Tech News

Google Faces New Critics, Steve Ballmer Leaves Microsoft, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 20-08-2014

Also, Twitter deals with the dead, an (almost) non-existent smartphone bezel, Netflix pays the price, HitchBOT completes his journey, and an insane (possibly fake) viral video phenomenon.


Google Faces Multiple Critics

Google has at least two new critics willing to publicly condemn the company. One is John McAfee, the software developer and notorious playboy, the other is Robert O’Callahan, an engineer at Mozilla, the company best known for producing the Firefox Web browser.

According to VentureBeat, McAfee issued a call to arms against Google during the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. He said, “Google … would like us to believe that if we have nothing to hide, we should not mind if everybody knows everything that we do. If everybody knew everything about everybody else, what would human behavior become? We cannot have intrusions into our lives and still have freedom. And freedom is all I have. And it’s all you have, if you think about it.

Meanwhile, as reported by Information Week, O’Callahan recently took to his personal blog to issue his own condemnation of Google. He said, “Google is bent on establishing platform domination unlike anything we’ve ever seen, even from late-1990s Microsoft … if you want an Internet — which means, in many ways, a world — that isn’t controlled by Google, you must stop using Chrome now and encourage others to do the same. If you don’t, and Google wins, then in years to come you’ll wish you had a choice and have only yourself to blame for spurning it now.

None of what was said is particularly controversial, but it’s rare for public figures to come out and condemn a company in such strong terms. Both critics are arguing that Google has too much power How Much Does Google Really Know About You? Google is no champion of user privacy, but you might be surprised just how much they know. Read More , and it’s surprisingly difficult to argue against that notion. The question is, are any of us willing to do anything about the omnipresent behemoth that Google is becoming?

Steve Ballmer Leaves Microsoft For Good

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer 5 Funny Videos Starring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer A lot of people really don't like Steve Ballmer. Perhaps because he's Mr. Microsoft, or because he was (for many years) Bill Gates' lickspittle underling. Whatever the reason, he's a figure of fun in a... Read More has left the company after 34 years, stepping down from the board less than six months after retiring from day-to-day operations. Ballmer issued a memo to current CEO Satya Nadella, in which he cites, “a combination of the [LA] Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study” as the reasons for his decision. His enthusiasm, as seen in the video above, will be sorely missed at Microsoft. His leadership skills, probably less so.


Twitter No Longers Sees Dead People

Twitter has changed its policy on removing images of deceased individuals. This comes in light of the death of comedian Robin Williams and the subsequent actions which led his daughter Zelda to quit the platform.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Twitter will now “remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances,” with “immediate family members and other authorized individuals” invited to “request the removal of images or video of deceased individuals.” And about time too.

The Sharp Aquos Crystal Turns Heads

Sprint has unveiled the Sharp Aquos Crystal, a new Android smartphone exclusive to its network. The Sharp Aquos Crystal would be just another 5-inch Android handset not worth mentioning if it wasn’t for its edge-to-edge screen and almost invisible bezel. Which gives it sci-fi styling sure to turn heads. Which isn’t bad for an asking price of $239. Beat that, Apple.

Netflix Pays Time Warner Cable For Access

Netflix has signed a paid peering deal with Time Warner Cable, meaning the streaming media company is now paying all four major U.S. ISPs for priority access to their series of tubes.


This deal ensures Netflix subscribers Is Netflix Worth The Money? There are more people who don't subscribe to Netflix as those who do, and that swathe of the population wants to know if they're missing out on anything. Is Netflix worth the money? Read More a solid and dependable service, but it chips away at the notion of net neutrality, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is yet to rule on. At this rate net neutrality Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Are you still not sure what Net Neutrality actually is? Don’t feel dumb: it’s a nuanced concept. So, we tracked down videos from some of the smartest people on the Web. Read More will be dead and buried before the FCC even get around to addressing it.

HitchBOT Confirms Canada’s Reputation

The hitchhiking robot HitchBOT has completed his journey across Canada, taking just three weeks to travel 6,000 kilometers. HitchBOT was the subject of a research project Amazon Shops New 3D Fire Phone, Say Yo To The Dumbest App Ever, And More... [Tech News Digest] Twitter adds support for animated GIFs, a new glitch is found in Super Mario Bros. 30 years after release, HitchBOT prepares to travel across Canada, and a first-person cat simulator on Kickstarter. Read More studying how humans and robots interact, and it has shown that the two can get along surprisingly well. The project has also confirmed Canada’s long-held reputation as a safe, friendly, and extremely civilized country.

The Next Big Viral Video Hit

And finally, if you haven’t already seen this YouTube video of a motorcyclist slamming into the back of a car before somersaulting perfectly onto its roof, then prepare yourself for it being all over your social networks. This clip has more potential to go viral than even the cutest cats doing the cutest things 10 Of The Best Funny Cat Tumblrs To Fulfil Your Feline Fetish It's time for me to come out as a cat lover. I cannot hold it in any longer, I love the little furballs, especially my own little furball of joy that cuddles up to me... Read More .

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you consider the criticisms directed towards Google to have any merit? Are you sad to see Steve Ballmer depart Microsoft? Is that viral video legit or faked?


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: Martin Fisch via Flickr

Related topics: Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter.

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  1. Tom W
    August 21, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Yeah, but I've also seen a lot of similar videos, and they all have titles written in Cyrillic. I know that accounts for a large portion of the world, but statistically speaking there should be some videos coming out of other places. That's the main reason why I think it's at least partially set up.

  2. Tom W
    August 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I call hax on the motorbike video. someone just happens to be filming a boring stretch of road, and then a motorcyclist (who seems to be rather acrobatic) performs a dangerous lane merge at the same time as another car? I'm willing to bet that it was set up.

    • Aibek E
      August 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      A lot of people use drive recorders now and it records everything that happens on the road.

  3. dragonmouth
    August 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    "The question is, are any of us willing to do anything about the omnipresent behemoth that Google is becoming?"
    Not until it's too late. As long as people are not directly inconvenienced, they will not care.

    The below may not be on-topic but it illustrates people's attitude:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.