Julian Assange To Host TV Talk Show, Google Reverses Real Name Policy, Orange To Bring Free Wikipedia To Mobile Phones

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

Facebook Added £2.2 Billion To U.K. GDP. Facebook is turning out to be a mammoth business provider in the U.K.–according to new figures from Deliotte, the social network has contributed £2.2 billion to the U.K.’s GDP and £12.7 billion to the EU as a whole. COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke about the economic impact the social network had on the U.K. and Europe at the DLD conference in Munich, while announcing a scheme of free ads on Facebook for small and medium enterprises. She added that the “app economy” was worth about £467 million to the U.K. —NS


GSP Tracking Needs A Warrant. According to a Supreme Court ruling, GPS tracking of people via devices on cars and other property is unconstitutional without a warrant. The ruling, the New York Times points out, comes as an obstacle to many established surveillance methods that police and government officials currently rely on. —NS

–Updated 9:30 a.m. EST

NBC News Announces Publishing Plans. NBC News will create e-books through their newly formed NBC Publishing division, featuring text as well as multimedia content like audio and video. The first book is expected in February, and 30 additional titles are expected this year. Content will filter in via author partnerships, or existing content written by NBC staff and partners —NS

NFC Check-Ins From Orange And SITA. Orange and SITA are testing a version of NFC-powered check-in system that could let travelers zip through airport checkpoints with a tap of their phones. In their proof of concept, they embedded ticket details in a NFC-capable SIM card–a phone carrying the SIM card could be waved at a scanner to transmit the info. —NS

–Updated 9:00 a.m. EST


Assange To Host TV Talk Show. WikiLeaks‘ Julian Assange has plans to host his own TV interview series centered around “the world tomorrow.” According to a press release posted on the WikiLeaks website, the show’s guests will be “controversial voices across the political spectrum.” Ten half-hour episodes are planned, which will begin airing in Mach 2012. —NS

Google Reverses Real Name Policy. In a Google+ post yesterday, VP Bradley Horowitz explained that Google had responded to (often stinging) feedback on its strict real-names-only policy. The new rules now allows names in different scripts, maiden names, and nicknames. The change will be rolling out in the coming weeks, and the names will be applied to all accounts associated with a Google profile. —NS

Orange To Bring Free Wikipedia To Mobile Phones. Wikipedia and Orange have partnered up to bring free Wikipedia access to the phone operator’s 70 million customers in the Middle East and Africa. This year, the service will be launched in 20 markets in the targeted zone. —NS

–Updated 5:45 a.m. EST

[Image: Flickr user cogdogblog]

Yesterday’s Fast Feed: E-Textbooks Are Flying Off iBook Shelves, Tumblr Plans East Coast Expansion, RIM CEOs Resign, China’s Weibo Busier Than Twitter, and more!