Google , FTC settle for $22.5 million #thecircuit

Google, FTC settle over Safari: Google and the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced the company has agreed to a $22.5 million settlement — the agency’s largest penalty ever — on charges that Google misrepresented its actions to users of Apple’s Safari browser.

The FTC charged that Google had placed tracking cookies on users’ computers, in some cases working around the privacy settings of Apple’s browser. This, the agency said, violated a settlement Google made with the FTC last March over privacy issues with its Google Buzz social network. In that settlement, Google agreed not to misrepresent its privacy policies to consumers.

As The Washington Post reported, the settlement had been expected for more than a month and concludes one of a growing list of legal conflicts Google faces from regulators in the U.S. and in Europe.

Are likes free speech?: Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union have weighed in on the discussion at the heart of a case in a Virginia court: Is “liking” something on Facebook a statement protected by the First Amendment?

In briefs submitted to the court, Facebook and the ACLU compared a “like” to a modern campaign sign or lapel pin supporting a cause.

As The Washington Post reported, the case is just the latest in a series of incidents that have attempted to tease out the proper place of social media sites in the workplace.

Mayer making Yahoo in Google’s image: Newly appointed chief executive Marissa Mayer is reportedly making Yahoo a lot like her old workplace, Google. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mayer has changed the focus at Yahoo to emphasize products — not stock performance — and has even gone so far as to have the stock ticker removed from Yahoo’s home page.

Mayer, who was appointed CEO last month, came to Yahoo after a 13-year career at Google and has taken the mantra of putting users first with her, the report said.

Facebook launches e-mail to report phishing: Facebook has launched a new e-mail address for users to report scams. The address, phish@fb.com, can be used to report malicious e-mails by anyone, even those who aren’t on the network.

As the Associated Press reported, the e-mail address was set up to combat a growing problem facing social networks from scammers who try to piggyback on the companies’ brands to trick unsuspecting people into giving up their log-in credentials. Many people use the same passwords across multiple services, meaning the scams often prove lucrative when criminals try logging in to banking and other Web sites.

Google changing search: Google is ramping up its search offerings, saying Wednesday that it has started a pilot program that lets users include Gmail results in their normal search queries.

In a company blog post Wednesday, the company said that Google users can now sign up to have the feature enabled on their accounts.

“We think you shouldn’t have to be your own mini-search engine to find the most useful information— it should just work,” wrote Amit Singhal, a senior vice president for Google and a Google fellow, in the post. “A search is a search, and we want our results to be truly universal.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Singhal said that the company would be open to adding other e-mail services to the results as well, though there’s no indication that any other companies have expressed interest yet.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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