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Mar 27, 2014

Facebook to use satellites, drones to spread the Internet

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc is harnessing satellite, drone and other technology as part of an ambitious and costly effort to beam Internet connectivity to people in underdeveloped parts of the world.

The world’s No. 1 social network said on Thursday it has hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for the new “Connectivity Lab” project.

Mar 26, 2014

Facebook takes page out of Google playbook with Oculus deal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Does Facebook Inc have Google envy?

The social networking company’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, a maker of virtual reality goggles, took Wall Street and technology observers by surprise, not least because of the hefty price for a company with no real revenue and untested technology.

But Facebook’s desire to bet on “the platforms of tomorrow,” as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the deal on Tuesday, also marks a broadening of ambition for a company that has until now focused mainly on bolstering its existing service or defending its turf from immediate threats.

Mar 25, 2014

Facebook to buy virtual reality goggles maker for $2 billion

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc will acquire two-year-old Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion, buying its way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena with its first-ever hardware deal.

The acquisition, which comes hot on the heels of its $19 billion deal for messaging service WhatsApp, marks a big bet by Facebook to anticipate the next shift in an evolving technology industry, at a time when consumers are increasingly abandoning their PCs for smartphones.

Mar 25, 2014

Google slashes cloud computing prices in rivalry with Amazon

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc slashed its cloud computing service prices on Tuesday, seeking to wrest customers from Inc and Microsoft Corp in the fast-growing market of renting computers and data storage to companies.

Price cuts range from 30 to 85 percent. Google’s Cloud Storage will cost 2.6 cents per gigabyte, about 68 percent lower for most customers. Google’s Compute Engine services will cost 32 percent less across all sizes, regions and classes.

Mar 22, 2014

Twitter ban raises specter of broader social media clampdown

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Turkey’s abrupt ban on Twitter Inc stirred concerns on Friday that the country may pull the plug on other social media and Internet services as it grapples with internal turmoil.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has in the past threatened to block Facebook Inc and Google Inc’s YouTube as well, though both remained online.

Mar 21, 2014

Twitter hopes service restored soon in Turkey

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Twitter Inc said on Friday it hopes access to its social media service in Turkey will be restored soon, a day after it was blocked by the country’s government.

The ban, which has proven to be not entirely effective, is the latest effort by a government to squash critical comments that flow freely over Twitter’s social network and highlights the thorny policy challenge facing the company.

Mar 21, 2014

Obama to meet with U.S. tech executives on privacy, surveillance

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Executives of several large U.S. Internet companies, including Google Inc and Facebook Inc, were to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss changes to government surveillance programs.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama will meet with six tech executives to “continue his dialogue with them on the issues of privacy, technology and intelligence following his January 17 speech.” The meeting is scheduled to start in the Oval Office at 4:05 p.m. EDT (2005 GMT).

Mar 20, 2014

With cars, drivers, Google revs up home delivery

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20 (Reuters) – When Google
started testing a free same-day shopping delivery service in San
Francisco last year, industry observers were surprised by the
company’s foray into a notoriously tricky and decidedly
low-margin real-world business.

Others raised their eyebrows when orders of one or two
items, such as toothpaste or a can of soda, sometimes arrived in
a bag big enough to hold a week’s worth of groceries.

Mar 20, 2014

New Tribune mobile app creates ‘playlists’ of streaming audio news

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A new smarpthone app developed by the Tribune Co will read aloud a personalized “playlist” of news articles along with weather and traffic updates, as the media organization looks for new ways to reach consumers.

The free Newsbeat app released on Thursday is the first product developed by the year-old Tribune Digital Ventures group headed by former Yahoo Inc executive Shashi Seth.

Mar 18, 2014

Google says Android watches to be available later this year

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc said on Tuesday that smartwatches based on its Android mobile software will be available later this year, significantly expanding the Internet company’s push into the nascent market for wearable devices.

Google said it was partnering with several consumer electronics and technology companies, including Samsung Electronics Co, LG Electronics and Intel Corp, as well as with fashion company Fossil Group to develop the new line of watches.

    • About Alexei

      "I write about Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook. I’ve covered technology and business for more than ten years at publications including, CNET and The Industry Standard magazine."
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