Hannah Kuchler

Facebook has just spent $2bn on start-up Oculus VR, in a bet that virtual reality headsets will be the next big social platform after smartphones. The world’s largest social network thinks virtual reality will become part of everyone’s daily life, being used in everything from entertainment to education. This is Facebook’s second big deal of the year, as Mr Zuckerberg goes on an acquisition spree to help maintain its dominance. Join Hannah Kuchler and Tim Bradshaw for a live blog of the call where Mr Zuckerberg is expected to explain the sense behind the deal.
 

Machine blowing away pieces paper

It only takes a quick internet search of the terms “UPS” and “telematics” to understand why the promised benefits of big data are likely to take longer to arrive than many have been led to believe.

Among the links to technology information sites and Teamsters Union web pages is a comment from a blogger known as Denverbrown.

Addressing drivers for the US parcel delivery service UPS, it sums up the mood of workers who sometimes find themselves at the sharp end of new technologies like this: “The system should be known as Harassamatics. They tell you it’s about safety, and seat belts . . . It’s all about stealing your break time for their profit, and harassing you into a heightened state of frenzy about your job.”

Big data is facing its human moment.

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The prospect of a US-based IPO by Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba has triggered a recent wave of short-term conjecture over the eye-watering figures involved.

A listing could garner as much as $25bn for example – making it the largest float in history. Wall Street banks could reap up to $400m in fees. Alibaba’s $170bn annual revenue now accounts for 2 per cent of China’s gross domestic product, and is bigger than those of eBay and Amazon combined.

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Tim Bradshaw

Ray-Bans via Instagram

Google has been working hard lately to dampen the constant, rumbling criticism of Glass. First, it issued guidelines on etiquette for its pioneering wearable gadget, warning early adopters: “Don’t be a glasshole.”

Then last week, it decided that the people buying its $1,500 headset weren’t glassholes after all, trying to dispel ten “myths” about the prototype product: Glass really isn’t a “distraction from the real world” or “the perfect surveillance device”, it insisted in a blogpost.

The ground suitably prepared, Google has now made a much more meaningful step towards mainstream acceptance: it is partnering with the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley frames to make Glass fashionable. Read more

Square, the payments processing start-up, is looking for new users for its credit card device among the US’s growing Latino community.

The company, co-founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is today unveiling Spanish language support and software in hopes of tapping into the purchasing power of America’s more than 50m Latinos. Read more

Robert Cookson

Google has fired off a new salvo in its campaign to convince the world that Glass is cool rather than creepy.

A month after telling early adopters of the wearable technology how to avoid becoming a “Glasshole”, Google is now attempting to win over the public with a Buzzfeed-style list of “The Top 10 Google Glass Myths”. Read more

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone at Pudong financial district in ShanghaiA new war is brewing between China’s three internet giants, known collectively as BAT – short for Baidu, the dominant search engine, Alibaba, which controls 80 per cent of China’s ecommerce, and Tencent, the gaming and social media juggernaut with a market capitalisation of $132bn. For Wang Ran, a blogger and founder of China eCapital, an investment bank, the competition between Didi Dache [“Honk Honk Taxi”], a Tencent taxi-hailing app, and Alibaba’s Kuadi Dache [“Fast taxi”] is “the first battle in the first world war of the internet”.

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Richard Waters

For its most promising new technology, IBM has been searching for problems to solve that are both deep and broad enough. Now, with a clinical trial in the US aimed at personalising the treatment of cancers, it might just have found one. Read more

Here are some figures to back up the mad race to monetise mobile by tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

Facebook’s chief security officer said on Tuesday the social network has united with its Silicon Valley competitors to improve cyber security, after a recent report suggested the National Security Agency may have posed as the social network to infect target’s computers.

Joe Sullivan said that Facebook was working hard to “make sure the system is robust enough that everyone should be coming in the front door with legal process and not getting information any other way”. Read more