It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for some of the big tech giants of the internet.
Still, it’s worth remembering that sometimes the most important news stories will be less publicised than, say, Kanye’s new trainers…
I always like to keep at least one (but preferably two) beady eyes on global tech news, so I’m ahead of the trend when World War III begins. I’ve got a survivalist bunker under my house and I’m determined to use it before 2025!
This week in the news – Uber massively screws over the world [again]; a new sleek, terrifying invention is unveiled and Google is watching you [if you know someone who owns a Pixel]:
You know Uber right? That super-friendly ride-app that pays it’s ’employees’ super fairly? Yeah – them: the California based company that rakes in over 6.5bn dollars last year but still operates at a loss in order to expand like a cancer across the face of the Earth.
Sorry – I think I temporarily lost control of my objectivity.
Anyway, those guys, fresh from their sexism controversies have rushed headlong into another – the defining difference being that this controversy is guaranteed to piss off pretty much every Uber user in the world. It was revealed earlier this month that Uber had concealed a data hack which affected 57 million customers (and drivers) all across the world. The breach in security is one thing, but the hiding of the hack is another altogether.
From a user’s point of view this is a clear sign to stay well clear from an app that is not safe or secure to use. Despite the handiness of Uber, I know I’m going to be avoiding it for as long as possible and simply calling a cab instead.
In other news – Google Lens is coming, effectively turning every Pixel and Pixel 2 into a walking eye for the bots to learn with.
Well – that’s probably exaggerating a little bit – still, the tech powerhouse is promising that it’s Lens tool, originally introduced as an update to the Photos function in the Pixel and Pixel 2, will be rolled out as a baked in feature of the Google Assistant.
Lens allows users to use the cameras in their Google phones to analyse and save information about real-world objects in real-time. The applications of this kind of tech are endless: you can scan written addresses into Google Maps, get more information about landmark or even learn about books by scanning their covers .
At the moment, Lens is still in learning-phase, however the more objects it scans and learns about, with the help of its users, the more it will be able to recognise: not scary or portentous at all…
Loot Crates Under Attack Once More
There’s been a growing furore over the use (or misuse) of Loot Crates in video games, most notably after the release of EA’s hotly anticipated sequel, Battlefront II.
The argument that some politicians are making around the world is that the Loot Crate system used in this game and a few others, is essentially gambling and should not be made available to children. EA’s new game is based on the Star Wars franchise, a property that appeals today to as many children as it does adults, if not more.
Whilst both the UK’s Gambling Commission and the US lawmakers have stated that loot crates do not constitute gambling (based on the grounds that the player does not win any ‘real’ property) many others have argued that the introduction of in-game reward systems is normalising gambling habits and taking advantage of young players, who might seek an in-game benefit by endlessly spinning an arbitrary roulette wheel at the cost of themselves or their parents.