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Tech News: Apple Files a 'No Look' Patent; Google Battles Generification -- and Wins


Plus, a contentious Kickstarter campaign, Google's mobile ad measurement tool, and iPhones for T-Mobile.

Google Pressures Sweden to Amend Definition of New Word

Every year, Sweden's Language Council releases a list of new words that have been added to the popular lexicon. For the first time ever, a word was removed from the 2012 list, following pressure and prolonged legal debate from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). The word is "ogooglebar": It means something that one cannot find by using a search engine. Note that the definition stipulates "a search engine" and not specifically Google's, though the company's name rests plainly in the center of the word.

Google asked that the word be amended to refer to only Google searches, maintaining the integrity of its brand and keeping it from becoming a generic term. After not complying with Google's request, the Sweden Language Council finally decided to remove the word entirely from the lexicon. Still, people use the word in Sweden. As the Language Council's head, Ann Cederberg, said to Sveriges Radio, "It's not just about our definition of the word; we also tried to describe how users define the word and Google had opinions about that."

Cederberg denied claims the the council was intimidated or censored by Google, but said that dropping the world from the lexicon would be beneficial in triggering a debate. As she said to the Swedish TT news agency, "We thought it would be useful to start talking about this; we have nothing to lose."

A 9-Year-Old Girl's Video Game Programming Camp Kickstarter

Last week, Mackenzie Wilson, a 9-year-old girl from Stevensville, Maryland, and her mother Susan, launched a Kickstarter campaign to send Mackenzie to a video game design camp so that she can create her own game and prove naysayers wrong (some said she'd never be able to design a game, apparently). She asked for $829, the tuition for the week-long camp. As of now, the project has raised $21,111 with 24 days to go. The reason? The campaign has caught the attention of the media and Internet users at large by providing a battle ground for gender roles and issues.

The title of the campaign reads, "9 Year Old Building an RPG [role playing game] to Prove Her Brothers Wrong!" In her description of her goal, she writes, "It's no secret there aren't enough females in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] professions so part of my Kickstarter campaign is aimed at raising awareness and getting girls thinking about careers in technology at an early age." Mackenzie and her message have gotten a lot of support, but also a lot of criticism.

One post that has been heavily circulating on Reddit called Susan Wilson a "millionaire...scumbag, clearly has no ethics, is a cyber squatter and spammer, exploits children, exploits gender issues & appeals to misandry to make a few bucks." Susan has said that the campaign did not come from a place of need, but of empowerment, to show Mackenzie that she can make it happen for herself.

Kickstarter has rules against using raised funds for tuition, but the campaign has been defended as legitimate because its end goal is the production of a video game (the camp is only a necessary step towards that goal).

The campaign has unleashed an Internet frenzy between supporters and detractors, and it shines both an empowering and questioning light onto the larger topics of crowd-funding for children, and women in STEM professions. With 24 days to go, we can expect more debate (and money). The question is, if the camp only costs $829, and the campaign has raised $21,111, where will the rest of that money go?

Apple's Patent for "No Look" Multitouch Interface

Today, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was granted US Patent No. 8,407,623 for "Playback control using a touch interface." The language of the patent, which was originally filed in 2009 by Duncan Kerr and Nick King, describes a system that registers touch input while there is nothing displayed on screen. This means users wouldn't have to look at the devices to control it, and that without anything on screen, the device could save a major amount of power, prolonging battery life.

The patent lists commands for playback functions, like a single tap for play/pause, a double tap for moving to the next item, a triple tap for moving to the previous item, a clockwise circle for turning the volume up, and a counterclockwise circle for turning it down.

Google's New App for Measuring Impact of Mobile Marketing

Google launched a new application today called Full Value of Mobile that allows businesses to measure how effective their mobile ad campaigns are, with several metrics providing data. With Google leading the way, the mobile ad market is exploding and is expected to reach $11.4 billion by the end of 2013. The big problem is that tools for measuring the efficacy of ads are scarce. Full Value of Mobile is designed to capitalize on that need and specifically targets small- to medium-sized businesses that don't have the resources to hire teams of people to track mobile ad data.

The app, launched the same day Yelp (NYSE:YELP) launched its own mobile ad measurement tool, tracks, as Johanna Werther, Google's head of Mobile Ads Marketing said, "simple equations and benchmarks." These include total value of an ad, value per click, total return on investment, and how many people engage with a business by visiting its website or calling its office after seeing an ad.

With necessary data input, the calculator requires 30 minutes to set up.

T-Mobile Will Get the iPhone

T-Mobile (PINK:DTEGY) (announced today that it will begin selling the iPhone 5 on April 12 for $99 upfront along with the company's new no-contract wireless plans. The news follows T-Mobile posting a set of no-contract plans on its website yesterday, plans that allow users a pre-paid allotment of data along with unlimited talk and text. On the new no-contract plan, users can either pay for the iPhone in full or make a down payment; plans start at $99 for the iPhone 5 16GB when combined with a 20-month payment plan of $20 per month.

Carriers have historically benefited from getting rights to sell the iPhone, with AT&T's (NYSE:T) original exclusivity being a great boon for the company. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint (NYSE:S) suffered during that time -- that is, until they began selling the phone as well. T-Mobile has been making a big push for its new 4G LTE network, and the iPhone 5 will make that new, faster network all the more enticing to consumers.

More tech news from Minyanville:

Facebook Vs. LinkedIn: Why Both Are Facing a Sticky Question

Google Leads Recycling of TV White Space for Wireless Broadband

China's Declaration of War Against Apple Is Not What It Seems

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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