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Classmates.com — the website that promises to reunite people with their mullet-haired friends of youth — has agreed to pay out a $9.5 million settlement for a lawsuit dating back to 2008 accusing the company of “false advertising” through “deceptive” marketing emails.
The problems for Classmate.com began back in late 2007, when San Diego resident Anthony Michaels received an email from the social networking company informing him that his old classmates were trying to contact him.
In order to see who and why, Michaels had to upgrade to a “Gold Membership.” However, upon forking out to do so, he discovered that nobody was trying to get in touch; it was just a dubious marketing ploy from Classmates.com.
Michaels initiated a false advertising lawsuit against Classmates.com, which became a class action suit that anyone who suffered the same fate as the plaintiff could sign up for.
Fast forward to today: although Classmates.com has admitted no wrongdoing as part of the proposed settlement now waiting for U.S. District Court approval, it has agreed to pay out $3 for every Classmates.com member who upgraded to a “Gold Membership” on the site after receiving an email like Michael’s — estimated to be just over 3 million people.
Whether or not you sympathize with those that fell for Classmate.com’s oh-so-obvious tactics, it’s an interesting case in terms of wider web marketing. Dating sites are known to carry out similar practices, and this settlement may make offenders sit up and take note.
While this particular case may be settled, it’s not the end of Classmates.com’s legal troubles. The site is facing another lawsuit filed just this month, this time a class action privacy lawsuit that accuses Classmates.com of ignoring federal and state privacy laws by making user profiles public via a controversial opt-out scheme.
I’ve had another great day with my new iTouch. Used facebook and twitter plus I downloaded many more apps. I’ll see everyone tomorrow….
We’ve already touched on some popular Android apps for Twitter, some for news, and some great multiplayer games, but not all apps have a specific purpose. Some are just interesting, amazing, or too cute not to keep in your back pocket as a conversation starter.
Utility be darned, here are seven free android apps that are just plain cool.
If you’ve lost your passion for Android’s bare bones built-in photo gallery, check out the Floating Image app that will breathe new life into your snaps, as well as pull in some great shots from around the web.
There’s not a whole lot of utility here, but it’s a really sharp looking way to show off your photos or discover some pretty ones from Flickr. You can even score a new home screen background by long-pressing any of the images that float by.
This one is all about the animation, and this video demo shows it off well.
Google SkyMap is an armchair astronomer’s dream come true. Using data from Google Sky and your GPS coordinates, the SkyMap app becomes a handheld window unto the heavens. As you move your phone across the night sky, you can see real-time information on the stars, celestial objects, and constellations as you pass them. You can also disengage the compass view and float freely through the galaxy with your finger, browsing the celestial map or searching for objects at will.
We’ve certainly covered the release of Google Goggles before, but it’s hard to over-stress just how cool this project is. In essence, it’s a visual Google search which utilizes your handset’s camera. Simply view your surroundings through Google Goggles to get an augmented view of the stores and landmarks in your area, or snap a photo of a product or some text to get relevant search results.
In testing, Goggles didn’t recognize the Nike swoosh (one of the simplest and most well-known U.S. logos), but it did know where I was without GPS, and identified a complex logo for Coca-Cola, the American flag, and my DVD of High School Musical 2 [Extended Edition], promptly directing me to Amazon.com where I could purchase a second copy.
Google is also hoping to implement text translation into Goggles, which is not available yet, but is expected in future updates.
4. Talk To Me
Talk To Me is an impressive app that can translate your input text or speech between over 40 different languages, and in most cases, speak the translations back to you. The interface is really dead-simple: An input for text, a drop-down list to choose your languages, and a big green button to activate the speech recognition.
You can even set it as a home screen widget. Simply tap the button, speak a phrase, and the app will speak it back to you in Spanish, German, French, and many other languages that use Roman characters. Support for many Asian languages is included, but currently only provides textual translations.
The speed and ease of translation has a pretty big cool factor, but this is one app on the list that may also be very useful for tourists or those studying a new language.
If you’re out with friends and still on the fence about which flick to catch and where, gather ’round the oldNexus One and fire up the new MovieFone app, which is a great way to get film details without ever touching a mobile browser.
The app, developed by AOL Mobile, gives you all the data from moviefone.com in convenient Android form, including synopses, coming attractions, theater listings based on your location, and perhaps best of all, full trailer videos built right in.
If you simply must get your nerd on, the Android Lightsaber app, which is officially sanctioned by LucasArts, brings the power of the Force (or a Force-like substance) into the palm of your hand. Choose between five different Star Wars characters, each with their own unique saber color, then tap the screen to unleash your weapon.
Swing your handset for the classic wooshing and buzzing sounds. Your lightsaber will flash and crackle as you spar with invisible foes. Perhaps the best part is the 1-click epic music that you can switch on in the midst of your imaginary battle.
BubbleBeats is brand new in the Market and injects some much-needed creativity into Android’s music library. The concept is difficult to explain, but it essentially creates a visual landscape for your music collection by way of multicolored, animated bubbles.
Each bubble represents a song that you add to the canvas. Resize and group your bubbles however you want — perhaps a gathering of red rock songs on the left, some blue blues bubbles on the right — and float around your custom bubble-scape, playing your favorite tunes at will simply by tapping their corresponding bubbles.
This one’s certainly not for everyone. Finding and arranging music on this sort of interface can be difficult. But it’s a unique way to visualize your collection, and experiment with a new approach to the playlist. Check out the developer’s video below to see what I mean.
It’s been yet another exciting matchup here in our Web Faceoff series, with the newcomer Google Buzz going head to head with Facebook and Twitter for the heady title of Mashable readers’ favorite social network.
Last week we saw free beat out premium in our online dating services head-to-head, and this week we wanted to check in on how you good readers were ranking Buzz in its still early days against popular contenders Facebook and Twitter. The results are now in…
…and Facebook wins the day, with 47% of the vote out of a healthy 7130 votes cast. Twitter came in a respectable second place at 26% of the vote, with Google Buzz coming in not terribly far behind at 18% of the vote. A good 9% of you thought it was too close to call, with the tie vote snagging 651 votes.
What do you think of the results? Check below for the results listing from the past editions of this series, and tune in next week for another edition of the Web Faceoff!
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Yeah, we know. Although experts have been congratulating Apple on how competitive the iPad prices are, when you actually have to part with 500 bucks or more (if you want 3G which is a must-have for such a device), it hurts.
There is a solution that won’t cost you a dime, though. It also won’t get you an iPad, but you can perhaps fool someone with poor eyesight you have one, at least for a second. Yes, we’re talking about a paper iPad.
To make one yourself, you’ll need these two PNG files: the front and the back. Print them, cut them out, and voila – your brand new paper iPad is ready to…well, it can’t really do anything except sit on your desk, but considering the price is zero, we won’t hold it against it.