(Reuters) - Google Inc will begin allowing users to personally endorse search results and Web pages, its latest attempt to stave off rival Facebook Inc while trying to jump onboard a social networking boom.
The so-called “+1” button will start to appear alongside Google search results for select users from Wednesday, letting people recommend specific search results to friends and contacts by clicking on that button.
Eventually, the feature may begin to influence the ranking of search results, though that is only under consideration. Results are now ranked via a closely guarded algorithm.
The world’s leader in Internet search is battling to maintain its share of Web surfers’ time and attention, which is increasingly getting taken up by Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. But it has struggled to find its footing in the nascent market.
Its last attempt to create a social network — Buzz — has not fared well. A flood of complaints about how Buzz handled user privacy cast a pall over the product. On Wednesday, Google announced it had reached a settlement with regulators under which it agreed to independent privacy audits every two years.
With the new +1 buttons, Google aims to counter one of Facebook’s most popular features. The new feature comes nearly a year after Facebook began offering special “Like” buttons to websites, creating a personalized recommendation system that some analysts believe could challenge the traditional ranking algorithms that search engines use to find online information.
A LOSING BATTLE?
Maintaining its role as the main gateway to information on the Internet is key for Google, which generated roughly $29 billion in revenue last year — primarily from search ads.
While Google remains the Internet search and advertising leader, Facebook is taking a larger and larger portion of advertising dollars.
Google said that +1 recommendations will also appear in the paid ads that Google displays alongside its search results. In its internal tests, Google found that including the recommendations boosted the rates at which people click on the ads, executives told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
Eventually, Google plans to let third-party websites feature +1 buttons directly on their own pages, the company said.
Google’s Matt Cutts, a principal engineer for search, said the +1 buttons were part of the evolution of Google’s own social search efforts, rather than a direct response to Facebook’s Like buttons.
“We always keep an eye out on what other people are doing, but for me the compelling value is just that it’s right there in the search results,” said Cutts.
Google introduced social search in 2009, and in February the company began displaying special snippets underneath any search results that have been shared by a person’s contacts on Twitter, the popular Internet microblogging service.
Currently Google is not using +1 recommendations as a factor in how it ranks search results — a user only sees that a friend recommended a search result if the result would have turned up in a search based on Google’s existing ranking criteria.
Google’s Cutts said the company is evaluating whether to use +1 recommendations as a ranking factor in the future.
To use the new recommendation system, users must create a Google Profile page. Any +1 clicks that a person makes will be publicly visible to their network of contacts, which is based on existing contacts in Google products such as the company’s Gmail email and its instant messaging service.
Google faced privacy criticisms last year when it launched Buzz, a social networking messaging product that automatically revealed people’s personal contact lists to the public.
Cutts said that Google hoped to address any potential privacy concerns with the +1 service by making it clear that any +1 tags are public.
“As long as people have that mental model, they know what to expect, they’re not surprised if they +1 something and it shows up in a different context,” he said.
The feature will initially be available to a small portion of Google users in the United States on Wednesday, and the company plans to allow other U.S. users to sign up to try the +1 feature later in the day.
(Reuters) - Google Inc will build a high-speed Internet network in Kansas City, Kansas, the first site selected by the company’s project to spur development of a new generation of Web applications.
The network, which is expected to go into service next year, will provide Internet access speeds that are 100 times faster than what most Americans currently have, Google said in a post on its company blog on Wednesday.
Google, the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine, announced plans in February 2010 to build a series of experimental ultra-high-speed networks in various cities across the United States. Google said the goal of building the networks was to test ways to create new Web services, as well as new ways to build fiber networks.
The company said at the time that the networks would provide 1 gigabit per second fiber-to-the-home connections at a competitive price to at least 50,000 people, and potentially to as many as 500,000 people.
Google said on Wednesday that it has signed a development agreement with Kansas City and expects to begin offering service in 2012, pending approval from the city’s board of commissioners.
“We can’t wait to see what new products and services will emerge as Kansas City moves from traditional broadband to ultra high-speed fiber optic connections,” Google said on its blog on Wednesday.
Google said it would look closely at ways to bring high speed Internet access to other cities across the country.
