Tech News Digest… Breaking news into bite-sized chunks.
Today, Google Helpouts goes live, Everpix dies, Nintendo announces the Wii Mini is coming to the U.S., Chrome gains a malware-busting update, Apple drapes itself in the American flag (for a change), Google’s augmented reality game becomes available to all, Microsoft goes after Google, and we’re told that video games are good for us after all.
The Big Story Of The Day
Helpouts Is Live
Help from experts in their field is everywhere online if you know where to look. And most of it, like our own MakeUseOf Answers, is offered completely free. Despite this heartwarming fact, Google thinks there is a gap in the market it hopes to fill with Helpouts, which offers “real help from real people in real time.”
Google Helpouts was announced earlier this year but it has now officially launched and can be accessed here. The idea is that you pay an expert to talk to you via video chat about whatever issue you are experiencing. Everything from makeup tips to language lessons is available for those willing to pay. Which, as newspapers have discovered, people aren’t prone to do on the Internet.
News From Around The Web
Everpix Is Dead
Everpix, which The Verge described as “the world’s best photo startup” is shutting up shop. After the pace of user growth failed to keep up with its ambitions, the company ran out of money. Everpix is now in read-only mode and will shut down completely on Dec. 15, 2013. The company assures users that their data is safe and that their photos will be available to download. Still, it’s a mighty blow for those who loved the service Everpix provided.
$99 Wii Mini Coming To U.S.
The Wii U has completely failed to win over consumers, with many likely to be completely unaware it even exists. Still, the trusty Wii, which did manage to win hearts and minds over to the Nintendo cause, is still popular. Nintendo knows this, and so the Japanese company is bringing the formerly-Canadian-exclusive Wii Mini to the U.S. It even comes with a copy of Mario Kart Wii, though the lack of an Internet connection means it will only suit those who prefer old-skool multiplayer gaming.
Chrome Blocks Malware
Despite all of your best efforts to safeguard your computer, every once in a while something nasty can infiltrate your system, and when this happens, it can be a pain in the posterior to remedy. Google is trying to cut malware off at the source, with the latest Canary build of Chrome able to automatically detect and block malicious files you’re downloading in error. Read more about Chrome introducing smart malware blocking, as “prevention is better than cure.”
Apple Comes Home To U.S.
Apple has, for a long time, manufactured its products in China, with the working conditions in its factories vociferously questioned. However, Apple recently expressed a desire to return manufacturing to the United States, and the State of Arizona has announced that the iDevice maker is set to build “a new manufacturing facility in the city of Mesa.” The result of all this will be 2,000 jobs for American citizens, so long as people keep buying iPhones and iPads.
Ingress Available To All
You may not have heard of Ingress before, despite us having covered it in the past. It isn’t exactly mainstream fare, and up to now it has also required an invitation to play. But no longer. Now, Ingress is available for anyone to download and play; anyone with an Android device, that is. And if you’re still none the wiser, Ingress is “an augmented reality game where you have to move around in the real world… while your phone tells you objectives like collecting artifacts and teaming up with other players.” Which makes GTA V sound positively dull by comparison.
Microsoft Slams Google
Video Games Are Good For You
Politicians, teachers, and parents often condemn video games as being a waste of time and energy for all involved. They may have a point in the big scheme of things, but a recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and picked up by CNET suggests that playing video games can actually be good for you. So much so that there is a “direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase.” The guy in the (unconnected) video embedded above, who clearly isn’t a scientist, agrees.
Image Credit: Andreas Klinke Johannsen