Out of the loop over Easter? Get right back up to speed with The Startacus Technology News Update. We deliver a bitesize digest of all the big technology stories affecting UK businesses courtesy of marketing and technology blogger Justin Firth.
dot London Property Boom
London becomes the second city in the world to get its own web suffix. The .london name will allow London businesses to associate themselves directly with the city. As mayor Boris Johnson explains ".london says more about a business than just where it is – it is a statement about who they are and the aspirations they pursue.". However many predict that a boom in .london domain sales will be driven by businesses protecting their brand names from being poached, rather than truly embracing what it means to be a Londoner.
Google Building ‘Digital Superstate’
When the head of Europe’s largest newspaper publisher feels threatened by Google’s power, it may be time to start paying attention. In an open letter to Google, Mathias Döpfner expressed his grave concern at Google’s monopoly on search results - likening the business model to a protection racket which forces companies to pay Google if they wish to survive in the digital world. Claiming that the search giant has far greater power than most people realise, Döpfner questioned whether Google’s ultimate aim was to be a monopoly in a legal vacuum without the hassle of anti-trust and privacy laws.
In his letter Döpfner also targeted Facebook’s approach to privacy. He claims that the ‘Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear.' approach to data collection advocated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reflects the thinking of a totalitarian regime rather than a liberal society.
Facebook Mobile Advertising Success
Both Facebook’s reach and revenue is growing beyond expectation in 2014. First quarter figures shows earnings jumping 73% on the back of rapidly increasing mobile advertising revenue. Supporting the figures, Facebook claims it reached 1.28 billion users in the period with over a billion using a mobile to visit the site.
But how many of those 1.28 billion users are visiting Facebook while at work?. Offering some insight, mobile data company Wandera examined 10,000 work mobiles and tablets. They found that 80% had the Facebook app installed. This compared to just 16% with LinkedIn - the business-oriented social network. In total, 10% of all the data downloaded on work mobiles and tablets was for purely social networking activity.
How Valuable Are Your Digital Assets?
The Law Society has warned that too much valuable intellectual property risks being lost when we die. In updating their advice for writing wills, the Law Society advises that digital currency, valuable online gaming characters, social media accounts and online savings accounts can all disappear without a clear legacy. They advise "People should leave clear instructions about what should happen to their social media, computer games and other online accounts after their death"
One digital asset with value in an increasingly connected world is a good username. An Instagram user with the desirable handle @kathleen was dismayed to discover her username ‘stolen’ by an employee at Facebook - the company which owns Instagram. After publicising the incident online and rejecting the replacement @_kathleen, her true identity was returned. Another famous victim of identity theft was Twitter user @N who lost his character-saving handle to a hacker back in January. In his battle to restore his true identity, @N (aka Naoki Hiroshima) revealed he had once been offered $50,000 for the single letter username.
HMRC Consider Major Data Share
The HMRC are drawing up controversial plans to allow data on UK tax payers to be shared with private companies.
Under the plan HMRC would allow the sale of anonymous or aggregated data to 3rd parties if there is a clear public benefit - such as catching fraud or making access to business credit easier. An HMRC pilot programme has already released data relating to VAT registration to three credit ratings agencies.
Critics of data sharing argue that anonymous data can often be cross-referenced with other sources to make personal identification possible. Yet the plan may be safer than HMRC’s previous attempt with data sharing. In 2007 a HMRC CD containing all the personal data relating to every child in the country was lost in the post.
Lego Crowd Source New Ideas
Lego’s innovative approach to product development will take a big step forward with the launch of Lego Ideas in May. Developing on the existing Lego Cuusoo platform, Lego Ideas will allow anyone over the age of 13 to go online and create their own original ideas for a new lego set. If ideas collect enough votes from fellow users, then Lego will consider it for market.
In a world dominated by new technology, Lego continue to prove that traditional products can thrive in a digital world.
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