Tech wrap: Apple “spaceship” to tackle “weed” problem

June 8, 2011

Apple plans to build a circular “spaceship” building in hometown Cupertino — and be the best office building in the world, CEO Steve Jobs said. The ailing Jobs, formally on leave from the company, made his second public appearance in two days late on Tuesday to show off plans to the Cupertino city council. Apple has grown “like a weed” Jobs said, and needs a place to put roughly 12,000 people. The massive new structure would be in addition to the main campus at 1 Infinite Loop.

Facebook is providing European regulators with information about its use of facial recognition technology, in response to concerns about the company’s roll-out of the technology’s availability outside of the U.S.. Facebook said there was no “formal investigation” under way. The move comes after comments by Gerard Lommel, a Luxembourg member of the so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, who said the group would study Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology for possible rules violations, according to a report in Bloomberg earlier on Wednesday.

EBay is hunting for acquisitions to speed up its development of image recognition and augmented reality features as the online retailer and auctioneer seeks to capitalize on the potential of mobile phones to help consumers make impulse purchases. Steve Yankovich, head of eBay mobile, told Reuters his division had the company’s full support to spend money on innovative technology, as the fastest growing part of eBay which is helping to renew the 15-year-old company’s image.

Research firm Gartner lowered its view on global PC market growth for 2011 to 9.3 percent this year, down from the 10.5 percent it previously forecast, due to economic uncertainties as well as a lack of compelling PC products.

For 24 hours on Wednesday, websites with more than 1 billion combined visits a day joined distribution companies to enable IPv6 — a new Internet protocol with 4 billion times as many addresses as the nearly exhausted pool of Internet addresses used today — on their main services. Google, Facebook, Akamai, Yahoo, Limelight Networks and Verisign were some of those taking part.

“IPv6 is fundamentally about allowing the Internet to scale to meet the expectations and demands of a global population of 7 billion, coupled with increased expectations of how many devices are expected to be able to connect to the Internet,” said Matthew Ford of the Internet Society, a non-profit group dedicated to the open development of the Internet, which organized World IPv6 Day.

Prompted by the soaring cost of developing and marketing their medicines, drug companies are embracing the Internet in a bid to drive down costs. Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, is pushing the envelope on clinical trials by conducting the first ever “virtual” study of a medicine, in which patients will be able to participate by using home computers and smartphones. At the same time, several large companies are changing the way they communicate and market their medicines to doctors by establishing new online services to answer product queries and let physicians order free samples.

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