Storm’s tech effect: Tracking information, canceled announcements, more

Some tech and business tidbits related to Hurricane Sandy, the “Frankenstorm” bearing down on the East Coast:

• Tracking the storm news: Google has a crisis map. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reportedly suspended their paywalls temporarily.

Coincidentally, a weekend story by the Merc’s John Boudreau examined the growing role of Internet and tech companies as first responders and helpers during disasters — such as during the Haiti earthquake in 2010, then the Japan earthquake and tsunami last year.

• Tech announcements: As the Merc’s Brandon Bailey wrote on SiliconBeat, Facebook and Google have both cancelled events scheduled in New York today. Facebook was scheduled to unveil its Facebook Gifts program, which would let users of the social network buy physical gifts for their friends. Google was supposed to introduce new Android smartphones and tablets from LG and Samsung.

Update: Google went ahead and introduced its new devices, which come in small, medium and large, as Andy Rubin, senior vice president, said in a blog post this morning. Let’s talk large first: The Samsung and Google Nexus 10 is a 10-inch tablet that can compete directly with Apple’s iPad, and, as the New York Times points out, beats it in price. (It starts at $400, while the iPad starts at $499.) Small and medium are the Nexus 4 smartphone made by LG, and an updated Nexus 7 tablet, respectively. (End update)

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s San Francisco Windows Phone 8 event was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The Merc’s Troy Wolverton will be live-blogging.

• And U.S. stock markets are closed today. For the New York Stock Exchange, it’s the first time in 27 years, and reportedly the 11th time the stock exchange has been closed for a full day because of bad weather.



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