Saturday, February 26, 2011

Google blunts Facebook phone app on Android

Google has stepped up its data battle with Facebook by blunting the social networking site's app on its phones.

An update for its latest mobile operating system will see users' Facebook contacts disappear from the phone's address book.

Google said it took the action as it was no longer willing to exempt Facebook from its data-sharing rules.

The decision has been seen as indicative of growing tensions between the two internet giants.

The contact-altering update applies to the Gingerbread version of Google's Android mobile operating system - currently only available for the Nexus S and Nexus One handsets, which are manufactured for Google.

Makers of other Android-based handsets are expected to make the Gingerbread upgrade available to their users in the coming months.

If those mobiles use the same version of Gingerbread as the Nexus phones, more owners would find Facebook contacts wiped from their address book.

Originally, Facebook's Android app allowed users to populate the phone's address book with Facebook contacts.

However, that data could not be exported from the handset, instead it was controlled by Facebook - something Google has said it can no longer tolerate.

"Since Facebook contacts cannot be exported from the device, the appearance of integration created a false sense of data portability," Google said in a statement.

Facebook contacts will, however, remain accessible via the app.

More than 200 million people accessed Facebook via a mobile device in 2010, according to its own figures - up from 65 million in the previous year.

Intel launches high speed Thunderbolt connector

Chip manufacturer Intel has announced it is to roll out a new technology for connecting computers and peripherals.

The system, known as Thunderbolt, promises transfer speeds twice as fast as USB 3.0.

However it won't reach its theoretical maximum because Intel has opted to use copper wires rather than fibre optic cables.

The company said it would gradually move to higher speeds over time.

Apple will become the first manufacturer to use Thunderbolt, on its Macbook Pro computers.

The Cupertino firm is said to have been a major driver of its development, although it remains to be seen how may other manufacturers will adopt the new standard.

Light Peak

Intel has been working on the technology for several years.

It was first announced, under the codename Light Peak in 2009.

At launch, its top speed will be limited to 10 Gigabits per second - twice as fast as USB 3.0, but still well below the theoretical maximum using optical cables.

intel claims that future versions will be able to reach 100 Gb/sec.

The faster data transfer rates are likely to be welcomed by those consumers who use high-definition video, said Sarah Rottman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"This isn't an innovation that consumers have been asking for, but it's one they'll appreciate," she said.

"Especially when transferring video, as that's when [USB] starts to feel slow."

The system also promises to reduce the number of cables a user has connecting their computer setup.

It is able to carry multiple signal types at the same time, enabling power, display and peripherals to use a single cable.

However, in the short term, users may need to invest in special adaptors to connect their older devices onto Thunderbolt sockets.

Its arrival on the consumer market also raises questions about the future of other connector standards, such as USB and Firewire.

Thunderbolt's most high profile supporter, Apple, is expected to gradually transition to a single connector, according to Karen Haslam, editor of Macworld UK.

"In the long run there will be no need for Apple to support these multiple formats with individual ports - existing products can run through an adaptor," she said.

Not everyone is convinced that Thunderbolt will become the lone standard.

Ian Chiu, editor of the website told BBC News that the cost of components could put off some manufacturers.

"I don't really know how Intel will make Thunderbolt appealing to all the other first-tier PC manufacturers," he said.

"HP, Sony, Dell, Acer, Asus make most of their money from the low-end and medium-end notebooks.

Deutsche Bank gets 1bn won fine after Korea market fix

Deutsche Bank has been fined 1bn won ($887,000) after South Korea's regulators said its staff manipulated the country's stock market.

The fine is the largest ever handed down by Korea's stock exchange, KRX.

On Thursday, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said Deutsche Bank staff colluded to force down the value of the stock index so that they could profit illegally.

Deutsche Bank said it was "disappointed" with the FSC's findings.

Closing rush?

The FSC started its investigation into Deutsche Bank's staff after the main KOSPI stock index fell 2.8% in the last 10 minutes of trade on 11 November.

That drop earned the staff profits of about 44.9bn won, the regulators claim.

According to the FSC, Deutsche Bank employees had built up large positions in derivatives that allowed them to influence the market.

The regulators say Deutsche Bank employees pushed through $2.2bn (£1.4bn) worth of trades during the last 10 minutes of trading on the KOSPI

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