Google to Revamp YouTube With ‘Channels’ –

The site is planning a series of changes to its home page to highlight sets of “channels” around topics such as arts and sports. About 20 or so of those channels will feature several hours of professionally produced original programming a week, some of these people said. Additional channels would be assembled from content already on the site.

It is planning to spend as much as $100 million to commission low-cost content designed exclusively for the Web, people familiar with the matter said.

The pending changes are a big bet by the world’s most-popular video site to push in a new direction. Between the Wild West of user-generated content and the pricier precincts of full-blown TV shows, Google is hoping to carve out a niche of original, professionally produced Web videos that it hopes will cultivate loyal viewers.

Big, big news. With Netflix and Youtube both getting into the original content production game, new indie film students and fans everywhere should be rejoicing at this injection of capital into a talent-rich, but un-financed platform.

Twitter to Offer Brand Pages Like Facebook’s, Report Says

Twitter is developing a new kind of profile page for business accounts, similar to Facebook Pages, according to London-based Sarah Shearman of BrandRepublic The report was based on conversations with multiple unnamed sources familiar with the plans.

I, for one, would love at least having more than 140 characters to introduce my brands in our bios. Tweeting for 2 brand accounts, and 1 personal account, I would often like some space to cross-link these together, but with 140 charcters, I can barely fit my name in.

Time Warner Pulls Channels From iPad App

Time Warner Cable on Thursday abruptly removed several channels, including MTV and FX, from its app that replicates the TV viewing experience on an iPad, after receiving complaints from three major media companies, Viacom, Discovery Communications and the News Corporation.

The companies have claimed that the iPad app is a contract violation — in part because they want cable companies like Time Warner Cable to pay them more for the privilege to stream their channels to portable devices. Viacom and the News Corporation had sent cease-and-desist letters to Time Warner Cable in recent days.

The debate over the app boils down to this question: When companies like Time Warner Cable buy the rights to beam channels to customers’ television sets, do those rights extend to new screens like iPads? After all, computers, iPads and mobile phones can all act as TV screens.

via (slightly edited for clarity)

As TechCrunch says, “Why can’t I just watch the damn television on my internets??!” -> Greedy network execs. Duh!

Official Google Blog: An update on Buzz

The launch of Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards for transparency and user control—letting our users and Google down. While we worked quickly to make improvements, regulators—including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission—unsurprisingly wanted more detail about what went wrong and how we could prevent it from happening again. Today, we’ve reached an agreement with the FTC to address their concerns. We’ll receive an independent review of our privacy procedures once every two years, and we’ll ask users to give us affirmative consent before we change how we share their personal information.

We’d like to apologize again for the mistakes we made with Buzz. While today’s announcement thankfully put this incident behind us, we are 100 percent focused on ensuring that our new privacy procedures effectively protect the interests of all our users going forward.

Oh, Google. There you go again…

Why exactly hasn’t the same thing happened to Facebook? Come to think of it, this might even be a clever move on their part to back the industry into a bit of regulation. After all, the tech-savvy know how terrible Facebook is with privacy standards, but I don’t think it’s sunk in for the general populace yet.

The iPad App That Went Too Far: Media Says Cease & Desist to Personalized Magazine Zite

What Zite Does

When you download Zite to your iPad, you can let it learn about what topics you’re interested in from your Twitter, Google Reader or Delicious data. The app then creates a magazine-like interface for you to scroll through stories from a wide variety of sources online about those topics. You can give very specific feedback about what you like or don’t like and then you get more stories like that. It’s like Pandora for news articles. Not a lot of control but smart personalized learning. We reviewed the app in more detail yesterday and said that if you like Flipboard (Apple’s iPad App of the Year) then you should try Zite because it’s even easier to use.

 Zite: Personalized Magazine for iPad from on Vimeo.

What the Lawyers Say

Yesterday Zite received a Cease and Desist letter signed by ten lawyers from big, big media companies: Time, The Washington Post, McClatchy, E.W. Scripps, Getty Images, National Geographic, Gannett, Dow Jones, Advanced Publications and the Associated Press.

Here are a few excerpts from that letter:

“By systematically reformatting, republishing and redistributing our original content on a mass commercial scale without our permission in your iPad application, Zite directly and adversely impacts our businesses. Your application takes the intelletual property of our companies, as well as the hard and sometimes dangerous work of tens of thousands of people. It depreives our websites of traffic and advertising revenue. We do not know your intentions, but your actions harm our companies and the broader media and news industry on which your application relies for its content…

Bad news for indie content aggregators out there. I wonder where my own site falls in this legal grey area? I always give attribution, and clearly marks quotes, but I do remove their adds and reofrmat their articles, and I certainly don’t ask first.