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Baidu May Be Developing a Glassy Eye

Baidu May Be Developing a Glassy Eye

Today in international tech news: Baidu, China's top search engine, is working on a Google Glass look-alike. Also: A handful of European countries are considering fining Google for its inaction on myriad privacy recommendations; and Zynga will offer real-money gambling.

By David Vranicar
04/03/13 8:29 AM PT

Living up to its billing as the Chinese Google, Baidu, China's top search engine, reportedly is working on Baidu Eye, something that sounds a lot like Google's Glass. It's "a wearable Internet gadget," according to China Daily.

Worn like eyeglasses, Baidu Eye will be controlled by voice and will feature an LCD display that can recognize images. While these features are rumored to be up and running, the product's design and battery life are still works in progress.

The device could pose a problem for China's ever-zealous Internet police, Tech In Asia pointed out. If it boasts all the functions of Google Glass, then users will be able to record and upload images more or less in real-time.

[Sources: Tech In Asia; China Daily]

For Standing Pat, Google Could Stand Trial

Having refused to reverse changes it made to privacy settings, Google could face fines from a half-dozen European countries.

For months, European regulators have implored Google to undo its March 2012 changes, which combined some 60 privacy policies into one and consolidated data gathered across various Google platforms -- YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and so on.

The aggrieved nations -- France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy -- declared Tuesday that they will take joint legal action against Google.

UK law allows it to issue fines of up to roughly US$750,000, while France's privacy body, CNIL, could levy a fine of about $375,000. Those max fines would amount to little more than Google's minutely revenue. A more interesting endgame could be regulators suing to block Google from operating in Europe.

Google is already facing potential action from European regulators who maintain it's abusing its dominance in Europe, where it has about a 95 percent share of the search market.

CNIL has taken the lead on the potential legal action -- as it has before -- issuing a statement that details Google's inaction despite numerous requests put forth by EU regulators.

Meanwhile, Google insists it complies with European laws and says that declining to make changes does not amount to ignoring suggestions.

[Source: The Guardian]

Zynga to Offer Real-Money Games

Social gaming service Zynga, which produced the once wildly popular FarmVille, announced that it will start offering real-money gambling for poker and other casino-type games in the UK.

Zynga is partnering with Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, an online gambling company headquartered in the British territory of Gilbraltor.

This marks Zynga's first foray into gambling, as the company tries to reverse a decline in both users and revenue.

The guinea pigs for Zynga's real-money experiment are ZyngaPokerPlus and ZyngaPlusCasino, each of which is now available to British-based gamblers. Facebook- and mobile-based games are expected to be announced within months.

Such online gaming is illegal in the U.S., but Zynga plans to plow ahead in Europe: It will reportedly move into other European markets later this year.

The global online gambling market could be worth $30 billion in 2013, according to H2 Gambling Capital, a global gambling data service.

Zynga shares jumped 5.5 percent, to $3.24, in after-hours trading.

[Source: Reuters]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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