Google Street View’s Japan Quake Project, Facebook’s Music Plans, College Kids Love Apple, Twitter Value Hits $8 Billion

Post quake, Google finds its place in Japan. “Hey, I’m a Mac, I’m off to college!” New investment puts Twitter at $8 billion. This and more important news from your Fast Company editors, with updates all day.

Japan quake pics


Google’s New View. Google’s Street View cars and cams have found somewhere they’re welcome: post-quake Japan. The cam cars will start capturing images of areas in five prefectures ravaged by the March 11 quakes, and Google will begin uploading the images to Google Earth later this year. The mayor of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Shigeru Suganuma, called the Street View project a “precious undertaking”–quite a different take from Germany, France, and Spain‘s terming the projects there “probably illegal.” –TG 

–Updated 7:57 a.m. EST

Facebook’s Music Plans May Have Leaked. As part of the launch of the new integrated Skype system this week, some of Facebook’s code became available to interested hackers…who’ve now discovered handles for a music downloading service called “vibes” hidden in the software. No announcements have come from Facebook, and there’s only the first inklings of it in the code, but the idea does tally with many a rumor about Facebook’s music plans–including rumored plans with Spotify. –KE

Adobe Bites Apple Again, This Time As iOS Bug. A serious security weakness has been uncovered that could allow malicious hackers access to sensitive user information on iPhones and iPads. The exploit requires the user download a virus-laden PDF file, which means it’s buffered against most accidental encounters. The exploit likely took months to put together, highlighting Apple’s role in the hacker spotlight, and though Apple’s working on a fix it’s not here yet. –KE


Back To School PC Race Won By Apple. Students would seem to be unexpectedly shrewd, according to new research: 80% of those surveyed said they’d prefer to own a Mac rather than a Windows PC–even though the back to school deal for Apple is a mere $100 in iTunes vouchers compared to an entire Xbox 360 worth hundreds of dollars when buying a $700 PC that’s actually less pricey (though usually less capable) than an entry level Mac. Is it thanks to the Mac chic? The fact that ongoing maintenance costs may be lower? The threat of viruses? –KE

Investment Values Twitter At $8 Billion. A new financing round for Twitter to the tune of $400 million sees the micro-blogging firm’s value now at $8 billion. Current levels of income are around $200 million and the firm is close to profitability, say analysts, hence the fresh injection of cash. Compared to the other industry darling at the moment, Zynga, which has nearly $600 million in revenues, Twitter seems small. But since its value at a December funding round was less than $4 billion, the firm has great potential. –KE


–Updated 5:40 a.m. EST

[Twitter image: Flickr user eldh]

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