ICYMI: Google Glass, Facebook at Work & Marriott

Facebook gets to work, Google glass gets shelved, more security hacks and Marriot changes its Wi-Fi policy. Here are some things that you may have missed this week.

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Facebook’s long awaited business service got off the ground this week, but it was back down to earth with a bump for Google Glass. Here’s what made the headlines in digital this week.

Google Glass shelved.

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Google has shelved its Glass project, at least in its present form.

The digital glasses have found it difficult to appeal to consumers since their US launch in 2013, prompting Google to announce that it is shelving the project and no longer taking orders as of next week.

The Explorer programme, which gave software developers the chance to buy Glass for $1,500 (£990) will also close.

The team behind Google Glass will be moved out of the company’s ‘X division’, which is responsible for what Google calls “blue sky” products, and become a separate undertaking reporting to Tony Fadell, CEO of the automation business Nest.

Google says it remains committed to the concept of smart glasses, with rivals including Sony recently unveiling their own version of the technology.

Facebook gets to work.

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Facebook at Work launched this week, being opened up to a handful of partners who will test the platform prior to a full launch.

Facebook at Work is the social media giant’s attempt to capitalise on the business market, currently dominated by LinkedIn. The service, which will look like the current Facebook (although the colour scheme will be different to avoid you getting a ticking-off from the boss), is designed to connect you with colleagues and business contacts that you may not otherwise connect with on Facebook.

Business owners will sign-up for the service and invite their employees onto the network, with the hope that Facebook at Work could be a platform for collaboration, communication and sharing industry news.

Google Translate gets a voice.

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The Google Translate app has been updated to act like an interpreter, with a real-time voice being added to the service for the first time.

The updated app allows users to instantly translate written messages, such as on a sign or restaurant menu, using the camera on their smartphone but the big feature is the ability to recognise and translate spoken conversations in real time.

Previously, the app could only translate spoken conversations on a phrase by phrase basis.

The new feature is available to translate English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

US Centcom hacked on Twitter

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The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US Military Command were hacked this week by a pro-Islamic State group.

A series of pro-Islamic State messages appeared on the @Centcom Twitter page late on Monday, in what has been described as an act of “cyber vandalism” by authorities. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed, which was temporarily pulled following the breach.

It provided for an embarrassing moment for President Barack Obama, who was giving a speech on cyber security at the time of the attack.

Obama used the recent Sony hacks to stress the “enormous vulnerabilities” for US national security and the economy.

Marriott U-turn over hotspot jamming

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Hotel chain Marriot has announced that it will stop blocking guests from using their mobile phones as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The hotel chain was fined £600,000 by a US regulator last year after it transpired that it was deliberately blocking mobile hotspots in some of its conferencing suites. At the time, Marriott argued that it felt it had a right to do this on its properties.

Mobile hotspots allow smartphones to effectively become ‘beacons’ for Wi-Fi devices, allowing multiple devices such as laptops and tablets to access the internet through a mobile phone. Blocking such technology would force users to pay for the hotel’s own Wi-Fi service.

Marriott has now confirmed that it would reverse the ban, saying in a statement. “Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal wi-fi devices at any of our managed hotels.”

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