Baidu Teases Self-Driving Cars, Play Elon Musk’s Retro PC Game, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Baidu drives itself forward, Elon Musk makes games, eBay gives to charity, Instagram gets a makeover, Shia LaBeouf extends to Chrome, and Steve Jobs hates Apple Music.
Baidu Is Building Driverless Cars
Chinese technology giant Baidu is set to launch its first self-driving car by the end of 2015. According to BBC News, while Baidu has previously announced it is developing the technology, this is the first indication that the launch is imminent.
Baidu is in many ways the Chinese equivalent of Google, offering a range of Web services including a Chinese-language search engine. Therefore it’s rather fitting that Baidu is working on a self-driving car, as Google is the leading proponent of this technology .
Details are currently thin on the ground, but it’s being suggested that Baidu is working with an established car manufacturer. Baidu has previously teamed up with BMW on semi-autonomous driving aids, and it looks as though this will be an extension of that technology.
Unlike Google, which imagines a future where we’re all ferried around from place to place in completely autonomous vehicles , Baidu is thought to be focusing on giving drivers greater freedoms while retaining the traditional controls. Which would seem to be a sensible first step.
Play the Elon Musk PC Game from 1984
Self driving horses.
— Bored Elon Musk (@BoredElonMusk) May 2, 2015
As an adult, Elon Musk is the real-life equivalent of Tony Stark, albeit without the Iron Man alter-ego . And yet just like everyone reading this, Musk was once just a child with dreams and aspirations. And, as it turns out, the ability to create computer games from scratch.
We can all now play the computer game in question, as Google software engineer Tomas Lloret Llinares has recreated Blastar in HTML5. To be perfectly honest it isn’t very good, as you just need to shoot passing ships until you get bored. I think I’ll stick to Project CARS.
However, it’s important to remember that Elon Musk made Blastar when he was a 12-year-old kid living in South Africa. And he sold the code to PC and Office Technology magazine for $500. The force was obviously strong with this one even way back in 1984.
Give Money to Charity Through eBay
[pretending to be on the phone as guy with clipboard approaches me] "What do you mean I already do too much for charity?"
— David Hughes (@david8hughes) June 7, 2015
When selling items on eBay you can now donate the proceeds to charity. The eBay app on Android and on iOS now includes a “Sell for Charity” option which lets you give between 10 percent and 100 percent of the final selling price to the charity of your choice.
You can search for your favorite charity and add the donation option to your preferences for every sale. For its part, eBay will “give you a credit on basic selling fees” for every item sold in this manner by a seller in the U.S. or UK. Which means everyone is a winner to some degree.
Instagram Now Looks Better On the Web
Instagram is giving its website a much-needed makeover, with a new look rolling out over the next week. The new look is much cleaner and more becoming of the website of an app generally used by vain people keen to show off to the wider world.
The new Instagram makes each individual profile page look more like a professional portfolio, which should help attract serious photographers . This could also be the first sign Instagram is looking to expand its appeal and become a service closer in nature to Flickr .
Shia LaBeouf Gets a Chrome Extension
You have probably seen that Shia LaBeouf motivational video by now. You know, the one where he’s standing in front of a green screen acting like the biggest tool on the face of the planet. You may also have seen the fun the Internet had by remixing this video.
However, you may not be aware that you can now have that motivational douchebag following you around the Web at all times thanks to the DO IT! Chrome extension. After installing this, Shia will tell you to do it, again and again and again. And you’ll love him for it.
Steve Jobs Would Have Hated Apple Music
And finally, a reminder that Apple Music would never have happened under Steve Jobs’ watch. We know this because he expressed his dislike for music subscription services way back in 2003 when Apple was launching the iTunes Music Store.
Jobs said at the time, “We think subscriptions are the wrong path. One of the reasons we think this is because people bought their music for as long as we can remember. They’re used to buying their music, and they’re used to getting a broad set of rights with it. When you own your music it never goes away.”
OK, so this was 12 years ago when the music industry looked very different than it does today. But it still shows how no one, no matter how much of a visionary they may be, can predict the future of technology. Well, there are exceptions… Tidal IS doomed to fail . [H/T The Verge]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Can you see yourself ever owning a self-driving car? Did you enjoy playing Elon Musk’s old PC game? Will you be selling stuff for charity on eBay? Do you like the new-look Instagram? Will you be installing the Shia LaBeouf Chrome extension?
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 Credits: Jan Tik via Flickr