Click on Paz for more exclusive LoveCinema images from Monday night premiere party for “Cat Run”
(Reuters) - Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is returning to the microblogging company to oversee product development, even as one of Twitter’s other founding members cuts back his involvement, the company said on Monday.
Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006 along with Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and served as its first CEO until being replaced by Williams in 2008, will become Twitter’s executive chairman, the company said on Monday.
Dorsey will also remain chief executive of Square, a separate mobile payment start-up that has also based in San Francisco.
The move represents the latest shuffle among the creators of the popular Web service, which has more than 200 million registered accounts and has been valued at nearly $8 billion by investors buying shares of the privately-held company in the secondary market.
In his new role, Dorsey will return to Twitter “in an everyday role to lead our product development,” the company said.
Dorsey’s role focusing on products comes about six months after Williams stepped down from the CEO job — handing the reins to Dick Costolo — so he could be “completely focused on product strategy,” the company said at the time.
Twitter spokesman Matt Graves said in an emailed statement on Monday that Williams “decided a couple of months ago to be less involved day to day at Twitter.”
Williams currently serves as a “key advisor” to the company, said Graves.
“He continues to have a close relationship with the company providing strategic advice and, of course, he remains an active board member,” Graves said.
Twitter, which allows people to send 140-character text messages, or Tweets, to groups of so-called followers, is one of the Web’s most popular social networking services, along with Facebook and Zynga.
The service has become a popular communications tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses, and has played a role in several geopolitical events, such as recent uprisings in the middle east.
In December Twitter was valued at $3.7 billion in a $200 million funding round led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. An auction of Twitter shares on the secondary market earlier this month, suggested investors were valuing the shares at $7.7 billion.
Square, the mobile payment company that Dorsey co-founded in 2009, said in a statement that it would remain Dorsey’s top priority.
(Reuters) - Parents whose hectic schedules mean they can’t be at home when their children go to bed can now buy an app which enables them to read their youngsters a goodnight story or sing them a lullaby from afar.
“Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime” allows iPad and iPhone 4 users to read their children tales and rhymes like Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty and Three Blind Mice from their office desks or anywhere else they may be so their children don’t miss out on their bedtime ritual.
“In a frantic modern world where business trips, expeditions and sometime separations draw parents further from their children, Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime brings them back together,” said Chris Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of digital book publisher Atomic Antelope, which created the app together with digital design studio ustwo.
Parents and children synch their iPhones or iPads by signing into Game Center — Apple’s online gaming portal — so they can interact on their screens in real time, with parents able to guide children through the book or watch as their children turn the pages.
“They can have a conversation on an audio level and a connection on a visual level,” Steve Bittan, Marketing and Communications Manager at ustwo, told Reuters.
Now available on the App Store, the interactive book simulates gravity so that scenes from the nursery rhymes and stories react when children touch or shake their iPhone or iPad.
The app, which costs 2.39 pounds ($3.83), was the number one selling iPad book last week, Bittan said.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison)
(Reuters) - Google is joining Citigroup and Mastercard to set up a mobile payment system that will turn Android phones into a kind of electronic wallet, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The new technology, which is in its early stages, will allow consumers to wave their Android phones in front of a small reader at the checkout counter to make payments, the Journal reported.
The planned payment system would allow Google to offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target advertisements and discount offers to mobile device users near their stores, the sources told the WSJ.
Google is not expected to get a cut of the transaction fees, the paper said.
Initially, holders of Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards would be allowed to pay for purchases by activating a mobile payment application developed for one current model and many coming models of Android phones, the paper said.
Google, Citigroup and Mastercard could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)
CHICAGO (AP) - Add “Facebook depression” to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors’ group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.
Researchers disagree on whether it’s simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.
But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.
With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.
It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O’Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what’s really going on. Online, there’s no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.
The guidelines urge pediatricians to encourage parents to talk with their kids about online use and to be aware of Facebook depression, cyberbullying, sexting and other online risks. They were published online Monday in Pediatrics.
Abby Abolt, 16, a Chicago high school sophomore and frequent Facebook user, says the site has never made her feel depressed, but that she can understand how it might affect some kids.
