Tech News

New Google Cardboard Apps, BitTorrent Browser Maelstrom [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 11-12-2014

Also, Minecraft lands on Windows Phone, 4K lands on Amazon Instant Video, custom genders land on Google+, and a look back at 2014 in gaming.


Google Launches Cardboard App Collection

Google is pushing its virtual reality headset Google Cardboard harder than ever, with updates for users, developers, and makers. When Google unveiled Google Cardboard at Google I/O 2014 Google I/O Reveals Android Is Everywhere, Aereo Loses Big Fight, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Microsoft could be planning to give Windows 9 away for free, Europe is halving mobile roaming charges, Rock Simulator 2014 has arrived to blow your mind, and CollegeHumor demonstrates how the Internet has killed... Read More in June, most people regarded it as a jokey take on the emerging VR form factor VR Is About to Change Filmmaking Forever: Here's How Virtual reality is a new way of communicating with your viewer, and many people with a background in traditional filmmaking find the possibilities exciting. Read More . But it turns out Google was deadly serious.

To demonstrate its commitment to Cardboard, Google has rolled some of its favorite Cardboard apps into a collection on Google Play. Included are a live performance from Jack White, a tour of the Shire from The Hobbit, and a 3D brick-breaking game. As well as Google’s own dedicated Cardboard app.

In order to help developers create the best Cardboard apps, Google has also released software development kits (SDKs) for Android and Unity. And for makers there are new building specs crafted with specific tools in mind. Finally, as proof Google is serious about Cardboard, it’s hiring a handful of people to work on creating virtual reality experiences.

Google states that 500,000 Cardboard headsets have now been shipped. So, have you got yours yet?

BitTorrent Launches Maelstrom Browser



BitTorrent has launched a new Web browser codenamed Project Maelstrom. As you would expect from BitTorrent, Maelstrom has been built on the principles of a distributed Internet, with users more in control of their data than they would be with standard browsers.

Maelstrom would change the way we browse the Web. Publishers would publish their sites using the BitTorrent protocol 8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised Like HTTP, which your browser uses to communicate with websites, BitTorrent is just a protocol. You could use your browser to download pirated content, just as you could use a BitTorrent client to download pirated... Read More , and it would be shared amongst users in the same way as any BitTorrent file. The HTML files are all included in the torrent, with the Maelstrom browser used to render them.

It’s an ambitious plan, which is why BitTorrent is taking things very slowly. Right now, Maelstrom is available as an invite-only alpha effort, with a beta due to arrive sometime in 2015. Those people lucky enough to be chosen as testers could either be glimpsing the future of the Web or a nice idea which will ultimately come to nothing.

Minecraft Arrives On Windows Phone



Minecraft is available on Windows Phone for the first time, with Minecraft: Pocket Edition priced at $6.99. The Pocket Edition includes Minecraft’s Survival and Creative modes, as well as multiplayer over Wi-Fi.

Android and iOS users have been able to play Minecraft on their mobile devices for some time, but with Microsoft having purchased Mojang Microsoft Buys Minecraft, How To Delete U2 From iTunes, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Windows 9 is incoming, iPhone 6 preorders, Kickstarter expansion, Surge is back, and texting Groot. Read More in September, its arrival on Windows Phone was well overdue. So, get crafting, or mining, or whatever it is you do in Minecraft What Is The Appeal Of Minecraft? [We Ask You] Hey, Minecraft players, it's time for you to educate the rest of us about your beloved game. What is the appeal? Read More .

Amazon Instant Video Adds 4K Content

Amazon Prime subscribers Is Amazon Prime Worth Your Money? We Help You Decide! Amazon Prime is a big deal. But is it worth the money you pay for it? We answer your questions and concerns. Read More can now enjoy Amazon Instant Video in Ultra HD, with some movies, TV shows, and Amazon’s own original series being streamed in 4K.

