Why Google+ didn't beat Facebook

Google's recent announcement that a Google+ account will no longer be needed to log in to YouTube marks a turning point for the company's troubled social network. Google+ launched to fanfare in 2011 but failed to challenge Facebook even though some of its individual features won praise. "People didn't need another version of Facebook," said Paul Adams, part of the Google+ team and now a Facebook employee.

4 benefits of desk-free teaching

Students in English teacher Nicholas Provenzano's class became more engaged and took more ownership of their learning after he removed the teacher desk from the room. He highlights four benefits of "ditching the desk" in this blog post. "I wanted the students to start feeling that it was their classroom and I was part of it," Provenzano writes.

UK loses £1B in sale of RBS shares

UK Financial Investments has sold 5.4% of its Royal Bank of Scotland shares for £2.1 billion, a loss of about £1 billion for taxpayers. The move is part of a plan to sell three-quarters of the government's RBS stake. Proceeds will go toward paying down debt, Chancellor George Osborne says.

Is "local" the new "organic?"

"Local" food and beverage labels could become more important than "natural" or "organic" labels when it comes to consumer trust, according to a report from The Hartman Group. The report found that 62% of shoppers want to understand where their products come from, and 56% make an effort to purchase locally-made products.

N.C. provider rolls out telehealth program

A telemedicine program was rolled out at Johnston Health in Smithfield, N.C., on Wednesday to connect patients to specialists an hour away at the Chapel Hill-based Jaycee Burn Center. The service uses a solution that works with Internet-connected mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones to enable patients to consult and be diagnosed by providers.

China leads Asia-Pacific in mobile shopping

China, India and Taiwan lead the Asia-Pacific region in mobile shopping, according to a MasterCard survey that placed Singapore and the Philippines at the bottom of the list. Convenience, mobility and the availability of shopping applications are driving growth, the survey found.

Macy's details its plans for same-day delivery

Macy's has expanded its partnership with Deliv to offer same-day delivery services in nine new markets, in its push to fend off online rivals including Amazon. The program, which began as a pilot project last fall, will cover 17 markets including Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas and New York City.

"Angry Birds" sequel passes 10M downloads

"Angry Birds 2" has racked up more than 10 million downloads after a few days of availability, passing Rovio Entertainment's goal to hit 10 million downloads in a month, said Eric Seufert, one of the game-maker's executives. The free game is frustrating some players, who would rather pay $.99 and avoid in-app purchases.

Shire boosts eye disease pipeline with $300M Foresight buy

Foresight Biotherapeutics will be acquired by Shire in a deal worth $300 million. The acquisition will strengthen Shire's eye drug business, giving it access to Foresight's pink eye treatment, FST-100, which is in clinical development.

DIRECTV in hand, AT&T readies first nationwide TV, wireless bundle

AT&T is promoting a $200 monthly cellphone and TV Everywhere bundle that it plans to offer throughout the U.S. -- marking the first fruits of its merger with DIRECTV. Starting Aug. 10, the carrier will provide four phone lines with unlimited voice and texting, along with 10 gigabytes of sharable data. On the video side, AT&T will hook up four TVs with HD and DVR features and the ability to watch on any mobile device.

Savannah Harbor Expansion Project moves along

Work on the $706 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in Georgia continues, and dredging to a depth of 47 feet will begin soon. The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $99.6 million contract to CDM Smith to install an oxygen injection system to keep oxygen levels in the Savannah River steady during the area's hottest, driest months. In addition, the corps anticipates soliciting bids to construct a reservoir to protect the city's drinking water supply.

Pattern acquires 100% of Texas wind farm
ReNews.biz (U.K.)

Pattern Energy Group has acquired the remaining 170-megawatt stake in the Gulf Wind project in Kenedy County, Texas. The wind farm has a total capacity of 283 MW and features 118 turbines. "We now own 100% of Gulf Wind, which is located in a unique site on the Gulf Coast where the winds blow strongest at the times of Texas' peak demand and pricing," said President and CEO Mike Garland.

United Airlines offers tablet rentals on routes to Hawaii, Guam
USA Today

United Airlines is trying out a new program that makes Samsung Galaxy tablets available for rental on flights to Hawaii from the continental U.S. and from Hawaii to Guam. "Later this year we will look at customer feedback to decide if we want to expand to other routes," said spokeswoman Karen May. "We did this under the premise of giving our customers another choice of entertainment because we know how important that is to them."

Off-menu spa treatments a perk for those in the know

Some spas offer treatments that are not advertised and available only to those who know to ask for them. For example, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills offers a Couples Bio Meditation session, the Mandarin Oriental in Boston offers a Gemstone Vitality journey and craniosacral therapy is available as an add-on treatment to guests of The Spa at The Miami Edition in Florida.