The BBC is developing an app that will allow its reporters in the field to file video, stills and audio directly into the BBC system from an iPhone or iPad. The software is being adapted for the Apple phones from an existing app used by the BBC and is due to be in use within around a month. As part of a new strategy which will see the broadcaster focus on getting the most out of smartphone technology, it is also aiming to obtain iPhone licenses for existing app Luci Live, allowing reporters to broadcast live from the phone using 3G signal. Martin Turner, head of operations for newsgathering, said developing the software for iPhone was “a logical extension of what the BBC can do already” but added that it was a “significant development”. “Reporters have been using smart phones for a while now but it was never good quality. Now it is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end if you’ve got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them.” He added that the development was part of a wider strategy at the broadcaster to make better use of smartphones in its field reporting.
Apple’s dominance of the mobile application space is a “threat” to the openness of the internet, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said. Wales made his comments while taking part in events to mark the 10th anniversary of the collaborative online encyclopedia at Bristol University. His concerns stem from the way Apple controls the distribution of apps for the iOS platform, which he believes constitutes a “closed system”.
“The concern is that in order to make software and distribute it for free, you have to get permission from Apple so that chokepoint is very dangerous and something I’m concerned about. When you own a device and you want to give someone that software, you should not have to get permission from someone else and I think that is a very important thing,” said Wales.
“People talk about net neutrality as an issue but the real action is in thinking about whether apps are a threat to the openness of the system,” he continued.
Wales seemed to play down the importance of the net neutrality debate, saying that many of the arguments involved purely hypothetical dangers that in reality pose no immediate threat. He also admitted to the BBC in a separate interview that Wikipedia, though in theory open to anyone who wishes to contribute, is too complicated for many people to edit and modify.
It isn’t just Wales that has raised objections to the App Store this week – Microsoft has raised objections to Apple’s trademarking of the term ‘App Store’, arguing that it is too generic to be trademarked.
Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room. CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of programme makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers. “We will work with content providers, but it is very unlikely that we will get into actual content production,” Schmidt told journalists after a keynote speech to the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Berlin. Sony said last week it had agreed to have Google TV on its television sets, and Samsung has said it was looking into using the service. The announcement comes less than a week after rival Apple unveiled its latest Apple TV product and will intensify a battle for consumers’ attention and potentially for the USD 180 billion global TV advertising market.
Apple Inc unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its Web-to-TV device on Wednesday, stepping up a battle with Google Inc and Microsoft Corp for control of the digital living room. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs also rolled out a completely overhauled lineup of iPod media players and the latest version of iTunes, with a new logo that does away with the outdated image of a CD. The new Apple TV device, which accesses content from the Internet and plays it on a TV, will sell for USD 99. It is a quarter the size of the original, which cost USD 229. The 4-inch-square device allows users to rent TV shows for 99 cents and first-run films for USD 4.99. Earlier models, which allowed users to only buy shows, failed to find a major audience. Alongside renting TV shows and movies, Apple TV users will be able to stream content from video rental site Netflix Inc. Analysts were lukewarm toward the device, though some saw it as only a small, initial step in a much more ambitious plan
Ping – Apple’s new social media network, will allow users to follow friends’ music interests working in a stream of updates similar way to Facebook or Twitter Having cornered the MP3 player, mobile phone and computer tablet markets with the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices respectively, last night Apple announced its latest expansion – into social media – with Ping. Ping will be integrated into Apple’s latest iTunes software update and will enable users, or “Pingers”, to follow musicians, friends and others to see details including what music they’re buying and what concerts they’re attending. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman and chief executive, said the information will arrive in a long stream of updates, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. “Be as private or as public as you want. The privacy is super-easy to set up,” he said adding that users can choose to automatically accept followers or decide on a follower-by-follower basis – similar sounding controls to those on Twitter. The service is available immediately to more than 160 million iTunes users, Jobs said, and will also be available across the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges.
Google is reportedly preparing to launch a music download and streaming service. A Wall Street Journal report cited unnamed sources in claiming that the company was working with music industry groups in preparation for a music download service set for release later this year. A streaming subscription service is also reportedly set to launch some time next year. The move would put Google in competition with Apple’s highly successful iTunes music store. The PC and handset-based service has staked its claim as the top music retailer in the world and served up more than 10 billion song downloads in its seven years on the market. The launch of a music service would also expand the areas in which Apple and Google find themselves in direct competition.
The German book price fixing scheme has been in place for more than 120 years. But the publishing world faces new challenges now that e-books and electronic reading devices have been thrown into the mix.
