TIME Crime

TSA Agent Arrested for Groping Passenger During Fake Search

Allegedly lured passenger into a bathroom, then groped her in bogus search for weapons

A Transportation Security Administration agent at LaGuardia airport was charged Friday with sexually abusing a female passenger on the bogus pretext of checking her for weapons.

The incident occurred earlier this week, when the 40-year-old TSA agent allegedly told the 21-year-old woman, a college student from Korea, that he needed to screen her for weapons after she had walked out of the sterile checkpoint area and into the area where passengers no longer need to be checked.

The woman asked to be screened by a female agent, according to a press release from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, but the TSA agent allegedly insisted she come into the bathroom with him. When she asked if all passengers were screened this way, he said they were. In the bathroom, the agent groped the victim, before saying into his cell phone something like “she’s clear, she doesn’t have any weapons or knives,” according to the DA’s office.

The TSA has terminated the agent and is cooperating with the Port Authority on the investigation, a TSA spokesman said. The DA’s office has charged the agent with unlawful imprisonment and sexual abuse. If convicted, he could face a year in prison. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer.

TIME LinkedIn

This New LinkedIn App Makes It Easier to Look Up Your Coworkers

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's not as creepy as it sounds

Lookup, a free app released by LinkedIn Wednesday, helps you find your coworkers and learn more about their background much more efficiently. A post on the company’s blog states that you can search for someone based on their name, title, experience, education, and skills.

Simply sign in with your company email address and you can search for and view any employee at your company that has a LinkedIn account, whether or not they have Lookup. It’s essentially a more easily searchable employee directory, listing all the basic information that is available on their LinkedIn profile plus their company email address and cellphone number if they choose to make those options available.

Prior to releasing the app, LinkedIn surveyed 814 North American professionals. It discovered that only 38% of them found their company’s intranet to be effective in helping them search for and learn about coworkers, and 58% of them said it would be more effective if they could search for someone based on specific skills.

This comes in handy for people working at large companies who are searching for someone with a specific skill set or background with which to collaborate.

Ankit Gupta, LinkedIn’s senior product manager, spoke to Business Insider about the company’s new app:

What we want to do is a very small but important thing — we want to help you find and learn about each other because we believe that will make you more productive.

TIME Aviation

Here’s What That Piece of Debris Tells Us (And Doesn’t) About the Fate of MH370

Further analysis could provide valuable clues, but there's still a long way to go

Nearly 17 months after it seemingly vanished off the face of the earth, the first tangible piece of evidence on the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has finally emerged.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced just after midnight on Thursday that the debris found last week on a beach in Réunion, a small island and French territory in the Indian Ocean, does indeed belong to MH370.

A French prosecutor in Toulouse, where the debris (a part of the aircraft wing known as a flaperon) is currently being analyzed was slightly more cautious, saying there were “strong indications” that this was true but further tests are required before it can be confirmed.

The deputy prime minister of Australia, the country spearheading the extensive yearlong search for the Beijing-bound aircraft that went missing on March 8, 2014, was equally noncommittal.

“The French-led investigation team is continuing to finalize its considerations of the wreckage and we will await further detail from them,” Warren Truss said in a statement, but added that there was a “high probability” that the flaperon comes from MH370.

Malaysia Airlines released a statement of its own, calling the finding a “major breakthrough” in determining the aircraft’s fate. “We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery,” the national carrier said.

The news did little to pacify the relatives of those who allegedly perished in the accident, however, with many continuing to express skepticism and a lack of trust in the investigators.

Here is what we can (and cannot) ascertain from Thursday’s developments:

  1. What we know now that we didn’t know before.

The fact that the debris was found in the Indian Ocean, where authorities have been trying to narrow the search for months, shows that the current investigation is focusing in the right area — albeit still a very large one. “It’s a very small needle in a very big haystack,” David Newbery, a Hong Kong-based flight captain and accredited aircraft investigator, tells TIME. However, Newbery says closer examination of the flaperon could reveal details like the speed and angle of impact with the water, as well as whether the airplane remained intact.

“If they examine the failure points of the structure they may be able to get some idea of the force of the impact which broke it off,” he says, “It depends on how quickly the airplane hit the sea and at what speed, whether or not the aircraft broke up completely on hitting the sea or whether it was mainly intact when it sank.”

He does add that the fact that only one piece of debris has been found may be an indication that the Boeing 777 remained intact after hitting the water.

John Page, a senior lecturer and aircraft design expert from the University of New South Wales, says the flaperon could confirm what he says is the most plausible theory he’s heard about the aircraft’s disappearance.

“If it is where we think it is, then it appears to have been flying a reciprocal course than the one it should’ve been on — the opposite direction, in other words,” he told TIME in an interview, adding that a possible scenario is that the crew, sensing trouble, plugged in the coordinates to reverse the flight path but then lost all communication. “So one possibility is they tried to turn back, not realizing that before they got to the next waypoint when they had to turn again they wouldn’t be available,” he said.

