Morning Memo - 5/11
Natal to launch in October
Microsoft has gone on the record as saying their Natal video game system will go on the market in October. It's a much anticipated product, the demo was a mind blower last June when it was first brought out, so expectations are very high.
Twitter launches business center
Twitter has begun to send out invitations for businesses to test their new business center set of features. The idea is for a business to better manage verification, manage brand identity, and receive direct messages from customers even if the business is not following those customers. It's a path to dollars for the famously free service and also perhaps a test of whether Twitter can be seen as a mature ongoing medium and not just a chance to see Ashton Kutcher talk about what kind of sandwich he had.
David Hockney is on the iPad.
"The iPad is far more subtle, in fact it really is like a drawing pad. They will sell by the million. It will change the way we look at everything from reading newspapers to the drawing pad. It can be anything you want it to be. This is the nearest we have got to seeing what I would call a universal machine." (Read/see more) Previous to the iPad, Hockney did a lot of work on iPhones. You don't hear about this on Blackberry.
Yelp security hole puts Facebook user data at risk
TechCrunch reported on a problem at Yelp that could make all your Facebook information available to bad guys.Â Essentially, a malicious site can emulate the functionality of Yelp so that when you are lured there, Facebook thinks you're at Yelp and makes your information and email address available. It's a Yelp problem, not a Facebook problem, but considering Yelp was one of three sites picked to be an early partner of FB's instant personalization problem, it's a problem for the whole enterprise. Yelp says it's been fixed.
Square finally launches
It's a little device that attaches to an iPhone that lets you take credit card payments from anyone. So if you run a hot dog cart or you've set up a jewelry table or you just want to borrow 20 bucks from a friend, you pop the little doohickey on your iPhone (having already downloaded the Square app) and zip and you're done. I've been hearing about this for months and began to wonder if it would ever ship. I also wonder how big the market is and whether hot dog vendors want to make that investment. Fun demo, certainly.
Boeing unveiled the Phantom Ray on Monday the Phantom Ray, a military plane that can fly without a person in it.Â It will be ready for flight in December.
CNet says: The Phantom Ray will be a testbed for unspecified "advanced technologies," and in a press release Monday, Boeing rattled off an array of potential missions for the aircraft, from the now standard UAV tasks of recon and surveillance to aerial refueling, electronic attack, and the menacingly vague "strike."
Share what you shop for
Swipely is launching into private beta.Â The service can connect your transaction with product catalogs or menu items, and you can share what you bought with the world.Â But, GigaOm reports this service is being careful, especially in light of Blippy's mistakes a couple of weeks ago, where people's credit card numbers were available online. Will is save people money?Â Will it make people want to buy more stuff?
Google wants to save, not kill, the newspaper industry
Contrary to popular belief, Google is working to save newspapers.Â That's what James Fallows writes in The Atlantic.
Peter Kafka at All Things D sums it up:
Short version: Google thinks newspapers are good for Google, because they generate information people want to search for. And when newspapers stop printing actual newspapers, and start selling online ads for as much as print ads, everything should work out fine.
In the longer version, Fallows walks readers through the basics of the newspaper crisis (disappearing classifieds, disappearing display ads, disappearing subscribers). And he touches on some tinkering Google (GOOG) is doing that might be useful for publishers and news organizations (Living Stories, Fast Flip, YouTube Direct, help building paywalls).
And, before you go buying the new Office software tomorrow, Google suggests you keep your old Microsoft Office software and supplement it with Google Docs.