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theEweekly Wrap: Google Transparency, Project Webinos, and new Tablets

Universal Apps Project Webinos got off the ground this weekwith €10 million (£8.5 million) of EU funding. The project sees 22 European companies, including hardware manufacturers, software developers and network providers, working together to create a versatile, universal app store.

Their intention is to make all applications run in a web environment, thus allowing them to run on any OS or platform; the only requirement would be a web browser. The resulting apps would be simpler and more profitable for developers and marketers alike. However, Apple has yet to give its blessing, the value of which cannot be underestimated.

Tablet market’s new entries In addition to the Samsung Galaxy Tab being released on November 1st,

two new rivals in the tablet wars were announced this week. Dell off-handedly mentioned at an Oracle conference that they are releasing a 7-inch version of the Streak smartphone, also running on Android. Rumours have also surfaced of a ‘BlackPad’, a BlackBerry tablet on a similar scale to the iPad, although makers RIM are close-lipped for now.

Somewhat overlooked amidst all these big-name releases, however, is the HomeSurf. Binatone’s Android tablet will feature speakers, a USB port and WiFi, all for just £130 (7-inch) or £180 (8-inch with longer video playback). The rather cunning December release date means the HomeSurf probably won’t be overlooked for long.

Ask Google Google’s Transparency Report was released this week,featuring information about Government Requests. This page reveals that Google often receives requests from government agencies across the world, desiring content to be removed from the search engine, or applying for all Google’s information about a certain user.

The UK government were responsible for the most requests in Europe, making 1,343 applications for user data for use in criminal cases, and ordering the removal of 232 items. The US topped the chart with 4,287 requests but China’s figures remain blank. Google explained, “Chinese officials consider censorship demands to be state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time”.

Facebook comes clean Last weekend, rumours were rife about Facebook ‘building a phone’.The information was greeted with outright denial from the social networking site, but now Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has clarified the matter. In an interview with TechCrunch, he stated “at the end of the day, when people say “building a phone” they actually can mean very different things”.

He went on to categorically deny that they would be building a Facebook-branded or Facebook OS smartphone, preferring to focus on creating a ‘social layer’ for all platform and devices. In short, Zuckerberg claims “our whole approach has to be breadth-first rather than depth-first”. Meaning – we assume – that Facebook will infiltrate every device, app and OS before embarking on any hardware.

Written by Rachel Hand

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