AOL To Modify AIM Terms of Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

America Online Inc. plans to make three small but significant modifications to the terms of service for its AIM instant messaging product to head off a firestorm of privacy-related criticisms.

The tweaks to the terms of service will be made in the section titled “Content You Post” and will explicitly exclude user-to-user chat sessions from the privacy rights an AIM user gives up to AOL.

“We’re not making any policy changes. We’re making some linguistic changes to clarify certain things and explain it a little better to our users,” AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein told eWEEK.com.

The modifications will use similar language from the AIM privacy policy to “make it clear that AOL does not read private user-to-user communications,” Weinstein said.

“We’ll be adding that to the beginning of the section to make it clear that the privacy rights discussed in that section only refer to content posted to public areas of the AIM service.”

More importantly, Weinstein said a blunt and inelegant line that reads “You waive any right to privacy” will be deleted altogether.

“That’s a phrase that should not have been in that section in the first place. It clearly caused confusion, with good reason,” Weinstein conceded.

Source: eWeek

GMail Goes Public

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After a long beta period, where Google’s email service, GMail was available only by invitation. Gmail in now officially open to the public.

On Google’s home page you can find a link to open your own new shiny gmail account with a whooping 1GB of space.

Comcast and TiVo Announce Strategic Partnership

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Comcast, and TiVo Inc. today announced that the companies have reached an agreement to make the TiVo(R) service and advertising capability widely available to Comcast customers in the majority of its markets around the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast and TiVo will work together to develop a version of the TiVo service that will be made available on Comcast’s current primary DVR platform. New software will be developed by TiVo and will be incorporated into Comcast’s existing network platforms. The new service will be marketed with the TiVo brand, and is expected to be available on Comcast’s DVR products in a majority of Comcast markets in mid-to-late 2006.

Yahoo! - Best Search Engine for Planning Travel

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Millions of consumers conduct Internet searches about travel each day, making search engines an important vehicle for delivering information on the subject. Feedback Research, a division of the Claria(SM) Corporation, conducted an independent study on search engine performance for travel-related terms. The study indicated that while there is considerable room for improvement among the top search engines in terms of providing relevant results, Yahoo! performed better than MSN and Google, providing search results Internet users ultimately found valuable more often.

The study was conducted using the Claria Corporation’s patent-pending RelevancyRank(TM) technology which identifies the most relevant search results based on millions of Internet users’ actual behavior. RelevancyRank takes search one step further than current technology by examining how people interact with their search results using metrics such as: Specific web pages viewed, Click behavior, Time spent viewing, Number of pages viewed, Number of return visits and Purchase and conversion rates.

RelevancyRank Analyzes Yahoo!, Google and MSN Feedback Research created a performance index by analyzing the RelevancyRank data and applying it to the Internet’s top search engines including Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. To analyze the most relevant travel keywords, the RelevancyRank Index highlighted how each search engine’s top 10 links compared to users actual choice of the most relevant 10 sites. For a detailed performance summary for each engine, see: http://www.relevancyrank.com/performance.

For each keyword or phrase, the RelevancyRank index shows how well each search engine’s ranking of search results compares to what the people who use those search engines found to be relevant. With a total possible score of 100 for each search keyword, the travel study indicated:

RelevancyRank(TM) - Search Performance of Travel Related Keywords
Top Travel Keywords Top Search Engine Relevancy Rank Index
Cheap tickets Yahoo! 50
Travel Yahoo! 62
Las Vegas Yahoo! 55
Airline tickets Yahoo! 62
Hotels Google 47
Cruise Google 68
Hawaii Google 52
Mexico Google 60
Florida Yahoo! 56
Jamaica Yahoo! 62

Across the top 10 travel-related search keywords analyzed, Yahoo! earned top honors, edging out Google 6 out of 10 times. For RelevancyRank’s top keyword, “cheap tickets,” Yahoo! had the highest Index at 50, followed by Google with 40, and MSN at 18. Among all the keywords, “cheap tickets” generated the highest click rate of 6.55%, with consumers viewing almost 3.5 page views per click and spending nearly 2.5 minutes browsing.

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