Another significant outcome of finding the debris, along with clues about what happened to the aircraft, is definitive proof of what didn’t.

“I think what it does do is get rid of all the conspiracy theories about the airplane landing here, there and everywhere,” says Newbery, while Paige adds that “extreme ideas like flying saucers” only serve to “make noise on what’s happening.”

One major indication of MH370’s whereabouts could come from the barnacles found clinging to the piece of debris. The marine animals, which come from the same crustacean family as crabs and lobsters, could tell researchers where the flaperon has been.

“If marine scientists can really get their hands on them and look at the species distribution patterns, then they can possibly figure out roughly where the barnacle got onto that part of the aircraft,” says Qian Pei-Yuan, who heads the Division of Life Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Qian says the barnacles found on the debris appear to belong to a genus known as “gooseneck barnacles,” the study of which could help pinpoint the aircraft’s location by determining how fast the aquatic creatures grow and where they reside.

“The first thing we need to know is exactly which species [of gooseneck barnacle] they are,” he says. “You can then figure out how fast they can grow, what the temperature of the sea is, when the barnacle actually got on [to the flaperon], and then you can extrapolate how long they have been there.”

  1. What we still don’t know.

Although the barnacles could provide hints as to how an aircraft that supposedly went down near the western coast of Australia ended up on Réunion, just off the coast of Madagascar, the fact that it was found there doesn’t really narrow the search area to a great extent.

“If you’re trying to figure out based on the ocean currents, I don’t believe they can narrow down the area that much because the ocean currents in the Indian Ocean are quite complicated,” Qian says. “There’s a current from the northern part of India to the equator regions, from Malaysia going to the west, then from the equator region going to the east. You can’t tell.”

The duration that the aircraft (and this particular piece of debris) has been in the ocean makes it all the more difficult to pinpoint its location, as does the lack of other debris.

“A year is a long time to be floating, if it was only a couple of weeks they could probably reasonably accurately predict where it came from,” says Newbery, the aircraft accident expert, adding that the developments on Réunion will most likely not refine the search any more than it already has been. “Unfortunately, though I know this piece of debris gives some certainty about the search, I’m not convinced that it’s going to help the investigators terribly much in terms of finding out what happened.”

  1. What comes next.

Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), cited by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Truss, said in its statement that authorities will persist with “thorough and methodical search efforts” in the existing search area.

“The indications are that it’s probably not going to increase with any great degree the likelihood of finding the wreckage any earlier than before,” said Ron Bartsch, chairman of international aviation safety consultancy firm AvLaw Consulting.

Malaysian authorities, along with the airline, have said that they will do everything in their power to bring an elusive sense of closure to those affected by the disaster.

Although he says that there are a “myriad of legal issues yet to be resolved” before compensation for the victims’ families can be finalized, Bartsch is of the opinion that the stray flaperon being analyzed in Toulouse gives a much-needed boost to the search efforts.

“I think the significance of the discovery of the wreckage should not be underestimated,” he said. “It is the first positive confirmation of objective evidence that we know that the aircraft did disappear in the search, so I believe that this should give search authorities and governments alike the motivation to not only continue their search efforts but to increase them.”

TIME Mobile

Google Fixed the Worst Part About Grocery Shopping

New search feature shows when stores have long lines

No one likes waiting in lines, but there’s little way to avoid them besides trying to ballpark when a business will be extremely busy.

Now, Google is rolling out a new feature in its search results that shows hourly foot traffic at millions of different businesses around the world. The feature works by using anonymized location data from people’s mobile phones, much in the same way Google measures traffic congestion data.

Google has gotten scarily good at predicting when a traffic jam is going to slow drivers down, so it will likely get equally skilled at predicting peak waiting times in stores eventually.

The feature is available across mobile phones and will begin rolling out in the next few days.

TIME Retail

Google Is Making Shopping on a Smartphone Much Easier

US-TECHONOLOGY-GOOGLE
Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

A new "buy button" is coming to search results

Google is finally rolling out a ‘Buy’ button in its search results. The new feature, first reported back in May, is an effort to get users comfortable thinking of Google as a shopping destination, not just a conduit to other sites.

At a press event on Wednesday, the company announced “Purchase with Google,” which will turn the ads that appear at the top of search results into cards that let users buy products from directly within Google’s interface. After clicking an ad marked with “Buy on Google,” a user will be taken to a special, Google-built page that shows information about the product and a checkout button to pay for the item using the credit card stored in a Google account.

Google isn’t actually selling these products itself, but instead partnering with retailers who will handle order fulfillment. Google makes money on these ads using the same cost-per-click ad auctions that power its traditional search ads.

With its new buttons, Google is aiming to make it easier for users to buy products on mobile phones’ screens. “There is too much friction when we try to make transactions on a phone,” says Jonathan Alferness, Google’s vice president of product management for Google Shopping. He notes that conversations rates to purchase items are still twice as high on desktop as they are on mobile.

