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Pre-caffeine tech: Underwater Google, Apple picking! 

Peter Moosgaard
Peter Moosgaard'sPeter Moosgaard

Our pre-caffeine roundup is a collection of the hottest, strangest, and most amusing stories of the morning.

Thousands of images from Australia's Great Barrier Reef and other coral locales are being stitched together into an eye-popping array of 360-degree panoramas for Google Maps' Street View feature — but this million-dollar-plus project isn't just about pretty pictures. It's about sharing the wonders and the woes of the world's coral reefs with people around the globe. Pretty!

Speaking of Google, the search giant will release Google Maps app for iOS later this year... in case you can't bear Apple's Maps.

Meanwhile, Apple tells us that the iPhone 5 offers "even longer battery life" than any of its predecessors, but can the new smartphone keep up  with  — or beat — the competition? Let's find out!

In other iPhone 5 news, complaints about the propensity of the device's paint job to scratch and chip are flooding in ... Apple says such cosmetic issues are "normal."

Oh, and Apple's iPhones and other products are so popular in New York City they're flying off shelves — and into the hands of thieves.

Twitter is most active in China ... a country where it's banned

Driverless cars just got the green light in California.

Here's a startup that lets you text people blocking your driveway

In other inevitable robot overlord news, Japan just made one that can take exams

In closing,  Austrian artist has coerced some hermit crabs into adopting shells created by a 3-D printer — shells in the shape of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Check it out!

Compiled by Helen A.S. Popkin, who invites you to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+.