Content and publishing

Lovey-dovey detection algorithm puts hearts on Google+ photos

For Valentine's Day, Google is adding animated hearts to photos of hugging and kissing on Google+.

"Just upload a photo of kissing or hugging, and Google Photos will add hearts automatically," said Google+ photo team member Vincent Mo in a Google+ post Thursday night.

Google already throws a lot of server horsepower at photos shared on its social network, automatically editing them for better tonality and smoother skin, but its "auto-awesome" technology also identifies subject matter deemed suitable for seasonal special effects. During the holidays, the company added snowflakes to snow scenes and sparkling to … Read more

ICANN CEO sets off explosion of new Internet names (Q&A)

Starting next week, the Internet is going to look very different -- and ICANN Chief Executive Fadi Chehade is the one who'll get both the credit and the blame.

Today, Net addresses end with 22 familiar terms -- .com, .net, and .edu -- called generic top-level domains (GTLDs). But starting Feb. 4, the first of hundreds of new GTLDs will begin arriving -- .ninja, .farm, .shoes, .photography, .bike, .pink, and even .wtf.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization, oversees the domain-name expansion and the core Internet technology called the Domain Name System that … Read more

Reversing course, Google rejects Adobe Web publishing tech

It can be hard to say no to an idea with some merit -- especially after already saying yes.

But that's the position Google is in with an Adobe Systems technology for bringing more sophisticated, magazine-style layouts to Web publishing through a technology called CSS Regions. Google changed its mind after deciding that it was too complex and that it would hamper one of Google's top 2014 priorities, making Chrome faster on mobile devices, according to Google Chrome programmer Eric Seidel.

Adobe had been working on CSS Regions for years, developing the idea as part of its effort … Read more

Ex-CEO picks up where Opera left off, launching Vivaldi site

What's an ex-CEO to do when he thinks his former employer has taken the wrong path?

In the case of Jon S. von Tetzchner, co-founder and former chief executive of Opera Software, the answer is to launch a company that picks up where the old company is leaving off. He and 19 other ex-Opera employees have launched a new site called Vivaldi aimed at people who want a replacement for the My Opera community site, which Opera is closing on March 1.

"What we have decided is we cannot leave users like that. This a group of people … Read more

MPAA joins Web standards group amid video DRM dispute

The movie business now will have a direct voice in a controversy about how to handle copy protection of videos on the Web.

That's because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a group that creates Web standards, such as the HTML technology that underlies every Web page on the Internet.

"Just met with W3C CEO Jeffrey Jaffe. We're excited to join W3C and look forward to listening, learning and contributing," tweeted Alex Deacon, the MPAA's senior vice president for Internet Technology at the MPAA. Jaffe has … Read more

Vimeo speeds its online videos, goes HTML5 by default

Vimeo has sped up its video-streaming technology and made the shift from Flash-powered video to HTML5 by default, the company said Tuesday.

The new player software improves performance, social links, and post-production capabilities, Vimeo Chief Technology Officer Andrew Pile told CNET. It loads in half the time -- not only when the video player populates on a Web page, but also when people click the play button.

Faster performance generally helps Web-based businesses -- Vimeo's new on-demand video-purchasing program through which people can rent or own videos, for example. Indeed, as Vimeo gradually distributed the new player to viewers, … Read more

CNN honcho: Second screen? That's no way to watch TV

PARIS -- CNN is a TV network, right? Wrong.

The Cable News Network did indeed get its start on cable TV, but now the news service operates on 20 different platforms ranging from the Web to Android phones to iPads, said CNN.com General Manager Kenneth "KC" Estenson at the LeWeb conference here on Thursday.

"In order to stay afloat, every television operator must have a massive digital operation behind them," Estenson said. "We made the decision to be on every platform we could as early as we could."

That was then. But technology, … Read more

At long last, Google Sheets doesn't need a network

It took a few years, but the Google Sheets spreadsheet app has caught up with its productivity-tool companions, Docs and Slides, with one important feature: it now works with or without a network connection.

Offline support isn't the only change for the online spreadsheet. Google also rewrote the app to make it faster, gave its users the ability to partition private areas off within a shared document, and gave it support for more types of calculations.

Offline support is a key sticking point for Web apps, the sort that Google promotes through its Google Drive effort and Chrome OS … Read more

Old school vs. new school as academic publishers brawl over Web

The competition for prominence in academic publishing heated up this week as a traditional company, Elsevier, tangled with a Digital Era rival, Academia.edu.

Academia.edu publishes research papers for free online after researchers upload them. On Friday, the company took down some papers after receiving Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices from Elsevier, which often charges for access to the articles.

"Academia.edu is committed to enabling the transition to a world where there is open access to academic literature. Elsevier takes a different view, and is currently upping the ante in its opposition to academics sharing … Read more

Focal shift: Press photogs riled by White House social media

Apparently disrupting commerce, education, and entertainment wasn't good enough for the Internet. Now it's disrupting the White House press photographers, too -- and they don't like it.

The photographers are objecting that the Obama administration is saturating its social media channels with its own photographers' photos while often denying access to the White House press corps' photographers, according to a New York Times report.

In a letter, the photographers likened the White House restrictions to the propaganda-heavy style of government-supplied press materials from the Soviet Union: "As surely as if they were placing a hand over … Read more