Monthly Archives: March 2010

Richard Waters

How would you rather see the internet – strained through a filter or mangled by a censor?

With its attempt to score an end-run round the Chinese authorities today, Google is betting on the former. But Chinese officials, who are only now waking up to Google’s middle-of-the-night gambit, don’t sound so happy about the idea.

The Google calculation is straightforward. Redirecting all the search traffic from its local Google.cn site to Hong Kong, beyond the reach of the censors, then bouncing the results back into mainland China, has two benefits. 

Paul Taylor

The Demo Spring 2010 conference kicked off in Palm Desert, California on Monday with a raft of applications, services and products focused on the mobile, social networking and media technology markets.

One immediate observation is that mobile apps, particularly iPhone apps, are everywhere – Gartner estimates that the mobile apps market will be worth between $20bn and $30bn by 2013. 

Chris Nuttall

What is it about used textbooks and top internet executives?

Thumbing through the dog-eared press releases of Chegg.com over the past few weeks, we see Dan Rosensweig, ex-Yahoo chief operating officer and Guitar Hero chief, arriving as president and CEO, Barry McCarthy, chief financial officer of Netflix, joining the company’s board and today, Gregory Stanger, ex-Expedia CFO, joining as chief financial officer. 

Chris Nuttall

A family argument over whether that was John Barryman on Desperate Housewives last night was resolved with a quick search on the turned-on laptop by our side (I won!).

Unlike John Barryman’s appearance, this is not a rare occurrence apparently – web-surfing is not replacing TV-watching but supplementing and even boosting it, according to research from The Nielsen Company. 

Facebook may now attract more visits from users in the US than Google, but it would not do to make too much of the comparison, writes Richard Waters.

Google continues to exert far greater influence over online behaviour, even if Facebook’s hold on its users is starting to register as more than just a blip on the web landscape. 

Paul Taylor

In Personal Technology in the Business Life section of the FT this week, we look at the Lenovo ThinkPad x100e and its rivals:

“The Lenovo ThinkPad x100e looks like a netbook, weighs about the same as a netbook and at $450 (£423 in the UK) is priced (almost) like a netbook. However, in terms of performance, its speed, screen resolution and keyboard outperform netbooks. This may be why the manufacturer classifies it as a laptop, albeit a small one.” 

Chris Nuttall

Square Enix’s big US marketing push for Final Fantasy XIII appears to have paid off, with the Japanese publisher announcing on Friday that the title is the fastest selling in the franchise’s history.

Square Enix said it sold 1m units in the US in its first five days, following its big launch event for FFXIII in San Francisco on the eve of the Game Developers Conference last week, with Yoichi Wada, chief executive, in attendance. We spoke to Mr Wada at the launch – his thoughts on FFXIII and the parlous state of the industry after the jump. 

David Gelles

As anticipated, location-sharing services were the talk of the town in Austin as engineers and entrepreneurs convened for the South by Southwest Interactive festival.

“Location, location location,” Playfish chief operating officer Sebastien de Halleux told me when I caught up with him. “It’s a big theme for the web at this stage.”

That may be true. But despite the genuine promise of location-based services, and all the hype around the budding rivalry between Foursquare and Gowalla — rival applications that let users “check-in” and share their location with friends — this stuff is still a long way from being mainstream. 

Richard Waters

The latest round in the heavyweight Viacom v YouTube slugfest has clearly gone to Viacom.

Google fought to keep evidence filed in Viacom’s copyright infringement case sealed, but failed. The full gory details were on display on Thursday. This is Viacom’s application for summary judgment in the case, and this is Google’s version of events.

The result is death by a thousand quotes – the inevitable result of selective quotation from stacks of YouTube emails unearthed during legal discovery (all the email written by co-founder Chad Hurley was said to have been lost, but his replies to his associates are on record). My colleague Ken Li has been combing through the documents. Some highlights after the jump. 

Paul Taylor

Those innocuous-looking  ‘wall warts’ that plug into the mains to recharge the batteries in most portable electronic devices including mobile phones, laptops and digital music players have a dark side.

If you leave them plugged in after removing the portable device they continue to consume a small amount of power or ‘vampire energy.’ While the amount of energy wasted by a single wall charger is fairly insignificant, it quickly adds up if everyone does it.