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Google doodle celebrates the Bunsen burner, takes heat over privacy

Today's Google doodle celebrates the man behind the Bunsen burner as the search giant announces +1 and superfast broadband -- and earns a slap on the wrist.

Someone's lit a flame under Google today -- today's Google doodle celebrates Robert Bunsen, and it's announced +1, a rival to the Facebook like button. The search giant has also announced it's igniting its superfast broadband business, and it's feeling the heat over privacy issues.

Robert Bunsen was born on 31 March 1811, 200 years ago today. Bunsen was a German chemist who discovered caesium and rubidium, lost an eye in a laboratory explosion, and switched to studying rocks after he retired -- all while sporting some impressive mutton chops.

He invented the Bunsen cell battery, as well as being involved in the development of the famous burner that bears his name, but spurned the money he could have made from these innovations because he refused on principle to take out patents.

Bunsen died in 1899. The doodle celebrates his work with an animation of the famous burner performing an experiment.

It's a busy day at the big G, which has also announced its own version of the Facebook Like button, called +1. It's been moaned at by rival Microsoft for not playing fair over YouTube, and has squashed a pesky PlayStation emulator on Android too.

As if that wasn't enough, the search behemoth will be bringing ultra high-speed fibre broadband to Kansas City in the US. The search giant held a contest to be the first Googlefied fibre city, with more municipalities set to follow.

In less positive news for Google, the company is to be subjected to independent checks on its activities after a number of privacy snafus. The US Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Google will be checked twice a year to ensure it's complying with privacy law.

The ruling was a result of concerns over Google Buzz, although the search company has also been in hot water over privacy violations by the Street View service.