TIME Social Media

Facebook Unfriends Microsoft Search Engine

Facebook offices in Paris, France in 2010.
Facebook offices in Paris, France in 2010. Tomas van Houtryve—VII for TIME

The social media behemoth may be angling in on Google-dominated web search

Facebook has officially dropped from its website search results from Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft Corp.

The move comes on the heels of Facebook unveiling a new search tool on its own site, allowing the site’s 1.35 billion users to easily search for old Facebook activity on theirs and others’ pages, perhaps indicating an increased emphasis on the lucrative web search market currently dominated by Facebook rival Google.

Facebook’s decision was confirmed to Reuters on Friday by a company spokesperson. “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook,” a spokesperson said. “We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft in lots of different areas.


TIME intelligence

People Are Complaining the Torture Report Is ‘Unreadable’ on Amazon Kindle

Reviews on Amazon.com about the Senate torture report

The Kindle may not be the best place to read the torture report

The Senate report on CIA interrogation tactics is too hard to read on the Kindle, Amazon customers are saying.

The report, which details the brutal tactics—now widely condemned as torture—employed by the CIA in order to interrogate terrorism suspects, and faults the agency for misleading the White House and Congress about it. But the report is “unreadable” on the Kindle, according to customer reviews.

One verified purchaser said “don’t waste your money — unreadable on a kindle.” Another reviewer said, “Don’t bother with this unless you can read it on a large screen; it’s basically a pdf and you can get it for free from the committee web site.”
Another reviewer said the report was readable on the Kindle iPad app, and the PDF is available for free from the New York Times, PBS, and others—and you can read it here.
TIME celebrities

Aaron Sorkin Defends Amy Pascal in Sony Hack

HBO's "The Newsroom" - Season 3 Premiere
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Writer Aaron Sorkin attends the premiere of "The Newsroom" at DGA Theater on November 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic

The director of The Social Network stands by the beleaguered Pascal

Aaron Sorkin, George Clooney and others in Hollywood have voiced support for Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal in the wake of a devastating cyber attack on her studio.

Pascal has faced a series of humiliating revelations in recent weeks as internal company emails were dumped online after a massive hack against Sony. Pascal and producer Scott Rudin exchanged racially insensitive emails about President Barack Obama, for which she has since apologized, and Sony has been accused of poorly securing its data.

Sorkin, who wrote The Social Network (2010) and the upcoming Jobs told The Hollywood Reporter that Pascal’s apology was sincere.

“Amy knows more than a lot of people what it’s like to battle stereotypes. She’s a woman at a large corporation who worked her way from assistant to the chairman’s office,” Sorkin said. “Amy would rather cut off her own hand than intentionally hurt someone.”

George Clooney and Creative Artists Agency partner Bryan Lourd have privately expressed support for Pascal, according to the Reporter. Seth Rogen said to an audience at the premiere of The Interview on December 11, “I’d like to thank Amy Pascal for having the balls to make this movie.”

MORE: Who is Amy Pascal?

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Security

Leaked Sony Emails Reveal How Much Movie Studios Hate Google

The Google logo is seen at the company's offices on August 21, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Adam Berry—Getty Images

They codenamed Google "Goliath"

It’s no secret that some big movie and music companies hate Google, which they have long accused of making it easy for users to find pirated content online. But newly leaked emails reveal just how far movie studios are willing to go in their battle against online piracy, and, by extension, Google.

A group of lawyers from Sony, six other studios and the Motion Picture Association of America have been coordinating a legal and technical plan to fight online piracy, according to Sony Pictures emails leaked by hackers and analyzed by The Verge. The studios have been discussing how to get state prosecutors to go after Google—which they codenamed “Goliath”—for offering links to pirated content (or sites that then link to pirated content) in its search results.

The report also found the movie studios are looking at ways to partner with Internet providers like Comcast to block sites found to host infringing content, a strategy that’s already being used in other parts of the world.

