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The Techday Weekender - Jan 14th 2012

14 Jan 12

Welcome to the first Weekender for 2012! We hope you had a good break – the Techday team is certainly refreshed and ready to bring you all the hottest technology news from New Zealand and around the world.

As always for the tech community, the year has kicked off with the Consumer Electronics Show, a trade-only exhibition showcasing the latest and greatest in technology. Paul Spain of the NZ Tech Podcast has been keeping us updated, saying that despite questions over the value of the format – given the long non-attendance of Apple and now Microsoft’s plans to downgrade its involvement – it’s hard not to feel enthusiastic while wandering the halls and seeing the huge amount of exciting technology on display.

Apple, of course, still managed to create a buzz at the show, as the rumour emerged that 250 anonymous employees were wandering the halls, stealthily checking out their rivals’ wares while keeping their own hidden safely at their California headquarters. We also posted stories about a cool device coating that helps prevent water damage, Nokia’s comeback smartphone, and a unique community website that encourages users to invest in their identities in order to prevent (or at least discourage) trolling.

Even with all this going on there was plenty of other big news coming out in the tech world. Twitter and Google have traded blows over the latter’s move to tie its search results to its growing social network, Google+. Twitter claims Google is abusing its power; Google claims Twitter had its chance to participate but opted out. Either way, it spells more business traffic on Google+, as brands leap to get on board for fear of being left in the search doldrums.

The battle to block the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the States looks set to start hitting the rest of the world, with two prominent websites announcing 12-hour blackouts next week in protest against the bill. The question is whether the sites, while huge in the online community, have sufficient sway in the real world, or whether it will be necessary for the real giants like Google and Facebook to take up the fight.

Speaking of Facebook, analysts have crunched the numbers and predicted that the network will surpass 1 billion users this year, probably around August barring a significant downturn in popularity. It could even happen sooner if developers can keep hitting the right buttons, as they did with Listen With, a new music sharing tool introduced on Friday. In a rare break from tradition, users by and large liked the sound of Facebook’s change; unfortunately the tool requires access to Spotify, which isn’t available in New Zealand, or Rdio, which costs money to use. Luckily the former is rumoured to be coming here soon, and Facebook plans to add other players in the near future.

Finally, in local news Vodafone leaped up TrueNet’s ADSL browsing speed rankings this week, sneaking (just) ahead of Slingshot, Orcon and former leader, Telecom. It’s quite a reversal from the company which ranked dead last just four months ago.

That’s it for our first week back, have a great weekend and we’ll see you Monday.

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