Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending August 12 include the launch of games on Google+, ongoing legal battles between Apple and Samsung, Facebook’s new messenger app, the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader HTML5 web app and the role of social media in the London riots.
Google+ integrates social gaming apps
Google opened its new social network up to a torrent of well-known game developers and their games, giving users the ability to play Angry Birds, Bejeweled and Zynga Poker within Google+. Non-gamers on Google+ expressed their relief that games (and game notifications) have been relegated to their own separate page so they can easily be ignored by those who have no interest in them.
Apple blocks the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe
The ongoing legal battles between Apple and Samsung escalated. Apple was granted a preliminary injunction preventing Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all countries in the European Union with the exemption of the Netherlands. A second lawsuit in Australia resulted in a similar outcome with sales and advertising of the tablet delayed until Samsung “wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved.” Apple is also reported to be suing tablet maker Motorola over its Xoom tablet.
Facebook launches stand alone messenger app
Facebook unveiled a standalone iOS and Android group messaging application that rivals the likes of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Google's Google+ Huddle and Apple’s soon to be launched iMessage. The app is available for iOS and Android devices and can be used to send messages to Facebook friends and telephone contacts.
Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader and HTML5 web apps for iPad
Amazon launched the Kindle Cloud Reader, joining a growing number of large media companies who are porting their iPad and iPhone applications from the Apple App Store to the web using touchscreen-friendly HTML5 technology in order to circumnavigate Apple’s “greedy” fees and tough new rules. The Financial Times and Walmart’s online movie streaming service Vudu also announced the launch of brand new web apps customized for the iPad during the week.
The role of social media in the London riots
Social network users were blamed for much of the organized looting that took place during the violent riots in London, but users of the same online communities have also been credited for organizing large-scale post-riot clean ups. British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that a ban on social media might stop people plotting violence and criminality. The Next Web reported that Manchester Police were tweeting “names, dates of birth and addresses of looters” and TechCrunch revealed that a new Google Group called “ London Riots Facial Recognition” was using technology to identify looters.