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February 18, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Feb. 18, 2013

Google To Open Retail Locations Later This Year

Retail outlets are in Google’s future.

The technology giant is in the process of constructing stand-alone stores to give consumers a hands-on experience with its growing number of devices, “an extremely reliable source,” told 9to5Google.

The company “hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas,” according to the 9to5Google report.

Google is following in the steps of competitors Apple and Microsoft — both companies have retail outlets in a bid to get their products into the hands of customers who want to test a device before purchasing it.

Opening the retail locations will give Google the chance to demonstrate the Nexus and Chromebooks to prospective customers.

The report, however, flies in the face of statements made by Google Shopping head Sameer Samat in December.

Samat told All Things D Google has “no aspirations to open a store.”

“We aren’t planning on being a retailer,” he said. “We don’t view being a retailer right now as the right decision.”

Apple Continues iPhone Fight in Brazil

Apple is not giving up the fight to gain exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Brazil.

Apple is challenging a ruling by the National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) that the iPhone names belongs to IGB Eletronica, formerly known as Gradiente Electronica.

In its decision, INPI said it ruled in favor of IGB because the firm filed its application first (in 2000) and received approval Jan. 2, 2008.

Apple, however, maintains it should have exclusive rights to the iPhone moniker because although Gradiente registered the iPhone name in that country seven years earlier than Apple, it did not launch a product bearing the name until last December. Gradiente released its iPhone, an Android powered Smartphone, in late December.

In its challenge, Apple contends Gradiente’s rights have expired because it failed to make use of the trademark in the five years after receiving approval.

According to IBN Live, an INPI spokesperson said to keep from losing its trademark rights, IGB must prove within 60 days that it made use of the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013.

Facebook Top Social Media Site

Facebook remains the social network of choice, handily beating out other sites for the top spot in December 2012.

A recent report by comScore indicated that while 191.4 million people visited Google sites last December, 83 percent of all time American desktop users spent social networking last year was done on Facebook.

Google’s sites, co-operatively, nabbed 10 percent while Tumblr grabbed 5.7 percent. Time spent on Pinterest accounted for 1.9 percent of Americans’ social networking time while, Twitter and Linked had 1.7 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.

ComScore also found that Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram all enjoyed spikes in unique audience visits in the U.S. between December of 2011 and December of 2012. The increasing interest in the three sites was dubbed “the rise of the visual Web,” by comScore.

Tumblr had 30.8 million visitors in December, a 64 percent increase, while interest in both Pinterest and Instagram spiked by 284 percent. Pinterest had 28.9 million visitors last December to Instagram’s 27.4 million.