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Google’s Big Push to Own Social Starts Now (CNET)
Nearly two years after the launch of Google+, Google’s social strategy looks like less of a joke and more of a calculated maneuver to make its social network the underlying fabric that weaves together relationships spread across desktop and mobile, Android and iOS. Wednesday, at its annual Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, the search company announced 41 new features for its Google+ social network, including a Pinterest-like look, auto-generated related hashtags, “Awesome” photo options and a streamlined messaging experience. SocialTimes Google also launched All Access music streaming service, first leaked Tuesday, that seeks to bring customized radio stations, on-demand streaming and the user’s stored music library into the same interface. Chris Yerga, the engineering director for Android, called the service “the best of both worlds: your personal library blended with ours.” VentureBeat YouTube announced that it’s rolling out livestreaming to many of its channel partners. The livestreaming feature is only available for channels that are in good standing and have at least 1,000 subscribers. The Verge Following Google’s demands for Microsoft to remove its Windows Phone YouTube app, Microsoft has responded saying it’s happy to include advertising. Google sent a cease-and-desist letter to Microsoft recently, with concerns that the Windows Phone YouTube app does not display ads. “We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. GigaOM On Wednesday, the company launched the first substantial and major overhaul of Google Maps and created a product that is finely tuned to today’s modern, data rich web. When compared side by side with early versions of Google Maps, the difference between the maps of 2006 and 2013 is the equivalent to the difference between a Rio MP3 player and an iPod. The New York Times/Bits Blog The company also revealed some new search tools. Taken together, they are another step toward Google’s trying to become the omnipotent, human-like “Star Trek” search engine that its executives say they want it to be. When people ask Google certain questions, it will now try to predict the person’s follow-up questions and answer them, too.
Amy’s Baking Co. Creates New Facebook Page, Heated Comments Continue (Phoenix Business Journal)
Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique and Bistro in Scottsdale, Ariz., apparently started a new Facebook page Wednesday morning after scathing comments and reported hacking issues caused problems after Friday night’s “Kitchen Nightmares” show. The restaurant’s owners, Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, are in the national spotlight after celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay walked out on the couple after they refused to listen to criticism about their food, how they talked to staff and how they handled their restaurant.
Saudi Government Seeking Workaround to Intercept Tweets (AllTwitter)
The Wall Street Journal reports a Saudi mobile phone operator, Mobily, is “investigating claims that its employees turned to an American software engineer and online-privacy advocate to seek help in finding ways to intercept messages sent via Twitter, Whatsapp and other popular social media in the kingdom.” Twitter does what it can to protect users’ privacy, requiring governments to go through legal channels to obtain private information – but some governments aren’t fond of rules.
NFL Player Instagrams Himself Peeing on IRS Building (Mashable)
We bet you’ve never expressed your frustration with the IRS quite like NFL player Evan Mathis did on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman posted a photo to Instagram in which he appears to be taking a leak on something that’s obviously IRS property.
Facebook Adds Star Rating Recommendations to Desktop Pages (AllFacebook)
Previously, star ratings were available only through mobile and through random sidebar polling, but Inside Facebook noticed that recently Facebook added the ability to visit a page from desktop and give it a rating. Whenever a user visits a place-based page (i.e. a page for a sports bar, retail store or other business), they can then give the business a recommendation and rate it on a five-star scale.
Twitter Archiving Service TweetBackup Hits the Deadpool as Owner Backupify Focuses More on Enterprise (TechCrunch)
Backupify — the cloud-based backup, search and restore provider for online services — is shutting down its TweetBackup service for Twitter users. The company has posted a note about the closure on its site, as well as — yes — on its Twitter account, noting that new signups are stopping as of Tuesday, and that existing users will have 30 days, until June 28, to keep logging into their accounts and back up their data.
TBS and TNT to Stream Online 24/7, Seeks to Fulfill ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ Ethos (LostRemote)
Turner Broadcasting channels TNT and TBS held its upfront presentations Wednesday at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, and while the bulk of the show was about new programming, the impact of social and digital media permeated the presentation. The big news was that TBS and TNT will begin streaming their linear channels online starting this Summer.
Apple Passes 50 Billion App Store Downloads, on Track to Hit 75 Billion Before the End of 2013 (The Next Web)
Apple on Wednesday passed the 50 billion App Store download mark, according to the countdown marker on its site. As per tradition, the company is celebrating the milestone with multiple prizes, including a $10,000 gift card awarded to the customer who downloaded the 50 billionth and 50 more $500 gift cards to the next few individuals.
Mashable Launches Google Glass App Dedicated to Viral Stories (AppNewser)
Tech blog Mashable has introduced a new app for Google Glass called Mashable Velocity for Google Glass, which alerts users about stories that go viral. When the app predicts that a story will go viral, the Google Glass user will get an alert.