Today in Tech: $30 movie rentals, Google wants to know your face

April 1, 2011, 10:00 AM UTC

A curated selection of the day’s most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web. Sign up to get the newsletter delivered to you everyday.

Yep, Google wants to know your face with a new mobile app. Photo: CNN


  • Google is developing a mobile app  with facial recognition technology that pulls up the  Google Profile contact info for people snapped in photos. Google engineering director Hartmut Neven says the company will be “extra careful” when it comes to privacy issues. (CNN)
  • The CEO of domain name registrar GoDaddy, Bob Parson, is in some hot water thanks to a viral video chronicling his African adventures. In it, Parson shoots an elephant and lets a bunch of villagers make off with its flesh. His reason? The animal was eating all the villagers’ crops. (Silicon Alley Insider)
  • BMW announced plans for a New York City-based start-up incubator with a $100 million investment fund that will invest in and encourage the growth of mobile and location-based companies. “As a mobility company, we are focusing on mobility services that may not even have anything to do with cars,” Joerg Reimann, a managing director of the recently-formed BMW i Ventures, told Fast Company. “We’re not coming at this from a car [perspective], we’re coming from a consumer [perspective].” (Fast Company)
  • Facebook now has 250 million mobile users a month and to celebrate that, the social networking champ is launching a new, spiffy and unified mobile web site, as seen on the right. (TechCrunch)
  • It’s official: The Quick Bar — or as detractors affectioned dubbed it, #Dickbar — is dead. The obtrusive black bar that inserted trending topics and promoted ads at the top of Twitter streams on iPhones everywhere was removed from the latest Twitter app update in the App Store. (TechCrunch)
  • Twitter claims 175 million million registered users, but just how many of them are active, and to what degree? With the help of someone with full Twitter API access, Silicon Alley Insider did some math and reported that 119 million Twitter accounts follow one or more other accounts, 85 million accounts have one or more followers, 56 million accounts follow 0 accounts, and 90 million actually have 0 followers. (Silicon Alley Insider)
  • Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox are rolling out $30 movie rentals for the service Home Premiere on Direct TV, offering films two months after their theatrical release date. The first movies up for grabs will be the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown and Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It. (Variety)
  • Groupon founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky invested $1 million in Qwiki, a service also funded partially by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin that basically pulls information from the Internet and creates multimedia-rich wiki pages/presentations. Their generosity brings the start-up’s latest round of funding to some $9 million. (New York Times/DealB%k)
  • Apple VP of worldwide marketing Allison Johnson is leaving to co-found a new, as-of-yet unnamed marketing and communications firms with former Facebook PR executive Brandee Barker. (AllThingsD)

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