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The Circuit: Google jumps into group messaging, Facebook wooing former press secretary, Apple may delay iOS 5 until fall

LEADING THE DAY: Google is jumping on the group messaging bandwagon. Over the weekend, the company introduced a group messaging program, Disco. Group messaging, which allows users to send text messages between defined groups, is catching on as a hot new mobile trend. TechCrunch reported that Disco was made by the social app-maker Slide, which Google acquired in August.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is also pushing forward with its plans to roll out near-field communications. The company is reportedly partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup to spread the wave-and-pay system nationwide. Near-field communications chips are already embedded in Google Nexus S phones.

Facebook may hire Robert Gibbs: The New York Times reported that Facebook is in the early stages of talks to hire former Obama administration press secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs, who stepped down earlier this year to work on President Obama’s reelection push, is reportedly being courted for a position on the social network’s communications team. According to the Times’ unnamed sources, Facebook is looking to hire Gibbs in advance of its initial public offering, which has been valued as high as $60 billion.

Apple iOS 5 delays, music locker: The next version of Apple’s iOS could be delayed until the fall. According to TechCrunch, “two solid sources” have said the company will break with its normal release schedule and push back the debut of iOS 5. The new system is said to be undergoing a major revamp and the report says it will “very likely” have cloud storage for iTunes music. The report also said the new iOS is likely to launch with a new version of the iPad. The company is still expected to launch its latest version of OSX, Lion, this summer.

Mozilla sets unofficial record: Firefox 4, Mozilla’s latest browser, has apparently unofficially broken its download record. Tallying 8.75 million downloads in 24 hours, the latest version broke the download record it set with Firefox 3. It will not see its latest accomplishment in the Guinness Book of World Records because there was no Guinness representative on-site, Computer World reported. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9, also launched last week, had 2.4 million downloads in its first 24 hours.

Pediatricians highlight “Facebook depression”: The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidance on “Facebook depression” in children and teenagers, the Associated Press reported. Whether competing for friend requests or the most likes, young people can become obsessed with the site. Use of social media can skew a teen’s view of the world, since social media profiles tend to show the good times. Researchers disagree about whether “Facebook depression” is an extension of depression or a condition linked with the site but are quick note that parents shouldn’t worry that simply using Facebook will cause depression.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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