Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.
A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:
• Texas probes Google search recommendations
SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc.’s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas’ attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet’s dominant search engine.
The antitrust inquiry disclosed by Google late Friday is just the latest sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as it enters its adolescence. Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage 12 years ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world’s most influential businesses with annual revenue approaching $30 billion.
A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed the investigation, but declined further comment.
The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its search results to stifle competition.
The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because Google’s search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the U.S. and handles even more volume in some parts of the world.
That dominance means a website ranking high on the first page of Google’s results will likely attract more traffic and generate more revenue, either from ads or merchandise sales.
• German court rules against YouTube in copyright case
BERLIN – A German court ruled Friday that Google Inc.’s subsidiary YouTube LLC must pay compensation after users uploaded several videos of performances by singer Sarah Brightman in violation of copyright laws.
The Hamburg state court said the standardized question to users about whether they have the necessary rights to publish material is not enough to relieve YouTube of the legal responsibility for the content, especially because the platform can be used anonymously.
The wording of the court statement appears to be a major blow to YouTube’s business model, but Google Germany spokesman Henning Dorstewitz told The Associated Press YouTube will appeal the decision detailed in the 60-page ruling.
YouTube must not publish those videos any more and provide information to settle the amount of compensation in at least three cases in which Brightman videos were uploaded, the court said.
Arnd Haller, director of legal affairs at Google Germany, said the court ruling disregards the current e-commerce directive of the European Union.
• U.N. telecommunications chief wants data sharing
LONDON – BlackBerry’s Canadian manufacturer should give law enforcement agencies around the world access to its customer data, the U.N. telecommunications chief said, adding that governments have legitimate security concerns that should not be ignored.
Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, said officials fighting terrorism had the right to demand access to users’ information from the maker of the BlackBerry – Research in Motion Ltd.
"Those are genuine requests," he told The Associated Press in an interview. "There is a need for cooperation between governments and the private sector on security issues."
RIM is embroiled in parallel disputes with at least five countries – India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – over concerns that the smart phone’s powerful encryption technology could be used as a cover for terrorism or criminal activity.
Civil libertarians have argued that the controversy is fueled by authoritarian governments’ frustration over their inability to eavesdrop on BlackBerry-using citizens.