Breakfast Briefing: Windows Blue details emerge, Facebook hacked, Google plans retail shops

Breakfast Briefing

Today's technology stories feature Windows Blue, an attack against Facebook, Google heading to the high street, and the tech research behind a mysterious death

We kick off the week with a look at how Windows Blue will “improve user experience” on phones and PCs, Google's plans to launch a network of retail stores to showcase Google Glass, the Facebook hack and the spy thriller-style death of a Singapore-based researcher.

Job posting reveals Windows Blue details

ZDNet has spotted a job advert for a software engineer to work on Windows and Windows Phone Blue, an expected range of upgrades and integrations for the OS. The posting suggests the upgrades will include more than just under-the-hood improvements. Blue is Microsoft's codename for a wave of updates for its OSes, and according to the job advert "promises to build and improve upon aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide".

Facebook admits it was hacked

Facebook has admitted it was hacked last week, but says user data was not compromised. "Last month, Facebook security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack," the company said in a blog post covered by Reuters. "The attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised." The social network suggested other sites were targeted in the same attack.

Google planning retail push

Google is expected to take a leaf out of Apple's book by launching its own stores to showcases its products and concepts like the Nexus 4 and the company's Chromebooks.

According to The Verge, the web giant is planning on opening stores before the end of the year with the intention of allowing users to try handsets and gauge the look and feel of Chromebooks before they part with their cash.

Secrecy and death in Singapore tech research

The Financial Times has a riveting in-depth look at the mysterious death of a research engineer in Singapore. The young US engineer was working on a project at a government research facility that also includes Chinese manufacturing giant Huawei. He had just finished an 18-month stint in Singapore before being found hanged in his home. Local police ruled the death a suicide, but with the engineer working on a gallium nitride amplifier for telecoms products with huge military potential, questions have been raised by former colleagues and family members that believe the death was no accident.

iPod designers plan greener homes

MIT's Technology Review has a profile on two technologists that were integral to the iPod and iPhone's design – and their plans for the future. After leaving Apple, Tony Fadell and Matt Matt Rogers reinvented the thermostat and their approach to technology design could make homes far more efficient. The pair say the Nest thermostat "will save $173 per year in electricity and heating costs compared to a home with an unprogrammed thermostat". And there are more plans in the pipeline.

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