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5:45 PM ET, July 5, 2011

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
Ben Parr / Mashable!:
EXCLUSIVE: Google to Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push  —  Say goodbye to the Picasa and Blogger names: Google intends to retire several non-Google name brands and rename them as Google products, Mashable has learned.  —  The move is part of a larger effort to unify its brand …
FierceWireless:
Verizon confirms it will ditch unlimited smartphone data plans starting July 7  —  Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will switch to a new, usage-based pricing model for smartphone data starting July 7, a company spokeswoman confirmed.  —  Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told FierceWireless …
Monica Chen / DigiTimes:
Pegatron receives orders for 15 million iPhone 5s from Apple  —  Taiwan-based notebook maker Pegatron Technology is estimated to have landed orders for 15 million iPhone 5s (iPhone 4S) from Apple and is set to start shipping in September of 2011, according to sources from upstream component makers.
RELATED:
BackType:
BackType Has Been Acquired by Twitter  —  We're thrilled to announce that BackType has been acquired by Twitter!  We'll be bringing our team and technology to Twitter's platform team, where our focus will be developing tools for Twitter's publisher partners.
RELATED:
Colleen Taylor / GigaOM:   Twitter buys BackType to dig deeper with big data
Lauren Indvik / Mashable!:
Twitter Testing Facebook-Like Message Wall [PIC]  —  Twitter is testing a Facebook-like message wall on profile pages, prompting users to send public tweets (a.k.a @ replies, or mentions) to specific users directly from their profile pages.  —  Twitter is testing the feature with a small percentage of users.
Discussion: @dannysullivan
Emil Protalinski / Friending Facebook Blog:
Facebook blocks Google Chrome extension for exporting friends  —  Facebook Friend Exporter is a Chrome extension developed by Mohamed Mansour, an open source software engineer, that lets you grab all the information about your Facebook friends so you can import them elsewhere.
Amir Efrati / Wall Street Journal:
New Financing Values Twitter As High As $7 Billion  —  Twitter Inc., the fast-growing Internet messaging service, is privately raising hundreds of millions of dollars in a new financing round that values the company at as high as $7 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.
Bobbie Johnson / GigaOM:
Nokia's $200m secret shows the rot goes way, way back  —  There have been plenty of attempts to pinpoint where Nokia, the struggling Finnish mobile company, really started to go wrong.  Some think it was when the iPhone launched and left it in the dust; some would suggest it was when the board …
Discussion: SlashGear, Thanks:bobbiejohnson
Kate Murphy / New York Times:
iPads Replacing Pilots' Paper Manuals  —  What is in those bulky, black flight bags that pilots carry into the cockpit?  It is not a change of clothes but reams of reference material needed for the flight — about 40 pounds of it.  There are the aircraft's operating manual, safety checklists …
Discussion: 9to5Mac, WebProNews and Techland
Tarmo Virki / Reuters:
Ailing Nokia cuts smartphone prices to halt slump  —  (Reuters) - Struggling Nokia has cut the prices of its smartphones in Europe, two industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday, raising the possibility of a more intensive price war in the mobile phone market.
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Google Rumored To Launch ITA-Powered Travel Search Product Soon  —  We're hearing that Google is planning to launch an ITA integrated-flight search product as soon as a few weeks from now, according to a well-placed industry source.  In April, the DOJ finally approved Google's $700 million acquisition …
Ryan Lawler / GigaOM:
Why Latin America is Netflix's next big market  —  Netflix announced plans to go truly global Tuesday, with the news that it would introduce its streaming video subscription service in 43 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  While many expected Netflix to launch in one or maybe …
Discussion: App Advice
RELATED:
Larry Dignan / Between the Lines Blog:
Netflix plots Latin America expansion, certifies TI for high-def streaming
Janko Roettgers / GigaOM:
Google plans to open Hangouts for interoperability  —  Hangouts, the group video chat component of Google Plus that everyone's been raving about, could eventually be usable with other video chat clients and services as well.  Google Real-time Communications Tech Lead Justin Uberti wrote …
Matthew Panzarino / The Next Web:
As of July 31st, all Google profiles will be public  —  Google will no longer allow users to have private Google profiles after July 31st, reports Search Engine Land.  The company had previously allowed users to create and maintain profiles on its service without publicly disclosing their existence.
Discussion: Search Engine Land
Krishna Panicker / The Big Blog:
New Skype 5.2 Update for Mac Brings Group Screen Sharing and Improved Multi-tasking  —  We are excited to announce that the Skype 5.2 update for Mac is now available for download.  —  With this new update, Skype for Mac users can now share their screen during a group video call.
Anne Tergesen / Wall Street Journal:
When Guests Check In, Their iPhones Check Out  —  When booking a weeklong yoga retreat, Amanda Levy signed up for a special package.  Called “digital detox,” it promised a 15% discount if Ms. Levy, a sales executive at a San Francisco social-networking company, would agree to leave …
Discussion: The Business Insider
Todd Haselton / BGR:
Android market share jumps as BlackBerry slides; smartphones now owned by 1 in 3 Americans  —  According to a new report from comScore, 1 in 3 Americans now own a smartphone.  Google's Android OS is ahead of the pack with a 38.1% share of the market during the 3-month period ending in May — up 5.1% from the last report in February.
Francis Tan / The Next Web:
China to deploy huge Big Brother surveillance network with Cisco's help  —  China plans to put a network of 500,000 surveillance cameras in place around Chongqing to keep an eye on its citizens, with the help of Western tech and networking companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. The government claims …
Simon Mackie / GigaOM:
Why Google+ could find a home in the workplace  —  Last week, Google rolled out a beta of its highly-anticipated new social networking platform, Google+.  Reaction to the launch so far has been mainly positive, with praise for the app's design and features.
Todd Bishop / GeekWire:
Microsoft Bing innovates on iPad with ‘Lasso’ quick search  —  The new “lasso” feature for quick searching in the Bing app for iPad  —  Microsoft today is releasing an update for its well-received Bing app for Apple's iPad, with a new feature designed to streamline the process of conducting online searches on the touch-screen device.
Ryan Kim / GigaOM:
Amazon's Android Appstore, not so amazing  —  Running a successful app store isn't trivial.  Building out the necessary features and services and making it appealing to both consumers and developers can be hard work, something Amazon is learning.  The company has been taken to task …
Samantha Murphy / New Scientist:
Exclusive first interview with key LulzSec hacker  —  It was early May when LulzSec's profile skyrocketed after a hack on the giant Sony corporation.  LulzSec's name comes from Lulz, a corruption of LOL, often denoting laughter at the victim of a prank.  For 50 days until it disbanded …
Discussion: New York Times
 
