Weekly news round-up: Google’s +1 button, international students caught up in illegal sex industry, and the origins of April Fool’s

WONDERING what’s happening around the world this week? We thought we’d give you a run-down of issues big and small, events near and far. This week it’s about Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, international students caught up in the illegal prostitution rackets, and the origin of April Fool’s Day.


Yay or nay? Google's +1 button allows you to recommend websites or find out what website you or your friends recommend.

Yay or nay? Google's +1 button allows you to recommend websites or find out what website you or your friends recommend. Photo: Karen Poh


Google launches the +1 button

Not wanting to be left behind, Google has launched the +1 button, which will enable users to publicly recommend links they see and like on the web.

Bluntly put, you’ll soon be seeing the +1 button embedded alongside the Facebook “like” and Twitter buttons on web pages everywhere.


Users’ names will appear next to their +1’s in Google Search results, to aid their social connections in detecting useful content.

All +1’s by an individual user are automatically integrated into a +1 tab on the user’s profile for easy management. Users can choose to display their +1 tabs public, or privatise them.

But there are skeptics who have expressed doubts over Google’s latest dabble into the social media space. On Australian Macworld’s list of minuses: the tedious process of signing into your Google Account and setting up a Google Profile if you don’t have one, and having to upgrade to the latest version if you do.


Migration agents embroiled in illegal sex industry

Closer to home, The Age has published a disturbing report about international students being caught up in Australia’s illegal sex industry.

According to the report, up to six migration agents registered by the Australian federal government were helping to run illegal prostitution rackets in Melbourne and Sydney – including one agent who was involved with finding Asian women, including those on student visas, to work as prostitutes in some of Melbourne’s city apartments.

The investigation has prompted a senior state government minister to consider introducing new laws forcing police to take more action against illegitimate brothels.


Origins of April Fool’s Day

And finally, a pop quiz. Do you know why April 1 is April Fool’s Day?

No one knows the exact origin, but the most popular theory is that it originated in the 1500s, when France adopted the Gregorian calendar and moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to January 1.

Despite the change, some people stubbornly continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. Because of this, they were labeled “fools” and bore the brunt of jokes and pranks.

It became an annual tradition and eventually spread throughout Europe, and to the rest of the world.

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