theodp writes: Google is big on Easter eggs, but you won't find any on its home page today. Slate's Matthew Yglesias Bings-it-On on Easter Sunday, taking note of Google's decision to commemorate Easter as the birthday of Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez in today's Google Doodle, while Microsoft's Bing went with an Easter-themed secular graphic of Easter eggs for its home page (side-by-side comparison). 'The doodles are, obviously, not significant in and of themselves,' Yglesias writes. 'But Google's ability to indulge the whims of its staff rather than cater to mass opinion on them is a highly visible signpost of its extremely strong market position. The same phenomenon is why it can plow search-related operating surpluses into speculative ventures from Android to Glass to self-driving cars.'
theodp writes: With its patent-pending System and Method for Searching Belongings Using Social Graph Information, Google could make needing a warrant to search someone's belongings a thing of the past. 'In one aspect,' Google explains, 'the user may desire to search for all belongings including his/her own belongings, or alternatively, may wish to only search for belongings of other users of the system.' What kind of belongings? Describing the example provided in Fig. 7, Google says, 'More specifically, user 1 is associated with user 2, user 4 and user 5. Furthermore, User 1 is associated with belongings including "Camera A", "Tablet A", "Mobile Phone" and "Laptop C". User 2 is illustrated as being associated with user 1, user 3 and user 5, and with belongings including "SKIS" and "MOBILE A". User 3 is illustrated as being associated with user 2 and user 4, and further with belongings including "CAR B", "BOOK C" and "JACKET S". User 4 is illustrated as associate with user 1 and user 3 and belongings including "TV A" and "My Kix". Finally, User 5 is illustrated as being associated with user 1 and user 2 and with belongings including "TABLET A" and "SUNGLASSES A".'
theodp writes: If Microsoft really wants to scare Gmail users, perhaps they should drop the Scroogled! campaign and simply post Google patent applications. Take Google's patent application for its Method and System for Dynamic Textual Ad Distribution Via Email, for instance, in which Google provides an example of how they can milk more money from advertisers by identifying lactating Moms. 'An end-user accessing documents related to breast feeding,' Google notes, 'is more likely to be in the market for a breast pump than any given end-user accessing pregnancy, in the mind of the advertiser. Thus, the advertising user has bid more to achieve the first position in that breast feeding document level.' Along the same lines, an accompanying diagram illustrates how Google's invention allows advertisers to also bid on access to those suffering from breast cancer, bi-polar disorder, depression, and panic anxiety. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?
theodp writes: 'The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,' Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant's claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google's 2013 patent: 'A path name for a file system directory can be "C:temp\12-1-1999\" to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.' From Judith Rattenbury's 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL : 'EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.' Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!
theodp writes: For those students for whom it's all about the Benjamins, BusinessInsider's Alyson Shontell has compiled a nice list of 20 Tech Companies That Pay Interns Boatloads Of Money. 'If you intern for a high-profile tech company,' notes Shontell, 'you can make more money than the average US citizen. Facebook, for example, pays its average intern $6,056 per month. That ends up being a base salary of about $72,000 per year.' Sure beats making a 'measly' $5,808 per month at LinkedIn, where you might find yourself having to participate in embarrassing sing-a-longs ("Get A Pro Account Tonight") and Flash Mobs!
theodp writes: 'There's a funny thing about the estimated $1.7 trillion that American companies say they have indefinitely invested overseas,' reports the WSJ's Kate Linebaugh (reg. or the old Google trick). 'A lot of it is actually sitting right here at home.' And if tech companies like Google and Microsoft want to keep more than three-quarters of the cash owned by their foreign subsidiaries at U.S. banks, held in U.S. dollars or parked in U.S. government and corporate securities, Linebaugh explains, this money is still overseas in the eyes of the IRS and isn't taxed as long as it doesn't flow back to the U.S. parent company. Helping corporations avoid the need to tap their foreign-held cash are low interest rates at home, which have allowed U.S. companies to borrow cheaply. Oracle, for instance, raised $5 billion last year, paying an interest rate roughly two-thirds of a percentage point above the low post-crash Treasury yield, about 2.5% at the time (by contrast, grad students and parents pay 6.8%-7.9% for Federal student loans). Were the funds it manages to keep in the hands of its foreign subsidiaries brought home and subjected to U.S. income tax, Oracle estimated it could owe Uncle Sam about $6.3 billion.