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theEweekly Wrap

Facebook emails, Google Glasses and riot rescue apps

Email move frustrates Facebook users

Facebook has controversially changed the email address displayed in members' profile pages, switching all details to an @facebook.com format.

This meant that the personal email addresses originally included by users vanished, and many are puzzled by the decision to force users to opt in without consultation. Indeed, several Facebook users posted details of how to return the email addresses to their original state.

Sending a message to an @facebook.com address will result in that message appearing on the recipient's homepage in much the same way that a regular comment would.

Facebook has defended the move, suggesting it was simply done to make details "consistent" throughout the site and insisting it was not compulsory to use the new addresses, but critics have suggested it is a plan to drive traffic and increase ad revenues. This latest problem comes just a few weeks after Facebook was accused of censoring user comments.

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Google creates a spectacle

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has demonstrated the much-anticipated Google Glasses in a decidedly novel way. Taking to the stage at the Google I/O 2012 conference, Brin began a Google+ hangout with a man sporting the new glasses, who then proceeded to leap from an aeroplane.

The skydiver was able to capture the whole experience using Google Glasses, and had no trouble keeping them on as he eventually landed on top of San Francisco's Moscone Centre, which hosted the event.

Google Glasses are designed to provide an augmented reality system in which users can effectively walk around with their computer screen in front of their eyes. Voice recognition allows you to access programmes, while clicking and scrolling are done using head movements.

As innovative as this sounds, some are expressing concerns that Google Glasses could lead to users' daily lives becoming saturated with adverts. The product has not yet been made available to the general public.

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App predicts a riot

A new smartphone app unveiled at Edinburgh's TEDGlobal convention could help innocent bystanders escape to safety if they find themselves caught up in a riot.

Almost a year on from the social unrest that sprang up across the UK, designer Salvatore Iaconesi hopes his creation will help activists stay safe and come to the rescue of people who want to get away from any nearby trouble.

Users point their device in the direction they need to go and the app highlights danger zones in red and safe routes in green. It does this by collecting data from sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Foursquare and analysing what their users are saying.

Mr Iaconesi has already tested the app during last summer's riots, as well as recent student protests in England and Italy, and hopes to release a completed version to the general public in the coming weeks.

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Written by James Riches

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