The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week March 9 -- 15

This is the week that saw the web celebrating its 25th birthday and Tim Berners-Lee took the opportunity to call for a web bill of rights, which I argued is essential for the future of democracy.

Another week means a fresh batch of security concerns. In Europe, users were warned of the dangers of connecting to public wifi hotspots, while a new report found that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their techniques. Ian was on hand with advice for anyone trying to tackle or avoid viruses.

Here at BetaNews we have put Google under the microscope more than once. Brian revealed how the company is offering money in return for Google Apps referrals while Joe suggested that the end of Chromebook -- and indeed PCs in general -- is on the cards; although users can get a 60-day free trial of Google Music.

This was far from being the end of Google coverage this week. Subtle changes to Google's search results page made ads slightly less obvious, but this isn't necessarily the good news you might think. The search giant also announced that it would be encrypting searches in China. Sounds great, but I viewed it as a cynical marketing move benefiting no one but Google. Joe felt much the same about something else Google-related. Following a price cut for Google Drive storage, he pondered whether the convenience was worth the loss of freedom involved in getting in bed with Google.

After I complained that the Windows 8.1 update is rubbish, Brian disagreed, saying that it was time for the moaners to grow up and stop whinging. If you're really struggling with the Start screen, Wayne compiled a list of the best Start menu replacement tools to keep you happy.

Being offered an incentive to buy a phone, a computer or a piece of software is nothing particularly new, but if you've been putting off buying an Xperia Z2, the lure of a free Sony Bravia TV just might be enough to sway your decision. If you've already got yourself an iOS device the release of iOS 7.1 adds CarPlay support as well as new camera settings and speeding up of performance. Samsung busied itself mass-producing 20 nanometer 4Gb DDR3 memory for both PCs and mobile devices  and also working with Microsoft on a wireless charging system.

It's not just buying a new phone that gets you something free. Getty Images announced that its pictures would be made available free of charge to anyone looking to use them for non-commercial purposes. In the world of media, Netflix released new details of which ISPs offer the best performance while at CeBIT the UK Prime Minister announced plans for an ultrafast 5G mobile network.

If you're looking for something fun to end the week, check out the updated Hitchhiker's Guides to the Galaxy game which was rereleased for the book's 30th anniversary. Oh, and if you're looking to bring in a little money with a skill you have, check out Fiverr which has just found its way to Android.

Enjoy the weekend, and sit back while more news comes your way.

Image Credit: vinz89 / Shutterstock

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