Denis O'Brien: electronic wallet

Web Reservations International (WRI) announced last week that it will increase the numbers employed in Dublin by 25% this year and will continue similar growth until 2012. The new roles are in IT and software development. Best known for its involvement in, WRI was sold to Hellman and Friedman late last year for a reported $340m.

WRI ceo Feargal Mooney said last week that the company will grow into the South East Asian and South American markets and that they would also look at adding staff in their business development and account management teams.

The company has added about 1,000 accommodation providers since November last year.

Now facebook knows your face... sort of...

Facebook introduced a face recognition system last week – but don't worry, it's quite benign; it just means that when you upload photos to your account, the system recognises which bits of the photo are faces, draws neat little boxes around them and prompts you to tag them with your friends' names, should you so wish to do so. But you can see what's lurking on the horizon; Google's Picasa software is already intelligent enough to recognise all my photos of my ex-girlfriend and group them together in a handy folder, and you get the feeling that the only reason a similar thing hasn't been deployed on Facebook is that it'll freak people the hell out, as teenagers are prone to exclaim. But according to research done by Adam Harvey, a graduate student at NYU, wearing unusual make-up or a sticker "breaks apart the gestalt of the face" and prevents such systems from working. So, it will be possible to outwit Google or Facebook – hooray! – but you'll have to make yourself look like Aladdin Sane-era David Bowie to do so.

Rhodri Marsden

Indian group signs new deal with google

Irish citizen Pallonji Mistry saw his Tata Group sign a deal with Google India last week that will see subsidiary Tata Communications combine with the US technology company to provide email, instant messaging, video and office presentation tools for Indian businesses. Powered by Google Apps, the move will allow companies access to Tata's expanded cloud-based software services and reduce IT costs and complexity. The service will be accessed via the Tata Communications website over a web browser or smart phone and allow secure, real-time collaboration among workgroups of all sizes.

Tata Group has annual global revenues of over $70bn and owns businesses such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley tea. The communications division is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India. Mistry (80) and his family took out Irish citizenship in 2007. Forbes Magazine estimated his wealth at $5.8bn this year.

Digicel to launch money transfer service

Denis O'Brien's Digicel is rolling out a new service that will allow customers transfer money to friends and family in six of its markets. The first Pacific market in which the service will be available is Fiji with plans to offer it in the other markets in the coming weeks. Customers will also be able to withdraw cash using the so-called "electronic wallets" as part of a partnership with Post Fiji and Westpac while the more standard phone top ups and post-paid billing will also be offered.

Microsoft drops lawsuit

Microsoft dropped an intellectual property lawsuit against a Chinese company after the two sides reached an agreement on software purchases.

Microsoft agreed to settle a lawsuit it filed against CITIC Kington Securities at a court in the eastern city of Hangzhou, the US company said in an emailed statement last week. CITIC Kington will buy more than €370,000 of Microsoft software as part of the settlement, it said.

The maker of the Windows operating system is stepping up action against Chinese companies for unlicensed software use. Microsoft is losing billions of dollars to software piracy in the world's third-biggest economy, chief executive officer Steve Ballmer said in May. Microsoft said in April it won a decision from a court in Shanghai against a Chinese insurance company for intellectual property infringement. Last year, four people were sentenced to prison terms for distributing pirated Microsoft products.