News Fuse for December 17, 2013

Facebook

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 17, 2013:

  1. Facebook confirmed it will start rolling out promoted videos to some users’ News Feeds on desktop and mobile. The campaign starts with mini trailers for the forthcoming film, Divergent. The ads will automatically play when they appear on the screen but the sound will be muted unless a user clicks on it. Read more at engadget.com.

  2. Italian newspapers are reporting that Amazon has acquired Gopago, maker of iOS and Android mobile apps to pre-pay for goods before picking them up at a store, and retailers a point-of-sale system to process those orders. Gopago, founded in 2009, is based in Silicon Valley but was started by Italian co-founders, though it's not clear if those founders and any other Gopago staff will join Amazon, or if this is an acquisition for technology only. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  3. President Barack Obama will meet with executives from Google, Apple, and other tech companies to find ways to improve the HealthCare.gov website. Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter's Dick Costolo are expected to be in attendance. These powerful people will also discuss the impact of the NSA's surveillance on tech companies. Read more at reuters.com.

  4. Here’s something to get the President’s conversation with the tech titans rolling. US District Court Judge Richard Leon issued a preliminary injunction against the US, ordering the NSA to stop collection of phone metadata and destroy any metadata collected on two plaintiffs who brought the case. The order was suspended though as the US plans to appeal the injunction. So just to recap, only two people affected, the order is not in force, and the DoJ is appealing. Judge Leon did write a compelling opinion arguing why a 1979 case that allowed police to capture several phone numbers for two weeks should not be considered precedent to five years of capturing the metadata of every call placed by hundreds of millions of people and counting. Read more at politico.com.

  5. Price quotes for business customers are starting to come in for new Mac Pros, which helps us at least more closely guess what US retail pricing will look like. For example, a customer who buys an 8-core Mac Pro with 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, will pay a base of $3999 base + $1500 processor upgrade + $400 RAM upgrade + $300 storage upgrade, yielding a total price of $6199. At the other, lower end, Apple's $2999 base Mac Pro model carries a quad-core Intel Xeon processor, 12 GB of RAM, and dual AMD FireCore D300 graphics. Read more at macrumors.com.

  6. Apple released its Best of iTunes list for the year. Candy Crush was the most downloaded free app for iPhone and iPad for 2013. The top selling TV season was Breaking Bad's final season. The list also includes Apple's Editors' Choice picks - Apple's pick for TV show of the year? Breaking Bad. Read more at cnet.com.

  7. Google and HP have already stopped selling Chromebook 11s and have now issued a recall for 145,000 of the defective power chargers that caused the halt in sales. Chromebook 11 owners should stop using their current charger and contact Google for a free replacement charger. No word on when Chromebook 11 sales might resume. Read more at engadget.com.

  8. Forget Google, forget Apple - Samsung is launching its own Android gaming controller, called the "Samsung Smartphone GamePad." It officially supports, screens from "4-inches to 6.3-inches." The GamePad uses Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC, and compatibility is described as working with devices running Android 4.1 and up, though optimized for 4.3. The GamePad is currently available in "select European markets" and will come to additional countries in "the coming weeks." Read more at arstechnica.com.

  9. Facebook unveiled a donate button, making it easier for nonprofits with pages to take contributions. Users can enter payment details or use what Facebook already has on file. Facebook won’t collect a fee on the donations, but they will get the side-benefit of getting your payment info updated or added to your account. That could give a boost to in-game purchases and the Autofill With Facebook feature. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  10. Opera's Coast web browser for iPad just got an update to version 2.0. The app gets rid of back and forward buttons in favor of gestures. Coast now features a media player that you can use from the iPad's lockscreen. When you encounter a PDF on the web, Coast lets the user decide which app opens that PDF. There's also the ability to select your own wallpaper in the app using images from your photo roll. Read more at engadget.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 17, 2013.