“If you really didn’t have that many friends and weren’t really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples’ status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset,” she said.
“It’s like a big popularity contest - who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged,” she said.
Also, it’s common among some teens to post snotty or judgmental messages on the Facebook walls of people they don’t like, said Gaby Navarro, 18, a senior from Grayslake, Ill. It’s happened to her friends, and she said she could imagine how that could make some teens feel depressed.
“Parents should definitely know” about these practices,” Navarro said. “It’s good to raise awareness about it.”
The academy guidelines note that online harassment “can cause profound psychosocial outcomes,” including suicide. The widely publicized suicide of a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl last year occurred after she’d been bullied and harassed, in person and on Facebook.
“Facebook is where all the teens are hanging out now. It’s their corner store,” O’Keeffe said.
She said the benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn’t be overlooked, however, such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.
“A lot of what’s happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far,” she said.
Dr. Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, said using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect on those prone to depression.
Parents shouldn’t get the idea that using Facebook “is going to somehow infect their kids with depression,” she said.
American Academy of Pediatric: http://www.aap.org© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Most Liked Article - $500:
Article that receives most facebook likes by the deadline, will receive $500 via PayPal.
May 15, 2011 at 6:00 P.M. (Pacific Time).
$500 Via Paypal by midnight of winning date.
The new wave of social media applications and platforms are geared towards raising money through check-in use. A new iPhone/iPad App has popped up in NYC.
Gigwalk defines itself as:
The Gigwalk mobile workforce is a community of folks
like you using their iPhone to connect, freely explore, and
earn as they go about their day. As you increase your Gigwalk Streetcred by doing quality work, you will gain access to higher paying Gigs.
I downloaded the free APP in the iTunes store. Gigwalk says that there are over 5 places in my zipcode that I can go photograph and list in my app, and check-in to, for money instantly into my PayPal.
Gigwalk replied to my FB post- I’m augmenting my blog…initially called them a search engine :) OOOPS
Gigwalk Just to clarify. We are a mobile workforce, not a search engine. Companies post Gigs in the Gigwalk marketplace and the Gigwalk workforce can perform these paid Gigs.
Residents of Manhattan’s East Side have proposed a sobering plan for drunken revelers: a ban on bar-hopping.
Officials at Community Board 6 want to outlaw organized pub crawls, claiming the booze-filled jaunts lead to late-night noise and bad behavior on their streets.
“It creates havoc,” said Toni Carlina, the district manager of the community, which covers 14th St. to 59th St. east of Madison Ave.
“Nobody wants to ruin anybody’s good time but people have to be considerate of their neighbors - and so do these bar owners.”
The board aims to pass a resolution banning the liquor trips at a March 31 meeting. They hope the advisory ruling, which would have no legal standing, will prompt state or city politicians to draft a law.
Board members were even more determined to act after St. Patrick’s Day, when a pub crawl billed as the largest in the world, made a path through East Side bars.
“It was a mess. … It got so bad that 17th Precinct police cars were all over the place,” Carlina said.
Some Murray Hill bar managers welcomed the measure, branding the bar crawls destructive.
Peter Arcari, 32, manager of Tonic East on Third Ave., said the one time he allowed pub crawlers inside, they destroyed the bathroom and caused “a ruckus” outside.
“They are poorly put together - I don’t see a positive upside for anyone involved,” he said.
But not everybody backs the ban.
“I think the whole thing is awfully silly. I don’t see this as a problem - crawls bring people to the neighborhood.”
Murray Hill nurse Debbie Stone, 36, said she wasn’t sold on the plan either.
“I’m not looking for my neighborhood to be crawling with drunken people,” she said. “If I saw a problem, I would support a measure. But I haven’t seen a problem.”
As coalition planes began enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya, rebels in the streets of Benghazi celebrated by cheering and extending their index and middle fingers in the air in the V symbol — a ubiquitous and unmistakable sign of . . . what? Victory? Peace? Celebration? All of the above?
