Google Now Answers Health Questions, RapidShare Shuts Down [Tech News Digest]
Google has health concerns, RapidShare goes offline, Forbes hacks readers, Flipboard flips switch on Web, Scribd adds comic books, and teenagers react to the Nintendo Power Glove.
A Healthier Google Knowledge Graph
Google’s neural-net based knowledge graph sure does enhance my productivity at work. pic.twitter.com/dVAgOdoWfu
— Lydia Nicholas (@LydNicholas) February 11, 2015
Google is adding a range of health-related information to its Knowledge Graph. This means that when someone searches for the answer to a common health question, Google will present the relevant information at the top of the results page.
Information presented in this way includes “typical symptoms and treatments … how common the condition is … whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more.” Some results will be augmented by helpful illustrations.
The good news for hypochondriacs is that all the information has been compiled, curated, and reviewed by real medical doctors. Even so, Google is at pains to point out that the medical information contained in its Knowledge Graph should only be considered the first step, and people should still consult a healthcare professional if they need to do so.
RapidShare Rapidly Disappears
Wow. Rapidshare is shutting down… All accounts and data will soon be deleted.
— Galou Gentil (@GalouGentil) February 10, 2015
RapidShare, which was the most popular file-hosting service on the Internet, is shutting down on March 31, 2015. Anyone still using RapidShare to host or share files is advised to secure their data as soon as possible, as all accounts will be automatically deleted.
As noted by TorrentFreak, RapidShare was founded all the way back in 2002, making it one of the first one-click file-hosting sites available. This led to people using the service to share copyrighted content , and RapidShare consequently fought numerous legal battles.
In recent years, RapidShare changed its approach to illegal file-sharing, and transformed into a personal cloud storage service. But that led to its userbase abandoning the site for pastures new, which is likely what has led to the planned shutdown.
Forbes’ Hack of the Day
— The Verge (@verge) February 11, 2015
Forbes’ Thought of the Day, which is presented to readers when they first land on the site, was used to send malicious code to visitors’ computers. As reported by The Washington Post, security researchers have discovered the widget was compromised for several days at the end of last year, starting on Nov. 28.
It is believed that Chinese hackers used the Thought of the Day to launch an attack primarily aimed at financial institutions and defense contractors. Vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash were used (surprisingly!), both of which have since been patched.
Flipboard Lands on the Web
Flipboard, the popular news-gathering app which presents stories as your own personal magazine , has landed on the Web. Having amassed 50 million monthly users on mobile, Flipboard hopes to carry on expanding with a move to the desktop.
Moving to the Web means Flipboard has had to adapt the way it works. This means you scroll rather than flip through stories, and use your mouse rather than your finger to trigger page interactions. While it’s launching without ads, Flipboard hopes to include these in the future.
Scribd adds 10,000 Comic Books
Scribd has added 10,000 comic books and graphic novels to its line-up thanks to new partnerships with 10 publishers, including Marvel, IDW, and Archie Comics. This means anyone paying the $8.99-per-month subscription fee now has access to The Avengers, X-Men, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, to name just three classics.
Teens React to the Nintendo Power Glove
And finally, decades before Nintendo changed the world of gaming with the Wii and its motion-based controls , the Japanese company released the Power Glove. Sadly, the technology was slightly ahead of its time, and was pretty much useless as a result.
This video shows teenagers reacting to the Nintendo Power Glove. And they seem impressed with the retro-futuristic piece of kit, at least until they try controlling a game with it. It really is no surprise the Power Glove didn’t take off in a big way. Because it sucked.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you ever use Google to answer your health questions? Are you sad to see RapidShare shutting up shop? Do you remember the Nintendo Power Glove?
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: Fabrice Florin via Flickr