Category Archives: In the News

Tech news and opinions

Google+ is now available to anyone 13+

If you’re under the age of 18 and have been wondering why Google+ isn’t available to you – it’s because Google insisted they wanted to implement specific privacy features before it went live to minors.

Now, it’s been done – and anyone 13 years of age or older can open an account. Google say that specific privacy rules will be preset until you’re 18, but at least Google might finally get the audience I feel they should be targeting!

O2 leaks customer phone numbers online; reminds us “trusted” partners are allowed our numbers

O2’s in the doghouse today after an angry customer pointed out that his phone number was being handed out to the webmaster of every site he visited over a 3G connection. It turns out that if you visited a webpage from a 3G connection on your phone between 10th January and 2pm UK time today, chances are your phone number has been handed out to at least one person.

Obviously, this caused quite a lot of uproar from customers. O2 quickly responded by fixing the issue within a few hours and then posted rather a long Q&A post on their blog detailing what had happened.

It would seem the company also took the oppertunity to remind customers that some “trusted” partners are allowed to get hold of our mobile numbers if they decide it is necessary. They claim that some companies using premium rate services need phone numbers so that any charges can be added to your bill – but many customers are questioning whether O2 are actually being transparent here.

Nonetheless, this is a pretty big blow for O2 and the customer outrage has attracted the attention of the Information Commissioner. O2 also say that they’re in touch with Ofcom to discuss what happened.

O2 UK drops The Cloud wifi access from February 2012

O2 recently announced that Pay Monthly customers will lose their free access to The Cloud wifi services as of February 2012.

If you’re on a data plan with O2, you may be aware that you currently have free access to both BT Openzone and The Cloud as part of your contract. Handy for making sure you’re not using your limited data allowance when you’re in a public place.

Sadly, as of 1st February 2012, O2 customers won’t be able to use The Cloud for free wifi. O2 say all data customers will still have access to BT Openzone and also to their own wifi networks (but O2 wifi networks are free to anyone, anyway).

This probably has something to do with the sale of The Cloud to BSkyB. Bit of a shame really, as there are The Cloud hotspots at my local train station and at various other public places that I use – but no major loss I guess.

Skype finally fixes “Skype Home” bug

Skype has recently released Skype version, which – finally – fixes the bug where Skype Home appears every time the program launches.

If you downloaded the KillSkypeHome applet, you’ll now need to remove that from your system after installing the update.

The update is available through Skype’s own update system, or from FileHippo.

we7 moves to “radio” service, proves there’s no money in music streaming

On Thursday (29/9/11), we7 converted it’s free service to a “radio” service – being the latest online music service to do so. It follows Spotify, who moved to limited music streaming in April.

The new service for free users allows up to 50 “on-demand” tracks per month, and then a limited radio service. Premium and Premium+ users still have full access to the old site at and can choose between the two sites.

It does prove that there really is no money in free choice-based music streaming. We7 previously blamed the music industries high streaming fee – which was difficult to match with advertising.

We7 has argued that it believes people want their music to be chosen for them on a genre basis. According to The Telegraph, it denies the move is due to increased competition.

It’s a real shame, but it seems impossible to make money from advertised streaming services.