The 4K content is available through the Amazon Instant Video app or available to purchase, but you obviously still need to own an Ultra HD television set Should You Buy A 4K / Ultra HD Television? About a decade ago, manufacturers started to sell what's now widely known as an HDTV. But now HD is old news, so the industry has decided to push another new technology; Ultra HD, also known... Read More to appreciate the increase in quality. Assuming you do have one, streaming in 4K costs no more than streaming in normal, run-of-the-mill HD. Which means you’re only limited by your Internet speeds.


Google Lets You Choose Your Own Gender


Google has rolled out a small-but-significant update to Google+ Google Plus: A Guide For Everyone If you’re reading this guide, you have probably wondered, “Why should I sign up for Google+?” The answer is simple: Google. You may have heard of them. Read More that lets each individual user choose their own custom gender. Choices were previously limited to ‘Male’, ‘Female’, and ‘Other’, but choosing the new ‘Custom’ option now lets everybody type in whatever they please. Which is rather refreshing.

2014 In Video Games In Under Two Minutes

And finally, 2014 has been a big year for gaming, with the PS4 Sony PlayStation 4 Review And Giveaway Ladies and gentlemen, the next generation of video game consoles is here, with the Sony PlayStation 4! Read More , Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More , and Wii U Nintendo Wii U Review and Giveaway Despite the increasing shift to mobile gaming, consoles are still very popular devices for playing immersive, graphics-intensive games; and that won’t change anytime soon as long as the major console makers continue to improve with... Read More all taking significant strides forward. Some games have been a bit of a letdown, but there have been enough gems released to keep most people entertained.

This video shows how 2014 has shaped up in terms of video games. It’s surely impossible to watch it and not be optimistic about the way gaming is going. Or make a list of games released this year that you still need to play… probably a long list.


Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you interested in using Project Maelstrom from BitTorrent? Is Google Cardboard the future of virtual reality headsets? Will you be adding a custom gender to Google+?

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.

Related topics: BitTorrent, Google, Minecraft, Windows Phone.

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  1. marqmarquette
    February 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Check out "Insects 2" you can also find it if you do a search for BowersLLC in the google playstore.

    In this first person shooter episode 1, you'll incorporate the newly developed point walk/stop system. Stay tuned for episode 3 with complete inventory system to top off this series with a full blown RPG.

    The people of Earth are finally starting to populate the universe. You're marine space astronaut Sergeant Major Bowers sent to Mars to clear out this insect infestation and ready the planet for habitation. Upon your arrival (episode 1) you are surprised to see a space ship. It was always believed these insects lived beneath the surface of the planet but it turns out we might have been wrong. You decide to investigate the origins of the ship and head inside.

    - Look at the footprints for 2 seconds to start the auto walk features. Look at them again to stop.
    - Look at the insects for 1 second to start the auto shoot feature. Simply look away to stop shooting.

    Retrace your steps! This game is a maze of doors and trigger events. If you get stuck, you have probably missed a key or a room somewhere.

  2. Chad
    December 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    The "Video Game" video has the Amazon vs. Netflix video embedded instead of the correct video...

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      No, it doesn't. This is a common problem where if you scroll quickly all the YouTube embeds look like they're the same video. No, I don't understand either.

  3. robh
    December 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Any suggestions for a cardboard (hardware) upgrade? The original cardboard doesn't work well for glasses wearers, can't fit over glasses and no lens adjustment. Also something more robust - there are models made of high density foam but reviews suggest they're not (yet) all that good (and possibly a bit pricey).
    BTW, anyone who's not tried it, please do. Everyone I've shown it to has been blown away and it will get even better as more apps are released. Also if you're buying, there's really no need to get the NFC version.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Eesh, that's a tough one. That could be a good project for our DIY team, so I'll pass it on.

      I have a sneaking suspicion this will kill the need for proper VR headsets. After all, almost everybody has a smartphone and the ability to fold some cardboard.

    • robh
      December 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Found a near but still imperfect match Durovis Dive: more robust, adjustable lenses both for eyesight correction and pupillary width. Costs plenty (60 Euros) and seems to lack the magnet Cardboard uses.