Weekly Industry News Round-Up
Apple self-driving cars getting into crashes, Google spying on what you do online and offline and much more. Keep up to date with Bright Design’s Tuesday News Day.
Apple’s self-crashing car
Over the past decade, we have seen the progress of self-driving cars – with the largest tech and car companies competing to be the first company to successfully launch a self-driving car to the public.
Coding a system that can work seamlessly with our complex rules and driving habits is no easy task to complete. Like with all new technological advancements, there will be issues and tweaks before the technology is fully ready for the public. Over the past week, we have noticed that major news outlets have focused on a small collision with an Apple’s self-driving Lexus RX450h. The incident involved a 2016 Nissan Leaf colliding into the rear of the self-driving vehicle at 15mph. The Nissan, which was operated by a human, collided with the self-driving car whilst it was waiting to merge onto the Lawrence Expressway.
We’re not sure why such focus has been driven towards a crash which was the result of human error. We can see the potential for self-driving cars to be used as a great service in human transport. Especially in public transport such as taxis, buses and trains (and maybe even planes?) and we can see that self-driving car technology is already impacting the latest cars leaving the showroom; features such as self-parking, cruise control and automatic breaks. However, self-driving cars probably won’t make the everyday regular driving car obsolete.
Is Google expanding into offline tracking too?
It’s now becoming common knowledge that the major tech companies are tracking everything you do online. They track everything from what music you’re listening to, those shoes you want, that car you dream of but can’t afford and even what everyone else in the family searches for.
One of the major tech companies that do this is Google, we’ve reported on what Google tracks before, and if you would like to see those articles check out our other Tuesday News Day posts. But recently it seems that Google is taking the leap from online tracking to offline tracking. Recently, Google has acquired Mastercard credit card data in the US, this means that Google not only holds data about what you do and buy online but also mean that they now have access to what you buy using your Mastercard credit card in stores.
So, what does this mean for those with Mastercard credit cards? Well if you thought that your data was private by not purchasing online and only in stores, think again. One of the largest tech companies now has all the information about what you purchase and where you purchase it from. This means that Google can now tailor ads towards you based on your purchase history.
Among many health campaigns a brand new movement has been circulating the internet (ironically on social media sites) about the health concerns of social media. The movement is based upon getting young users to cut down on the amount of time they spend on their social media accounts – including platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.
The initiative follows the likes of other health campaigns like Stoptober and Dry January, and has been coined Scroll Free September. The movement has come at a time when the largest social media platforms are taking steps to show users how much time they spend on their platforms.
We don’t see the harm in trying to put the phone down for a couple of hours to do something else, (especially me with easily 30 hours of YouTube every week) but we think that going ‘cold-turkey’ on social media is going to be too much for the 2000 people who have pledged to the social media boycott.
When we think of social media and social media addiction, we tend to think of the younger generation. Admittedly I do too, and you wouldn’t be wrong to think the same. With the growth in popularity of social media alongside the growth of today’s younger generation, it would only make sense that if any generation was to be the most addicted to social media, it would be today’s teenagers.
However, a new study has been published which shows a surprising result. The study showed that Generation X (people aged 35-49) spend the most time on social media compared to every other generation group. This has now made a call for a new study that will delve deep into the effects that social media has on those in older generation categories.
Over the past week, Facebook has launched their brand new feature on their social media platform, Facebook Watch. The new feature is set to be a rival for the likes of YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Facebook Watch has already uploaded hours of content for users to view.
Facebook has stated that they expect to produce $2bn (roughly £1.55bn) worth of content on their video platform. Now we know that $2bn sounds like a lot of money to invest, and it is! But it doesn’t quite scale up to the large investments made by the competition. Netflix expects to invest $8bn by the end of 2018 just in creating original content alone.
Honestly, I can only see Facebook Watch being sustainable if Facebook can tempt content creators from YouTube to cross over and start to create regular content for Facebook.
Many people who upload PDF files onto their websites don’t think that there is an actual SEO value that the file can have on their site. Google seems to have noticed this and have now taken steps to convert PDF files into HTML.
Now we should make it clear that this change also includes similar document types of PDF (documents like Microsoft Word, Excel and even images). The reason for this change? Google’s John Mueller said that by converting the documents into HTML, it will allow the Google algorithm to better index the files. John admitted that Google is “pretty slow when it comes to reindexing PDF documents”. So, the change from PDF to HTML should make reindexing these documents much more consistent.
Google sticky header
If you’re on the internet a lot, then you will have come across many minor tweaks and experiments in the Google search engine. Whether it’s visual changes or something new in the search engine results page.
The latest tests from Google seem to be a sticky header. What do I mean by a sticky header though? Well, you’ll notice that when you begin to scroll down the search engine results page, the header will stay on your screen, this means that you can then search a new query without having to scroll back up to the top of the page. The small change to the Google search engine seems to just be a simple ‘quality of life’ change but anything that makes searching the internet that much easier is always a great thing.
The big 1-0 for Google Chrome!
Well, it’s finally here, Google Chrome has become 10 years old. Google’s own internet web browser has exploded into popularity since its inception and currently easily beats all competition for browser popularity. In fact, Google Chrome is so popular that it currently maintains 60% of the browser market share.
So, since Google Chrome is now a decade old, we wanted to see what else was happening back in 2008. Here are our top picks:
Flexible Display Screens
GPS (Global Positioning System)
Video Capable SLRs
Apple App Store
Back in 2008 when Google released their web browser, not many people thought that Google Chrome would become the world’s leading internet web browser.
Firefox tracker block
In the news, we always hear about which tech company is keeping personal data on their clients, and which companies have sold and made deals to exchange their customers’ data. It seems that no matter where you go, your data will be used and sold to the highest bidder.
However, the internet browser Firefox has decided to make their customers’ data a part of their ethical business practices. Mozilla is marketing the Firefox browser as the internet browser of choice for those who value their privacy. They are doing this by limiting some tracking tools from collecting your personal online data.
Mozilla is planning to implement controls in order to give their users more choice in where and how their data can be tracked by the tracking tools. This will not only help protect their users but can also be what pushes Firefox’s popularity.
Internet browser market share
The Windows operating system is one of the easiest to use and, some may claim, the best operating system that is available today. With Microsoft’s latest version of Windows gaining further popularity as more and more devices switch over from their old operating systems to Windows 10.
But things are not looking all great for Microsoft, as nearly 2/3 of Windows 10 users opt for using Google Chrome as their internet browser of choice. Google Chrome’s growth comes at Microsoft’s expense as their own internet browsers (Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge) seem to only cover 15% of the internet browser market share.
If Microsoft Edge doesn’t pick up more market share soon we can see that the browser could become another failed attempt at making an internet web browser that could compete with Google Chrome.
Trump vs. tech
With over 54.2 million followers, you may have heard about a man called Donald Trump. Apparently, he’s important in America? Anyway, the US President has preached on Twitter about how the leading tech companies are working against him.
The President tweeted a video showing multiple years where Google had promoted Obama’s State of The Union on the homepage of their search engine. The video then shows two dates when Donald Trump gave similar addresses, which weren’t highlighted on the homepage. Along with the video, the President tweeted out the hashtag #StopTheBias.
Google has responded to these allegations, by saying that they do not promote any President’s first address on their homepage. This means that neither Obama or Trump were promoted by Google. After Google’s response, Trump then spent his time arguing with Google for only displaying negative results when typing ‘Trump news’ into the search engine – claiming that the overwhelming amount of negative news about him that appears is evidence that the results are being manipulated to paint him in a bad light.