Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending March 11: Google opens its cloud-based apps marketplace, rumors heat up that iPhone 4.0 software will support multitasking, Facebook and Twitter plot social networkers on a map, iPad shipping date announced, and Motorola partners with Microsoft for mobile search.

Google launches a software apps marketplace
Further investing in the cloud, Google launched the Google Apps Marketplace on March 9, paving the way for mainstream commercialisation of cloud-based application sales. "Today, we're making it easier for these users and software providers to do business in the cloud with a new online store for integrated business applications," explained Google. "Google's launch of a new Google Apps Marketplace for third-party business applications feels like the guy in the big house at the end of the block inviting the rest of the neighborhood over for a party," said TachFlash's Todd Bishop. On further investigation ZDnet's Larry Dignan wrote, "Overall, the Google Apps Marketplace is well stocked and highlights a budding ecosystem"..." Add it up and Google has delivered a business app outlet that has a solid roster of reviews and a strong ecosystem on display."

Apple iPhone 4.0 software to support multitasking
According to an article on Apple-centric blog AppleInsider, the next major version of Apple's iPhone software (4.0) will deliver multitasking support. "Apple this summer will go a long way towards silencing critics and catering to one of the most prevalent demands of its iPhone user base, when it introduces a multitasking solution through the handset's 4.0 software update that will finally allow several third party apps to run concurrently and in the background" writes the blog. The blogosphere seemed to agree there was a large possibility the rumor could prove true. "No technical details provided. My hunch is that they're right, though" wrote Daring Fireball's John Grubber.

Facebook and Twitter turn on location
Twitter and Facebook were both busy putting the final touches on new location-based features this week. According to a New York Times report published on March 9, Facebook is getting ready to turn on one of its many geolocation projects in April during its annual F8 developers' conference. The project will be a two-tiered affair explained New York Times reporter Nick Bilton: "One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends. The other will be a set of software tools, known as A.P.I.'s, that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users." Meanwhile TechCrunch blogger MG Siegler also reported that Twitter has been intermittently testing new Geolocation features too. With the new features turned on, any tweets that have been tagged with location data display a placemarker underneath the post.

Apple announces iPad shipping date and airs commercial during Oscars
In some unlikely celebrity-tech news, bloggers spotted Steve Jobs amongst the start-studded crowd at the Oscars this week and caused a fan fair on the blogs with the news. While bloggers were busy discussing Steve Job's appearance at the awards ceremony, Apple aired the first iPad advertisement during TV coverage of the event. The headlines read: "OMG it's Steve Jobs! I'm the only one yelling at him!", "Apple kicks off iPad ad blitz at Oscars; Cash cow in the making?" and "Jobs and iPad make Oscar cameos".

Motorola Partners with Microsoft
Bloggers were left flabbergasted when Motorola announced an alliance with Microsoft Corp. in a March 10 press release. "When we heard Google's threatened pullout of China had prompted Motorola to seek out an alternative search provider for its China-bound handsets, we can't say we were expecting a partnership with Microsoft to result," wrote Engadget's Nilay Patel. The deal will see a bookmark for Microsoft's web browser Bing and an enhanced search widget with Bing integration come as standard on all Motorola's Android-based smartphones launching in China.