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Don't Look Now: Here Come the Disappearing Message Apps  —  Get ready for a world of expiring photos and vanishing status updates.
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 More Items: 
Gregg Keizer / Computerworld:
Microsoft to retire Office XP, Vista SP1 next week
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Mobile Payments To Triple To $670B By 2015; Digital Goods Will Represent 40% Of Transactions
Kara Swisher / AllThingsD:
Dancing Queen: After Meeting With Microsoft Last Week, Yahoo Is Next on Hulu's Sales Card
Jennifer Valentino-DeVries / Digits:
Traffic App Waze, ABC Team Up to Fight ‘Carmageddon’ in L.A.
Discussion: App Advice, Bits and Fast Company, Thanks:andysternberg
Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica:
Feature: Unlicensed: Are Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player illegal?
 Earlier Items: 
Bill Bishop / DigiCha:
Should We Care If A Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund Invests In Facebook?
Ingrid Lunden / paidContent:
Amazon's Bid For The Book Depository: User Backlash And Regulatory Inquiry
Discussion: Softpedia News
Stephen Shankland / CNET News:
Firefox PDF reader passes ‘pixel-perfect’ test
Discussion: Softpedia News
Rocky Agrawal / TechCrunch:
Google Offers Versus Groupon: The Portland Throwdown
Discussion: PSFK
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (@VP) Joins Twitter
Ben Hirschler / Reuters:
Evidence “increasingly against” phone cancer risk
Brooke Crothers / CNET News:
At retailers, iPad faces new foes
Alexia Tsotsis / TechCrunch:
Mark Zuckerberg Is The Most Followed User On Google+
 

 
From Mediagazer:

Evan Smith / The Texas Tribune:
New York Times-Texas Tribune content partnership to end Dec. 31, after four years

Tom McCarthy / Guardian:
Matt Taibbi returning to Rolling Stone after split from First Look Media

Dylan Byers / Politico:
Sharyl Attkisson releases video of apparent computer hack

 
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