Watching cat videos for fun and profit, Googling the calories in fast food, running encrypted Bing searches, exploring Ello on iOS, and the jealous cat who hates video games.
Carry On Watching Cat Videos
That time you spend watching cat videos online may not actually be as wasteful and pointless as you have been led to believe. In fact, according to a new study published in the Computers in Human Behavior journal, watching cat videos may be good for you.
The study surveyed 7,000 people about their habit of watching cat videos and how doing so affects their mood. According to CBS News, participants reported experiencing “fewer negative emotions” after watching cat videos, including “anxiety, sadness and annoyance”. And this is true even if the participants were watching cat videos to avoid working or studying.
Jessica Gall Myrick, the author of the study and an assistant professor at Indiana University’s Media School, said, “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward”. In other words, watching cat videos could make you more productive.
The study also found that cat owners and shy people were more likely to watch cat videos online. Which really shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone. However, the fact that just 25 percent of the cat videos the participants watched were ones they had actively sought out shows just how easy it is to be distracted by this genre.
Myrick defended the study against any charges of it being a waste of time, saying, “Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is that it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today. If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore”.
Google Counts the Fast Food Calories
You can now find out just how unhealthy that cheeseburger you’re about to order is simply by asking Google for the information. This is thanks to the company adding menu items from popular fast food chains to its calorie-counting feature in Google Search.
To find out the nutritional information on any item of fast food, simply ask Google, whether by typing the question or using voice search. A typical query may be, “How many calories in a Big Mac?” Which will provide all of the nutritional information, including the levels of saturated fats, cholesterol, and indeed calories.
You probably won’t like the answer (563 calories per Big Mac), but it could at least help you make healthier choices while standing in the queue waiting to be served. And with Google developing technology that can count the calories in a plate of food from nothing more than a photograph, maybe this is the key to tackling obesity.
Microsoft Encrypts All Bing Searches
Microsoft is set to start encrypting all searches made through its Bing search engine. In a blog post announcing the move, Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager of Bing, said, “Bing has already been offering users the option to encrypt search traffic for about a year and a half now. Beginning this summer, we will begin the process of encrypting search traffic by default”.
Forrester continued, “With the move to encrypted search by default we will continue to pass along a referrer string so that marketers and webmasters will be able to identify traffic as coming from Bing. However, to further protect our users’ privacy, we will not include the used query terms”.
This is a good decision from Microsoft, even if it did take longer than we would have liked. Now, Microsoft just needs to persuade people to actually start using Bing instead of Google.
Say Ello to this New iOS App
— Ello (@ellohype) June 18, 2015
Ello finally has its own mobile app, almost a year after the social networking site first burst onto the scene. Ello, the ad-free social network beloved by hipsters, debuted in September 2014, but failed to grow much beyond the initial flurry of invited users. It recently got given a much-needed reboot, but its future is still far from assured.
However, a mobile app might help, even if that is something that should have been in place from the start. Engadget has tested the new Ello app and seems rather impressed, but whether it’s enough to increase the userbase remains to be seen. The Ello app is available on iOS from today (June 18th), with Android and Windows users being forced to wait until later this year.
Cuddly Cat Jealous of PlayStation 4
And finally, now that we know watching cat videos can actually be good for you, there’s no excuse for not watching the clip embedded above. It shows a cat who really doesn’t like his owner playing video games, because when he does, he’s not giving kitty his undivided attention.
The owner in question, Alexander Fredriksen, owns a PlayStation 4, so perhaps the cat, called Nala, is just a fan of the Xbox One instead. Still, at least Fredriksen has an excuse for sucking at Call of Duty, and video evidence to back up his story. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you regularly watch cat videos to relax? Would you ever Google fast food before eating it? Do you ever use Bing over Google? Will you be using Ello now that it has its own mobile app? What should that owner do to stop his cat harassing him?
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: Takashi Hososhima via Flickr