Google’s piracy problem, Zuckerberg’s book club, Microsoft’s $29 handset, Netflix’s recommended TVs, Sony’s PlayStation Now subscriptions, and penguins playing with an iPad.
Google Allegedly Awash With Pirate Links
Piracy percentages really just tell you there’s a small number of people who rip off everyone. Absolute revenue is more interesting.
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) January 5, 2015
Google was asked to remove 345 million links to copyrighted material in 2014. This represents an increase of 75 percent over the previous year, suggesting that either there are more piracy links on Google than ever before or that copyright holders are ramping up their efforts.
TorrentFreak did the necessary math, adding up the weekly totals to arrive at the 345 million takedown requests figure for the year. Not all of these requests are acted upon, but Google honors the majority of them. Either way, it’s processing around 1 million requests every day.
Copyright holders would rather Google deal with the problem directly, and the search giant has taken steps to push piracy sites down the rankings. However, Google insists there is a much more obvious solution, as revealed in the How Google Fights Piracy PDF:
Piracy often arises when consumer demand goes unmet by legitimate supply. As services ranging from Netflix to Spotify to iTunes have demonstrated, the best way to combat piracy is with better and more convenient legitimate services. The right combination of price, convenience, and inventory will do far more to reduce piracy than enforcement can.
In other words, the affected industries should spend less time fighting a neverending battle with pirates and more time forging legitimate alternatives that would prevent piracy from propagating in the first place. Which seems rather sensible advice to me personally.
Mark Zuckerberg Is New Oprah Winfrey
Mark Zuckerberg has turned himself into Oprah Winfrey, at least for the rest of 2015. After crowdsourcing his “personal challenge“ (what the rest of us call a new year’s resolution), Zuckerberg started a book club dedicated to reading one book a month chosen by someone else.
Zuckerberg’s first book is The End of Power by Moisés Naím, which, thanks to the Facebook CEO inviting everybody else to join in with his annual effort, is now selling like the proverbial hotcakes on Amazon.
Rather ironically, The End Of Power “explores how the world is shifting to give individual people more power that was traditionally only held by large governments, militaries and other organizations.” But wait. Isn’t Facebook, with Zuckerberg as its leader, part of that old world order?!
Microsoft Launches $29 Nokia Handset
Microsoft has announced its latest Nokia handset, but the Nokia 215 won’t set the hearts of smartphone fans fluttering. Instead, it will be of interest to those seeking a highly affordable entry-level feature phone. Which is still a sizable percentage of the public, especially in developing countries.
The Nokia 215 comes with the Opera Mini Browser, Facebook, Twitter, Bing Search, and other apps pre-installed. It also boasts a built-in MP3 player, FM radio, and torchlight, and a standby time of 29 days. And all this for just $29.
Suffice to say, the Nokia 215 will only be released in selected markets, coming first to some countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe during the first quarter of 2015.
Netflix Starts Recommending TV Sets
Synopsis: A girl sits in front of her TV for 3 hours, trying to find a show to watch before giving up. Only on NETFLIX.
— Summer Ray (@SummerRay) December 30, 2014
Netflix is adding its seal of approval to smart television sets offering high quality streaming experiences. The Netflix Recommended TV program will see the company stamping its logo on certain televisions after independent evaluations.
Only television sets which meet certain performance criteria will be included, but Netflix is already suggesting that hardware from Sony, Sharp, and LG will all be included when the program launches this spring.
Sony Teases PlayStation Now Subscriptions
Sony is adding subscription options to PlayStation Now, with PS4 owners in North America given first dibs. From Jan. 13, gamers can pay either $19.99 for one month or $44.99 for three months unlimited access to PlayStation Now.
This buys you access to stream over 100 PS3 games through your PS4, with more games (including classics from the PS1 and PS2) added over time. PlayStation Now subscriptions for other devices should be available soon, but there is still no word on expanding the service to other territories.
Peckish Penguins Play With An iPad
And finally, it turns out penguins love playing games on an iPad just as much as cats love playing games on an iPad. We know this thanks to the Aquarium of the Pacific, where aviculturist Sara Mandel introduced her charges to Games for Cats.
That may be a small virtual mouse running around on the screen, but it’s clearly enough to rouse the attention of the penguins. Now all we need is a developer to create a range of iPad games for zoo animals and we could properly entertain these captive creatures.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
What’s the answer to Google’s piracy problem? Will you be joining Mark Zuckerberg’s book club? Have you ever seen anything cuter than penguins playing with an iPad?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Tobias Vemmenby via Flickr