Google is rolling out the buy button as a small test with about a dozen retailers in the coming weeks, with plans for a larger U.S. expansion by the end of the year.

At its event, Google also outlined some other recent tweaks to the mobile shopping experience. These include improved voice search that will provide users more detailed information when they ask questions about products, info cards that prominently show product reviews and improved “deep linking” capabilities that will let users open a purchase page within a retailer’s app directly from clicking a link in a Google ad.

TIME Web

Here’s What Happens If You Google ‘Gay Marriage’ Today

You get a very special search result

Google is celebrating the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling legalizing gay marriage across the U.S. Type “gay marriage” into the search engine and you’ll see a string of cartoon couples holding hands across the top of the screen with rainbow colors that represent the gay pride flag.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.53.13 AM 1

It’s no surprise that Google is supporting gay marriage. The company launched a “Legalize Love” campaign in 2012 to combat anti-gay laws and publicly opposed a 2011 California bill that would have banned gay marriage in the state. Other tech giants have also pledged strong support for gay rights. Apple CEO Tim Cook came out publicly as gay last October and has spoken out against religious-freedom laws in several states that could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.

TIME Mobile

Why Tweets Are About to Dominate Your Google Searches

The Twitter logo displayed on a mobile device.
Bethany Clarke—Getty Images The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.

The two tech companies are cozying up

On Tuesday, Google announced that it is partnering with Twitter to make tweets searchable on mobile devices. The new feature will become available on the English version of Google.com, the Android and iOS versions of Google’s search app, and on mobile browsers.

“It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening,” writes Google senior product manager Ardan Arac in a company blog post. “And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments.”

Google had previously gained access to Twitter’s so-called firehose, the stream of real-time posts uploaded to the social network, earlier this year—rekindling a failed partnership from several years ago.

A post on Google’s official blog shows what the new feature will look like. It demonstrates a search for “nasa twitter”:

nasa-twitter
Courtesy Google

The deal could signal more partnerships between the two to come. It looks like the two are hitting it off already:

For more on Google and Twitter’s partnership watch:

http://fortune.com/video/2015/02/05/how-the-google-search-deal-could-be-a-boon-for-twitter/

TIME Mobile

You Can Now Order Food Right From Google Search

Google Food
Google Google Food

Google continues to add more functionality to mobile searches

Google is making it even easier to be a lazy eater.

Starting Friday, users will be able to order food directly from a Google search. Users who search for nearby restaurants on their phones will see a “Place an order” option in the information card that appears in the search results. Select that button and you’ll have the option of going directly to the restaurant’s page on one of six food-ordering sites: Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com.

Google says it plans to add more options in the future.

Embedding more functionality in mobile searches makes sense for Google, which has seen its search dominance put under pressure by the emergence of single-purpose apps. Instead of using Google to find restaurants, for example, users might use Yelp’s app. The tech giant is doing everything it can to make sure Google search results are a kind of one-stop-shop that lets users execute many different types of actions, including ordering lunch.

TIME Web

Google Is Making a Big Change to Its Search Results

Mobile-friendly websites will now get a big boost

Google has let the world in on a recent change to its carefully protected search algorithm. Starting Tuesday, the company is boosting the ranking for mobile-friendly websites and demoting those pages that don’t load well on smartphones.

The search giant first announced the change back in February, and the move has earned the moniker “Mobilegeddon” as anxiety over the algorithm tweak has grown in recent weeks. The end result should benefit users, who will less often be sent to hard-to-navigate websites designed for desktop computers.

The shift will also help Google, which is fiercely competing with apps dedicated to specific services (think Amazon for shopping, Yelp for restaurant reviews) that are siphoning away inquiries users could be typing into a Google search bar.

TIME Web

See Everything You’ve Ever Googled in One Terrifying Place

Here's how to find your search history—and delete it

Some of your deepest, darkest secrets have probably passed through the Google search bar. Now, you can download every last query you’ve ever typed into the search engine and see them all together in their raw glory (or shame).

The feature was first rolled out as an experiment last year but is now available to all users, according to the unofficial Google blog Google Operating System. To access the data, visit your Web History page, click the gear icon in the top-right corner and click “Download.” A warning box will appear advising users to enable two-step verification and to avoid downloading their search histories to public computers.

Click “Create Archive” and a zip file featuring all the search queries will be placed in a folder called “Takeout” in your Google Drive account. The file can then be downloaded to your computer. Only searches you made while logged into your Google account are included in the file.

If you’re horrified at the idea of every fleeting thought you’ve typed into Google being gathered in a single place, you can also delete your search history. On the Web history page where you download the archive, simply click the gear icon and select “Remove items” instead. In the drop-down menu, you’ll see an option to remove items since “the beginning of time.”

Read next: You Can Now Find Your Lost Phone by Googling It

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