This week has to be the busiest week ever for big tech stories, you know the ones, the ones that make it into other sections of newspapers or even into the main headlines, so without further ado, here we go.
The proposed internet privacy/piracy Bills, Sopa and Pipa, that are under discussion in the US have caused the digital world to rise up in strong protest, with the most visible signs being Wikipedia being taken offline and Google blacking out its logo. Countless other companies and individuals have registered their disgust to the legislation, which if made into law, would change the internet for ever. The action certainly seems to have had a great effect with President Obama and US senators back-trackingon support for it. But until this issue is resolved, then the digital world vows to keep fighting. And as a reminder that the US authorities are getting serious with copyright infringements online, it has shut Megaupload.com, a major internet content hosting website, and charged its founders and several employees. “Mega Conspiracy” (as they have been dubbed) has been accused of ‘robbing’ $500 million from copyright holders and generating over $175 million in proceeds from subscriptions and advertising. Drawing the line between piracy and censorship seems to be as controversial as ever and this one will run and run.
Over with Apple, they held the much anticipated launch yesterday of iBooks 2.0, the app which promises to change text books for ever and in the process make a significant impact on education. This has to be one of the exciting announcements that Apple has made in a while and we can’t wait to see how it will actually start to be used.
After all the hullaballoo last week about Google incorporating Google+ into its search algorithm (although how many people are actually using it frequently is still a point of discussion), there has been a slew of Google news this week – some good and some not so good. Despite being named the best place to work in America by Fortune magazine and making more than $10bn in the final quarter of 2011, the results failed to impress analysts who had been expecting more from the search giant. The shares tumbled in hours after trading, finally losing 10% of their value in total.
However, Google are still a company very much at the forefront of digital, and they have now incorporated train times into its Google maps (how brilliant is that!) and launched a film festival on YouTube (Google Inc.-owned). This will play out online and will send ten finalists to the Venice Film Festival with Scott Free Productions, run by Ridley and Tony Scott, involved in the judging. Nice one Google!
And the folk over at Facebook haven’t been sitting on their laurels either with the announcement of sixty new apps for Timeline – so now virtually every facet of your life – music, cooking, cars, film etc etc – can be shared with your friends.
One sad bit of news this week is that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy. The iconic photographic brand really failed to get to grips with the onslaught of digital and has paid the ultimate price. A little bit of history in the making and some lessons to be learnt.
And in other news , Communist Party officials in China are being equipped with a super-dooper pad computer housed in a luxury leather case and costing a whopping 9,999 yuan (£1,000), which is twice the price of Apple’s most expensive iPad – still I guess that they can afford it…perhaps we should simply console ourselves with the rather fab gadget Raspberry Pi, which went on sale this week at a rather more affordable $25.
Retail figures just out show that online sales soared in the run-up to Christmas (no surprise there then) and to finish, IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest map: The map measures a miniscule 22 by 11 micrometers or put another way, 1,000 maps would fit on just one grain of salt. Amazing stuff but more excitingly, this huge jump forward in Nano technology will make its way into all kinds of digital applications in the not too distant future.
Have a good weekend everyone!