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Facebook Dips a Toe Into the News Biz
April 24, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced FB Newswire, a site aggregating content from posts users put up on their pages that it will offer as a resource to journalists. The content will be curated by Irish firm Storyful, which News Corp., at the heart of a cellphone hacking scandal in the UK, purchased in December. Journalists and media organizations "have become an integral part of Facebook."
Google Rolls Out Time-Traveling Maps
April 24, 2014
Google has launched a new feature on Street View that enables users to browse through images dating back as far as 2007, as well as images from different seasons and at night. Street View users have long pined for the ability to look at shots from the past, according to Google Maps Street View Director of Engineering Luc Vincent. How neighborhoods used to look. That sort of thing.
Founder of Russian Social Media Says He Got the Boot
April 23, 2014
Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network site, claims he has been ousted by allies of President Vladimir Putin -- who went ahead and took over the site while they were at it. Durov, who ran the mega-popular VKontakte, had reportedly run afoul of the Russian government for refusing to heed requests to censor posts on the site.
GitHub Cofounder Resigns but Denies Harassment
April 22, 2014
GitHub cofounder Tom Preston-Werner has resigned following an investigation into harassment charges made by developer Julie Ann Horvath, who departed the company last month. "The investigation found no evidence to support the claims against Tom and his wife of sexual or gender-based harassment or retaliation," said Chris Wanstrath, GitHub cofounder and CEO.
Apple Shoots for 'Better'
April 22, 2014
In honor of this year's Earth Day, celebrated Tuesday, Apple is showcasing its efforts to lessen its carbon footprint and become more environmentally sustainable as part of its 'Better' Campaign. The company released new promotional material, including a video narrated by Tim Cook, that outlines its commitment to increasing energy efficiency in an effort to reduce its impact on climate change.
Popular UK Sports File-Sharing Site Shuttered
April 22, 2014
The Sports Torrent Network, a brazenly named file-sharing site, shut down after UK police threatened to put its operators behind bars for up to 10 years. TSTN was a hotbed for illicit broadcasts of European soccer, the National Hockey League, Formula 1 races and more. The site reportedly had about 20,000 members, making it "possibly the largest site of its type."
Wearables Just Don't Do It for Nike
April 22, 2014
Nike appears to be retreating from its vanguard position in the computer wearables market. The company reportedly has begun slashing the engineering team working on its FuelBand product, a fitness computer that can be worn on a wrist, laying off as many as 55 of the 70-person team working on FuelBand. However, Nike subsequently insisted the FuelBand was still an important part of its business.
Heartbleed's Never-Ending Drip, Drip, Drip
April 21, 2014
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has sent just about everyone who uses the Web for fun or profit gibbering madly in search of a solution, creating fertile ground for spammers, scammers and marketing types. Canada is in an uproar following a disclosure by the Canada Revenue Agency that a hacker had exploited Heartbleed to steal about 900 social insurance numbers from it over a six-hour span.
Transcendence and Analytics: What If the End of Mankind as We Know It Were a Good Thing?
April 21, 2014
I saw the movie Transcendence last week, and it was an impressive telling of what might happen were we to achieve singularity. Given this is likely where AI research is taking us and that analytics is a major component to getting there, I not only recommend the movie as entertainment but also as a means to wrapping your head around what we must correct before we take that next big step.
Google This: Yahoo Wants Apple's Search Business
April 18, 2014
Google has dominated the world of search for years, so much so that "Google" is not only synonymous with searching -- it's a verb, too. Who hasn't told someone to google something? That's awesome mindshare, and its power is translated to billions of dollars of ad-related revenue for Google. Where will search grow in the future? Mobile. And rumor has it, Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer wants it.
German Media Mogul Rips Google in Open Letter
April 18, 2014
The head of one of Germany's biggest media companies penned an open letter criticizing Google, saying that his company is afraid of Google and its ever-swelling power. The letter, written by Mathias Dopfner, the chief executive of media giant Axel Springer, opines that Google's technology platforms spread more quickly and more efficiently than anything in the world -- save "biological viruses."
A Dream of America's Forefathers
April 18, 2014
Last week marked the 224th anniversary of the U.S. patent system, an institution designed and brought forth to promote progress in the fledgling nation. Despite its value for more than two centuries, that system is under attack. Until the late 18th Century, innovative colonists in the Americas relied on British-based patent laws to obtain colonial patents.
Chinese Company Creates 3D-Printed Houses
April 17, 2014
Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Shanghai-based company, has created 10 3D-printed houses. Each house reportedly cost less than $5,000 and took less than 24 hours to construct. The printer used to create the homes was about 100 feet long, 33 feet wide and more than 20 feet tall. The "ink" was made from high-grade cement and glass fiber.
Alibaba IPO Could Spark E-Commerce Investment Surge
April 17, 2014
Whether Alibaba launches its IPO on April 21 or in the following days, it clearly will be a major event for Wall Street. By any measure, it will be a blockbuster. The company will raise up to $15 billion in the offering, which would place its value at $200 billion. These are not unrealistic numbers. The company reportedly posts more revenue and net income than Amazon and eBay combined.
Smartphone Kill Switch Gets Breath of Life
April 16, 2014
CTIA and major mobile manufacturers, providers and operating system makers have entered a voluntary agreement to include antitheft measures in smartphones. The security and safety of mobile users is the top priority for the industry, according to CTIA, and the agreement is intended to protect consumers from smartphone theft while providing companies' with the ability to innovate.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
FBI May Pick Out Your Face in a Crowd
April 16, 2014
The FBI is planning to have a fully operational facial recognition system in place by this summer and may be well on its way to reaching that goal. The system will be able to query a database of photos to identify individuals based on their appearance even if they do not have a criminal record, reported Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Google Clarifies Gmail Snooping in Updated ToS
April 16, 2014
Google this week updated its terms of service with new language that more clearly spells out how it scans and analyzes user content, such as emails, to match it with targeted ads. "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it says.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.

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