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7:50 AM ET, July 6, 2011


 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 …
Tom Cheredar / VentureBeat:
Google retiring Blogger and Picasa brands for public launch of Google+
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
On The Eve Of One Facebook Event, The Spartans Prepare For Another  —  Tomorrow morning at their headquarters in Palo Alto, Facebook is holding an event to show off an “awesome” new product.  Our sources tell us that product with be the long-rumored Skype integration within Facebook for full …
Jenna Wortham / Gadgetwise:
Is Google's Hangouts Its Killer App?  —  Last night a chatroom changed my life.  —  But it wasn't just any chatroom.  It was a virtual “hangout,” the group video chat service that is a prominent feature of Google+, Google's new social-networking service that aims to challenge Facebook..
Janko Roettgers / GigaOM:
Google plans to open Hangouts for interoperability
Philip Elmer-DeWitt / Fortune:
Steve Jobs' bio gets a new title  —  “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” was the publisher's idea.  The author had second thoughts.  —  Amazon still doesn't have the title quite right  —  The first biography of Apple's (AAPL) CEO to get Steve Jobs' blessing — and cooperation — hasn't yet been published.
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 …
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.
David M. Ewalt / Metagamer:
What Is Nintendo Planning With The Wii U?  Reggie Fils-Aime Explains It All  —  Reggie Fils-Aime (Image by Getty Images via @daylife)  —  Reggie Fils-Aime is president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, a division of the Japanese video game giant.
Stuart Dredge / Music Ally:
Virgin Media announces its streaming music deal with Spotify  —  UK ISP Virgin Media has inked its long-anticipated partnership with streaming music service Spotify.  The ISP will be offering Spotify to its customers over broadband, mobiles and TVs - the latter through an integration with its TiVO-powered set-top box.
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
If Google Buzz Is A Black Hole For Sharing Traffic, Google+ Is The Big Bang  —  Back in March of last year, we noted that Google Buzz, Google's shiny new social network at the time, was getting smoked in terms of referral traffic sent our way, by a dead man, FriendFeed.
Wall Street Journal:
New Financing Values Twitter as High as $7 Billion  —  Even as Internet companies such as Zynga Inc. and Groupon Inc. file to go public, Twitter Inc. is taking a different route: It is continuing to tap private investors.  —  The fast-growing Internet messaging service is currently …
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.
Another iPad leak source pleads guilty  —  Shimoon pleads guilty to slipping iPad info  —  One-time Flextronics development head Walter Shimoon on Tuesday pled guilty to leaking iPad trade secrets and others.  In return for a lighter penalty, the former executive admitted to passing along information …
Jim Finkle / Reuters:
South Korean web attacks might have been war drill  —  (Reuters) - Attacks that crippled South Korean government websites in July 2009 and again in March 2011 might have been cyber war drills conducted on behalf of North Korea, according to security software maker McAfee Inc.
Discussion: PC World and The Next Web
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Sequoia And Others Put $10 Million In Cloud-Based Demo SaaS CloudShare  —  CloudShare, a service that allows companies to demo software in the cloud, has raised $10 million in new funding led by Globespan Capital Partners with existing investors Sequoia capital, Charles River Ventures and Gemini Israel Funds participating.
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.
Wired / Ars Technica:
“Massive infringement” case against CNET dropped  —  Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit accusing CNET of facilitating “massive copyright infringement” by distributing peer-to-peer software dropped their case Monday.  —  The May lawsuit was lodged in Los Angeles by a handful of musicians and filmmaker Alkiviades David.
Caleb Cox / The Register:
Sony quietly tests PlayStation Network revamp  —  Sony is developing a PlayStation Network design upgrade that could transform the online environment into a more image-driven layout along the lines of Xbox Live and Steam, Reg Hardware has learned.  —  Many PSN users say the current PSN …
Florian Mueller / FOSS Patents:
Google says at least one of Oracle's patents-in-suit is not even used in Java  —  Today Google filed its reply to Oracle's opposition to its Daubert motion (a request by Google to exclude Oracle's damages expert Prof. Cockburn and his damages report).  —  The disagreement over damages calculation methodologies goes on.
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.
Lauren Etter / Vanity Fair:
Groupon Therapy  —  Starting with a two-for-one pizza deal just three years ago, Groupon has snowballed, becoming a multi-national business with an I.P.O. on the horizon that could value the company at an estimated $20 billion.  But is the Web site's idiosyncratic C.E.O., Andrew Mason …
Discussion: AllThingsD
Florian Mueller / FOSS Patents:
Lodsys sues The New York Times Company and five other companies who previously sued Lodsys — UPDATED  —  [Updated on July 6 to reflect Lodsys's motions to dismiss 5 of the 6 declaratory judgment complaints]  —  Lodsys filed a patent infringement lawsuit today in East Texas …
Jon Brodkin / Network World:
Microsoft patent division taking cash from at least 5 Android vendors  —  Microsoft has revealed four Android patent deals since last week  —  One of Microsoft's hottest new profit centers is a smartphone platform you've definitely heard of: Android.  —  Google's Linux-based mobile operating system …
Tricia Duryee / AllThingsD:
Groupon and Zynga: Cat Vs. Dog for Wall Street's Affections  —  Groupon and Zynga may not compete in the same business, but they are both racing to be the next darling on Wall Street.  —  Despite the obvious differences — Groupon is a local commerce company and Zynga is a social games company …
Discussion: paidContent
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 More Items: 
Brian Womack / Bloomberg:
Facebook Ad Rates Hold as Inventory Rises, Easing Price Concerns
Zack Whittaker / ZDNet:
EU demands answers over Microsoft's Patriot Act admission
Discussion: Fast Company and Computerworld
Elinor Mills / CNET News:
Report: Morgan Stanley warns 34,000 clients of data breach
Florian Mueller / FOSS Patents:
August 5 hearing on preliminary injunction against Samsung too early, judge tells Apple
Discussion: The Next Web and MobileCrunch, Thanks:curtwfallesq
 Earlier Items: 
Om Malik / GigaOM:
For Foursquare, Brazil is the next big check-in
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
Law Professors Come Out Against PROTECT IP
Susan Decker / Bloomberg:
Google Searching for Patents After Nortel Loss
Discussion: Softpedia News
Liz Gannes / AllThingsD:
Apparently Undeterred by Apple Crackdown, Tapjoy Investors Pour In $30M More
Gregg Keizer / Computerworld:
Microsoft to retire Office XP, Vista SP1 next week
Discussion: and The Next Web
Tarmo Virki / Reuters:
Ailing Nokia cuts smartphone prices to halt slump
Bobbie Johnson / GigaOM:
Nokia's $200m secret shows the rot goes way, way back
Discussion: IntoMobile and SlashGear, Thanks:bobbiejohnson