MediaFile

Tech wrap: Facebook strikes a chord

Facebook unveiled new features that center on the way users listen to music and watch TV, offering tie-ups with the likes of Spotify and Hulu, as it attempts to make media an integral part of its service. The features, which also include ways for users to spiff up profiles in a magazine, photo-heavy style, were introduced on Thursday during Facebook’s annual f8 developers’ conference in San Francisco by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

For Facebook, a deeper integration of music, movies and other media into its service makes it more likely that users will spend more time on its site, enabling the company to generate more advertising dollars.

Serial entrepreneur and Stanford professor Steve Blank believes the moves by the world’s dominant social network are more of a threat to Apple than to Google.

Yahoo also debuted a new service on Thursday that lets its users share Yahoo news articles they and their Facebook friends have read, according to NYT’s Bits blog.

Hewlett-Packard Co named former eBay Inc Chief Executive Meg Whitman as its new president and CEO, replacing unpopular leader Leo Apotheker at the helm of the largest U.S. technology company.

Tech wrap: Google+ now open to the masses

Google has opened up its Google+ social network to anyone who’d like to give it a whirl, after a successful three-month run as an invite-only service. The company also rolled out a slew of new features for Google+, including integration of its flagship search engine into the platform, and expanded its Hangouts video-chatting feature to enable mobile use on its own Android-based smartphones. Support for Hangouts on Apple’s iOS mobile software is “coming soon”, Google promised in a blog post. Users will soon have the option to broadcast their Hangouts sessions beyond the nine allowed participants as well by opening them up to live viewing by anyone. Want to record a chat for posterity? Well, that’s coming soon too.

Google+ rival Facebook also unveiled new tweaks to its service on Tuesday, introducing a new “ticker” on its users’ home pages and providing real-time notifications of what friends are doing on the service. Facebook also revamped the service’s main news feed to flag important items — such as a new baby announcement — for Facebook users who have not logged on for a few days. Facebook also changed the way photos are displayed on the site, increasing the size of pictures that appear in a users’ news feed.

U.S. prosecutors accused poker website Full Tilt Poker on Tuesday of running a Ponzi scheme in which the company’s owners and board members paid themselves nearly half a billion dollars while defrauding players. That indictment accused three Internet poker companies — Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars — and 11 people, including Full Tilt director Raymond Bitar, of bank fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering offenses. Read the complaint in full here.