Tech News

Google+ Is Here To Stay, Twitter Sues The Government, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 08-10-2014

Also, free GitHub tools, Project Spark games, Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies, and every Game Boy start screen.


Google+ Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Everything is fine. Relax. We are good. Why? Because Google+ is here to stay. So says the new head of social at Google, David Besbris, in an interview with Re/code. Besbris recently took over the running of Google+ from Vic Gundotra, the man who built the search giant’s social network before leaving the company in April The Future Of Google+, FB Newswire, Next-Gen Minecraft, Oculus Prank [Tech News Digest] Google+ may be dead, FCC talks net neutrality, Facebook launches FB Newswire, Lyft expands into new markets, mobile addiction grows, next-gen Minecraft allows save transfers, and the true potential of Oculus Rift is revealed. Read More .

In a long and wide-ranging conversation, Besbris said, “We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+ … The company is behind it.” He went on to say, “We’re in social — like we’re in everything at Google — for the long haul … We make long-term bets, we make long-term decisions.

Besbris answers most questions with ease, but refused point blank to reveal how many people use Google+, simply saying, “I don’t want to talk about numbers.” He also stated there is “no grand master plan [to force users to join],” and suggested ads are very unlikely ever to show up on Google+.

Google+ is clearly here to stay, and pretty much as it is right now for the foreseeable future. The problem is very few people are using it as their primary social network, with Facebook remaining king of the hill 10 Reasons Why People Still Use Facebook [We Ask You Results] The main reason people still use Facebook is because everyone else uses it. Go figure. Read More , and newcomers such as Ello Meet Ello: The Hip New Social Network You Need To Know About It has been said that when a social network makes a small change, it cause a schism, sending users fleeing elsewhere. They're heading to Read More also encroaching on its territory. Until Google figures out why so many of us ignore it then Google+ will continue to be unloved It's Not Really Dead: 7 Reasons To Start Using Google+ Today I wake up in the morning, and check what's new on Google+. Yes, really. Google is putting a lot of brawn and brains behind the social network everyone loves to hate, and it shows. Read More , and, in many cases, unwanted.

Let us know your thoughts on Google+, whether positive or negative, in the comments below.


Twitter Sues The U.S. Government

Twitter is suing the U.S. Government over what it claims are restrictions on its First Amendment rights. The United States Constitution is meant to ensure everyone has the right to the freedom of speech. With this lawsuit, Twitter is claiming these rights are being trampled by government restrictions on how much information pertaining to surveillance requests it can disclose publicly.

Twitter, like every other technology company in the world, receives requests for data from government agencies (see PRISM What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know The National Security Agency in the US has access to whatever data you're storing with US service providers like Google Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook. They're also likely monitoring most of the traffic flowing across the... Read More ). While tech companies are able to vaguely disclose the number of requests made, Twitter wants to be able to disclose specific numbers and information related to those requests. In other words, keep its users informed over what is happening to their data and why.

This lawsuit comes after months of the two sides trying to reach an out-of-court agreement, with Twitter’s transparency report for July the focus of attention. The filing [PDF link] calls out the disparity between the government being able to say what it wants about surveillance activities while the companies involved are prohibited “from providing their own informed perspective.” Which does seem a little unfair, to put it mildly.

GitHub Gives Away Free Developer Tools

GitHub has launched the GitHub Student Developer Pack, a set of developer tools aimed exclusively at students. The GitHub Student Developer Pack, released as part of GitHub Education, includes hackable text editor Atom, cloud applications manager Bitnami, crowdsourcing enrichment platform Crowdflower, and database portfolio Orchestrate, as well as a host of other tools.


To be eligible for the GitHub Student Developer Pack, you need to be “a student aged 13+ and enrolled in degree or diploma granting course of study,” and provide a “school-issued email address, valid student identification card, or other official proof of enrollment.” Which seems fairly generous to us.

Interested parties should be aware that while some of the tools are being given away for free, others are being offered by platform credits which may quickly run out. But even with that caveat, it’s still a great initiative.

Project Spark Lands On PC and Xbox

Project Spark has finally launched on PC (Windows 8 only) and Xbox One after a beta testing period lasting six months Yahoo User Logins, Bitcoin Regulation, Project Spark, Windows XP Pop-Ups [Tech News Digest] Yahoo rejects third-party logins, Japan's Bitcoin regulation, Project Spark for Xbox One, Twitter talks "impressions," Steve Ballmer's retirement, Microsoft nags Windows XP diehards, and Arduboy brings Tetris to the business card. Read More . Project Spark is free-to-play, although the Starter Pack available for $40 comes with a host of extra content.

Project Spark allows anyone to create, share, and play games using simple tools, meaning even those with zero programing skills Bored With Programming Books? Try 3 Fun Ways To Level Up Your Coding Skills If you've ever tried to learn to code from a book, you know how boring it can be. Why not try some engaging options to make learning more quirky and fun. Read More can get involved. There are already 70,000 levels available to play in Project Spark, and that number is set to soar now thanks to general availability.


Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies Free On PC

Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies is now free to play on PC. The game, which is a strange spin-off of the original Counter-Strike, is available to download on Steam 8 Things You Didn't Know About Steam Steam started out as an annoying program that came with Half-Life 2, but it’s grown into the PC game store of choice for most PC gamers. Although some people aren’t fans and prefer alternative stores,... Read More .