The German book price fixing scheme has been in place for more than 120 years. But the publishing world faces new challenges now that e-books and electronic reading devices have been thrown into the mix. Germany likes to think of itself as ‘the land of poets and thinkers.’ Considering the nation has around 20,000 publishers, about 5,000 book-sellers and more than 90,000 new books hitting the market each year it may seem hard to disagree with that assessment. However, the country’s publishing industry has had a little extra help: Germany operates a fixed book price system that allows publishers to set the cost of new releases. The time-honored pricing scheme has been is even protected under European Union regulations. Traditional German booksellers are set to face unprecedented competition as the digitization of books becomes more commonplace. E-book devices like the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle worry German publishers and booksellers, because they have the potential to eliminate, or at least weaken, the bookstore, just as Mp3 players hurt the record business. The same fixed-price laws that protect booksellers have a glitch when it comes to the virtual world. Legally, e-books are seen as a replacement for printed books, and as a result, must have set prices. But when it comes to taxation, e-books are considered software or electronics – not books. The higher tax and fixed prices mean that e-books are much more expensive in Germany than in markets like the US, where the dominance of Amazon and Apple has led to price wars.
Google will no longer allow staff to use Windows on their machines because of security fears, according to reports
Google is phasing out the use of Microsoft‘s Windows operating systems on its company computers because of ongoing concerns about security, the Financial Times reports.
Google staff will instead be asked to use Apple’s OS X operating system, or an open-source Linux platform, as the search giant tries to close the security loopholes that made it possible for Chinese hackers to gain access to email accounts. Security experts believe the hackers exploited a loophole in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser to hack in to the Gmail accounts of human rights activists and Chinese dissidents.
“We’re not doing any more Windows,” one Google employee told the FT. “It’s a security effort.” Another said staff had been “moved away from Windows PCs. following the China hacking attacks”.
Google, which employees around 10,000 people worldwide, is already encouraging new joiners to opt for Linux or OS X. “Linux is open source and we feel good about it,” another member of staff told the FT. “Microsoft, we don’t feel so good about.”
Google has not commented specifically on the rumours. “We’re always working to improve the efficiency of our business, but we do not comment on specific operational matters,” said the company in a statement.
Microsoft has also refused to comment on the speculation.
Those members of staff who wish to continue using Windows on their machine will need clearance from “quite senior levels”, according to the FT, but employees would have been more upset if Google had banned Macs running OS X rather than PCs running Windows.
The move highlights a growing tension between Google and Microsoft, which are competing in an increasing number of areas. Google is launching its own computer operating system, Chrome OS, to go head-to-head with Windows, while Google and Microsoft both have their own mobile operating systems. The recent launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine was an attempt to claw back some market share from Google, while both companies offer free web-based email and instant-messaging services.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that Linux and Mac OS X are more secure than Windows, but I do think it’s reasonable to claim that they’re safer because of the much smaller number of attacks that target the platforms,” said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with security specialists Sophos. “It’s a bit like deciding where to go on holiday – Baghdad or Bournemouth? You can come to a sticky end in either, but I know where I would rather be to reduce my chances.
“Furthermore, with Google Chrome OS around the corner, this could be the first step towards Google proving that an enterprise company can survive without much dependency on Microsoft at all.”
Facebook is the most visited site on the internet according to Google’s latest data. The site logged 570 billion page views in April, reaching 35.2 per cent of the total internet population. The next most popular site was Yahoo, with 490 billion page views and 31.8 per cent of the market. While Google’s data doesn’t include its own sites the full list does provide some fascinating insights into web search behavior. Microsoft’s Live site scooped third place but the open source Wikipedia claimed fourth, with one out of every five internet users visiting the crowd-sourced encyclopedia. The organisations latest upsets do not seem to have hurt the site’s credibility. Chinese search giant Baidu took eight place, reflecting its dominant position in its home market, with the official government news site of China, sina.com.cn, taking eleventh place. Mozilla came in 10th with 140 million page views while Apple languished in 27th place with barely half that number of visitors.
Sony Corp said on Thursday it would launch an e-reader and online content distribution service in Japan by year-end, taking on rival Apple Inc whose iPad hits shelves in the country on Friday. The maker of PlayStation games and Bravia flat TVs said it also plans to launch its e-book operations in China, Australia, Spain and Italy this year. Sony’s Reader electronics book reader, which vies with Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, is available in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The debut of the iPad, a computing and entertainment system that also functions as an e-reader, is expected to boost Japan’s still-small e-book market, which Chimera Research Institute expects to double to about USD 1bn in four years. Sony has partnered with telecoms operator KDDI Corp, printing firm Toppan Printing Co and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper to set up a planning company to prepare for the service, which will offer book, comic, magazine and newspaper content.