Opening the book on Chrome (week in review)

Amid the frenzy of news streaming from Google's developer conference this week, the unveiling of the Chromebook seems to shine brightest. Also: Microsoft buys Skype.

Google grabbed the news spotlight this week as it hosted its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, but nothing shone as bright as its Chrome browser and the Chrome-based laptop the company introduced .

The Chromebook, touted as an always-on and always-connected computing experience, will be offered by Samsung and Acer starting June 15. The Samsung Chromebook will go for $429 in the U.S. for the Wi-Fi only version and $499 for the 3G version. Acer's Wi-Fi only Chromebook will cost $349.

The devices will be sold in the U.S. by Amazon.com and Best Buy. Google will also be selling Chromebooks internationally in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Though the Chromebooks look as if they're pitted against inexpensive Netbooks and even possibly new tablet PCs, the pricing seems expensive given that the devices leverage only Web apps from Google's cloud services. No real software is running on the devices.

In other Chrome-related news , Google announced the browser now has 160 million active users; explained how the Chrome Web Store has been expanding and is now available in 41 languages; detailed its in-app payment system for Chrome Web Apps; and announced that Angry Birds is coming to the Chrome Web Store.
•  Chrome OS: Start small, then build
•  Google to rebuild Chrome on secure foundation
•  Google tries to remake the laptop
•  Google I/O: Chrome, Android, music (roundup)

Android, Google's other OS , had a day to itself at the developer conference before Chrome took hold. Google announced Android 3.1, an update to Honeycomb that adds new interface options, lets people plug in USB devices, and sports a movie rental service that works directly from the device.

Another eagerly anticipated announcement from I/O was the arrival of Google's cloud-base music service . With it, people can upload their own music collection and stream it to their devices--including to new Android-powered Project Tungsten devices that send music to a person's home stereo system. The service is in invitation-only beta right now in the United States. For a look, check out CNET's Google music slideshow .
•  Google: Our music service is legal
•  Music labels to Google: We're counting on Apple

More headlines

<b>Microsoft to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion

The software giant says that Skype's video-chatting platform will bolster its Kinect and Windows Phone platforms. It will also "connect" Skype users with Xbox Live.
&#149;&nbsp; Microsoft betting Skype keeps it ahead of Google, Apple
&#149;&nbsp; Microsoft oversight ends with little to show for effort

Lime Wire settles with RIAA for $105 million

Entrepreneur Mark Gorton, creator of the LimeWire file-sharing system, agrees to pay $105 million to settle copyright case.
•  Lime Wire: Labels hurt by mismanagement, not piracy
•  In Lime Wire trial, sounds of discord (roundup)

<b>Senate bill amounts to death penalty for Web sites

Protect IP Act requires search engines, some Domain Name System providers, and other Internet companies to "disable access" to Web sites accused of piracy.
&#149;&nbsp; Leahy's Protect IP bill even worse than COICA

Sony Online offers ID theft monitoring, in-game bonuses

Sony's multiplayer gaming network will offer free ID theft monitoring for customers whose personal data was stolen. PC- and PS3-based online gamers will also get free in-game bonus items and currency.
&#149;&nbsp; Anonymous: Group didn't hack Sony, but members may have
&#149;&nbsp; Sony may have headed off planned weekend attack
&#149;&nbsp; PSN breach exposes records of millions (roundup)

White House proposes cybersecurity legislation

Proposal is designed to prod Congress into enacting new laws, which have been stalled over concerns about privacy, Internet "kill switches," and overreaching regulation.
&#149;&nbsp; Serious hole in critical-infrastructure software, says U.S.
&#149;&nbsp; House ISP-logging proposal would exempt wireless

Facebook adds new user security features

Warnings will pop up to block malware attacks, while security codes via text messages can be used for new device log-ins.
&#149;&nbsp; Facebook fixes bug, but 'Nicole Santos' hoax lives on
&#149;&nbsp; Exclusive: eBay removes page that exposed data

<b>Apple responds to Rep. Markey on location

Apple has responded to a letter from U.S. Congressman Edward Markey about what it does with location data from iOS devices.
&#149;&nbsp; Apple, others sued over privacy (again)
&#149;&nbsp; DOJ wants wireless providers to store user info

Wanted: A job in tech

In a series of profiles of college graduates throughout the United States, CNET finds high-tech companies are more welcoming to college grads than they've been in years--if they're smart, creative, and maybe a little realistic.

AT&T defends T-Mobile deal to U.S. Senate

AT&T didn't find many allies at U.S. Senate hearing, where politicians claimed the proposed $39 billion deal would lead to less competition and create a mobile "duopoly."
&#149;&nbsp; Report: AT&T pays $6B if T-Mobile deal fails
&#149;&nbsp; AT&T and T-Mobile: Wireless megamerger (roundup)

Google takes $500M charge for potential antitrust claims

The Web giant says in a regulatory filing that the charge covers a "potential resolution" of a Justice Department probe, but does not provide specifics.
&#149;&nbsp; Report: Google close to settling drug ad crackdown

Amazon vows to cut more affiliates over state taxes

After severing partnerships with affiliates in several states already, the retail giant threatens to cut ties in even more states over the hot-button issue of tax collection.
&#149;&nbsp; Senators seek curb on digital download taxes

Also of note
&#149;&nbsp; Where electronics go to die, responsibly
&#149;&nbsp; Video game sales rebound in April
&#149;&nbsp; Facebook's antisocial PR pitch against Google
&#149;&nbsp; Intel working on new Atom chip architecture
&#149;&nbsp; Visa to launch digital wallet system
&#149;&nbsp; Cell phone radiation and the law that died
&#149;&nbsp; YouTube expands its movie rentals

 

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