I’m still chugging on a logistical project (it’s not webspam related). Sorry that I’ve been quieter on the blog as a result; the logistical stuff cuts into my free time, which causes a direct decrease in the time available for blogging.
In the mean time, here’s a few things that I thought were interesting:
– Erik Selberg, a search/information retrieval person at Microsoft who worked on the original MetaCrawler, has left Microsoft for Amazon. Greg Linden, an ex-Amazon engineer, is shutting down Findory on November 1st. Gary Price noticed that LookSmart has shut down WiseNut. I suppose the only constant really is change.
– I don’t always agree 100% with everything she writes, but I did really enjoy this article by Jill Whalen. I also thought Eric Lander did a comprehensive, concise sum-up of Google’s webmaster tools. Read it to discover what features you’ve been missing.
Based on this presentation, the court says Gunzburger didn’t defame Murawski even though (because Ask.com and other search engines don’t show line breaks in the search results) search results may contain the words “Communist Political Organizer Bill Murawski” in that order. But per 47 UC 230, Ask.com isn’t on the hook either because its search results are based on content from another information content provider (politics1.com). Murawski also asked Ask.com to stop indexing politics1.com, and Ask.com’s decision not to do so is an editorial judgment protected by 47 USC 230.
This case reminds me a little of the Maughan case, where Google’s automated compilation of site descriptions in the search results allegedly created new semantic meaning by remixing the indexed words. It’s nice to see this court recognize that search result presentations and search engine indexing decisions are completely protected by 47 USC 230. This result reinforces the broad discretion given to search engine choices about how to gather and present third party content.
There’s more interesting reading in Goldman’s full post, including how Yahoo is a private actor, not a state actor. Makes sense to me, but it’s nice to hear a court say that.
Anyway, I’m about halfway done with my logistical project, so I’ll still be doing light posting for a few weeks.
Update: OUT-LAW posted a copy of the specific court decision (PDF document). The exact wording from the court decision was “Deciding whether or not to remove content or deciding when to remove content falls squarely within Ask.com’s exercise of a publisher’s traditional role and is therefore subject to the CDA’s [Communications Decency Act] broad immunity.” Again, it makes sense that search engines get to decide how to rank/remove content in their own index, but I’m sure Ask.com was still happy to see a court agree.