Read more at The Verge

Read next: Who Is Amy Pascal? Meet the Exec Tangled Up in Sony’s Leaked Emails

TIME National Security

Attack on Sony Marks a Dangerous Escalation in Cyber Warfare

The electronic attack on Sony Pictures marks a sharp escalation in cyber warfare, a senior lawmaker said Friday. Frederick J. Brown—AFP/Getty Images

House intel chief warns that U.S. continues to ignore all-but-certain impending disaster

The recent cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment marks a sharp escalation in computer warfare and highlights the growing U.S. vulnerability to a cataclysmic attack, the outgoing chairman of the House Intelligence Committee warned Friday.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., says a nation-state is responsible for the attack. The culpable country, he suggested, is most likely North Korea, stung by the company’s new production of The Interview, a movie comedy built around a U.S. plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

“That was the first [time]—if you take at face value public reports—a nation state decided a retribution act could result in destroying data, bringing down a company,” Rogers said. While he declined to finger North Korea as the culprit, he made it clear he believes it is responsible.

Pyongyang has said it had nothing to do with the attack, which destroyed Sony computer files and took the company’s computers offline. The hackers also stole terabytes of embarrassing internal information, some of which has been leaked, including senior executives making racist jokes about President Obama. But North Korea praised the attack as a “righteous deed.”

“I would argue, as a former FBI guy,” Rogers said, “that when a nation state says ‘This group…did this on behalf of the North Korean people because of the Great Leader, and we appreciate it,’ as we would say in the FBI, that is a clue.”

Rogers said the U.S. must beef up its cyber defenses, and warned that the public continuing sense that it has more to fear from the federal National Security Agency than hackers is misplaced. A recent bill that would have given the NSA a bigger role in protecting U.S. computer systems failed to make it through the Senate after passing in the House.

Rogers said there has been a series of smaller attacks that should have awakened the U.S. to the problem:

I thought maybe Target would kind of do it, like `Hey, now we’re finally seeing how sophisticated these folks are. That was an international criminal enterprise using nation-state capability.’ I thought ‘Hey, that’ll be good—now we’ll get their attention.’ People went ‘Nah, whatever—it didn’t cost me any money.’ Then they went to SuperValu, it went to others, now it went to your medical records, it went into your financial records.

Even the attack on Sony didn’t have the impact Rogers believes it should have:

The result of Sony on the public psyche is, ‘Holy mackerel, I want to be a movie producer—those guys make a lot of money.’

Rogers, who is leaving Congress after 14 years to become a talk-radio host, said such nonchalance is dangerous. “Somebody, at some point, is going to decide to flick the switch,” he said. “And when they do, we will have a significant economic catastrophic event.”

TIME celebrities

Who Is Amy Pascal? Meet the Exec Tangled Up in Sony’s Leaked Emails

The Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment has been the executive behind successful movies like Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty

Sony executive Amy Pascal found herself in the headlines this week after her company was hit by hackers, exposing emails ranging from racially insensitive exchanges about President Obama to reports that she served as an intermediary between the company’s brass and Seth Rogen in toning down Kim Jong-un’s death scene in The Interview (though Rogen has thanked Pascal for having “the balls” to make the movie at its Thursday premiere).

Though Pascal’s name may be unfamiliar to some readers, her films surely are not: she’s overseen major blockbusters from When Harry Met Sally to The Da Vinci Code.

Pascal is currently the Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, the division responsible for the company’s film production. Alongside Michael Lynton, she’s also co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), the umbrella over the Motion Picture Group, the Television Group, Networks and other operations. Lynton is CEO of SPE, and as such is Pascal’s boss.

Pascal began her career as a Hollywood secretary and soon climbed the ranks to become Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox. She joined Columbia Pictures, a division of SPE, in 1988, overseeing movies like Groundhog Day and A League of Their Own. She left in 1994 to become President of Production at Turner Pictures, but returned to Columbia two years later as President. She was promoted to Chairman of SPE’s Motion Picture Group in 2003, and became Co-Chairman of SPE in 2006.

