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Today is April 1st. April Fools’ day which the Internet first made amazing and then risked ruining. How did the Internet do this year? Google Japan gave us a robot hand you can use to type. Google+ introduce auto awesome photobomb which inserted David Hasselhoff into your pictures. Richard Branson played along with Nest for flights, giving Virgin airline passengers climate control. YouTube decided to stop producing the memes and let people do it this year. And SwiftKey for physical keyboards, Roku Watch, Samsung, Toshiba, AND HTcC’s smart gloves, CERN changing to comic sans as the official typeface, Sphero’s selfiebot, iFixit bought by Apple, AND the inevitable raft of awesome, possibly soon to be real fake products from ThinkGeek.
April 1st is also Gmail’s birthday. Harry McCracken has an excellent piece on Technologizer about the origins of Gmail and why it was launched on April Fool’s day. It mostly had to do with Sergey Brin’s sense of humor. Happy birthday Gmail! You did better than the email system I was using ten years before you, called PINE.
And now news. Ish. Reuters reports Apple suppliers will begin producing displays for the next iPhone in May, which would be about right on schedule for a fall release of the phone. Reuters source says Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display have all been tapped to make screens. The screens being produce in May are supposedly 4.7-inches, a big jump up from the current 4-inch screens in the iPhone 5S. Apparently a 5.5-inch screen is in the works but hit a snag and won’t be produced until later this year.
Engadget reports its sources say Google is testing a new camera app for Android with a background-blurring effect for portrait shots and improved panorama and Photo Sphere modes. Also photo framing gets a tweak so that what you see in the viewfinder is what you get in the picture. Nothing creeping in at the edges. And support for third-party filters is also supposedly on the way. The improvements would come in a standalone app so Android device owners wouldn’t have to wait for a carrier update to their OS.
Now actual news from not anonymous sources. TechCrunch reports that Pavel Durov, founder of Russian social network Vkontakte, announced he has resigned as the company’s Acting Director General. Durov said said it became “increasingly difficult” to run the social network after ownership changes put pressure on the company’s freedom of speech ethic. Durov has become increasingly outspoken about mass surveillance and freedom of speech in Russia. He sold his remaining stake in the company in January. Mail.ru owns 52% of Vkontakte.
CNET’s Jeff Bakalar reports select Xbox Live members will get invites to early access to a few new features for the Xbox One. Among the features are the ability to set DVR recordings and watch recordings from a tablet or smartphone. Also coming is “Rent Once, Play Anywhere” which lets you stop playback of a rented video on one device, say your Xbox and pick up where you left off on another, like a Windows Phone.
News From You:
fja submitted the BBC story on OKCupid dissuading its visitors from using Firefox, in protest over CEO Brendan Eich’s previous support of antigay marriage law in California. Visitors to OK Cupid’s site who use Firefox receive a screen asking them to use another browser, with an explanation of why. However a link does allow Firefox users to continue on to the main site. Mozilla told the BBC it has not been contacted by OKCupid and said “Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples.”
LifeDownloaded passed along the Verge story that HP has settled a class action lawsuit that alleged the company misled investors. The plaintiff’s claimed HP publicly said it would flood the market with WebOS powered devices after acquiring Palm in 2010, but that privately the company never actually planned any such thing. HP will pay $57 million as part of the mediated settlement.
And KAPT_Kipper posted the GigaOm story that Google+ users can now see a stat telling them their total views adding up profile, post and photo views since October 2012. The number will show up on the profile page. Number-hungry companies desperate to show some kind of reach on their brand pages are calling this addition ‘analytics.’
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the Day: f.lux
Wednesday’s Guest: The Internet’s own Lamarr Wilson!