google_privacy_web.jpgFlorida beaches migrate to Google Maps
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida’s 825 miles of beaches are coming to a computer near you. Visit Florida, the state’s tourism and marketing arm, has begun a four-month journey to capture 360-degree images of the state’s beaches.

These photos will be integrated into Google Maps and will be available to anyone around the world with Internet access. Two-person Visit Florida teams were trained by Google Map experts to capture the images. The teams will walk about 50 miles of beach each week with a backpack that has a camera system on top. The camera has 15 lenses, angled in different directions, so it can capture a complete picture of a location. The images are then stitched together into a 360-degree panoramic photo.
Officials say the images will be viewable on Google Maps next year.

Facebook passes $38 initial IPO price
NEW YORK — Facebook’s stock has passed its $38 IPO price for the first time since its rocky public debut last May, crossing a symbolic hurdle that has eluded it for more than a year. Shares of Facebook Inc. increased 1.2 percent to $38.08 in morning trading last Wednesday. That’s the highest the stock has traded since the company’s highly anticipated initial public offering ended with a thud. The world’s biggest online social network has been on a roll since reporting stronger-than-expected earnings. Investors are especially upbeat about its fast-growing mobile advertising revenue. Facebook’s ability to grow mobile revenue was one of the biggest concerns in the weeks leading up to its IPO last year. Investors were worried that its ad business was not migrating to mobile gadgets as quickly as its user base.

Court: College athletes can sue EA over images
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has ruled that video game maker Electronic Arts must face legal claims by college players that it unfairly used their images without compensation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Redwood City, Calif., company can’t use the 1st Amendment to shield it from the players’ lawsuit. EA says it plans to appeal. The company had claimed its college-based sports games were works of arts deserving freedom of expression protection. The court disagreed, ruling the avatars used in the company’s basketball and football games were exact replicas of individual players. The court concluded that the company did little to transform the avatars into works of art. The decision upheld a lower court ruling.