That's a wide net to cast, and I say it's about time that those storing data in Microsoft's HealthVault have online access to their own, well, vaults. For years people have been able to access e-mail, financial, and other accounts online, and even aggregate that … Read more
After several months of strain with the developer of a flu database, the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data launched its own, admittedly less robust database interface on Monday.
GISAID has been under contract with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics since 2006 to promote its flu data via a platform called EpiFlu, which has been live since 2008. But since SIB removed access to EpiFlu from the GISAID Web site in July due to alleged late payments, GISAID has been working on developing a new version, now live.
It all started with Content Intelligence--focusing on understanding the actual meanings of sentences independent of grammar, lexicon, etc., and creating structured semantic indexes from massive volumes of content to power search experiences.
It wasn't until after the Mountain View, Calif.-based NetBase Solutions developed its content intelligence platform that the company decided to test it out in the world of medicine. Their just-unveiled HealthBase is to medicine what Kayak.com is to travel--the mother search engine of not just content, but other search engines.
Culling through 10 million health articles and sorting search results on two types of … Read more
With Bing, Microsoft is trying to reinvigorate its role in the search business. It has also inadvertently brought renewed attention to the problem of illicit pharmacies operating on the Internet.
The attention on Bing came earlier this month with the results of a study that examined Internet pharmacy ads (PDF) on Microsoft's revamped search engine. The study, conducted by LegitScript, an online pharmacy verification service, and KnujOn, an Internet compliance company, found that 90 percent of the reviewed Internet pharmacy advertisements were from fake or illegal Internet pharmacies. It also found that most of the Internet pharmacies reached through sponsored ads on Bing did not require a valid prescription.
Sponsored ads are links, paid for by companies hawking products and services, that turn up at the top of search results pages alongside noncommercial links.
"We were able to purchase potentially addictive drugs without a prescription or any age verification via Bing.com ads," LegitScript President John Horton told CNET News. "We also received counterfeit medication. Microsoft profits from these illegal ads, which put Internet users at risk."
But the problem isn't confined to Bing. For all the buzz generated by Bing--which debuted in June, replacing Microsoft's Live Search--it's still only the third most-used search tool, dwarfed by first-place Google and also well behind Yahoo. And those search engines themselves are no strangers to ads for illicit pharmacies.
The problem has also been around since consumers began flocking to the Internet more than a decade ago. In 2003, for instance, Yahoo's Overture unit bowed to pressure from pharmacy groups and stopped selling search-related advertising to unlicensed online pharmacies. That also spelled an end to the troublesome ads on Microsoft's MSN portal, at that time a significant partner of Overture.
Over the last decade, the situation has evolved to bring new challenges.
"In the early years of the Internet, it was a case of entrepreneurs not understanding the legal requirements for the dispensing of drugs. Later, it was the push by senior citizens and public officials to obtain drugs that were cheaper than medications available in the U.S.," said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the trade group National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.
"At the present time," said Catizone, who vouched for the research by LegitScript, "the Internet has become a haven for drug seekers and abusers, particularly (regarding) controlled substances. It is a much more serious and dangerous phase of the Internet."
Rogue online pharmacies sell a wide range of medications, from the sleep aid Ambien to the muscle relaxant Soma and the erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra and Cialis. The NABP lists only 18 certified and recommended online drugstores at its Web site, while more than 3,800 are non-compliant and not recommended
The response from Redmond Microsoft disputes LegitScript's claim that 90 percent of the sponsored Internet pharmacy ads on Bing are fake or illegal, adding that it is working to weed out the rogue advertisers that do slip through. The company uses an Internet pharmacy verification service called PharmacyChecker--a competitor of LegitScript--to ensure that its sponsored prescription drug advertisements are legitimate. … Read more
I use and enjoy Flickr. But with each passing month it worries me more that when I visit a photo page on the Yahoo photo-sharing site, it looks essentially identical to when I first started using it four years ago.
Flickr has typical online photo site abilities to upload, share, and print photos. What sets it apart, though, are features that make Flickr a community: discussions in comments below photos, groups for like-minded photographers to share their work, and social networking attributes that let people stay on top of their contacts' doings.
Adobe Systems is discontinuing Photoshop Album Starter Edition, the lowest rung on its ladder of image-editing software products, and the company is nudging its users toward the online Photoshop.com site.
Adobe launched Photoshop Album Starter Edition in 2003 as a free, bare-bones image cataloging and editing package. Adobe discontinued the line, though, and support for it ended June 30.
So what's the alternative? In a customer note, Adobe puts its online service front and center.
"As part of our commitment to providing customers with a free photo-editing solution, we have created Photoshop.com, an exciting new online … Read more
Yahoo has released a feature that lets people post Flickr photos to their Twitter accounts.
The Twitter2Flickr feature requires that you enable Flickr as an approved application that can tweet under your username.
Then, when you click the "blog this" link above a photo at Flickr, you're presented with the option to twitter it. The tweet will come with a "flic.kr" shortened URL.
Flickr has a large number of users, and its use is amplified by the fact that other sites can make use of Flickr data through an API (application programming interface). The … Read more
What do you do when you can use the Internet to data-mine a collection of billions of photos?
The FlickrTrends application takes advantage first of the API (application programming interface) at Yahoo's photo-sharing site, Flickr, which can show how many photos have been tagged with a particular word over a period of time. Second, it uses Google App Engine to present the relative popularity of two tags in chart form to show what's waxing and waning. … Read more
Google loves its April Fools' jokes, and this year a prank emerged in the form of CADIE--an artificial-intelligence research project with a cute panda avatar--taking over the search giant.
"We're pleased to announce that just moments ago, the world's first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) was switched on and began performing some initial functions," according to a CADIE description accompanying the faux announcement.
Among CADIE's abilities: Gmail Autopilot, which answers your e-mail for you. Chrome updated for use with red-and-blue 3D glasses (… Read more
Start-up Face.com announced a Facebook application on Tuesday called Photo Finder that can identify your contacts' faces--and your own--on the social-networking site.
The software analyzes photos among your contacts, suggesting tags for faces it recognizes and monitoring new uploads for more. The software presents an array of your contacts' photos, letting you accept or reject suggested names for the people the application has identified.
In my not-so-extensive testing, I found that the face recognition technology really does make it easier to discover photos of people you know. It surfaced dozens of untagged pictures among my network of contacts, all … Read more