Hajj To Air On YouTube, Groupon Raises $700 Million IPO, CIA Team Analyzes Twitter For Real-Time Intelligence

Breaking news from your editors at Fast Company, with updates all day.

The Hajj To Be Livestreamed on YouTube. Google will be livestreaming the Hajj, the world’s largest religious pilgrimage, in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information. Approximately 2.5 million Muslims will begin the Hajj on Saturday, November 5 in Mecca. Non-Muslims are forbidden from attending and filming the massive, massive pilgrimage posted significant technical challenges for both YouTube and the Saudi government. —NU


–Updated 10:30 a.m. EST

Fake Mars Mission Ends After 520 Days. The Mars500 mission, which was built to simulate a Mars mission in a Moscow warehouse over 18 months, has ended. European Space Agency researches were locked in the mock capsule for 520 days to test some of the experiences that would accompany a real Mars mission. Such a space mission may be decades away, but as far as the experiment went, “The mission is accomplished,” their team leader said. —NS

Google Explores TV Via Optic Fiber. Google’s network for high-speed Internet access, under construction in Kansas City, MO, and Kansas City, KA, could one day support cable-TV and telecom services, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to their sources, Google has had preliminary discussions with cable Walt Disney, Time Warner, and Discovery communications. If the deal goes through, it has the potential to seriously shake up the TV business. —NS

Groupon Raises $700 Million IPO. Groupon has raised $700 million in its expanded IPO, valuing the company at $13 billion. The offering was priced at $20 a share, AP reports, higher than the expected $16-$18, making it one of the highest tech IPOs since Google debuted, the Wall Street Journal reports. In spite of recent concerns raised over Groupon’s fiscal reporting, the IPO was oversubscribed. —NS


CIA Team Analyzes Twitter For Real-Time Intelligence. The Associated Press reports that a team at the CIA actively follows and monitors about 5 million tweets a day, in several foreign languages, coming from across the globe. The information, cross-referenced with Facebook posts, phone calls, and reporting by regional media outlets, feeds a real-time intelligence report that reaches the White House, the agency found, which also tracked and anticipated the uprising in Egypt. —NS

Google Refines Search Algorithm. In a change that will affect 35% of all searches, Google is changing its search technique to keep it up-to-date with the latest news. Google’s real-time search ended in July when it failed to renew its partnership with Twitter, which fueled the service. It’s now building off its Caffeine web indexing system to better rank more recent results, Google posted on its blog. —NS

–Updated 6:30 a.m. EST

[Image: Flickr user Groupon]

Yesterday’s Fast Feed:iPhone App Tracks Guerillas, Facebook Project Hacked, China Tops Booming Asian App Market, Apple To Issue iOS5 Battery Bug Fix