iFive: NASA’s Alien Intrigue, BBC to Hit iPad, Google Tweaks Algorithm, Groupon is a Bargain, Times Paywall a Big Flop

Thursday’s here, full of interest and intrigue. Here’s a quick take on the first news to hit today:

If you’re reading this on an Android phone, you’ll be interested to know news from Nvidia suggests Androids in 2011 could get four-core processors. That sounds like they’ll have laptop-levels of power. Grrrr! Are you nicely envious now? Well, on with the news:


1. The Web’s alive with alien intrigue today, not for the usual crazy reasons: NASA has an announcement later today about exobiology finds. Essentially it’s a “Life, Jim, but not as we know it!” moment from Star Trek, only for real. It’s likely about weird microbes here on Earth using “alien” chemistry to live, rather than ETs…but still fascinating. We’ll know more, later.

2. The BBC is embracing the digital broadcast era, seemingly like no other big-scale provider: It’s just confirmed it’ll have a subscription access package available for overseas viewers by mid-2011, for the first time ever. Like so many industries, the Beeb is embracing the iPad–will other TV providers start using iPads to go global?

3. After the fiasco about gaming Google so that negative business reviews earn you higher ranking in search, and thus more revenue, Google’s revised its algorithm. It won’t say how, but the move is designed to protect consumers because “being bad to your customers is bad for your business.” At least Google knows this.

4. The Google-Groupon deal is still in the news, despite no official info–this time people are speculating about the price, given new “leaked” info about Groupon’s revenues: Sales are over $1 billion already, with $1.5 billion predicted in 2011. Suddenly we understand Google’s interest.

5. New research on the London Times‘ online paywall will be deeply troubling for the news industry dinosaurs, since the Times is seen as leading the pack. Only 14% of existing readers have paid for subscription, and 35% have defected for an alternative free site. Insiders are griping the BBC is to blame. 

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise.