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AdBlock sells out, Alphabet employees do the right thing, self-driving taxis arrive in Japan, The Martian mobile game, and the live streamer who set his house on fire.
AdBlock Has an Anonymous New Owner
AdBlock, which is just one of the many tools used to block online advertising, has sold out to a mystery buyer. News of the sale came when Michael Gundlach, the original creaor of AdBlock, announced that AdBlock would be joining the Acceptable Ads program. Buried at the bottom of that announcement was the news that AdBlock was being sold off.
The Acceptable Ads program is a controversial effort which sees adblockers allow certain ads through if they meet certain unknown criteria. Advertisers and publishers then pay the adblockers to display their ads, which some people consider to be a rather unsavory way of making money.
AdBlock is refusing to identify the buyer, but it’s known that Gundlach is no longer involved with the company. Joining the Acceptable Ads program has led to speculation that AdBlock Plus has bought its rival, with trusted sources suggesting last week that such a deal was in the offing. If true, it would make AdBlock Plus a powerful entity with almost 100 million users.
Alphabet Will “Do the Right Thing”
Do the right thing, even if no one will ever know. Because YOU will know.
— Ralph Marston (@ralphmarston) September 29, 2015
Google is now officially part of a larger company called Alphabet, with the change happening this past weekend. And with the change of hierarchy comes a change of strategy and a new motto. While Google will continue to endeavor to “Do no evil,” Alphabet will “Do the right thing”.
The line appears in the code of conduct for Alphabet employees, who are advised they “should do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.” Which is pretty much “Do no evil” written in a more roundabout way. So, nothing has really changed, apart from the name.
Robot Taxis Hit Japan
It’s pretty much inevitable that self-driving cars are the future, and that we will all own one within a few decades. But while Google continues to improve its self-driving technology, a company called Robot Taxi is preparing to launch its self-driving efforts on the streets of Japan.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Robot Taxi will start testing its service with real people next year. People in the Kanagawa prefecture will be able to hail the cars for short trips to the shops and back. If the trial is successful, Robot Taxi plans to have a whole fleet of cars operational by 2020.
Play The Martian Mobile Game
The Martian, which started as a book serially published online, before being made into a movie starring Matt Damon, is now a video game too. The Martian: Bring Him Home tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who gets stranded on Mars and has to strive to survive until help arrives.
In the game, which is available both on iOS and on Android, you play Watney’s contact at NASA. You interact with the stranded astronaut through text messages, with your conversations leading to one of a number of endings playing out in front of your eyes. So, can you save Mark Watney?
Live Streamer Sets His House On Fire
And finally, a Japanese YouTube personality named Yoshihiro Mazda managed to burn down his house while streaming live on Google’s video-sharing platform. The action starts at 4:50, when Mazda accidentally sets fire to a box of matches, and the blaze quickly gets out of hand.
Judging by his attempts to put out the fire, Mazda isn’t the brightest button in the world. However, it’s still rather unsettling to see the panic set in when he realizes the gravity of the situation. Mazda is believed to have escaped unharmed. So, no Darwin Award for him. Yet.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
What do you think of AdBlock refusing to name its new owner? Is “Do the right thing” an improvement on “Don’t be evil”? Would you ever hail a self-driving taxi? Does The Martian game do the movie or book justice? Is this live streamer a hero or a fool?
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.