3/3/2005

Video Game Ratings System Adds New Category

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The video game ratings system will add a new category to protect children under 10 from seeing certain kinds of violence, the board that administers the system said on Wednesday.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board said “E10+” would mark games that might contain “moderate amounts of cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.”

The E10+ rating will reside on the scale between “E,” meaning a game is appropriate for all ages, and “T,” meaning a game for teenagers. The ratings system also includes “M” ratings for those over 17 and the rarely-used “AO” for adult audiences only.

The ESRB said it expected most top sports, racing and adventure games would continue to take an E rating, while racing games with graphic crashes and fighting games with superheroes would likely take an E10+.

The ESRB rates virtually every game released in the United States. Its system has been praised by the federal government as one of the most effective in the media industry.

Source: Reuters

Google Adds Canada To Google Maps

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In its latest play in the ongoing expansion of its services, Google on Thursday added Canada to Google maps service.

Google Maps
offers maps, driving directions and the ability to search for local businesses. Up until now the maps only covered the US, but as of today Google maps cover also the Canadian side of the border.

Court Reverses Half-Billion Dollar Decision Against MS

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Court of Appeals has reversed a jury verdict for Eolas Technologies and the University of California in a patent-infringement case related to the Internet Explorer browser.

In what many consider to be the largest patent dispute in history, Microsoft was ordered to pay US$521 million in damages in 2003, following four years of wrangling. Eolas initially had asked for $1.2 billion.

The appeals court began hearing arguments in mid-December and now has sent the case back to the lower court.

The university and Eolas, its spinoff company, originally filed the lawsuit in 1999, alleging that they owned a patent covering plug-ins and applets, and claiming that Microsoft was infringing on that patent with IE.

A lower court agreed and awarded damages in August 2003. Microsoft appealed the decision by questioning the validity of the patent and noting flaws in the way the case originally was handled.

Microsoft pointed out that the jury had not been allowed to hear information about Viola, an early Web browser, that could have impacted the case. Eolas and the university countered by arguing that details about Viola never were made public and, therefore, were not relevant.

Eolas, the University of California, and Microsoft now will have to meet in a new battle back in district court.

Source: Yahoo

Google Local Adds Web Reviews

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NEW YORK—Web reviews are gaining more prominence in Google search results as the search engine builds them into its local results.

As part of a launch of new Google Local features on Thursday, Google Inc. is tapping into Web reviews to provide a snapshot of the online ratings and comments about restaurants, shops and other local business, Google executives said during an interview here at the Search Engines Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo.

Google also has begun to display structured data, such as hours of operation and payment methods, within business listings and has switched the maps within local results to its recently released Google Maps instead of external providers.

The local reviews are similar to the features Google recently added for viewing and searching product reviews on its Froogle site and for retrieving movie reviews, said Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer Web products. With Google Local, the reviews include a red, yellow or green icon to indicate if a review was negative or positive.

While reviews of restaurants are likely to be prevalent, Google also can extract reviews about other types of businesses. Users can search within a set of reviews, a feature that Mayer said could be used to find the popular dishes served at a particular restaurant.

“We broadly look at Web sites with reviews information and associate it with businesses,” Mayer said.

Google’s recent focus on Web reviews was born of a project by a group of interns last summer, Mayer said. They had developed a reviews search engine for identifying reviews, categorizing and scoring them, and the interns’ work serves as the technical basis of the recent product launches.

Source: eWeek

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