Also, North Korea drops offline, Google sings song lyrics, Samsung releases autistic app, and basketball trick shots are better with a Portal gun.
Google’s Fully-Functional Self-Driving Car
Google has announced that its prototype self-driving car is now fully functional. Google unveiled a mock-up of its first self-driving car in May 2014, but in the last seven months it has refined the design and manufactured a fully functional working prototype.
The self-driving car team at Google is happily talking up this latest development. After “working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car” they have “now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle — our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.”
However, the project is far from complete, and Google talks of “spending the holidays zipping around our test track.” These fully functional prototypes should then be seen on “the streets of Northern California in the new year.”
Whether you like the idea or not, Google’s self-driving cars are clearly set to become a reality sooner rather than later. Only time will tell whether they then revolutionize the world or prove to be an unwanted damp squib. Feel free to air your opinions in the comments section below.
Facebook Stickered Lands On Android & iOS
Facebook has released a new standalone app which allows you to apply stickers to your photos. Facebook Stickered is a lightweight app from the Messenger team that is now available for iOS and for Android.
While this app is designed primarily to work with Facebook Messenger, you don’t actually need to use Messenger to extract some fun from Facebook Stickered. After all, who hasn’t wanted to plaster emoticons and cartoon animals all over their friends’ faces, especially at this time of year when boredom can strike at any moment.
North Korea Loses Internet Access
No internet in North Korea. IT experts recommend turning it Kim Jong-off and then Kim Jong-un again.
— James Martin (@Pundamentalism) December 23, 2014
The whole of North Korea lost access to the Internet after an outage lasting 10 hours hit the country. This came amid the controversy surrounding The Interview, a comedy film pulled from release after the hacking of Sony by unknown parties.
The U.S. security services are blaming North Korea for the hack, and U.S. President Barack Obama promised some form of retaliation. However, it isn’t yet clear who is responsible for knocking North Korea offline. The country led by Kim Jong-un has just four official networks connecting it to the outside world.
Google Adds Song Lyrics To Search Results
Song so indie you can’t even google the lyrics. Huhuhu. ????????
— Goya (@gloriapula) December 16, 2014
Google has added song lyrics to its search results, meaning you may never have to click on a dedicated lyrics website again. This seems to be limited to the U.S., and not all songs are yet included, but it spells trouble for the multitude of music lyrics sites currently vying for attention.
You can trigger this shortcut by typing in the name of the song you want the lyrics to, followed by “lyrics.” Yes, it really is that easy. This takes advantage of Google’s Knowledge Graph, and here are more Google Search tricks to keep handy at all times.
Samsung Releases App For Autistic Kids
Samsung has released an app designed especially for children with autism. Called Look At Me, the Android app helps kids learn how to make and maintain eye contact, which is particularly difficult for many people with autism. Look At Me uses a combination of games, photos, and facial recognition technology.
The Look At Me app was developed with the help of doctors at the Seoul National University Bundag Hospital and Yonsei University Department of Psychology. Clinical trials involving 20 autistic children shows 60 percent benefited from using the app over the course of eight weeks.
Look At Me is available for free from Google Play.
Portal Trick Shots Are Unbeatable
And finally, you can keep your pathetic basketball trick shots, because they all suck compared to the basketball trick shots made possible by the use of a Portal gun. These shots get more and more complex, and the final one looks rather painful. Still, he did win a cheap, plasticky trophy for risking life and limb.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do you like the look of Google’s first fully-functional self-driving car? Will you be downloading the Facebook Stickered app? Who do you think is responsible for knocking North Korea offline?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credit: Nic Redhead via Flickr