Today in Tech: How Netflix will go social

December 27, 2012: 5:30 AM ET

Also: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook vs. Amazon; 17 of the most viral Facebook photos. 

31hx4yW3BqL._SL500_AA300_.pngNetflix 'social features' coming in 2013, once president signs bill [TPM IdeaLab]

Users in Canada and Latin America have had the ability to link Netflix and Facebook accounts and share viewed movies since 2011, but Netflix hasn't moved to offer it in its home country, the U.S., yet, due to a 1988 law — the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). The law prohibits companies from disclosing "personally identifiable information," including rental history, about any consumer, except in some special cases, such as for law enforcement investigations — or else they can be sued.

Signs of changes taking hold in electronics factories in China [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

Other reforms were more personal. Protective foam sprouted on low stairwell ceilings inside factories. Automatic shut-off devices appeared on whirring machines. Ms. Pu got her chair. This autumn, she even heard that some workers had received cushioned seats.

The changes also extend to California, where Apple is based. Apple, the electronics industry's behemoth, in the last year has tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, has re-evaluated how it works with manufacturers, has asked competitors to help curb excessive overtime in China and has reached out to advocacy groups it once rebuffed.

Google's mobile future is now [TECHCRUNCH]

So what's the connection with Google Now? Project Glass is essentially Google Now plus augmented reality and wearable computing. Out of all of the Google Glass features you see in the video above, the only really important one that isn't implemented in Google Now yet is location sharing with your friends. That's obviously not a major technical problem anymore, but my feeling is Google is holding back from adding something like this to Now for the time being to avoid making users feel queasy about the privacy implications of the service.

Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook vs. Amazon [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

Meanwhile, all four companies see search as a big opportunity for retaining and profiting off customers. While Google's paradigm of typing queries in a search box has prevailed for years, now its rivals want to undercut the Web-search giant through mobile search on smartphones and other devices, and a slew of search services that allow recommendations from friends.

Taking stock of Internet stocks in 2012: And the winner is... AOL? [ALL THINGS D]

And yet with only four trading days left, the New York-based portal is up 99.8 percent for the year, which is more than double the 49.4 percent rise in Amazon's shares for the year to date and slightly less than four times more than Apple's 28.4 percent.

17 of the most viral Facebook photos in history [BUSINESS INSIDER]

We screened the collection for photos that were, in our opinion, spam—for example, any photo whose caption explicitly asked someone to like or comment on the image. By eliminating those, we winnowed it down to pictures that were truly liked by millions of people.

All of them evoke some sort of feeling. Many were accompanied by emotional stories.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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