The story of the V symbol spans cultures, time zones and decades. From World War II through the Arab spring of 2011, it has been used by the powerful and the powerless, by young and old, by warriors and peacemakers. Its meaning has evolved, yet it is understood around the world as a symbol of resistance. A brief history:
In a series of BBC broadcasts in 1941, Douglas Ritchie, better known as the radio figure “Colonel Britton,” urged resisters in German-occupied lands to take up a V sign as “the symbol of the unconquerable will of the occupied territories.” Soon, underground movements started chalking V’s onto Nazi tanks all over the continent.
Winston Churchill started using the newly minted “V for victory” symbol, and it became a well-known gesture on the home front, symbolizing the battle against an ultimate evil. The British propaganda campaign linked the V not only to the French word for victory, “victoire,” but also to the Dutch word for freedom, “vrijheid.”
Meanwhile, the symbol acquired new dimensions in the United States, where African Americans invented a “double V” to call for victory against the Axis powers in the war and against racism at home. Coined in a newspaper op-ed written by a black cafeteria worker in Wichita, the double V became an emblem on the top of black newspapers, a reference in popular songs and even a prominent hairstyle.
After 1945, U.S. presidents such as Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower used the sign when celebrating electoral victories. Richard Nixon did the same, but his most memorable use of the gesture was on Aug. 9, 1974, when the resigning president boarded Marine One for the final time and, turning to his staff, stretched out his arms and offered the V with both hands — a symbol of victory to ease his disgrace.
By the time of Nixon’s farewell, the V sign had moved from the province of political leaders to the counterculture, with college students and protesters using it as a symbol of opposition to the Vietnam War. As the antiwar movement morphed into the more general cultural rebellion of the Woodstock era, the sign became a generational icon synonymous with peace and with struggle against the military-industrial complex.
The gesture soon reached the Middle East. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat used it as early as 1969 to underscore the struggle against Israel. The Black September group’s terrorists and Lebanese crowds flashed it in the 1970s. At the end of the decade, Iranians gave the sign in their revolution against the shah.
Back in Europe, the V for victory lived on during the 1980s. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rallied her countrymen with a Churchill-esque V during the Falklands War (though she sometimes accidently posed the sign palm-inward, an unrelated and offensive English gesture akin to the middle finger). At the same time, Polish Solidarity activists flashed the V as they protested the Soviets — just as Poles had in their fight against the Nazis 40 years before. And when the Berlin Wall collapsed, commentators noted the prevalence of the symbol at East German freedom rallies.
The gesture took on further historical significance in Iraq’s ink-stained parliamentary election of 2005, the country’s first general election since the U.S.-led invasion and the removal of Saddam Hussein. The symbol also reemerged in Iran, in the 2009 revolt after the disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It even made its way to southern Sudan in its referendum for independence from the north early this year.
Today, demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Bahrain flash the symbol while protesting against their governments, continuing its long history as a sign of popular resistance — a history that originated in Britain, crisscrossed the Atlantic, landed in the Middle East and Africa, and will no doubt continue to spread as long as people rally around causes and against oppression.
Nathaniel Zelinsky is a student at Yale University and has contributed to the Huffington Post and National Review Online.
OMG! The exclamatory online abbreviation has won the approval of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The term - short for “Oh my God” or “Oh my gosh” - is one of dozens of new entries in the authoritative reference book’s latest online update.
Other Internet-inspired expressions given the stamp of approval include LOL, “laughing out loud”; IMHO, “in my humble opinion”; and BFF, “best friends forever.”
Dictionary compilers said that although the terms are associated with modern electronic communications, some are surprisingly old. The first confirmed use of “OMG” was in a letter in 1917.
“Things people think are new words normally have a longer history,” Graeme Diamond, the dictionary’s principal editor for new words, said Friday.
“Who knows how many people from 1917 onwards were using that term, in correspondence that we just don’t have access to. With the advent of the mass media we have access to much more personal information.”
That helps explain a flood of new terms from the online world, including ego-surfing - the practice of searching for your own name on the Internet - and dot bomb, a failed Internet company.
Not all the new abbreviations originated online. One new entry is wag, for “wives and girlfriends.” First used in 2002 to describe the female partners of the England soccer team, it is now used to denote the glamorous and extravagant female partners of male celebrities.
“By our standards WAG is a real rocket of a word,” Diamond said. “To go from being coined in 2002 to being included in 2011 is quite unusual.”
