion of paying subscribers. For the past couple of years, roughly one in four Spotify users has been paying for music streaming.

17 November 2014

Monica at Mozilla: “Tracking Protection in Firefox”

On Monday a project that I’ve been working on was officially announced as part of a larger privacy initiative called Polaris. In case you missed it, there is an experimental tracking protection feature in Firefox Nightly that allows people to avoid being tracked by not communicating with known tracking domains, especially those that do not respect DNT. Our initial blocklist is from Disconnect. As a side effect, blocking resources from tracking domains speeds up page load times on average by 20%. Privacy features rarely coincide with performance benefits, so that’s exciting.

Monica Chew

So Internet Explorer has had Tracking Protection since version 9 (roughly 4 years ago) – Mozilla is just now considering adding a similar feature to . had process separation for tabs from day one (more than 6 years ago) – Mozilla is still experimenting with a similar feature for Firefox. What a change from the fresh browser that 10 years ago challenged Microsoft's desktop web browsing monopoly…

Jon Smajda: “Mailbox and Facebook App Links”

Here’s why: Mailbox recently added support for Facebook App Links. What are App Links?

Imagine someone sends you a Pinterest pin in an email. If you have the Pinterest app installed on your phone, just tap the link in Mailbox and it will open in your Pinterest app rather than Safari or Chrome. You get to access information on your mobile device the way you want — and not through the default web view.

How do App Links know how to do this super considerate service? By sending every URL you request to Facebook, which then requests the URL to check for support for App Links. So this is why Facebook was following my one-time login code URL, invalidating the code before Safari could get to it — and, I suppose theoretically, logging into my website in my place. Yikes.

Jon Smajda

I could say that I’m surprised, but I’m not, given Dropbox’s past record with security. While Mailbox announced that App Links support will be disabled in the next version, this should serve as reminder to be wary about letting third parties access your email accounts.

15 November 2014

Sky & Telescope: “Philae Lands on Its Comet — Three Times!”

It’s been a historic day in planetary exploration. At 15:33 Universal Time, the European Space Agency’s Philae spacecraft reached the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. When radio confirmation reached Earth some 30 minutes later, cheers erupted around ESA’s control room in Darmstadt, Germany. (You can replay ESA’s landing webcast here.) Never before had a spacecraft landed on a comet.

No one realized it at the time, but data from the probe and particularly magnetic-field measurements from its ROMAP instrument later showed that Philae did indeed bounce after touchdown — not once but twice!

Kelly Beatty

Exciting times for space exploration! The saga is far from over, as the mission control are trying to figure out if they can rotate the lander in a better position to maximize its power supply.