What is PRISM?
It's unlikely that you made it through last week without catching wind of the PRISM scandal. The revelation that the US government has surreptitiously (yet totally legally) been accessing the server data of internet giants like Google, Yahoo, Skype and even Facebook has thrown a spotlight on online privacy and left many Americans questioning if their constitutional rights have been violated. The strangest thing about the story is most of the companies just mentioned deny knowledge of the program. Gizmodo have released a run-down of the story so far.
What does this mean for us on this side of the pond? Well according to William Hague, if you are a law-abiding citizen, you have "Nothing to fear"; it'll be interesting to see if reassuring statements like that do anything to shake up UK concerns about online privacy. Yesterday's announcement from the Guardian that our government intercepted foreign officials' communications at the G20 summit will further raise questions about the boundaries of surveillance in our country.
iOS 7 Launch
Last week Apple gave us a sneak peak of what we can expect from the new OS, due for release in the autumn. Steve Wozniak described the new design as "beautiful", while an industry analyst predicted that some may feel "disoriented by the newness". There's too many features to list, so check them out here.
... but one in particular caught our eye ...
Apple unveils Radio streaming service
Shortly after Google's announcement of Play All Access, it seems that Apple are also jumping on the streaming bandwagon with the release of iTunes radio. Play's catalogue is 18 million while the whole of iTunes, with the backing of Sony, Universal and Warner, seems to be the stronger offering with 26 million. Like Spotify, it will work on an free, ad-funded basis for most users but iTunes match subscribers will be able to access a no-ads service. Like iOS 7, this wont be out until later in the year - or potentially even after for us in the UK.
Facebook reveals hashtags
Facebook are having a lovely time poaching Twitter's features this month, starting with verified pages and now moving to the central pillar of the Twittersphere, the hashtag. No doubt that this is a step taken to improve their second-screen offering as the move to mobile, as well as having obvious implications for targeting. Whether or not it can lure TV tweeters away remains to be seen.
Google confirms purchase of social traffic provider Waze
Google have snatched up Waze, an app that combines online maps with updates from users about traffic conditions. As maps is one of their most popular offerings, it's no surprise that they'd want to take this one step further and increase their appeal to motorists, while the addition of social to this location data could be handy for OOH planners in the future. With Apple's recent iOS for cars announcement we're expecting the word "smartcar" to be enjoying a rebrand in the near future.