Pascal and Lynton have had a fruitful relationship as business partners, with Pascal acting as the intuitive pro at picking scripts likely to succeed and Lynton functioning as her business-minded counterpart. According to a 2009 New York Times story, Lynton couldn’t fathom Superbad becoming a profitable film when he read the script, but since it wasn’t very high-budget, Pascal was able to convince him they should take it on. It was a good bet: the movie cost only $18 million to make, but yielded $120 million at the domestic box office.

Though Pascal engaged in racially inappropriate emails with producer Scott Rudin (for which Pascal apologized), speculating on President Obama’s taste in films with African-American narratives, she’s been a generous donor to Obama and other Democrats.

Pascal is on Forbes’ 50 Most Powerful Women list and was elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors last year.

Read next: Hackers Sent Sony Employees a Terrifying New Message

TIME apps

These iPhone Apps on Sale This Weekend Are Crazy Good Deals

iPhone Apps
A man uses his iPhone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Atsushi Tomura—Getty Images

Get your life in order with Checkmark 2

Looking to download a few great iPhone apps while saving some money this weekend? Check out these five, all on sale or free for the new few days.


Combining strategy, physics, design, and man’s indefatigable ambition to soar among the stars, SimpleRockets puts you in the shoes of a rocket engineer. In the game, players design rockets by choosing engines and other parts, and then seeing if the vessel can sustain flight in a variety of extraterrestrial environments.

SimpleRockets is temporarily free in the App Store.


Perhaps more people would appreciate the romance of stargazing if they had any clue what they were looking at. In cities, it’s even harder to tell one small blip from another. Starglobe displays a realtime mural of the night sky on your phone so you can know which stars are above you at any given moment. Simply by pointing your phone to the sky, Starglobe will tell you (even in daylight or in the obscured sky of a city at night) which starts are in front of you.

Starglobe is temporarily free in the App Store.


There’s a reason why Scanbot is one of the highest-rated document scanners available for iOS: it not only allows you to scan documents of multiple pages and upload them to the cloud, but it also optimizes your documents so you can zoom in on them, and recognizes text so you can copy or search your PDF scans. It’s technology every computer or PDF reader should have. Until then, you can use Scanbot.

Scanbot is temporarily free in the App Store.

Checkmark 2

It’s been proven time and again that writing out a list of tasks in your iPhone Notes app in no way acts as a reminder to do anything or assures that any of your tasks will ever get completed. Checkmark 2 allows you to compartmentalize different tasks depending on where you are—tasks for work are kept under a different header than your grocery store list. It’s a simple way to avoid getting overwhelmed, and an even easier way to make sure things get done when and where they’re supposed to. The app comes with location and date specific reminders.

Checkmark 2 is on sale for $2.99 in the App Store.

Frontline: The Longest Day

Frontline is a mobile-friendly strategy game and a history lesson in a single app. The game allows users to command allied troops in different missions from Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy that included D-Day. Storm the beaches without the Saving Private Ryan gore and overpower enemy forces by using different specialized attack units.

Frontline: The Longest Day is on sale for $2.99 in the App Store.

TIME Video Games

The Xbox One Just Beat the PlayStation 4 for the First Time in Months

Xbox One
A control of a Microsoft's Xbox One game console is pictured in a shop in Shanghai on September 29, 2014. Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

A strong lineup and holiday deals helped seal Xbox One's record month

Xbox One consoles sold at a record-breaking pace in November, Microsoft claimed Thursday, citing data from research firm NPD. The Xbox One also unseated the reigning champ of the console market — Sony’s Playstation 4 — for the first time in nearly a year.

Sales of Microsoft’s latest console were buoyed by a strong lineup of new gaming titles and aggressive Black Friday discounts. Microsoft lopped $50 off of the Xbox One’s retail price and bundled free games into package deals.

