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theEweekly Wrap

Happy birthday Google Play – Street view updated – Ireland takes on web trolls

Google Play celebrates first birthday

Google has been handing out special offers on songs, TV shows, films and books as it celebrates a year since the launch of Google Play.

It marks the first anniversary of Google's decision to amalgamate all its entertainment platforms into one, allowing people to access all content purchased through the search engine's services in one place.

Users have been handed free gifts including episodes of popular television shows and app gaming add-ons, as Google runs a full week of offers to celebrate the milestone.

In an official blog post, Google Play also revealed the figures behind its successful year. It has sold over 700,000 apps, more than five million books and upwards of 18 million songs as it bids to compete with similar offerings such as iTunes.

Additionally, Google Play now offers content for users in more countries than ever before, including the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

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Google Street View refreshes UK content

Google has announced that "thousands of miles" of refreshed images have been added to its UK Street View service, including the addition of previously uncovered areas.

Major cities such as London, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow have all seen their streets updated, while parts of the Scottish coast and South Wales are now available. As you can see, Google revisited theEword offices (right) as part of its changes.

Street View has also expanded across Europe, and now features Bulgaria for the first time. It has also acquired images for several Russian cities, having previously only offered content for St Petersburg and Moscow.

In other geographical Google news, its Maps service has also grown to include data for seven new countries, including a large portion of the Middle East. Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Lebanon are now all available to users.

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Irish politicians wage war on social media trolls

A number of political figures in Ireland have expressed their concerns over the perceived failure of social media companies to tackle the problem of trolling.

Irish capital Dublin has become a popular European base for many organisations, including Twitter, Facebook and Google, as a result of the country's 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate.

By basing their European headquarters in Ireland, these companies become subject to Irish law, so the government in the Emerald Isle could have an influence on the way UK users experience social media, and this week ministers have been suggesting that they should do more to discourage abusive comments online.

Communications minister Pat Rabbitte questioned the policy of many social sites to remove content based on the complaints of users, rather than a proactive approach.

Senator Eamonn Coghlan put forward the idea of charging people to post comments on social networks and matching up IP addresses with a user's passport details.

However, social media sites are sure to be resistant to any policy that involves taking money off users, and neither idea would entirely alleviate the problem of anonymous trolling. In November, Google launched a petition against government interference in free speech across the internet.

Ministers are set to meet with Twitter and Facebook to discuss cyberbullying, and will announce new recommendations to tackle the problem at a later date.

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Written by James Riches

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