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11 Mar 2010

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Thursday News Round Up: Facebook to Allow Users to Share Location; Foursquare’s Business Tools and Mapping the Internet

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

As our loyal got geoint? readers know, we like to start the week off with our Monday Morning News Kick Off post, which highlights all the actionable news you need to get your week started on the right foot. Well, every so often we like to break out of the mold and do a news round up post in the middle of the week. And, since our research department just found a whole slew of very cool location, imagery and science stories, we had to do a “Thursday News Round Up” post. All the news you need to get through the last leg of the week. Read on and enjoy.

Facebook Will Allow Users to Share Location

Starting next month, the more than 400 million Facebook users could begin seeing a new kind of status update flow through their news feed: the current locations of their friends. Facebook plans to take the wraps off a new location-based feature in late April at f8, the company’s yearly developer conference, according to several people briefed on the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss unannounced services. Check out the full NY Times story here.

Foursquare Introduces New Tools for Businesses

Foursquare, a location-based social network, plans to distribute a free analytics tool and dashboard in the coming weeks that will give business owners access to a range of information and statistics about visitors to their establishments. Tristan Walker, director of business development at Foursquare, said that the latest features were intended to help local merchants run their stores by giving them more information about their customers. “We’re trying to give businesses more retention with current customers and the ability to add new customers with specials,” said Mr. Walker. Read the full NY Timess BITS post here.

One Sensor To Do The Work of Many
More than a year before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates began pushing the Air Force to buy more UAVs for surveillance missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon scientists were working on a different solution: build sensors so sophisticated that one aircraft can do the work of many. In February, such a sensor took flight. The ARGUS-IS – the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System – can spot and track “65-plus” targets simultaneously from altitudes higher than 20,000 feet, according to the sensor’s inventor, BAE Systems. Check out the full Defense News article here.

Fill in the Blanks: Using Math to Turn Lo-Res Datasets Into Hi-Res Samples
In the early spring of 2009, a team of doctors at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University lifted a 2-year-old into an MRI scanner. The boy, whom I’ll call Bryce, looked tiny and forlorn inside the cavernous metal device. The stuffed monkey dangling from the entrance to the scanner did little to cheer up the scene. Bryce couldn’t see it, in any case; he was under general anesthesia, with a tube snaking from his throat to a ventilator beside the scanner. Ten months earlier, Bryce had received a portion of a donor’s liver to replace his own failing organ. For a while, he did well. But his latest lab tests were alarming. Something was going wrong — there was a chance that one or both of the liver’s bile ducts were blocked. Read the full Wired Magazine story here.

Take a Step Closer for an Invitation to Shop
LIKE many retailers, the North Face has been having trouble luring shoppers into its stores. The company, which sells outdoor apparel and gear, is about to try a new tactic: sending people text messages as soon as they get near a store. Advertisers have long been intrigued by the promise of cellphones, because they live in people’s pockets and send signals about shoppers’ locations. The dream has been to send people ads tailored to their location, like a coupon for a cappuccino when passing a coffee shop. Read the full NY Times story here.

Scientists Strive to Map the Shape-Shifting Net

In a dimly lit chamber festooned with wires and hidden in one of California’s largest data centers, Tim Pozar is changing the shape of the Internet. He is using what Internet engineers refer to as a “meet-me room.” The room itself is enclosed in a building full of computers and routers. What Mr. Pozar does there is to informally wire together the networks of different businesses that want to freely share their Internet traffic. Check out the full NY Times article here.

Happy Thursday!

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