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theEweekly Wrap: Prototypes, pics and the Pentagon

Windows 8 Microsoft has unveiled a prototype for a new OS, a successor to Windows 7. Demonstrations of the new software were given at press conferences in California and Taiwan, and revealed in an official video. Windows president Steven Sinofsky said: “What we tried to do with Windows 8 was reimagine what we want to do with a PC. We coloured outside the lines.”

Tentatively dubbed Windows 8, the OS will run on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, presenting a unified appearance whether the device is touchscreen or mouse-controlled. The live, customisable app tile format of the home screen bears many similarities to the Windows Phone 7 OS; Mashable reports that the phone development team was actually “heavily involved” in this project. It is expected to become available in autumn 2012.

The hacking blame game There was a hack on Google’s Gmail service this week, fuelling a row between the search giant and Chinese officials. The attack saw login details of Chinese political activists, as well as government officials from the US and South Korea, stolen in a phishing scam. Hackers sent out emails containing malware or bad links, leading to sites which would collect the user’s data. The attack originated from an IP address in Jinan, China; however, the Chinese government has rejected accusations that it was involved.

Yesterday, blame was put on Jinan’s Lanxiang vocational school, which trains computer scientists for the military as well as chefs and hairdressers. Lanxiang was previously linked to hacking in a 2010 New York Times report, but Google has not revealed whether it suspects the school is involved in the recent attack. The White House is investigating the Google hack. Earlier this week, the Pentagon moved to classify cyber attacks as an ‘act of war’.

Top of the tweets Twitter launched a new search function on Wednesday, partnering with Firefox and Photobucket. Entering a term in the search box or clicking on a hashtag or trending topic will now lead the user to a results screen featuring tweets, top videos and top photos. The latter also has a ‘view all’ option, leading to a gallery of images from across the site related to that term. As for tweets, the ‘top’ results appear first, as opposed to the previous order of most recent first.

The official blog post on the topic revealed further innovations, such as a new version of Firefox which enables hashtag or profile searches from the address bar. The most noticeable change, however, was announced by chief executive Dick Costolo at California’s D9 conference: users will soon be able to tweet a photo directly from Twitter.com or the official Twitter apps, cutting out third party photo sharing clients such as Twitpic.

Written by Rachel Hand

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