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Google Opens Maps APIs and World Becomes Dev Playground
March 17, 2018
Google plans to open its Maps APIs to video game developers, which could result in far more realistic settings in augmented reality games. With access to real-time map updates and rich location data, developers will have many choices of settings for their games. The APIs will provide devs with what Google has described as a "living model of the world" to use as a foundation for game worlds.
Salesforce Offers SMBs a Bunch of Essentials
March 16, 2018
Salesforce has launched Salesforce Essentials, a collection of intelligent apps targeting SMBs. Built on the Salesforce Lightning framework, Essentials offers a consumer-like experience optimized for any device. Relevant information is displayed on one unified console, with drag-and-drop customization. "Essentials is easy to try, set up, use and maintain," said Salesforce SVP Marie Rosecrans.
Fitbit Highlights Versatility in New $200 Smartwatch
March 14, 2018
Fitbit on Tuesday added a new smartwatch to its wearables line with a pricetag of $199.95. The Fitbit Versa, which will reach global retail outlets in next month, will be the lightest metal smartwatch in the U.S. market. It includes a new dashboard that simplifies the way health and fitness data is accessed on the device. Versa mixes health and fitness programs.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Phones, Simple Phones, and Sparkling Water on Tap
March 13, 2018
Oh, look, it's a new flagship smartphone duo from Samsung. Shockingly enough, they're called the "Galaxy S9" and "Galaxy S9+." They have a similar appearance to the previous year's models, but there are also a few differences, such as a new camera and stereo speakers. There's a 960-frames-per-second slow motion mode, and there's the option to add music to clips or turn them into GIFs.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ May Shine Brightest as S6, S7 Replacement
March 8, 2018
Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets claimed the spotlight on Thursday as the first reviews of the smartphones surfaced. The general consensus appears to be that these new models successfully built on past designs, yet fell short in numerous areas. The new phones are good -- but anyone expecting revolutionary functionality may be disappointed.
Amazon Buys Ring to Make Homes, Deliveries More Secure
March 2, 2018
Amazon has agreed to buy Ring for $1 billion, the companies have disclosed. Ring users already could use the Echo Show to see and hear visitors at the front door. The deal means Ring can further its "mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools to our neighbors that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities and the world," Ring said.
New Uber Service Focuses on Getting Folks to the Doctor
March 1, 2018
Uber has introduced Uber Health, a new service designed to provide reliable transportation for healthcare-related needs. The program will offer healthcare providers a way to order rides for their patients to help them keep their appointments. Uber Health addresses a growing problem, especially with seniors and others who lack good transportation options for visits to doctors or clinics.
Disaffected Social Media Users Flock to Vero
March 1, 2018
Vero, a relatively unknown social network, has been enjoying a surge in user engagement in recent weeks, a trend that may be tied to growing user discontent over recent changes to Instagram's algorithm, along with an assortment of other objections that have been driving users away from the leading social platforms. Vero has rapidly moved up in the App Store and Google Play rankings.
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Uber's New Express Pool: Walk and Wait
February 22, 2018
Uber has launched a new service that lowers ride-sharing costs for customers who are willing to walk to and from designated locations. Express Pool became available this week in several participating cities. Passengers must walk a short distance to a pickup intersection. They are then dropped off at another designated spot, close to their final destination.
Gadget Ogling: A Different Sort of Activity Tracker and a Smartwatch for Kids
February 21, 2018
More often than I'd care to admit, I feel the seconds, minutes, and hours of a day slip into the ether before I realize it's happening. When it's time for bed and I try to take stock of my day, it's difficult to recall exactly how I spent my time. As someone who would like to be more efficient and productive, I think Timeflip seems like a terrific way to keep track of where my time goes.
Google Pay to Challenge Apple, Amazon
February 21, 2018
Google has launched its long-anticipated Google Pay app, which combines the features of the former Android Pay and Google Wallet into one platform, with new benefits designed to accelerate mobile payment use and retailer participation. The change, first announced last month, represents a bid to expand the use of Google's growing ecosystem to take on both Apple and Amazon in the e-commerce space.
Microsoft to Use Blockchain to Create Decentralized ID System
February 14, 2018
Microsoft has announced a plan to use blockchain technology to develop decentralized identities, or DIDs. Microsoft formally joined the ID2020 Alliance last month as a founding member. The Alliance aims to develop a blockchain-based identity system for vulnerable populations -- one that can operate across various blockchains, cloud providers, government agencies and other organizations.
