Mark Zuckerberg accused the US government of bad PR, saying it failed to communicate the balance of security and economic interests behind its internet surveillance efforts – in turn creating a massive PR problem for Facebook.
“I think the government blew it,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It’s my job and our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook and the information they share with us. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy and companies. And I think they did a bad job of balancing those things.” Read more
Facebook launched its own Twitter-style hashtag system in an attempt to bolster its fledgling search feature, and raise a challenge to its rival social network that pioneered the use of the # symbol in online communications.
Introducing the marker to Facebook posts will help the company organise comments around certain celebrities or real-time events, like sports games, concerts, or television shows. This way users can search for what other people are saying about the same topic, and advertisers could target ads against real-time trends. Read more
Andreessen Horowitz is helping to put Silicon Prairie on the map of wanna-be tech hubs with its latest investment in the Des Moines, Iowa-based start-up, Dwolla.
The young internet payment network attracted $16.5m in a Series C round, led by Andreessen, with previous investors Village Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Union Square Ventures joining.
While setting up shop in the mid-western United States leaves the company far away from the investors and talent pools on the West and East Coasts, there are benefits to building a business in a less saturated market. Read more
Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.
The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.
“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more
Apple has bought WifiSlam, an indoor mobile location service, as the Silicon Valley giant continues to compete with Google in mapping capabilities.
The deal closed recently for $20m, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source.
WifiSlam’s technology uses ambient wireless signals that are already present in buildings to pinpoint the location of smartphones, as opposed to the space-based satellite signals relied upon for larger-scale GPS mapping and navigation systems. Read more
Publishers may take a cue from the software industry as they regroup from a decisive loss in the US Supreme Court over copyright rules.
After failing to persuade the justices to protect their foreign-made titles from resale in the US in the Kirtsaeng v Wiley case, publishers must instead rethink their international business practices.
While traditional publishers of books, music, and film have generally viewed the computer industry as a foe in various policy battles, it could find a saviour in borrowing its concept of software licensing agreements and applying them to physical goods. Read more
As iPhones and iPads have become normal accessories for upper middle class professionals, so too have new and hand-me-down cellphones and tablets become essential school supplies for their children.
Teachers have responded to the trend, incorporating the gadgets into their daily lesson plans. But that is widening the educational gulf between students and schools that can afford to keep up with the latest digital technologies, and those who cannot, according to a new report.
A survey of 2,500 US middle and high school teachers by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project revealed 52 per cent of teachers in upper-income schools say their students use their personal cell phones in class to look up information and complete assignments, compared to 35 per cent in low-income schools. Read more