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theEweekly Wrap: Sharing, SOPA and Steve Jobs

Apps for life Facebook hosted a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday where it unveiled 60 new apps that enhance the new Timeline and Ticker layout. These apps are based on the extended Open Graph and Gestures platforms, which enable ‘frictionless’ sharing of activities in the user’s online life, not just ‘Likes’ and ‘shares’; developers can now build apps using any action or verb they like. Facebook’s director of platform products Carl Sjogreen added: “We think that thousands of applications will be built on this platform in the coming weeks and months.”

Open Graph first launched in September, with apps available that allow users to share their activities, including news apps that post which articles you read, and the Spotify app that includes Listen With. The 60 apps launched this week include eBay, TripAdvisor, Foodspotting, Pinterest (fashion and lifestyle pinboard), Runkeeper, Rotten Tomatoes (film reviews), Monster (job search), Foursquare and Ticketmaster.

Blackout support Facebook did not join in the widespread blackout on Wednesday protesting the SOPA and PIPA legislation in the US. However, founder Mark Zuckerberg used his personal Facebook profile on Wednesday to proclaim: “Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet”. The post received 3,000 Likes in 60 seconds, 75,000 in ten minutes, and by yesterday was approaching half a million. It’s no wonder Facebook didn’t join the blackout, as TheNextWeb calculated that the company would have lost around $11.7m (£7.6m) in revenue, predominantly from advertising.

It was also calculated that Google would have lost $100m (£64.8m) by shutting down for the day. Instead, the search giant placed a black banner over its logo, with a link to an anti-PIPA/SOPA petition which collected around 4.5 million signatures in one day. Google’s Pierre Far also advised site owners on the best way to blackout their site without affecting their rankings or hurting SEO. Furthermore, he revealed on Google+ that the GoogleBot was configured to “crawl at a much lower rate” on Wednesday to avoid participating websites being affected. As reported in last week’s Wrap, many Google head honchos including Sergey Brin and Matt Cutts have vehemently protested the bill. If it passes, search engines will be forced to remove all references to offending sites from their indexes.

Jobs doll withdrawn Plans to sell a realistic figurine of the late Steve Jobs have been scrapped after objections from Apple lawyers and the founder’s family. Chinese company In Icons was already taking orders for the foot-tall doll, which boasted incredibly lifelike features, poseable limbs and various accessories. The doll wears jeans and a black turtleneck, and can be seen on the In Icons website in a variety of classic Steve Jobs poses, surrounded by inspirational quotes. Customers who pre-ordered the $99.99 (£65) doll will be receiving a full refund.

An announcement on the company website on Sunday revealed: “Unfortunately we have received immense pressure from the lawyers of Apple and Steve Jobs family. […]Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figurine out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family.” It remains unclear whether this pressure was in fact a threat of legal action from Apple. In Icons founder Tandy Cheung made it clear there were no replica Apple products sold with the figurine, and added: “There is no copyright protection for a normal person. Steve Jobs is not a product – so I don’t think Apple has the copyright of him.”

Written by Rachel Hand

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