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BBM Coming to Android and iOS

ABOUT two years ago, when I used to be a hardcore tech product reviewer on YouTube, I released a rumour video discussing the possibility of BlackBerry Messenger coming to the iOS platform. The video received more than 30,000 views. I don't know what it is about BBM, but people love it so much. BlackBerry Messenger was one of the key selling features when someone was looking to buy a BlackBerry.

Now Thorsten Heins, the CEO of the company, has officially announced the software will be available on Google and Apple mobile operating systems this summer. BlackBerry's thought process is that if it releases the beloved messaging service to the other platforms, maybe it will pique the interest and bring people back to BlackBerry products. My opinion is that people will say: "Hey, now I've got BlackBerry on my iPhone! Now there is no need for me to buy a BlackBerry because I now have the one feature that I really wanted on my iPhone plus the other cool features Apple offers.

Anyway, I am excited for this app to be released so I can begin BBMing people again. I still have a BlackBerry and all of my friends have iPhones and Galaxy S3s, so this will be a game changer. I'm assuming that BlackBerry is going to charge $.99 for the app.

Tumblr? Yahoooooooo!

LAST year, Facebook bought the popular photo sharing service Instagram for $1 billion. It was a mix of $300 million in cash and $700 million in Facebook stock.

This year, Yahoo might acquire Tumblr, which is one of the most popular blogging services in the world. The board of directors at Yahoo is meeting today to decide whether or not it is going to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion cash. Tumblr has apparently had talks with Microsoft as well as Facebook. Tumblr might still hold out on the offer and opt for investment in the company to remain independent rather than being acquired. Tumblr is extremely popular in my age demographic, 15-24-year-olds.

Yahoo has had a bad few years and new CEO Marissa Mayer is desperately trying to turn things around. She wants Yahoo to be cool again. Tumblr has such a high number of posts, Yahoo wants to get in on that to incorporate its other products, such as mail and its popular home page. This would get users back on Yahoo. Yahoo reportedly has $4 billion in cash, so the company is ready to make a blockbuster deal. Mayer has already increased the stock price by 70 per cent. Follow me on Twitter -- @thedavidbell -- and I will keep you posted on further developments.

Instagram tagging

ON Facebook, if you upload a photo of you and a friend, you tag them so it appears on their profile as well as yours. Two weeks ago, Instagram announced a new feature called "Photos of You," which displays all of the photos you have been tagged in on your Instagram profile. I think this is a super neat feature, as a lot of my friends upload better pictures than I do. If they can now tag me, it makes things easier. If you don't want to be tagged, you can disable it in your app settings.

Congress getting nosy

GOOGLE Glass is going to be the next big thing. However, with it comes a lot of privacy issues that the United States Congress is a little uneasy about.

Mashable reports that eight members of Congress's bi-partisan privacy caucus sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page Thursday seeking answers about Glass' privacy implications: Will Glass collect users' data without their consent? What steps are being taken to protect non-users' privacy? Will Glass offer facial recognition to identify non-users and display information about them? What restrictions is Google placing on Glass and Glass apps? Will Google Glass cause Google to change its privacy policy? Will Glass store data on the device, and will it offer user authentication?

The congressmen gave Google until June 14 to come back with answers.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 19, 2013 ??65521

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