May 29, 2009, 9:27 PM — This busy week for IT news was capped on Friday when President Barack Obama outlined U.S. cybersecurity plans, which have been anticipated for a while now. We also had been awaiting Microsoft's public release of its new search engine, which it said it has named "Bing." And Google made waves with a new "mega" application as well.
1. Obama outlines cybersecurity plans, cites grave threat to cyberspace and Obama's new cybersecurity direction wins praise: Cybersecurity will be a top management priority for the U.S. government, with plans for a coordinator to oversee government efforts in that regard, President Obama announced. "It's now clear that this cyberthreat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation," he said. "It's also clear that we're not as prepared as we should be, as a government, or as a country."
2. It's official: Microsoft's new search engine is named Bing and Bing: A visual tour of what's new: As expected, Microsoft renamed its Live Search product "Bing" as it renovates its search technology and tries to make inroads on Google in that market. PC World's Tom Spring tested a preview version and came away impressed (no small feat, that) and offers readers a visual tour as well as his review of Bing.
3. Google's Wave consolidates core online features in one tool and Google Wave: A new kind of mega application: Google released an early version of what looks to be a nifty collaboration and communication tool to developers. Called Wave, the Web application consolidates features of e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, wikis, multimedia and document sharing.
4. Time Warner ditches troubled AOL unit: Time Warner is spinning off AOL -- finally! -- into a publicly traded company, uncoupling from a merger that will go down in the annals of corporate history as one of the worst ever.
5. E-reader screens coming for netbooks: We knew it was just a matter of time before netbooks took on e-reader characteristics -- how could they not? Mary Lou Jepson's company, Pixel Qi, will show off its first product next week at Computex, with a 10.1-inch netbook screen that works in three modes, including one for reading documents and e-books. Jepson had been with One Laptop Per Child until she went off to start her own company.
6. Pakistan war strains telecom aid group: The aid group Telecoms sans Fròntiers is working in northwest Pakistan to help people displaced by war, and although the group found five mobile networks intact in the region, it has not yet been able to provide much in the way of help because its workers are potential targets of Taliban insurgents.
7. Google book service faces EU probe: The European Union will investigate Google's plans to make the content of millions of books available online, which raises concerns about the rights of U.S. authors in other markets.
8. 20 years after Tiananmen, China containing dissent online: China is monitoring dissidents online as well as increasing Internet censorship as the 20th anniversary of the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests approaches on June 4.
9. FBI e-mail clobbered after virus: Good thing that President Obama is making U.S. cybersecurity a priority. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was apparently whammied by a virus that led the agency to shut down e-mail traffic on its unclassified, external network.
10. Intel Core i7 chips appear on retail sites: Some retail Web sites got out ahead of Intel's Core i7 chip launch, taking orders for the new chips before they are officially released, which according to PCs for Everyone will happen Sunday.