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Google releases more details of Google Glass and announces competition to test it

Google glassGoogle announced yesterday that 8,000 “Glass Explorers” will help to test Google Glass. These technological glasses with a built in camera and computer screen will allow the wearer to take photos, record videos and access the internet to use email and social media.

They will also be able to take part in video chats, use maps, check weather forecasts and more. The device is voice activated and the display appears in a small, translucent area in the top right hand corner of the glasses. 

Google posted a video of the glasses being used on YouTube as it launched the competition, seeking “bold, creative individuals” to apply to be among the first in the world to try the long awaited and long worked on device.

However, the lucky winners of the competition will have to pay $1,500 (approximately £980) , plus tax for a pair, must live in the USA, and must explain in less than 50 words on Twitter or Google+ what they would do with the glasses. They must use the hash tag #ifihadglass. They are also encouraged to submit 5 photos and a 15 second video to accompany their application.

The competition closes on February 27th, and the winners must pick up their glasses from either New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. It is not expected that Google Glass will be on sale to the general public until at least 2014.

Commenting on the development, Google said: “We’re still in the early stages and, while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting”.

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Facebook facing legal action over like button

Facebook likeFor the 52% of the population that use Facebook, the “like” button has become part of standard, everyday conversation. Even for people who are not Facebook users, you could hardly not have heard of a Facebook like, or seen the thumbs up logo on a website or document. Facebook has dominated social media since it was launched nearly a decade ago.

However, the Facebook like button hit the news this week when it was revealed that a company is suing Facebook over its use of the iconic symbol.

Rembrandt Social Media holds patents that were granted to Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer in 1998, 5 years before college student Mark Zuckerberg created the social networking site.

He used them to create a social network site called Surfbook before he died in 2004. According to the legal firm acting on Rembrandt’s behalf, Surfbook allowed users to share information with their friends and family, who could approve entries in the social diary using a like button.

Rembrandt Social Media claims that the success of Facebook in part comes from Mr Van Der Meer’s patents, which were used without his permission.

The legal firm acting on behalf of Rembrandt Social Media said: "We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence".

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Twitter releases Vine – and controversy immediately follows

Twitter VineOn the 24th January, Twitter introduced Vine. Vine is a new mobile app that allows you to create and then share short videos on Twitter. It was acquired by Twitter in October 2012. Just as brevity is everything with a Twitter status (your tweets are limited to 140 characters in length), so too it is the case with Vine, as the video clips, which loop, can only be a maximum of six seconds long.

So far Vine is only available through the Apple app store and has only been released on the iPhone and iPod touch, although it is expected to be released on other platforms soon, including Android.

Originally, Twitter Vine was rated as suitable for 12 year olds and over. However, by the middle of this week, the app’s rating was changed to 17+ on the Apple app store, after a pornographic clip appeared in the “Editor’s choice” section, leading to a huge number of complaints. Twitter apologised, but because it cannot vet the videos before they go online, it has had to raise its age rating to the highest possible. The blogging service Tumblr and photo sharing service 500px have also seen their ratings changed to 17+ over the last couple of weeks.

The NSPCC said that parents have a responsibility to check how their children’s smartphones are being used. For more information about Twitter, click here.

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Google bounces back stronger than before

GoogleThe last time we posted about Google’s financial status, it was not good news for the leading search engine company. Their quarterly figures for the third quarter of 2012, between July and September, were disappointing, down 20% on the same period the year before, and the figures were accidently published early, taking everyone by surprise and causing their shares to plunge.

However, the report for the fourth quarter was a very different story. Revenues in the 4th quarter were 36% up on the same time last year, at $14.4billion - £9 billion, giving it it’s first ever record breaking $50 billion (£31billion) revenue year. Google’s co-founder and CEO, Larry Page, described it as “not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half”. Unlike the previous quarter, the figures were much higher than analysts were expecting. This quarter was 8% up on the previous quarter.

Paid clicks increased by 24% from last year, and 9% from the previous quarter. Unlike the last quarter, Google’s shares rose by 5% following the news. Although December saw Google record it’s lowest share in UK internet searches, it was still at 88.35%, huge market domination. As more and more people are accessing the web from a mobile device, Google are moving fast to make sure they adapt to this.

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