Daily Archives: September 23, 2009

Joseph Menn

While some cast yesterday’s news in the Google books saga as the death of the settlement that would have resolved the search king’s long fight with publishers, the bigger picture is that out-of-print books for all just got a lot closer to reality.

True, the New York federal court filing was officially a request to withdraw the deal Google struck late last year with publishers and authors, in the wake of objections Friday from the US Justice Department. But that version had a good chance of getting rejected by the judge, given that the regulatory concerns followed major objections from the non-profit world, other interested parties and the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo. 

Robin Harding

Original version of Space Invaders

For gamers who want to know what they will be able to play on the Xbox 360’s ‘Natal’ motion controller, here are a few more details from the FT’s interview with Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s games business.

There will be a ‘creator’s panel’ at the Tokyo Game Show on September 24 featuring three of Japan’s top developers discussing the possibilities of Natal. They will be Keiji Inafune of Capcom, the man behind zombies-in-a-mall hit Dead Rising; Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, the creator of Super Monkey Ball; and Hideo Kojima, previously of Konami, the director of the Metal Gear Solid series. 

David Gelles

Starbucks unveiled a first-of-its-kind app today that lets users pay for in-store purchases using their iPhone, a move that could pave the way for a new generation of e-commerce applications on Apple’s popular phone.

With the Starbucks Card Mobile App, users can sync their prepaid Starbucks Card with the app, check their balance and refill it using a credit card. At some stores, they can also use the app to pay for Venti coffees and Frappuccinos.

When users select the “payment trial” function on the app, a QR code appears on the iPhone screen. A barista then scans the iPhone, deducting the cost from the Starbucks Card balance, and completing the purchase.

The trial is being rolled out at 16 locations in Seattle and Silicon Valley, where there is high usage of both iPhones and Starbucks Cards. But expect the programme to go nationwide soon, and for other retailers to follow. 

From John Gapper’s blog

Google Voice, the company’s new free phone service in the US (you cannot yet use it in other parts of the world) is a smart service that deserves to succeed. It does, however, place Google in a tricky intellectual position.

Google has come up with a clever way of circumventing the barrier to using Skype or other free services on phones. Instead of you dialing out, Google Voice calls your number and simultaneously connects you with the one you want, like an automated assistant. 

Paul Taylor

Intelius provides background check and public records services to companies and individuals using the internet to sniff out personal data that sometimes people would rather forget. This is serious stuff that can make or break a job applicant.

Now however the company has turned its technology spotlight onto another area where reputation really matters: Dating.