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Facebook's $2B Baby Oculus Denies Rival's Rights Claims
May 06, 2014
A simmering conflict between Oculus, a virtual reality startup Facebook bought last month for $2 billion, and ZeniMax Media began to boil Monday. ZeniMax las week claimed one of its former employees, John Carmack, improperly shared some of its tech with Oculus for use in its Rift virtual reality headset, which is touted as having the power to bring VR to the masses.
Amazon Rolls Its Shopping Carts Onto Twitter's Turf
May 05, 2014
Amazon is now allowing consumers to add items to their shopping cart simply by sending a reply on Twitter. Users who connect their accounts on the two services can add a product they see in a Twitter link to their Amazon shopping cart simply by replying to the tweet with the hashtag #AmazonCart -- or #AmazonBasket in the UK. The feature is available only in the U.S. and the UK at present.
Pinterest's Guided Search Finds Needles in Haystacks
April 29, 2014
Pinterest last week announced Guided Search, a new search engine for navigating its particular type of content -- user-provided pins, which now number around 30 billion, and an array of around 750 million boards. Guided Search is designed to help users discover pins they were not necessarily looking for, but that might interest them. For now, the feature is available only on mobile.
Google+ Daddy Vic Gundotra Bails
April 25, 2014
Vic Gundotra, who moved Google into the social media world, first with the ill-fated Buzz and then with Google+, on Thursday announced his departure from the company. "Now is the time for a new journey," he wrote, fittingly, on Google+. The announcement was laced with the usual praise for colleagues accompanying such statements. It was met with an equally platitude-laden response.
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."
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.
Banking Trojan Enters Mobiles via Facebook
April 21, 2014
Purveyors of a notorious mobile banking Trojan have started targeting Facebook users to infect Android smartphones. The Net predators use a desktop Trojan to leverage a Facebook socializer to install banking malware on their phone, ESET malware researcher Jean-Ian Boutin discovered last week. The desktop bad app, Win32/Qadars, waits for an infected machine to open a Facebook page.
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
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.
Facebook Mixes Up Mobile Messaging
April 10, 2014
Facebook is ditching the private messaging function in its main mobile application in favor of having the entire messaging experience take place inside the dedicated Messenger app. The company launched the dedicated messaging app on iOS and Android in 2011, and later debuted it on Windows Phone. Facebook last year redesigned the app to focus on aiding those who want to be reachable at all times.
Investors See Gold Mine in Quora
April 10, 2014
Why is question-and-answer website Quora so popular with investors? "Because of the high quality of the discussions on the site," answered Paul Levinson, professor of communications and media studies at Fordham. To get a true expert take on the matter one would have to consult Tiger Global Management, which led the Series C venture capital round that brought in $80 million.
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
Which Screen Comes Second Now?
April 08, 2014
Which came first, the mobile device or the television? OK, that one is easy -- but which comes first now -- the mobile device or the television? The answer is probably television, but it's not quite as obvious, is it? Television is the dominant screen for most consumers today, but signs are growing that the mobile screen might well supercede it at some point.
Twitter Applies a New Coat of Face(book) Paint
April 08, 2014
Twitter on Tuesday announced a redesign of its user profiles, hard on the heels of its launch of new photo-sharing capabilities late last month. Included among the new features in the redesign are larger profile photos, customized headers, and an enlarged presentation of tweets that have been particularly popular. Users also can pin a tweet to the top of their page.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
Record Labels Slam Russian Social Net With Piracy Suit
April 04, 2014
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music on Thursday filed legal proceedings against vKontakte, or VK, charging that the Russian social network operates a music service that deliberately facilitates widespread copyright infringement. VK operates an unlicensed music service involving a large collection of copyright-infringing tracks, the companies charge.
Google+ Changes Rules of Engagement
April 02, 2014
Gauging your popularity on Google's social network, Google+, got a little easier Tuesday, as the would-be Facebook competitor added page view analytics. Now, when members view their profile page -- which metrics show isn't that often -- they'll see a number beneath their mug indicating the number of times their content has been viewed by someone since Oct. 12, 2012.
FireChat Messaging App: Look Ma, No Internet!
April 02, 2014
FireChat, an iPhone app designed for anonymous hyperlocal communication, could change the way we connect with one other: It does not require an Internet connection or even a cell signal to work. FireChat takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity Framework in iOS 7. This feature allows developers to connect devices to each other using Bluetooth, WiFi, and peer-to-peer connections.
Facebook Internet Project: The Skies Have It
March 31, 2014
Facebook last week announced more detailed plans to bring affordable Internet access to every person on the planet. Mark Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive, revealed some fresh details about the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is carrying out to build drones, satellites and lasers geared to providing connectivity for everyone as part of the Internet.org initiative.
Twitter Tagging: It's Not the Characters, It's the Mileage
March 28, 2014
Twitter has bolstered its photo-sharing capabilities with the addition of two new features: the option to add up to four photos per tweet, and a function allowing users to tag up to 10 other people in a photo. Both features are designed to make photos more social. When a user shares multiple photos in a tweet, the images will automatically create a collage.

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