1. Google is taking its war with Apple to a new front: video rentals in iTunes (currently the industry leader). YouTube has apparently sealed all the required deals with movie studios to enable on-demand streaming of movies from major studios–an evolution of its (slightly disastrous) experiment with renting indie movies a while back.
2. We knew Facebook Deals, a rival to Groupon and its peers, was due soon but the new service was revealed late last night. As well as offering discounted special offers on products and events from ad partners, and leveraging Facebook’s huge name to promote the system’s popularity, there’s a twist: you’ll need to use Facebook Credits for the purchases, meaning you can buy credits to then buy the vouchers.
3. Google and Apple have been summoned to a May 10th hearing to explain user privacy violations, with emphasis on recording historic location data (despite that it’s been confirmed Apple doesn’t ever see the data). Other privacy experts have been summoned too, and the goal is to bring lawmakers up to speed on the latest technological advances, and keep user privacy in the minds of manufacturers. Meanwhile Apple’s now facing its first lawsuit on the matter.
4. Sony’s just confirmed its S1 and S2 tablets are en route in the Fall–two Android Honeycomb tablets with very different form-factors. The S1 is a Tegra-powered 9.4-inch slate that’s positioned against the iPad (priced around $599), and the S2 is an unusual folding device with two 5.5-inch displays and a custom UI to maximize use of the book-like screens (due at around $699). It’s Sony’s first acknowledgement of the new tablet market.
5. In other Google news there’s a hot rumor it’s due to reveal video chat capabilities for Android smartphones at the upcoming I/O conference, bringing a facility that’s been reserved for some tablet users to Android phones. It’s another rival to Skype, and another weapon in Google’s arsenal to rival Apple’s services–in this case FaceTime, which garnered Apple a lot of press excitement at its reinvention of video calling on the iPhone and iPad.