“We are amazed by the excitement Xbox fans have shown to start off this holiday,” said Mike Nichols, vice president of Xbox marketing, in a statement. “November set a new record for sales of Xbox One, and Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. and U.K.”

Nonetheless, Gamespot reports that sales across the entire console market declined year over year, also citing NPD. An analyst for the group noted that sales slackened not only for the previous generation of consoles, as expected, but also for the newest generation, which accounted for 38% of the overall decline.

TIME Social Media

Twitter Co-Founder: ‘I Don’t Give a S*** If Instagram Has More Users’

Getty Images

In an interview, Evan Williams doesn’t mince words comparing Twitter to Facebook-owned Instagram

Yesterday, Instagram announced it has 300 million monthly active users. The news drew immediate comparisons between the photo-sharing app, which sold to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, and Twitter, a $24 billion publicly traded company which has 284 million users. CNNMoney even argued that Twitter should sell itself.

I asked Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and board member, what he thought of the news. His answer? User count is the wrong metric to focus on.

In his words:

It’s a question of breadth versus depth. Why is users the only thing we talk about? The crazy thing: Facebook has done an amazing job of establishing that as the metric for Wall Street. No one ever talks about, ‘What is a [monthly active user]?’ I believe it’s the case that if you use Facebook Connect—if you use an app that you logged into with Facebook Connect—you’re considered a Facebook user whether or not you ever launched the Facebook app or went to Facebook.com. So what does that mean? It’s become so abstract to be meaningless. Something you did caused some data in their servers to be recorded for the month. So I think we’re on the wrong path.

If you think about the impact Twitter has on the world versus Instagram, it’s pretty significant. It’s at least apples to oranges. Twitter is what we wanted it to be. It’s this realtime information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter—important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversations on Twitter. If that’s happening, I frankly don’t give a s*** if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures.

I noted that Wall Street certainly cares about other things.

Williams said he isn’t authorized to comment on anything financial, but countered that Twitter’s monetization has been going very well. “Twitter makes a hell of a lot more money than Instagram, if that’s what Wall Street cares about,” he said.

Regarding Facebook’s method for counting users, Williams is correct. According to an SEC filing, Facebook’s definition of an active user includes anyone who “took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party website or application that is integrated with Facebook.” So even if you don’t go to Facebook for a month, you count as a monthly active user if you use an app which you have signed up for with your Facebook account and shared something. [Note: This sentence has been updated to include the words “and shared something” after a Facebook representative clarified that a user must actually share an activity to Facebook to count as “active.” If a user “likes” something on a third party site, or listens to a Spotify song which is then automatically shared to Facebook, that counts.]

To that end, Twitter is opening up its own definition of its user base. Last month Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed that content posted to Twitter actually reaches 500 million people each month when you take into account anyone who has seen a Tweet embedded in a webpage or another app. The takeaway? When it comes to the horse race for users, Costolo doesn’t give a . . . well, you know.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Social Media

This Is the Best New Feature YouTube Has Added in Years

A picture shows a You Tube logo on December 4, 2012 during LeWeb Paris 2012 in Saint-Denis near Paris. AFP—AFP/Getty Images

Convert a video into a GIF in two mouseclicks

YouTube has quietly launched a new GIF creation feature that could trigger an explosion of looping, frenetic clips across the web.

The GIF creator tab, now available on a limited selection of videos, makes selecting and sharing a clip dangerously tempting. The feature is buried in the “Share” tab, beside the usual options to share by “Email” or “Embed.” A new tab labeled “GIF” shows the video laid out frame-by-frame like a film strip. Drag two sliding brackets around any 6 seconds worth of frames and voila, the GIF appears readymade along with shareable links.

The feature was first spotted by former Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio, who enthusiastically spread the news to his Twitter following. So far it only appears beneath a tiny subset of YouTube videos, including some from PBS Idea Channel and Epic Rap Battles of History. Fans of the GIF rejoice, and have patience.

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