iFive: Google Versus Groupon, iPad 2 in April, Digital Music Sales Slow, 3-D TV and Health, TV Sharing’s Anti-Social Angle

Friday’s early news, prepped to give you a heads-up on the innovation and tech gossip:

1. Is Google shoehorning its way into another market? The Internets are alive with news that it’s about to launch a rival to Groupon, dubbed “Offers.” It’s testing a “pre-paid offers/vouchers program” and is busy enrolling small businesses already. Since Groupon famously turned down an acquisition offer from Google last year, is this a case of “If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em”?


2. The scuttlebutt about Apple’s upcoming iPad revision suggested it would arrive earlier than we’d thought, but new sources inside the supply chain suggest mass-shipments will happen in April. This places its arrival at around the same time as the original device in 2010. Speculation will now center on the international roll-out, which was delayed and stuttering due to supply versus demand problems.

3. Digital music sales grew just 6% in 2010, versus 9% in 2009 and 30% in 2008, according to new data from IFPI. This news has commenters in a tizzy as they worry that piracy is squashing legitimate MP3 sales, which could easily give RIAA a boost in its lobbying campaign to tighten piracy laws. But does the statistic merely reflect the rapid maturing of an industry that’s seen unrealistic growth over recent years?

4. Are 3-D films bad for your health? The latest new technology/heath worry is that watching 3-D movies in the theater or on your brand new 3-D HDTV can cause a variety of conditions from headaches all the way through to nausea, cramps, and convulsions. Medical experts working for TV companies and independent observers disagree.

5. One trend being pushed by TV networks is social media sharing via interactive services on, most prominently, web-connected TVs. But new data from one firm inside this market suggests that only 25% of consumers are interested in sharing their TV viewing habits with others–not a statistic that’ll please PR and marketing experts inside the networks.

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

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