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Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter: Web Giants Make Unexpected Announcements

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Google gets a conversation going, Twitter expands advertising options, and more.

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Japan Gets Square

The mobile payments service Square is expanding to Japan, its first foray outside North America, with local partner Sumitomo Mitsui Card Corp. (NYSE:SMFG).

The company may have its work cut out for itself there, as three-fourths of Japanese small businesses don't accept credit cards at all, according to the Wall Street Journal. eBay's (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal mobile payments system is already available in Japan, as are some local products.

Square will charge a 3.25% transaction fee in Japan, although it charges 2.75% in the US PayPal's fee is 5%.

Facebook Stays Home

In the face of negative feedback from early users, Facebook has announced it will delay the rollout of its Facebook Home mobile app in the UK and France for several months. The company will retool the feature.

Considered critical to its strategy for mobile success, Facebook Home replaces the phone's standard home screen with a Facebook feed. It is pre-installed on some Android phones, and can be downloaded from Google Play.

In fact, feedback on Google Play was an early sign that this launch was not going well. More than half the 18,000-plus customer reviewers awarded the feature the lowest one-star rating, and its average rating works out to 2.3 out of five stars.

The company said it would incorporate "a lot of great feedback" to retool the app. The company indicated a delay of a few months.

Yahoo Buys PlayScale

It's not quite as flashy as the Tumblr purchase, but Yahoo just made yet another acquisition that could gain it a little credibility among the techy crowd. It has purchased PlayerScale, a fast-growing startup that provides tools for game developers.

PlayerScale claims to power games played by 150 million people, and to be growing by 400,000 users a day.

See also:

Google and NASA Make Quantum Leap With New Computer

Xbox One and PS4: New Consoles Are Nice, but New Gamers Would Be Even Better

The Tesla Model S Is the New Toyota Prius
Position in MSFT.
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