Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending January 13 include Google causing controversy with the launch of its personalized "Search plus Your World" feature, Reddit announcing a site blackout in protest against the US’s SOPA bill, Nokia’s Lumia 900 finally becoming official, Apple sending out invites for a special event in NYC, and Facebook launching social music listening features.
Twitter, bloggers react to Google’s Search plus Your World
Google and Twitter started throwing virtual punches at each other over the launch of Google’s more personalized search results with "Search plus Your World." Twitter is vocally objecting to Google’s new Search+ results feature because it "unfairly" highlights social content created on the company’s social network Google+ (G+) without including relevant search results from Twitter. Technology blogger MG Siegler said Google’s new Search+ features would kick off antitrust inquiries. Forbes said bloggers were overreacting: "The point of competition is to get consumers the best possible products and services, not to guarantee that every product has a precisely equal chance of succeeding."
SOPA blackouts and protests
Social news sharing site Reddit revealed its plans to black out its service on January 18 from 8AM to 8PM EST (1300-0100 UTC) in protest of the United States' proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). Bloggers and Reddit users encouraged AOL, Google, Facebook, eBay, PayPal, Twitter, Wikipedia and Yahoo! to shut down their sites too to help inform the public about the potential effects of the potentially "internet changing" SOPA and Protect IP bills.
Nokia Lumia 900 is bound for the US
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop unveiled the Nokia Lumia 900 at a press conference on the eve of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The handset, which had long been the subject of much speculation, is destined for the US -- a country in which Nokia’s market share has slid over the last few years. Bloggers suggested that the distinctive design of Nokia’s Lumia 900, coupled with Microsoft’s WP7 operating system and advanced smartphone-like LTE connectivity, may help the company to improve its market share in the US.
Apple special event with educational theme in NY
Apple sent out invitations to members of the press inviting them to a mysterious special event on January 19 that will focus on an "educational announcement." Industry insiders speculated that the event will be related to iTunes University and the launch of digital textbooks through iBooks. While some blogs speculated that Apple will announce a special educational version of its iPad at the event, sources told the The New York Times that there will be no Apple hardware announcements made on January 19.
Facebook turns social networkers into DJs
Facebook launched a new social music service which encourages users to hang out with friends and listen to music together online. Microbloggers compared the feature to online collaborative listening startup turntable.fm. “Facebook is clearly bringing us new features to make sure that we don’t leave its site, especially when we’re interacting with our friends," said The Next Web.