The new update includes about 900 new words and meanings, from “flat white” - a milky espresso-based drink originating from Australia and New Zealand - to “muffin top,” defined as “a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers.”
The dictionary also includes a new entry for “heart” as a verb, a casual equivalent of “to love” that is represented with a symbol, as seen on millions of souvenirs proclaiming “I (heart) New York.”
Editors publish updates to the online Oxford every three months. The Internet version of the dictionary, which launched in 2000, gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers and may eventually replace the mammoth 20-volume printed Oxford English Dictionary, last published in 1989.
By the time the lexicographers finish revising and updating a new edition - a gargantuan task that will take a decade or more - publishers doubt there will be a market for the printed form.
By then, a multi-volume printed work may be - to use another new OED entry - TMI: too much information.
LONDON (AP) - Not feeling the royal wedding spirit yet? It may be time to download a countdown clock to your smartphone.
More than a dozen smartphone apps are offering to bring fans everything royal wedding-related wherever they are - so they can check the days and minutes until Prince William and Kate Middleton’s April 29 wedding, hoard news and pictures about them and instantly share their favorite royal wedding tidbits on social media networks.
Most of the apps are tailored for iPhones or iPads. Some are fairly informative: There are apps that feature live coverage of the wedding on the day, a weather forecast for London’s Westminster Abbey up to 10 days in advance, and royal protocol in case, for whatever reason, you need to greet the queen.
Hello! Magazine, a popular source of celebrity news, promises exclusive commentary, while an app developed by mobile games company Neon Play has teamed up with Ian Jones, a photographer who has snapped William’s portrait in the past, to dish up 100 exclusive images of the royal family.
If that isn’t enough, one iPhone app - “Alarm Royale” - even lets people set their phone alarm clock to a wedding march or royal-themed music like “God Save the Queen” and “Rule Britannia.”
Once a person wakes up, the app also shows them a new fact about the royal couple every day, said developer Mark Riley.
“It’s fairly lighthearted,” he said. “There are more modern elements in it as well, like social networking - you can share the facts on Facebook and Twitter.”
Like Riley, many app developers aim to connect users to a digital community of royalists all over the world. While the U.S. and Britain are the largest markets, people are downloading the apps from as far away as the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
“It’s one big party,” said Diane Hall, president of Toronto-based 2 For Life Media Inc., which launched an iPad royal wedding app that lets users share marriage advice and wedding tips to the royal couple through a virtual guestbook. Wills and Kate - as they are known in the British tabloids - most likely will never read the entries, but part of the fun is reading up on what other “guests” want to tell them, she said.
“You get an interactive experience. You can be informed but also share with others and have a good laugh,” Hall said.
With online social media and digital technology, more people than ever can “participate” in the historic event in real time.
Palace officials are putting all their official royal wedding photos up on the photo-share site Flickr, and a royal wedding website is in place to spread the word for the latest announcements. An official Twitter account ensures that those messages travel far and wide.
And the millions of fans who won’t get a chance to line London’s streets for the royal wedding procession can still get a feel for the route with a 3D map introduced by Google maps earlier this month.
All that is probably too much information for most men, though.
“We make it fun for the men, but I think the women are the really keen ones,” Hall said with a laugh.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - We’ve all been to weddings where the bride and groom hand out disposable cameras to capture every angle of their big day. Now, a new application called Color allows you to do something similar with your phone, by sharing your images, videos and comments with anyone who comes within 50 feet of you.
The free app figures out if other users are close to you by using a secret blend of GPS data, ambient noise and even light.
Then your updates become available to them and you in turn see theirs.
The app, available initially on iPhones and Android-based smartphones, was created by a group of technologists led by CEO Bill Nguyen, the serial entrepreneur who sold digital music locker site Lala.com to Apple Inc. for an estimated $85 million back in December 2009.
Nguyen said the app will help people break out of the mold of their current group of friends and give them more information about the people around them - namely co-workers and neighbors.
“I talk about identity: where I work and where I live. That’s a big chunk of who I am,” said Nguyen, 40, who demonstrated the app to The Associated Press. “But oddly, these people aren’t on my Facebook.”
