In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. Too much, in fact, for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. From Apple announcing Apple Music will pay royalties to artists and Reddit celebrating its 10th birthday, to Gmail announcing its ‘Undo Send’ button, it’s all here.
On Sunday morning, Taylor Swift wrote a letter to Apple, explaining why her album 1989 won’t be on Apple Music service when it launches at the end of the month. Taylor Swift wrote, “I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely, unlike this historically progressive and generous company.” Soon after, Apple’s Eddy Cue announced that Apple Music will pay royalties to artists during its three-month free trial for users after Taylor Swift publicly complained about its policy. Swift responded to Apple by tweeting to her followers that she was “elated and relieved.”
Taylor Swift also confirmed on Twitter that she will be offering her latest album, 1989, on Apple’s Music streaming service. Taylor announced Thursday after Apple decided to pay artists royalties during Apple Music’s free trial. Swift wrote on Twitter: “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart.” A lot of people believe that this enter thing was planned out in order to bring press to the release of Apple Music, which is going to be released in just a few days.
Reddit celebrated its 10th birthday on Tuesday by releasing a ton of data on the site’s subreddits, users, and content. Reddit’s most viewed posts are “I am the guy with two penises, AMA” and “I am Barack Obama, President of the United States, AMA.” Since Reddit was founded in 2005, the site has grown to 230 million unique monthly visitors, 16 billion uproots, and only 2.5 billion down votes. It’s not a major surprise to find out that several of Reddit’s top posts and comments have been about penises. But, it’s also good to point out that Redditors have donated close to $1.8 million to different causes, ranging from disaster relief to Haiti, to raising funds for school teachers.
You can now sign up for Facebook Messenger, even if you don’t have an account on the social network. To get started, Facebook only needs your first name, last name, phone, and photo. The company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, “With this update, more people can enjoy all the features that are available on Messenger — including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers, and more.” Payments, stickers, and video calls will be available to those using Messenger without Facebook accounts.
Dating apps like Tinder and Match.com make it easy to find love, and now there’s an app that does the total opposite. Binder, which is available for iOS and Android, allows users to end a relationship with just one swipe to the right. To use the Binder app, users must choose the gender of their significant other, add their name and phone number, choose from a list of harsh reasons for ending the relationship, swipe right, and the app will take care of the rest. If you want to avoid that long awkward break-up conversation, you can have the Scottish man dump your crappy boyfriend. You can download Binder from the App Store and Google Play.
Gmail announced its ‘Undo Send’ button on Tuesday, which will help save users from sending emails to the wrong recipients. The feature was added to Inbox by Google less than a month ago, but thankfully, the feature has now been introduced to Web users. The ‘Undo Send’ button allows users to set a time from 5 to 30 seconds in which they can change their mind on sending an email. It’s been a Labs feature in beta for years, but is now a regular option.
Tragedy struck at the beginning of the week when news broke that the Oscar-winning composer James Horner was killed in a plane crash in Southern California. The 61 year-old first won an Oscar nomination for Aliens, and would later pick up two Academy Awards, one for best original dramatic score for James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic, and the other for the movie’s hit song, My Heart Will Go On, co-written with Will Jennings and sung by Celine Dion. Stars of the silver screen were quick to pay tribute. Ron Howard called him a “brilliant composer.”
It’s 2015 and we still don’t have a hoverboard. That’s about to change. Lexus announced earlier this week that it’s working on a real-life hoverboard, and it’s called Slide. While it’s far from what we saw in Back to the Future 2, Lexus is at least making our wildest dreams come true by making a real-life hoverboard. The website says that the Slide hoverboard is magnetic, with liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, made with a Lexus grille and natural bamboo — but that’s all of the details we know for now. The Slide hoverboard has been in development over the last 18 months by teams in Germany, and it’s being tested by a professional skateboarder in Barcelona. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see anyone riding on the overboard in the video, but Lexus is promising that we’ll get to see more updates on Slide in the upcoming weeks. For now, you can watch the teaser video in our full story.
Verona is a dating app designed to connect Israelis and Palestinians, whether they’re looking for love or friendship. Developer Matthew Nolan was inspired to create Verona because he wanted to help bring about peace in the Middle East. The app gives Israelis and Palestinians the ability to chat in hopes of bridging cultural divides. The app uses Tinder’s now familiar system of swiping right for someone you like, and swiping left for those you don’t. If there’s a match, you can instantly start chatting and arrange to meet up for a date. Previously, Verona was only available on Android, but the app’s growing user base has pushed Matthew Nolan into releasing an app for iOS as well.
In 2014, Google launched “Chromebox for meetings,” a service which allowed small businesses to get into video conferencing. Today, Google launched “Chromebox for meetings”, hardware which was built so larger businesses can hold their own video conferences. The first bundle can hold up to eight people in one room for the price of $1,000, while the second bundle can hold up to 20 people in one room for $2,000.
Wall Street analysts at FBR Capital Markets suggest that Netflix could surpass major networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, in 24-hour viewership if it were measured by Nielsen standards, reports Variety. It can be challenging to compare because Nielsen ratings on standard broadcast TV can be off – most people view programs on DVRs and Video-on-demand way after the seven day window. Nielsen also doesn’t take online viewing into account, even though it’s growing in popularity.
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