Google Toolbar Spying on (and others)?

Now he’s an interesting discovery by Ben Edelman: disabling the Google Toolbar doesn’t actually prevent it from sending data back to Big Brother Google.

He ran some tests, with the Google Toolbar disabled and closed from view, and sure enough, the toolbar still transmitted URL information back to the search giant.

In his example, Edelman throws a little spice on his privacy concerns by visiting to demonstrate the covert signal:

He notes that this only happens if you have the “Enhanced Features”–such as PageRank and Sidewiki–enabled, but he also points out just how hard it is to disable these features (you have to reinstall Google Toolbar).

Be Careful Who Your Friends Are

As more and more layers of the Google v China spy activity and accusations continue to get peeled back this onion really is starting to stink a bit. It appears as if the victims of “Googlegate” (you like that one?) were not just those labeled as human rights activists. In fact, it has been discovered that friends of employees of many of the companies that were attacked were targeted as well.

The Financial Times Reports

Personal friends of employees at Google, Adobe and other companies were targeted by hackers in a string of recently disclosed cyberattacks, raising privacy concerns and pointing to a highly sophisticated operation, security experts said.

Will Widespread iPhone Availability be a Festivus for the Rest of Us?

The folks at Apple just need to wake of in the morning to create news of all sorts that could shape the online world in many ways. First, there’s the talk about some profits in Q1 that would make any company happy (The company posted revenue of $15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share). There’s all the hubbub about the announcement of their new tablet device on Wednesday which is apparently the worst kept secret in quite some time.

Now comes the rumor that in the next 18 months the iPhone should be available on most major carriers thus breaking away from its AT&T exclusivity contract (read: stranglehold) that has been the bane of many iPhone users existence. If this is truly the case then there may be some considerable change on the Verizon, oops, I meant horizon.

Will Tweet for Work

If you prefer to live in the real world you will agree that the job situation in the US is not getting better any time soon. If there are any political pundit types out there who want to duke it out about the what’s and why’s of this situation that’s fine. I’m just stating a fact.

This reality of the times we live in is played out all the time across social media channels. In particular, LinkedIn is the recruiters haven of social media as headhunters who collect connections like the business version of baseball cards. Collect’em all and trade with your friends who need a new VP of something or other. Hey, I’ll trade a VP of Biz Dev for two Directors of marketing!

Holy Blogosphere, Batman! Pope Urges Priests to Blog

Pope Benedict XVI has been the Holy See for almost five years, and during that time, he (and the Catholic church along with him) has become more and more involved in social media. Last year, he launched a YouTube channel, social media outreach initiative, and apps for Facebook and the iPhone. And now he’s urging parish priests to follow his lead into the Internet.

And just to show how with-it he really is, this message is from . . . the future. (No, really—it’s dated 16 May 2010.) For the 44th World Communications Day, the Supreme Pontiff noted the advancements in communications thanks to the Internet, and said (will say?):

Chinese Govt Denies Involvement in Hacking; Did US Govt Help Instead?

China has officially, adamantly denied that the government played any role in the recent hack attack against Google and dozens of other firms (with the objective of account info for human rights activists in China). However, another government may have played a part in the attack—the US.

From their first official statement on the matter, China has denied their involvement and condemned the attack. As Agence France-Presse reports, the government is also none too pleased with Google’s accusations:

The “accusation that the Chinese government participated in (any) cyberattack, either in an explicit or inexplicit way, is groundless and aims to denigrate China,” an unnamed spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told Xinhua.

“We are firmly opposed to that,” the spokesman said.

Google’s Brin & Page Tap Into Their $2.75b Emergency Fund

What do you do when the economy is in the tank and you’re only making $1 a year in salary?

Well, if you’re Google’s Sergey Brin or Larry Page, you dump 15% of your company and pocket a cool $2.75 billion–each!

How does that compare to your emergency fund? ;-)

As many places are reporting, Brin & Page aren’t exactly dumping their shares on the market. It’s all part of a quite common practice by majority shareholders:

Under the trading plan, the co-founders would reduce their combined holdings in Google from about 57.7 million common shares, or approximately 18% of outstanding capital stock, to 47.7 million shares, or about 15% of the company, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange filing.