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What We're Thinking About Today - 5/10

Facebook is set to launch it's location based service, according to TechCrunch . It's a potentially huge challenge to Foursquare and a potential redefinition of what Facebook is. Instead of all of us living inside the internet in a vast common room more or less, you could now be out in the real world reporting your position. It puts Facebook in what they call "meatspace".

Microsoft will make a free version of Office available online: Microsoft Web Apps. Wednesday, it launches its latest version of Office 2010. Office Web Apps will be available in June.

President Obama gave a commencement speech on Sunday and said:

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.

TechCrunch reports that FB has hired a former FTC chairman:

Facebook has hired former US Federal Trade Commission chairman Timothy J. Muris in the face of increased government scrutiny of its privacy policies. The former senior Bush administration regulator will be defending the social networking company's privacy practices in Washington.

Pregnant moms can get info about their pregnancy and baby via text message. The government has teamed up with wireless industry trade group CTIA in the text4baby program.

Android outselling iPhone?

Peter Kafka at All Things D says that smart phones running the Google system have outsold iPhones in the last 3 months and now make up 28% of the market to iPhones 21%. The leader is still RiM's Blackberry at 36% since it's still popular among businesses. I wonder if this will tilt the field in terms of one of Apple's historic competitive advantages: the app store. Apple's has always dwarfed Android's but if the perception becomes that Android is the leader, more developers will want to build for it. It would be interesting to tackle the story from the perspective of someone going out to buy a phone.

Meanwhile, Marco Arment, lead developer at Tumblr, reports on a new phenomenon in Apple's app store: app spam. You go to buy the popular game Angry Birds and you're beset by lookalike apps and apps just for cheats on the game. Apple has been criticized for boasting about, what, 100k apps when many of them are junk. If this affects navigability in that store this could become a bigger and bigger issue.

Google plans to roll out it's own digital book service in June or July, reports the Wall Street Journal . The service is called Google Editions and it's been in the works for several years. It's distinct from Apple's or Amazon's offerings in that it's platform agnostic, you buy the book and can watch it wherever you like. Meanwhile, Borders is getting in to the game with the Kobo , which is priced a lot cheaper than the Kindle or Nook.

Also, in the future, the robots in your home that are there to help you might KILL YOU, says the BBC:

German researchers studied what happens in accidents involving robots using sharp tools alongside humans. They used a robot arm holding a variety of bladed tools programmed to strike test substances that mimic soft tissue. In some cases, the researchers found, the robots managed to accidentally inflict wounds that would prove "lethal".

Retorts Engadget: "Duh."

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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