Also, free GitHub tools, Project Spark games, Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies, and every Game Boy start screen.
Google+ Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
Everything is fine. Relax. We are good. Why? Because Google+ is here to stay. So says the new head of social at Google, David Besbris, in an interview with Re/code. Besbris recently took over the running of Google+ from Vic Gundotra, the man who built the search giant’s social network before leaving the company in April.
In a long and wide-ranging conversation, Besbris said, “We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+ … The company is behind it.” He went on to say, “We’re in social — like we’re in everything at Google — for the long haul … We make long-term bets, we make long-term decisions.”
Besbris answers most questions with ease, but refused point blank to reveal how many people use Google+, simply saying, “I don’t want to talk about numbers.” He also stated there is “no grand master plan [to force users to join],” and suggested ads are very unlikely ever to show up on Google+.
Google+ is clearly here to stay, and pretty much as it is right now for the foreseeable future. The problem is very few people are using it as their primary social network, with Facebook remaining king of the hill, and newcomers such as Ello also encroaching on its territory. Until Google figures out why so many of us ignore it then Google+ will continue to be unloved, and, in many cases, unwanted.
Let us know your thoughts on Google+, whether positive or negative, in the comments below.
Twitter Sues The U.S. Government
Twitter is suing the U.S. Government over what it claims are restrictions on its First Amendment rights. The United States Constitution is meant to ensure everyone has the right to the freedom of speech. With this lawsuit, Twitter is claiming these rights are being trampled by government restrictions on how much information pertaining to surveillance requests it can disclose publicly.
Twitter, like every other technology company in the world, receives requests for data from government agencies (see PRISM). While tech companies are able to vaguely disclose the number of requests made, Twitter wants to be able to disclose specific numbers and information related to those requests. In other words, keep its users informed over what is happening to their data and why.
This lawsuit comes after months of the two sides trying to reach an out-of-court agreement, with Twitter’s transparency report for July the focus of attention. The filing [PDF link] calls out the disparity between the government being able to say what it wants about surveillance activities while the companies involved are prohibited “from providing their own informed perspective.” Which does seem a little unfair, to put it mildly.
GitHub Gives Away Free Developer Tools
GitHub has launched the GitHub Student Developer Pack, a set of developer tools aimed exclusively at students. The GitHub Student Developer Pack, released as part of GitHub Education, includes hackable text editor Atom, cloud applications manager Bitnami, crowdsourcing enrichment platform Crowdflower, and database portfolio Orchestrate, as well as a host of other tools.
To be eligible for the GitHub Student Developer Pack, you need to be “a student aged 13+ and enrolled in degree or diploma granting course of study,” and provide a “school-issued email address, valid student identification card, or other official proof of enrollment.” Which seems fairly generous to us.
Interested parties should be aware that while some of the tools are being given away for free, others are being offered by platform credits which may quickly run out. But even with that caveat, it’s still a great initiative.
Project Spark Lands On PC and Xbox
Project Spark has finally launched on PC (Windows 8 only) and Xbox One after a beta testing period lasting six months. Project Spark is free-to-play, although the Starter Pack available for $40 comes with a host of extra content.
Project Spark allows anyone to create, share, and play games using simple tools, meaning even those with zero programing skills can get involved. There are already 70,000 levels available to play in Project Spark, and that number is set to soar now thanks to general availability.
Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies Free On PC
As the name suggests, zombies feature quite heavily in this game, which should please fans of The Walking Dead, and, well, just about every other damn film and TV series that has used zombies so much that we’re all bored of them by now.
Every Game Boy Start Screen Of All Time
And finally, nostalgia fans can now gorge on the start screens of (almost) every Game Boy game ever released. This is thanks to YouTuber NicksplosionFX, who previously compiled every SNES start screen together into one video.
The best thing about this for me personally is the 8-bit music, which has the power to immediately transport retro gaming fans back to an earlier, simpler time.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Is Google right to persevere with Google+? Is Twitter justified in demanding its First Amendment rights? What’s your favorite Game Boy game of all time?
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: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr