iFive: Egypt’s Lone ISP, Assange on 60 Minutes, China Censors “Egypt,” Google Hires App Writers, Zuckerberg on SNL

To start the new week off at running speed, read our summary of the early innovation news, in speedy-sized chunks:

1. As Egypt tips ever further toward regime change, it looks like the one ISP in the nation that skirted Friday’s Net cutoff is still up and running, and offering some Egyptians a way round the media clap-down that’s now even hit Al Jazeera. It’s the Noor Group ISP, and it’s up because the nation’s stock exchange, banks, and big businesses use it. Mubarak cannot afford for his nation’s financiers to be silenced.


2. WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange appeared on 60 Minutes on the weekend, making the most of recent changes to his house arrest. Among the numerous topics discussed, Assange highlighted his relationships with WikiLeaks sources. As well as trying to deflect suggestions that the leaker of U.S. cables was aided in his plans, it’s a way of establishing journalistic credentials for the whistleblower site. We’ll have to see if it works–U.S. authorities seem to be clamping down on all things WikiLeaks.

3. The Egyptian unrest has sparked a peculiar reactionary censorship in China. The Chinese government appears to be backing Mubarak in the face of a popular uprising, and has now suppressed much news of the public protests there in the media–and online. Even searching for “Egypt” using Baidu–essentially China’s Google–leads to bland references that don’t mention the news. And “Egypt” as a search phrase in popular micro-blog Sina apparently now doesn’t work. Perhaps memories of Tiananmen Square are haunting the government.

4. Stung by the slow expansion rate of its own smartphone app store in the face of Apple’s successes, Google is now reportedly recruiting “dozens” of app writers and software engineers for a new push on apps that’ll come from inside the Google giant itself. With billions of dollars of revenue at stake, Google can’t let Apple forge too far ahead–particularly since the iPad 2 is imminent, ready to prompt new buzz about Apple products.

5. Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend. Yup, it’s true–the seemingly socially awkward billionaire nerd faced up to two of his most famous imitators, on camera for kicks and giggles. Is it PR damage control, given Zuck’s relentless and difficult push to redefine online privacy? Or an attempt to steal back brand ownership from the movie The Social Network? Hard to say. But the footage is great:


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