News Fuse for October 1, 2013

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Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for October 01, 2013:

  1. Facebook began rolling out graph search for posts to a subset of US English users. Graph search launched in January with an index of people, photos, places and interests. It is a semantic search feature based on sentences not keywords. The addition of posts means status updates, comments, photo captions, Notes, and check-ins will now be included in search results. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  2. Hotspot service provider FreedomPop is now offering low-cost and free plans for cell phones, though for now its only phone model is a refurbished version of the two-year-old WiMax-based HTC Evo Design. Customers can get 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500 megabytes of data each month for free, with unlimited texting and calling available for $10.99 a month. “That’s how we are going to shake up Verizon and AT&T,” CEO Stephen Stokols said in an interview. Read more at allthingsd.com.

  3. There's some trouble with Grand Theft Auto Online - particularly that online part. Apparently, Rockstar's servers cannot handle the demand of GTA players. Some users are reporting they are locked out of the game. Last week, Rockstar warned this could happen as it expected huge demand. The company says it will keep gamers updated via Twitter and Facebook. Read more at cnet.com.

  4. Some long-time Verizon customers were happy and surprised this weekend when he company's web page allowed them to upgrade their phone at a subsidized price while keeping their now-obsolete unlimited data plan. Well it turns out that was a software glitch. Verizon never intended to be so kind. The bug has been fixed, but those who took advantage of it will be allowed to keep their unlimited data plans and their new phones without any trouble from VZW. Read more at engadget.com.

  5. Google's three-year-long EU antitrust investigation into the company's search practices may be wrapping up soon, according to a top official. The EU's investigation centers on claims that the search giant is blocking competitors, like Microsoft, from its search results. Joaquin Almunia, vice president of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, said one of the most significant improvements suggested by Google involved vertical search, which was the issue that drew the most criticism from complainants. Almunia has also expressed hope that a settlement will soon be reached. Read more at arstechnica.com.

  6. Delta is all in with Microsoft. The airline has a deal with Microsoft where its pilots will be equipped with Surface 2 tablets. The Surface 2 will replace the heavy flight bags carried by pilots and the move is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 1.2 million gallons per year. In the recent past, Delta also issued Windows Phones to its flight attendants to handle in-flight transactions. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  7. The ZeroAccess botnet has taken a hit. Symantec says they have disrupted 500,000 of the 1.9 million infected computers in the botnet. In July Symantec started disrupting communications between infected computers, removing them from the botnet. Symantec alerted ISPs about the machines so that owners can be informed they were infected. ZeroAccess operates a click fraud scheme. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  8. The government may now be in shutdown mode, but it did decide to let Dell to go private before it went dark. Dell announced that it has received all necessary regulatory clearance for Michael Dell, who founded and led the computer firm as CEO and chairman, and Silver Lake Partners to take the company private in a $24.9 billion transaction. The transaction is expected to close before the end of Q3 2014, or November 1. Until then, the company remains publicly-traded, but after the deal is finalized, Michael Dell will own about 75% of the company. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  9. Google's Gigabit fiber Internet service is set to come to Austin, Texas in mid-2014, and in an entirely unrelated piece of news AT&T just announced it's increasing its speed in Austin to 300 Mbps for tens of thousands of customers by December and Gigabit service will arrive by the middle of next year. In fact if you sign up for the current service you can get a free upgrade to GigaPower when it arrives. You can even vote on AT&T's website for which neighborhoods AT&T brings the service to first. Read more at engadget.com.

  10. BitTorrent just introduced BitTorrent Chat Alpha, an instant messaging chat client. The chat client uses decentralized technology; BitTorrent says it's "similar to BitTorrent Sync, but adapted for real-time communications." Right now, BitTorrent Chat is in a private alpha, so you'll have to sign up to be invited. Read more at cnet.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for October 01, 2013.