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Faster Forward
Posted at 06:23 PM ET, 11/16/2011

Today in Tech: Google Music, Facebook spam, Apple as carrier?

Google Music: Google announced that it is opening its Music service to everyone for free for up to 20,000 songs. In addition, the company is adding a music marketplace through the Android Market, adding a catalog of millions of songs.

Google is curating the store using recommendations from staff members and personalized recommendations based on artists you’ve indicated that you like. Hooking in its social network, Google+, the company is also making it easy to share songs either publicly or with select groups of friends through the network’s Circles feature.

Facebook spam: Many Facebook users were surprised to find graphic pornographic and violent images in their news feeds this week, following a widespread spam attack. The company said that it now has the issue under control. The company cited a “browser vulnerability” that allowed hackers to post the images to users accounts. Judging from Facebook’s statement, however, the heart of the problem is that people were somehow tricked into copying and pasting a line of malicious code into their browser bars.

Apple as a carrier?: Steve Jobs originally wanted Apple to be able to operate the iPhone without help from carriers. That’s what John Stanton, a venture capitalist and wireless industry veteran, told his audience at a Seattle speech Monday, IDG News reported.

According to Stanton, when Jobs was first percolating ideas about the handset from 2005-2007, he discussed the feasibility of going around carriers and using the unlicensed spectrum that WiFi networks rely on for the phones.

Apple’s board: Apple announced Tuesday that it had appointed new members to its board, following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in October.

The company’s new chairman of the board is Arthur Levinson, chairman of Genentech Inc. Levinson has served as a co-lead director of the company’s board since 2005. The company also appointed Robert Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney Co., to be a director. Apple and Disney have had a very close relationship; Jobs was on Disney’s board before his death.

Gmail app re-released: Google’s going for take two on its Gmail app after a brief and disastrous App Store debut two weeks ago. The company originally released the application with a critical bug that broke notifications and caused the app to crash.

The company said it learned a lot from the app’s brief time on the market. “In the short time the app was public we received a lot of helpful feedback and feature requests,” wrote Google project manager Matthew Izatt in a company blog post. He promised that Google would be providing fast updates to the app, which is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

PETA vs. Mario: Controversial animal rights group PETA is arguing that one of Nintendo character Mario’s most popular power-ups should be powered down. The group is taking the position that gaming’s most famous plumber is supporting the fur industry when he dons his Tanooki suit — an optional item in the game “Super Mario 3D Land” that gives Mario the ability to glide.

The Tanooki suit turns Mario into a tanuki, a raccoon-dog that is traditionally featured in Japanese literature as a trickster animal. The animals are also prized for their coats in Japan, however, and PETA argues that Mario’s suit promotes that industry.

By  |  06:23 PM ET, 11/16/2011

 
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