iFive: Al-Jazeera Document Leak, McDonald’s Wireless Payments, 3-D Going Mobile, Zynga Gets Facebook Exec, Mahalo’s Reinvention

Welcome to a new week! Let us help get you off to a running start with iFive, our summary of the early innovation news:

1. Al-Jazeera has shown that WikiLeaks isn’t the only site that can leak sensitive diplomatic texts: It’s obtained over 16,000 private records of meetings, and communications between Palestinian, U.S., and Israeli leaders for the last decade, and released some online. Controversy over Israel’s seeming rebuttal of concessions has already happened, casting a new light on Julian Assange’s business.


2. This really does look like it’s going to be the year of contactless credit cards: McDonald’s U.K. has revealed it’ll be rolling out NFC Visa payment systems to all its 1,200 branches by the summer. It’s the first big-scale retailer in Britain to try it out, with customers able to “tap and pay” without needing even to enter a PIN when buying food under £15 in value.

3. While you, personally, may be wary about 3-D tech, the industry itself is not–Nvidia has just had a leak revealing its Tegra 2 chip plans for this year, which include the dual-core ARM Cortex A9 Tegra 2 3D. This is a chip destined for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that’s specifically designed to power 3-D displays. Expect to learn more at the upcoming Mobile World Congress.

4. Need more proof that Zygna, the social gaming phenomenon responsible for FarmVille, is enormous? Facebook’s first chief of advertising sales, Mike Murphy, has just joined Zynga part-time to advise its ad business division. The idea is to really push the monetization tricks used to squeeze money out of Zynga’s millions upon millions of casual games addicts.

5. Jason Calacanis’ website Mahalo is undergoing another reinvention, from an “answers” site into… well, he’s not saying. Teasing a “Mahalo 4.0” event on Tuesday, when Mahalo will “pivot” from “a human-powered search” engine into an as-yet mysterious new mode. The inside line we’ve heard is it’s all about education at all levels–learn guitar, learn a new language and so on. A sign the search business is flagging? Or merely a reflection that an entrepreneur can sometimes rapidly reinvent to add relevance to a flagging business?

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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