Google's I/O, Street View Get News Focus
Google ruled much of the IT news headlines this week, with a stream of announcements from its I/O event. But not all the news related to Google was pleasant -- the company's admission late last week that it had inadvertently captured data from unprotected hotspots while it snapped photos for its Street View service sparked a backlash this week that is sure to continue.
1. Google focuses on Web media at I/O, Google says Google TV coming this fall and Five obstacles to Google TV: Google put the spotlight on Web media at its I/O show, where it also said that Google TV -- in collaboration with Intel, Sony and Logitech -- will debut later this year. Read on for more news from the big event.
2. Google's WebM draws praise, critiques, Google faces off against Microsoft, Apple over Web video standard and Steve Jobs' e-mail: Unimpressed with Google's offer of open source video codec: Our fondness for all things open source leaves us excited -- or as excited as one can get over a video codec -- about Google's plans for an open-source release of the HD video codec VP8, which it acquired when it bought On2 Technologies a few months ago. Steve Jobs, who seems lately like he just wants to argue with everybody, is not so impressed.
3. Google in hot water over Wi-Fi sniffing Google faces criminal investigation in Germany, Google Street View faces investigation in France and Italy and Google hit with class-action lawsuit over Wi-Fi snooping: It wasn't all good news for Google this week, following its admission late last week that it had captured data from unprotected hotspots as it gathered images for Street View. France, Italy and Germany -- all of which take a particularly dim view of that sort of activity -- are all investigating and a class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Google says the data gathering was unintended.
4. Symantec to buy VeriSign's authentication business: This week's acquisition news comes to us courtesy of Symantec, which plans to buy VeriSign's security business for US$1.28 billion.
5. European Commission rolls out five-year plan for IT: The European Commission unveiled its ambitious Digital Agenda, a five-year plan for IT in the E.U. states, which was a nice diversion from all the crummy news about the euro and the state of the economy in Greece.
6. Social networks may be sharing your info with advertisers: We can't say we're surprised in the least by The Wall Street Journal investigation that found social networks seem to be sharing users' personal information with advertisers. What we do find a bit curious, though, is that advertisers claim they don't really want that information in the first place.
7. A bill of rights for Facebook users, More than half of Facebook users may quit site, poll finds, Facebook fixing embarrassing privacy bug, Hackers can delete Facebook friends, thanks to flaw and New Facebook privacy apps help users with complicated settings: We expect that some future week will find all 10 of our story entries involve the privacy travails of Facebook.
8. H-1B visa holders earn more than U.S.-born IT professionals, study claims: Contrary to the notion that H-1B visas are a mechanism for U.S. companies to hire non-U.S. workers for less than they pay U.S. employees, a University of Maryland study suggests skilled foreign-born workers may actually earn more and not less than their U.S. counterparts. Somehow we suspect that H-1B critics will not be heartened by this news.
9. FTC won't oppose Google's acquisition of AdMob: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission rounded out a heavy news week for Google with word that it won't stand in the way of the company's plan to acquire mobile advertising vendor AdMob because the mobile ad market is opening up enough that the deal won't impinge on competition.
10. Wacky and wonderful pet tech: A little slideshow diversion for the pet owners and animal lovers among us.