Today in Tech News Digest, Google Glass gets prescription lenses, Chrome apps come to iOS and Android, Netflix prepares to invade mainland Europe, the Netherlands overturns its block on The Pirate Bay, Lego comes to your browser thanks to Build With Chrome, and Prince gets his purple knickers in a twist.
Google Glass Gains Prescription Lenses
Google has revealed the Titanium Collection, a quartet of frames which can be paired with its wearable Glass headsets. The four distinct frames are designed to appeal to different aeshetic sensibilities. All are made from titanium, are thin and light, and cost $225 apiece. Crucially, they’re all also designed to seamlessly meld with Google Glass.
Google’s plan to allow prescription lenses to be used with Glass was leaked in November 2013 when it was revealed the company was in talks with VSP Global. This report proved to be partly accurate, though Google has designed the frames itself rather than entrust the job to an outside company. VSP, a U.S. healthcare provider, will subsidize the cost of the frames and prescription lenses.
Of course, if you can afford the $1,500 asking price for Google Glass itself then the cost of the prescription lenses likely won’t trouble you.
Chrome Apps Come To iOS & Android
Bam! Chrome Apps ready for transmorgification to iOS and Android (with a little help from a friend) http://t.co/JBkzgHsTKh
— Seth Rosenblatt (@sethr) January 28, 2014
Chrome Apps can now be ported to iOS and Android, the two most popular smartphone operating systems. Google has released a developer preview of the Apache Cordova toolchain which can be used to wrap the HTML5-based apps in native Android and iOS code.
Writing on the Chromium Blog, Google software engineer Andrew Grieve explained that the toolchain provides “a simple workflow for extending the reach of Chrome Apps to users on mobile platforms,” but with this being just a developer preview Google hopes to “continually improve it based on … feedback.” In other words, don’t expect miracles.
Netflix Preparing For European Expansion
We need #netflix in Europe !!!!! ASAP
— Rmin (@Rmin__) January 23, 2014
Netflix is preparing to bring its online video streaming service to mainland Europe, with a push initially into France and Germany. According to The Wall Street Journal [Paywall], the company is busy negotiating for the rights to stream in those two countries, as well as other unnamed territories.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings suggested as much in a recent letter [PDF] to shareholders, saying, “We plan later this year to embark on a substantial European expansion.” However, this is the first strong suggestion of which countries are going to be targeted.
The Pirate Bay Block Ruled “Ineffective”
anti pirating measures really only hurt people who want to pay and enjoy. Because pirates will find a way. http://t.co/OeugnFniTH
— Manuel H (@Clanghead) January 29, 2014
Internet Service Providers in the Netherlands have managed to get a block on The Pirate Bay dropped. The block has been enforced since 2012 when anti-piracy group BREIN brought a lawsuit against the ISPs.
Now, as reported by Tweakers, the block has been successfully overturned by a court in The Hague. The block was described as “ineffective” in stopping piracy. The judgement also stated that the block “constitutes an infringement of their [ISPs] freedom to act at their discretion.”
Build With Chrome Lets You Lego
Fans of Lego can now put down their odd-shaped plastic bricks and instead build structures in their browsers. This is thanks to ‘Build With Chrome’, a new Web app that lets you build basic Lego structures using nothing but digital representations of the ubiquitous pimpled bricks.
‘Build With Chrome‘ started life a couple of years ago, but has now been made public in advance of the release of ‘The Lego Movie’ in February 2014. It’s an impressive app which lets you build structures, train using challenges, and explore other people’s creations. And all without risking accidentally standing on an errant brick.
Prince Sues Fans For Bootlegging
Prince is suing his fans for bootlegging his live performances. Meanwhile, Prince’s guitar is suing Prince for sexual harassment.
— Thomas Towell (@thomastowell) January 27, 2014
And finally, Prince, the popstar who once renamed himself as a drawn squiggle, tried to sue 22 fans he accused of bootlegging his concerts. What they had actually done, as detailed by TechDirt, was to post links to supposed bootlegged recordings of a live gig using Blogger and Facebook.
The purple-loving pop midget appears to have arbitrarily decided $1 million-per-person was fair recompense, despite this figure being grossly more than the law dictates for such an offense. The lawsuit was issued weeks ago, but within hours of it being made public Prince voluntarily dismissed it without prejudice. Almost as if he came to his senses.