THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Yahoo tries TV again
This time, the portal's not going Hollywood -- it's building its own version of TiVo. Plus: A file-sharing rebel recants.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Yahoo's getting serious about television again. But instead of hiring Hollywood programmers like ex-ABC executive Lloyd Braun, now it's hiring Silicon Valley programmers who know how to hack a TV set. Since January, Yahoo's been promising Yahoo Go TV, a version of the Web portal designed to run on televisions that would compete with offerings from TiVo (Research) and Microsoft (Research). The product has yet to show up, however, and rumors have run rampant that Yahoo (Research) would acquire the struggling TiVo to kick-start Go TV. Instead, the company announced on April 17 it was buying assets from Meedio, a startup that makes digital video recorder software, but the portal discarded the company's award-winning products. With Braun facing internal rancor over his plans to push the company into the business of making media instead of building technology, it's just another sign of the revenge of the nerds at Yahoo.

File-sharing rebel recants

Apple hit with patent lawsuit claims that iTunes infringes on its streaming-video patents. Plus: Search advertising faces a slump in prices. (more)

Skype cofounder Niklas Zennstrom, who also created the Kazaa file-sharing system, has admitted that Skype's Chinese service censors text messages to screen out politically charged terms like "Dalai Lama," "Falun Gong," and "Tibet." "I may like or not like the laws and regulations [required] to operate businesses in the U.K. or Germany or the U.S., but if I do business there I choose to comply with those laws and regulations," he told Agence France-Presse. "China in that way is no different." To lawyers at the Recording Industry Association of America, who sued Zennstrom for copyright infringement, this may come as a surprise. Wasn't this the same guy who refused to show up in U.S. courts to contest their charges?

Don't change that channel - seriously

Skipping through ads may be a thing of the past, if Philips Electronics (Research) has its way. The New Scientist reports that the consumer-electronics maker has patented a way to prevent TV viewers from fast-forwarding through ads - or even changing channels while an ad is being displayed. The technology is designed to work with the software found on most of the interactive set-top boxes installed around the world. The Dutch engineers behind the patent dryly note that the invention "may be greatly resented by the viewers." Years from now, we'll all fondly look back on the days when our remote controls actually controlled anything.

Google searches for spies

The search engine's newest customer? That might be classified, but is telling you anyway: The Australian Security Intelligence Organization is spending $1 million on a Google (Research) keyword advertising campaign to recruit potential spies. The down-under equivalent of the CIA is hiring 800 new intelligence officers over the next five years to combat terrorism and other threats. Top of page

To send a letter to the editor about this story, click here.

Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?