Google powered laptops. Google has long denied that it was interested in offering a computer operating system, but it may end up running computers none the less. Hewlett-Packard (HP) is considering dumping Microsoft Windows in place of Google’s Android for its range of Netbooks (small laptops). Android (acquired by Google in 2007) powers “Google Phones” such as the HTC Dream currently offered in Australia by Optus.

The Android platform is based on Linux, a proven operating system that powers servers and standard computers. Linux has become a popular alternative operating system for netbook manufacturers for one key reason: itʼs free. In a market that is by nature cut price (Netbooks can be as low as $US250), the addition of a Microsoft Windows license can result in a price difference of as much as 50% for a Microsoft powered netbook vs a similar Linux powered model. Android is geared towards mobile phones, but the switch wouldnʼt be hard.

Enthusiast sites have already proven that Android can be installed on a laptop, and with the addition of drivers that may already be available (or easily adopted if not), HP may mark the beginning of the Google powered operating system era.

Hands in the air, letʼs do it together. Social networking site Hi5 (not to be confused with the Australian childrenʼs group of the same name) has laid off 50% of its workforce, or approx. 50 people. Hi5 was one of a range of sites that in earlier days went head to head with MySpace and Facebook for social networking supremacy, but lost … well, to a point. Hi5 is ranked as the 20th most popular site on the internet according to Alexa, and is said to do 62 million unique visitors per month.

Despite the perception that Facebook rules the world, the social networking market varies from country to country (without any logical pattern). Hi5 is big in Mexico, Thailand, Portugal and Peru, despite being founded and based in the United States.

Crackberry fans rejoice. Research in Motion (RIM), manufacturers of the Blackberry have launched an application store. The store will offer a one-stop shop of applications that can be downloaded for the Blackberry, although unfortunately thereʼs not an app yet to help relieve the thumb pain users often complain of.

RIM wasnʼt shy in admitting where their inspiration came from, saying in a release that they are “now following in Apple Inc.’s footstep by creating and operating a central store.”

In a move that will make Australian telcos smile, “BlackBerry App World will share revenue with cell phone carriers and allow them to profile themselves by setting up their own stores-within-the-store.”

I did but see her pressing play. US President Barack Obama is in the UK for the G20 summit this week, and per tradition has dropped in to see Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, and numerous other places.

Fresh from presenting British PM Gordon Brown with a range of DVDʼs last month that were region locked to US DVD players only, Obama presented HRH with an iPod. Sadly, the iPod did not include footage of Her Majestyʼs many trips to Australia, but instead included footage of her visit to US historical sites in 2007. Naturally the Head of the Commonwealth enjoys nothing more than viewing footage of herself touring a country that established itself by throwing off the rule of her ancestors.

Whether the Queen was amused or not was not disclosed, but she did however give as good as she got, offering a silver framed picture of herself and Prince Philip in return.

Crowdsourcing search fails. Wikia Search, the search engine launched by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in January 2008 as a “Google killer” has been put to rest. Wikia Search aimed to apply the crowdsourcing idea of Wikipedia (that is, user contributions) to a search engine.

Wales wrote that Wikia Search “has not been enjoying the kind of success that we had hoped” and then blamed the economy for the ultimate demise.

Lack of Insight. SBS took on the issue of internet censorship Tuesday night on Insight, with a range of guests that included (and this is a direct quote from SBS) a couple that are “online users of pornography and proud of it.” Stilgherrian provided an ample summary in Crikey Wedneday, but there was one takeaway from the 50 odd minutes: a clear lack of insight. The show confused two completely separate issues: child filtering and broadscale filtering for the entire population.

Very few, if any in the anti-censorship movement are against offering an optional “clean feed” for children, and many leading ISPʼs already offer the service.

Another observation missed in most media coverage was who was sitting next to Conroy: Anthony Pillion, the Managing Director of WebShield, a company that will do very nicely out of the policy when it is implemented. Iʼm sure SBS is to blame with the seating arrangements and it was a pure coincidence. To say otherwise might mean an entry on AMCAʼs blacklist … oh wait, they canʼt block Crikey emails yet, despite the show starting with talk about the evil things kids get via email.

Google VC. Google has expanded its reach into venture capitalism. Google Ventures starts with US$100 million in funding, and will invest in early stage companies. Google noted in its release that the recession actually offered additional opportunities for investment.

Vale SGI. one of the more famous names in tech, Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI) has been sold to Rackable Systems for US$25 million. In its heyday, SGI had a turnover of US$4 billion a year, and provided computers that powered a generation of Hollywood special effects blockbusters, including Jurassic Park.

Because there should be, there is an Australian connection. Founder James Clark, who also went on to found Netscape Communications, recently married Australian swimsuit model Kristy Hines.

Duncan Riley is the publisher of The Inquisitr. Follow him on Twitter here.

Peter Fray

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