Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending February 26: Apple removes more than 5,000 overtly sexual apps from the App Store, Google faces investigation by the European antitrust regulator for its search algorithms, a lawsuit holds Google executives liable for content posted on Google-owned sites and makes bloggers question the future of web privacy, Walmart purchases video site Vudu, and the number of posts on microblogging site Twitter reaches a rate of 50 million tweets per day.
Apple bans sexy apps
The week was full of Apple-related blog posts as the company continued removing more than 5,000 apps that contained "overtly sexual content" from their App Store. Bloggers tried to understand Apple's decision to remove applications like online beachwear retailer Simply Beach's swimwear app (which was eventually quietly reinstated) whilst the company kept other, more visually suggestive such as content from Playboy and Sports Illustrated in the store). Midway through the week bloggers thought they had uncovered the story when they were tipped off that Apple was introducing an "explicit" section in the store. But the stories were short lived and caused more chatter on the blogs when Apple removed the category from developers' prying eyes. A more recent article by John Gruber on the Daring Fireball blog explained that Apple was trying to clean up its App Store in an attempt to portray a squeaky clean brand image.
Google under investigation by EU
As some blogs pointed out, this week has not been a good one for internet giant Google and its EU operations. The company is being investigated by the European Union for "abusing its dominant position" in the internet search market after three European-based companies, Foundem, Ciao and ejustice.fr lodged official complaints with the European Commission. Bloggers insinuated that Microsoft was inadvertently launching an attack on Google. "That's right: a Microsoft search site is suing Google for not indexing it as highly as it should," wrote Computerworld's Seth Weintraub. "This is, of course, quite interesting," explained TechCrunch's MG Siegler, "since Microsoft has famously been involved in antitrust investigations for over a decade now in Europe."
Google lawsuit = threat to the web
Google has publicly opposed a court ruling in Italy after three former Google executives were "convicted of violating Italian privacy laws" and held criminally responsible for videos posted on YouTube. Bloggers like TechCrunch's Mike Butcher and Search Engine Watch's Nathania Johnson called the ruling "ridiculous" and "insane" - feelings that were replicated across the web in the tech blogs. Google explained, "In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question."... "we are deeply troubled by this conviction for another equally important reason. It attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built. Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming.
Walmart buying Vudu
Walmart announced it had purchased movie streaming company Vudu in an attempt to "enhance home entertainment and information delivery options for consumers" leading bloggers such as Boy Genius Report's Kelly Hodgkins to question, "does Walmart wield enough power to be the game changer that forces the movie industry to let go of its precious DVD and embrace the online streaming model of distribution?." The discussion (as is to be expected every once in a while on the tech blogs) soon moved to questions about what would happen to Vudu's partnership with the Adult Video Network (AVN) and its "After Dark" adult content area. It was soon revealed that Walmart would be discontinuing its adult movies service. "First, Apple. Now, Walmart. Porn gets no tech respect," complained Zdnet's Sam Diaz.
Twitter reaches 50 million tweets per day
Twitter reported that it had reached a rate of 50 million tweets per day on February 22 - a far cry from their 5,000 tweets a day in 2007. The rate equates to around 600 tweets per second and that is after Twitter has edited out all the tweets coming from accounts identified as spam. The highly covered news soon turned into a discussion about how Twitter plans to turn the microblogging service into a money-making venture. According to online news service MediaPost, Twitter is internally testing an ad platform that will enable the company to monetize their service.