THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Cops and bloggers join forces on LAPD site
The blog and Flickr stream will allow people to 'take a look inside the LAPD.'
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Boing Boing reports this morning that Chief William Bratton and the LAPD have gone Web 2.0, setting up a blog and a Flickr stream with the help of Sean Bonner at metroblogging. Bonner hopes "other law enforcement departments across the state, and country, will soon be following their lead." According to TechNewsWorld, the blog is part of the redesigned site which has seen its traffic more than double recently to 30 million "hits" a month, and which also includes "crime maps and an e-policing feature." While still nascent, this sort of thing puts a whole new, real-world spin on social computing. "What the blog does is allow people to take a look inside the LAPD," said Lt. Ruben De La Torre to TechNewsWorld. Beyond the financial implications for tools providers like Yahoo! (parent of Flickr), it should be interesting to see how the LAPD manages such transparency, not to mention the brave new world of user-contributed content.

Blockbuster ads reveal TiVo deal

Months after TiVo and Netflix admitted that plans for a joint video-on-demand service had stalled, bloggers have now caught TiVo in a deal with Netflix archrival Blockbuster Online. Last month, TiVo's online store offered bundles of TiVo service with a Blockbuster Online DVD-by-mail subscription for $29.99 a month. Now, sharp-eyed observers have found banner ads on TiVo's and Blockbuster's websites advertising the combo package. Blockbuster and TiVo have yet to make a formal announcement of the partnership, however.

New Yahoo home page unveiled

The most-visited web page on the planet is to get a new look: Tech blogs are buzzing this morning that Yahoo has taken the wraps off a new, cleaned-up design for its home page. An effusive Richard MacManus at Read/WriteWeb notes that the new page moves "away from the 90's 'everything under the sun' portal" model. The page certainly does make for an easier read, with news and features placed front and center, while the search bar has been moved up, and much of the former directory clutter reorganized as a conventional left hand navigation column. MacManus, who scored an interview with Yahoo's chief product officer, says there is, as of yet, no firm date for the page, now in "preview," to go live. Reaction from the jaded lot of readers at TechCrunch, ranges from a high of "Looks nice!" to a low of "Yahoo is reacting to Google. They are no longer creative." That last sentiment may be accurate, but the redesign suggests that Yahoo! is growing into its identity as a media company and struggling to better integrate its content and services -- just the sort of mature and boring moves perhaps still ahead for the younger, more prolific, though somewhat disorganized Google.

Creative sues Apple for patent infringement on iPod

Never a dull moment these days for the Apple legal department. First the company was sued by The Beatles, then by Burst for patent infringement, and now Jobs & Co. may be poised to reprise the painful role of Research in Motion in yet another patent infringement suit. Ars Technica reports that Creative has filed a suit claiming that Apple's iPod infringes its "Zen patent," a patent that covers the interface design for a digital music player. Though Ars fears that Creative "may be turning to the unfortunate market model of trying to litigate its way into profitability," it also concedes that "Creative's patent filing in January 2001 came long before Apple's 2002 submission (which was denied)." So, says Gizmodo, "here we go, folks...the fun is just starting." Top of page

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