While your first name appears on your posts, there is no password and no friending. So unlike Facebook, the notion of limiting private content to a friend network doesn’t exist.
In the future, the app will be able to intuit relationships based on whom its users spend time with regularly because it collects data constantly. You could bump into an acquaintance’s co-worker and immediately know that, simply because the two were in the same place during daylight hours on weekdays.
“The days of having to say anything are done,” Nguyen said. “There’s no more profiles, there’s no more friending, there’s no more electronic dog fence created by Facebook. It’s all over. This is the post-PC world. It’s a brand new way of sharing.”
Along with people within 50 feet, Color keeps sending feeds of people you recently were in contact with, although those contacts fade over time if you don’t engage with their streams. And if you’re at a concert, the app knows to string the entire group into one massive stream.
Color, with 30 employees in Palo Alto, Calif., was seeded with $41 million in capital - $25 million from Sequoia Capital, $9 million from Bain Capital, and $7 million from Silicon Valley Bank.
Mike Krupka, managing director of Bain Capital Ventures, said the site would seek to generate revenue from advertising by the end of the year. One possible way to help businesses advertise would be to enable restaurants to post photos of their specials to recent guests. Users might also be enticed by seeing pictures of what their acquaintances had ordered the last time they ate there.
“We believe that if you create a product that the consumer truly values to enhance their life experience, you’ll find a way to monetize that,” he said.
Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said the app was a good test to see if active social networkers were ready to take another step toward more sharing and less privacy. He noted that Nguyen is apt to change the app if people react adversely to the lack of privacy controls - noting that Lala was once a site that stored one’s personal CD collection online before becoming a way to buy Web-based music.
“He’s willing to start with an idea and see how people react and change it accordingly,” McGuire said. “These guys have built the tools. Now it’s up to the consumers to do something with it.”
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Amazon.com Inc. is getting into the app-selling arena by opening an online store to distribute software for smartphones and tablet computers running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.
The Amazon Appstore, which was unveiled Tuesday, includes free and paid apps from Android software developers.
The online retailer decided to focus on the market for Android apps because of its rapid growth, said Aaron Rubenson, who is in charge of the Appstore’s business operations. Since 2008, a slew of Android-running phones and tablets running Android have been released, and Google’s own Android Market app store, which is available on these devices and online, now offers more than 150,000 apps.
As Amazon sees it, this growth can make it hard to discover apps that you like. The company believes its experience helping shoppers find what they want online will translate well - especially because it could use data on what you’ve bought from Amazon.com in the past to recommend Appstore apps.
Rubenson would not say how many apps the Appstore will include initially, but said there will be a broad selection including note-taking program Evernote and the game PacMan. Prices will be competitive when compared with the Android Market, he said.
The Appstore will also offer such perks as allowing users viewing the site on a computer to test out many apps before buying them and giving visitors a paid app for free each day. The first freebie will be Angry Birds Rio, which is a new version of the popular “Angry Birds” game series that ties in with the upcoming animated movie “Rio.” It normally costs $1.
Seattle-based Amazon will be testing all apps before adding them to the Appstore to make sure they work as developers describe them and that they’re free of malicious software, Rubenson said. Available apps will conform to Amazon’s general content rules, which means the Appstore will, for example, exclude apps that include pornographic content.
The Appstore is available online at Amazon.com/appstore, and a mobile version is available for download at the same Web address.
Besides the software available through the Appstore, Amazon sells a variety of digital content including songs in the MP3 format and movies and e-books for its Kindle electronic reader.
Aside from competition from Google and other purveyors of Android apps, Amazon is facing another challenge: Apple Inc. filed a lawsuit Friday contesting Amazon’s use of the term “App Store,” which is the name that Apple uses for its online store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. That store was launched in July 2008 and now offers more than 350,000 apps. Before its launch, Apple applied for a trademark for the “App Store” term.
“We’ve asked Amazon not to copy the App Store name because it will confuse and mislead customers,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.
Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako said the company does not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
- Rachel Metz, AP Technology Writer
I love hearing good news from friends from childhood- sorry I can’t help with the Skype in, my blog-o-sphere shows WHERE I am :)