Google Partners with the NSA? The Same Agency That Tapped Our Phones Illegally?

If you’re a government conspiracy theorist, you probably shouldn’t read this post. You won’t sleep for weeks.

The National Security Agency is rumored to be working with Google in light of the cyber attacks that reportedly came from China.

Think about that for a second. Big Brother just partnered with big brother, to try and fight off communist China.

Doesn’t that make you just feel so warm and fuzzy? ;-)

No one is publicly admitted that the NSA and Google are collaborating, but the source of the story isn’t some blogger looking for publicity, it’s The Washington Post–so there must be some smoke surrounding this alleged fire.

“The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?” said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

Google Going Transparent with AdSense Revenue Share; Planning an iPad Challenge?

Jeff "Dell Hell" Jarvis sat down recently with an impressive line-up of Google executives, including CEO Eric Schmidt, President of sales Nikesh Arora, search boss Marissa Mayer, YouTube founder Chad Hurley, and counsel David Drummond.

During that meeting, a lot of interesting topics were covered, including a potential new level of transparency for AdSense’s earnings split:

Google told me today that they would consider giving more transparency about revenue splits in Adsense…Arora said that the company was considering more transparency. I confirmed with Google’s people that this was new. I suspect that they’re not going to promise the possibility and not deliver something.

And now that Jarvis–and now us–are blogging about it, let’s hope we can push them forward with this new transparency! ;-)

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).

No Twitter IPO Until Whale Season Ends

"We’ve raised all this money. We’ve created this global brand…Now we have to go build the business that lives up to that valuation."

Twitter COO, Dick Costolo, January 20, 2010

And that, my friend, is why we won’t see a Twitter IPO this year. That, and this really obscure New Yorker reference:

“My view of our financial future is like that old New Yorker cover where the New Yorker looks at the view of the United States and the IPO is way out west somewhere,” Costolo said yesterday during a panel discussion at Bloomberg’s San Francisco bureau. “Bronx and Queens are our 2010 financial plan, and that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

AOL Looking to Buy Mashable?

AOL’s solo act may be getting off to an interesting start if this current rumor has any validity. Now, of course, this is a rumor so it will be handled as such. But, hey, if it’s good enough for Gawker and the news remains slow like it is, why not join in, right?

According to Gawker’s Valleywag AOL is courting Pete Cashmore’s project in order to help move along their ‘content is king’ search initiative.

AOL is interested in buying the world’s largest tech blog, Mashable, we hear from a source at the internet conglomerate. And in fact the two sides have been talking, people outside AOL have whispered to one another, and to us.

A sale to the content-obsessed internet company would mean Mashable’s founder Pete Cashmore really would have everything.

Baidu Getting into Video?

paidContent reports today that private equity company Providence Equity Partners, one of the backers of Hulu, is rumored to be joining up with Baidu for a Chinese equivalent of the popular professional video content site. While China is the largest Internet population (350M) and a huge market for ad dollars in just about every online arena, it’s little wonder both the Chinese search giant and the American investment firm are interested. While Providence declined comment, other sources told PC the deal was already closed.

Reuters reports that the new video site would launch in the first quarter of this year. Providence will back it with $60M, while Baidu is fronting $10M. A recently-departed China Mobile executive is rumored to be the CEO of the new site.

Revving up for the Nexus

Tomorrow is the big day: the invite-only Google Android event. While we’ve all pretty much assumed they’re going to tout Android and reveal the Google-sold Nexus One phone, there’s always the possibility that Google will surprise us all.

Google’s Nexus phone was first “leaked” in December after they distributed them at a Google party (no gag order in effect). Naturally, the phone created a free social- and mainstream media frenzy in pretty much no time flat.

But employees were the only ones with sneak previews—until recently. Saturday, Engadget posted a video tour of the Nexus UI and a preliminary review—and the Nexus is not the iPhone killer: