7/17/2008

Google’s YouTube in Lions Gate film clips deal

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In a move that signals a possible thawing of Google Inc’s relations with Hollywood, its YouTube unit has reached a deal to feature film clips from Lions Gate Entertainment Inc on the video-sharing site.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt announced the deal at an Ad Age/William Morris Agency conference on Wednesday and said it would give viewers access to scenes from their favorite Lions Gate movies, accompanied with ads.

Lions Gate later confirmed the deal.

“There are things in our library like ‘Dirty Dancing’ that have been watched tens of millions of times and it will be nice to get paid for that and to set viewers in the direction of buying movies,” Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns said in a phone interview.

Lions Gate, also home to the popular “Saw” horror movies and Oscar winner “Crash,” would appear to be taking more of an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach towards YouTube.

This is in sharp contrast to media giant Viacom Inc, owner of Paramount and MTV Networks, which has sued Google and YouTube for $1 billion, accusing them of copyright infringement by enabling unauthorized viewing of its shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”

Amazon.com to launch new online TV, movie store

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Web retailer Amazon.com Inc will introduce a new online store of TV shows and movies on Thursday, called Amazon Video on Demand, The New York Times said.

Customers of Amazon’s new store will be able to start watching any of 40,000 movies and television programs immediately after ordering them because they stream, just like programs on a cable video-on-demand service, the paper said.

The service is different from most Internet video stores, such as Apple’s iTunes and the original incarnation of Amazon’s video store, which require users to wait as video files are downloaded to their hard drives.

Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment.

Amazon has also struck a deal with electronics giant Sony to place its Internet video store on the Sony Bravia line of high-definition TVs, the paper said.

Amazon would pursue similar deals with other makers of TVs and Internet devices, Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president for digital media, told the paper.

Amazon Video on Demand will be accessible to a limited number of invited Amazon.com customers on Thursday before it opens more broadly to other users later this summer.

Gmail Reveals the Names of All Users

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Have you ever wanted to know the name of admin@gmail.com? Now you can.

Through a bug in Google calendars the names of all registered Gmail accounts are now readily available. All you need to find out the names of any gmail address is a Google calendar account yourself. Depending on your view this ranges from a harmless “feature” to a rather serious privacy violation. According to some reports, spammers are already exploiting this “feature”/bug to send personalized spam messages.

Web-based program gives the blind Internet access

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Blind people generally use computers with the help of screen-reader software, but those products can cost more than $1,000, so they’re not exactly common on public PCs at libraries or Internet cafes. Now a free new Web-based program for the blind aims to improve the situation.

It’s called WebAnywhere, and it was developed by a computer science graduate student at the University of Washington. Unlike software that has to be installed on PCs, WebAnywhere is an Internet application that can make Web surfing accessible to the blind on most any computer.

The developer, Jeffrey Bigham, hopes it lets blind people check a flight time on a public computer at the airport, plan a bus route at the library or type up a quick e-mail at an Internet cafe.

NASA moon capsule running late, full of problems

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Money problems will likely force NASA to abandon its ambitious internal goal of having a new moon spaceship ready by 2013, a top space agency official told The Associated Press Wednesday.

The agency should still be able to meet its public commitment to test launch astronauts in the first Orion capsule by March 2015, the official said, unless national budget stalemates continue.

But the agency’s own hurry-up plan to get the job done even earlier - with a first crew launch by 2013 - will “very likely” be changed during meetings this week in Houston, said Doug Cooke, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration.

“We’re probably going to have to move our target date,” Cooke said in a phone interview. An actual astronaut moon landing is still set for 2020. Orion initially will just orbit Earth before

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