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Friday, December 23, 2016

A quick note about News roundup: 2016 | IDG Connect

"The last 12 months of tech news in less than 2000 words." summarizes Dan Swinhoe, Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

Photo: IDG Connect

Been living under a rock for the last 12 months? Been so immersed in VR Minecraft you’ve forgotten about the real world? We’ve got you covered. Here’s some of the biggest news and trends in tech from 2016.

Any and every election: Data fails
In what was a very odd year, Donald Trump becoming President was probably the most perplexing and unexpected. But, ignoring the fact Clinton won the popular vote and Trump won with less voter share than Romney lost the previous election with, it was a complete failure on the data front.

We’re meant to be in the era of Big Data, Machine Learning, and generally have learned lessons from the previous 50 years’ worth of elections. Instead, any outlet which actually hinted at what would turn out to be the correct result gets their own news story. Look at pretty much any election or referendum of the last 12 months and you get a similar story. Somewhere along the pipeline, something is broken.

Wearable tech wobbles
Apple Watch has gone nowhere. Moto has said it’s not releasing anything for the upcoming Android Wear 2.0. Google Glass v2 has been quiet. We’re still waiting on Magic Leap, and Microsoft HoloLens costs $3000. 2016 was not great for wearable tech.

On the plus side, wearable tech makes more money than the traditional Swiss watch industry, Snap Inc.’s Spectacles seem to be selling out at every ridiculous cyclopean vending machine, Tag Heuer have found a way to convince people to buy its horribly overpriced Android offering, and almost everyone I know has a cheap mobile VR viewer. So it’s not a complete bust.

Facebook: Social media site, news publisher, internet provider, Snapchat imitator?
Facebook’s usual issues over photography and what counts as offensive have now evolved into what is newsworthy. The infamous picture of a girl being burned by napalm in Vietnam is an essential part of recent history; FB’s algorithms say it’s a naked girl so violates policy; FB’s managers agree it should be on the site. Since when do social media networks get to decide what’s newsworthy?

But that’s just the tip of the newsworthy iceberg. After reports that its Trending News feature was biased against conservative publications and headlines, Facebook replaced people with algorithms, which promptly started promoting fake news headlines. Not long after, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to defend his company from accusations that fake news appearing on the site might have helped swing the US elections. So far the best idea people can come with is linking more stuff to fact-checking sites.

The company’s internet-for-all Facebook Basics service was kicked out of India for violating Net Neutrality. But it has apparently brought millions of people online across the rest of the world, many of whom segue on to full on paid internet access before long. November saw news leak that Facebook was considering providing a censorship tool for third parties in an effort to get back into China. It also got into trouble with various courts around the world for trying to link up WhatsApp and FB data.

The social network also launched various apps to try and steal share away from Snapchat, released Facebook at Work to compete with Slack, and is soon going to be offering jobs on company pages. And it started encroaching on eBay/Craigslist’s turf with Marketplace. And had to deny it used your microphone to tweak what appeared in your News Feed. But it has donated some money to help stem the gentrification its caused in California.
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Source: IDG Connect


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