As the name suggests, zombies feature quite heavily in this game, which should please fans of The Walking Dead, and, well, just about every other damn film and TV series that has used zombies so much 6 Apps Every Zombie Lover Should Have On Their iOS Device [iOS] Halloween may not even be close, but that does not mean we cannot still enjoy some good old-fashioned zombie applications on our iOS devices. After all, The Walking Dead just ended, and fans of the... Read More that we’re all bored of them by now.

Every Game Boy Start Screen Of All Time

And finally, nostalgia fans can now gorge on the start screens of (almost) every Game Boy game ever released. This is thanks to YouTuber NicksplosionFX, who previously compiled every SNES start screen Apple Admits Failure, Android TV, Windows In The Car, Amazon Dash [Tech News Digest] Apple admits failure, Google works on Android TV, Microsoft wants Windows in your car, Amazon unveils Dash, Microsoft fixes Xbox One flaw, IFTTT for iPad, and every SNES start screen compiled into one epic video. Read More together into one video.

The best thing about this for me personally is the 8-bit music Discover Chiptune: The Best Resources & Tools For Video Game Music Chiptune is a fairly broad term used to describe music that has been programmed to play on old, often 8bit sound chips from days of yore. The term can also refer to modern examples of... Read More , which has the power to immediately transport retro gaming fans back to an earlier, simpler time.


Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Is Google right to persevere with Google+? Is Twitter justified in demanding its First Amendment rights? What’s your favorite Game Boy game of all time?

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: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

Related topics: Google Plus, Twitter.

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  1. Jayjay
    October 10, 2014 at 5:34 am

    I'm on G+ but barely. Never filled out profile or circled anyone or joined a community. Problem for me, and I'm fairly intelligent, using G+ just isn't very intuitive. The tutorials I've seen focus on business use or are just basic as "How to sign up". I use Twitter, but won't touch FaceBook because I'm a private kind of guy. Someday I'll take the time to figure it out...unless Google has killed it by then.

  2. peter
    October 9, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I really enjoy G+. I use Facebook and twitter as well, but G+ is not the same as those. I find there is a lot more sharing and interaction on G+ rather than the "look at me look at me" attitude on Facebook and Twitter, which turns people off.

    It's probably also the reason some people don't like the idea of G+.... it's about interaction rather than self promotion.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      You prefer the style of G+ then, but doesn't the lack of people actively using it make it a little pointless?

    • peter
      October 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      I have more connections of G+ than Facebook. Plus, the interactions of G+ are more of a conversation than on either Facebook or Twitter.
      While the limitations of Twitter make it harder to have have full chats, as it were, I find that there is more camaraderie with G+ as the conversations I have are with like minded people. These are separated by the circles feature so I am able to keep my chats in nice little boxes.
      It's only my personal preference. Each platform has its own merits, but with my choice of friends on Facebook now whittled down to a manageable 20 or so, compared with over 40 on G+ I still find I have more in common with people I engage with whom I have never met and its nice and friendly.
      As with any social network - you only get out of it what you put in.
      Folks from around the world share my work and I do them the same courtesy.

  3. pam rose
    October 9, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I like to write in verses, you know not just one long run-on sentence but Google+ won't print them that way. Plus I resent all the sneaky ways it tries to get me onto the sight w/o my knowing...

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Google knows best, haven't you figured that out by now?! /sarcasm

  4. Gerry
    October 9, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Google+ is the only social network I use to any extent, because the quality of the content is high. I don't care what you ate for breakfast, or who's dating whom. In fact, I don't want to be bothered with such drivel. Too bad all my friends aren't on G+, but that's their loss, and maybe I'll make new, more interesting friends. Maybe so many of you ignoring it is a positive thing for the rest of us.

    Yes, Twitter should demand first amendment rights, as should everyone in the US, individual or corporate. The government thinks it should now have laws without even telling us what they are. What hogwash.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Doesn't the lack of content, especially from your real-life friends, hinder Google+ though? I can certainly see what you mean; there is less crud being posted on there, but then there's little of anything really.

      As strange as t may sound, Twitter and Facebook are two companies making the government play by the rules. I admit I didn't see that one coming.

  5. Kerny
    October 8, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Aw man! :( I was hoping Google+ would finally be killed off, or least be removed from YouTube! Nobody uses Google+

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Give it time and it may just be, but Google clearly has no plans to shutter it for the foreseeable future.

  6. John
    October 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Google+ is here to stay ONLY because it is forced on Gmail users. I left Picasa, because I was not able to share anymore without Google+. I have disabled/closed my Google+ so many times , but it still popping back. Unable to get rid of it completely - like a bad virus. I really like Gmail, but not sure how long I can put up with this G+ .

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Just don't ever visit G+ and nothing bad will happen. That's what I do, and I suspect most other Gmail users do it too.

  7. dragonmouth
    October 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    "Google+ is clearly here to stay"
    Until it isn't. Until Google decides to dump it like it did with other projects that were supposed to be around for a while.

    • Dave Parrack
      October 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Of course, nothing lasts forever. But it seems Google has no plans to get rid of Google+ anytime soon.

    • dragonmouth
      October 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      "Of course, nothing lasts forever. "
      Not even Google. (we should only be so lucky)