Google Offers New Mobile Story Tech to Publishers
February 14, 2018
Google has rolled out a developer preview of its new AMP story format, which is designed to give content publishers an easy way to deliver news and information on mobile devices with visually rich, tap-through stories. "On mobile devices, users browse lots of articles, but engage with few in-depth," noted Rudy Galfi, product manager for AMP at Google.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
Leak of Stale iOS Source Code Could Trigger Fresh Problems
February 9, 2018
Apple lawyers have sent a copyright violation notice to Github, following the publication of leaked iOS 9 source code on the site. Though iOS 9 is dated, it's possible that the leaked code could be used to jailbreak older devices or worse. Publication of the code violated Apple's rights under the DMCA, the attorneys wrote, demanding that the iBoot source code be removed.
Former Execs Team Up to Fight the Tech Addiction Monster
February 7, 2018
A group of former Facebook, Google and Mozilla executives have joined forces to establish the Center for Humane Technology, a new organization dedicated to combating the growing problem of addictive behavior among social media users. The new center, along with the children's advocacy group Common Sense, has announced a campaign to help change the social media model.
WiFi Routers Riddled With Holes: Report
February 6, 2018
Most WiFi router vendors have not patched numerous firmware vulnerabilities discovered more than two years ago, according to a new report. OEM firmware built into WiFi routers use open source components that contain numerous known security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Insignary conducted comprehensive binary code scans for known security vulnerabilities in WiFi routers.
Intel's Smart Peepers Look Smart, Too
February 6, 2018
Intel has designed a pair of smart glasses that won't make you look like a hopeless geek. Called "Vaunt," the peepers, which are still in the prototype phase, look like ordinary glasses, save for a faint, red glimmer that occasionally appears on the right lens. Information sent to the glasses appear to be displayed on a screen but in reality is beamed to the retina of a wearer's eye.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones
January 31, 2018
Amazon on Tuesday introduced new functionality that enables its Alexa virtual assistant to send and receive SMS messages on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Carrier charges may apply. Alexa, the software that powers the Echo line of smart speakers, can play and send personalized messages from contacts for users who have set up voice profiles.
Apple May Be Gearing Up to Crack E-Books
January 31, 2018
Apple reportedly has been working on a redesign of its e-book app for iPhones and iPads, in what could be the biggest upgrade to its e-book service in years. The new app reportedly is undergoing testing and will be released in the next few months. It will have a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read in a section called "Reading Now."
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
Google's Ad Mute Option Could Be a Valuable Messaging Tool
January 26, 2018
Google on Thursday announced a new feature that will let users mute so-called "reminder ads" in third-party apps and websites that are powered by its ad engine. It plans to expand this feature to its own services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Search, in the coming months. The new tool is the latest addition to Google's dashboard for ad controls.
Apple Spotlights Key iOS 11.3 Features
January 25, 2018
Apple has unveiled new features that will become available when iOS 11.3 is released this spring. The company released the developer preview to members of the iOS Developer Program, and a public beta is expected shortly. The update will provide new ways to experience AR on the iPhone and iPad, offer new Animoji on the iPhone X, and give users a consolidated view of their health records.
Batteries in New iPhones Could Have Shorter Life Spans
January 23, 2018
There was some bad news for owners of the latest iPhone models on Monday. Batteries in the iPhone 8 and X may have shorter life spans than those in prior models. Typically, phone batteries begin losing their effectiveness after 500 recharges. Up to that point, they can hold up to 80 percent of their charge. After that, it's usually downhill for the battery.
Google to Ding Sluggish Sites in Mobile Search Rankings
January 19, 2018
Google has announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches, starting in July. Speed already has been a factor in desktop search rankings. Soon, as part of Google's new "Speed Update," page loading time will be factored in when ranking mobile search results as well. The change will affect only pages that deliver the slowest experience to users, according to Google.
Google Device Bug Chokes Home WiFi Networks
January 18, 2018
A bug in the software used by Google Cast devices such as Chromecast and Home can slow down or crash WiFi networks. The problem -- initially believed to be isolated to a particular router model made by TP-Link -- appears to affect models made by other manufacturers, including Asus, Linksys, Netgear and Synology. Complaints on a Google user forum brought the problem to light earlier this week.
Top 5 Data-Driven Mobile Services for a Competitive Edge
January 12, 2018
The mobile data market has been approaching saturation in major industrialized nations. Mobile data consumption has increased steadily over the past several years, but consumers have found new ways to avoid paying extra for services they don't need or use -- and intense competition among mobile carriers has allowed consumers to switch from fixed-data to unlimited plans and pay less in the process.
Apple Skirts Tech Addiction Issue in Response to Worried Investors
January 10, 2018
Apple has responded to an open letter from investors who called for the company to address the negative impact of the iPhone on children and teens. Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System have urged Apple to give parents more choices and tools to help ensure that young consumers are using the company's products "in an optimal manner."
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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.