Today in Tech News Digest, Instagram adds messaging to its service, YouTube expands live streaming to all users, Twitter changes what it means to block someone (albeit temporarily), Aereo looks set for the Supreme Court, it’s revealed that you’re likely to be a bot, 2013 is remembered as seen through the eyes of Twitter, and the Amiga 500 is brought back to life thanks to Google.
Instagram Direct Sends A Message
You know how you can send pictures and texts to your friends, using your phone? Now you can do that on Instagram, using your phone.
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) December 12, 2013
Instagram has added messaging to its list of features, with the introduction of Instagram Direct. Until now Instagram has been entirely focused on an individual sharing images with everyone who follows them (in a similar vein to Twitter). Instagram Direct lets an individual share images with as many or as few people as they desire.
You still need to send an image or video to initiate conversation, but once sent Instagram then allows a back-and-forth chat between the sender and all recipients. Critics have asked why we need another messaging app, with the likes of Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Viber already offering such a service, but Instagram obviously doesn’t want to be left behind.
YouTube Expands Live Streaming
YouTube has expanded the option to live stream video to all channels, as long as they’re verified and in good standing. YouTube has experimented with live streaming for several years, but until now the option to broadcast in this way was limited to popular channels.
Live streaming is the next logical step for YouTube, which already dominates in terms of pre-recorded video clips. Its live streaming feature brings real-time transcoding in the cloud, multiple angles, optional closed captions, and viewer statistics. There is also the option to turn your broadcast into a Google+ Hangout. And we all know how popular Google+ is.
Twitter Briefly Blocks Blocking
Twitter briefly changed what it meant to block someone on the site, but has now reversed the change after receiving a barrage of negative feedback. Before the change occurred, blocking someone on Twitter meant they could no longer view your tweets, a fact they were made aware of. The change reversed that, removing the notification and making it so you could no longer see their tweets but they could see yours.
It was a bizarre change, though one that seems to have been made with good intentions. Twitter was trying to avoid retaliation by people who are blocked, while also reminding the people doing the blocking that their tweets remain publicly viewable. However, after hearing the multiple arguments against the move, Twitter has reversed the change. Listening to its users… a notion Facebook and Google seem unfamiliar with.
Aereo Goes To The Supreme Court
The legal battle between Aereo and a consortium of broadcasters is set to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Aereo allows subscribers to watch cable content over the air by way of individual antennas in each home. The cable companies argue it infringes on their copyrights, but the courts have so far sided with Aereo. The Supreme Court now looks set to review the case, with both sides keen to see this fight settled once and for all.
You’re Probably A Bot…
They used to say "on the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog" …now nobody knows if you're a bot. :)
— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) December 12, 2013
According to security CDN service Incapsula, 61.5 percent of all Internet traffic is made up of bots. Which means there is an (almost) two-to-one chance that you are a bot. This is an increase from 2012, when 51 percent of Internet traffic was bots. Thankfully the increase is down to friendly (search engines and SEO tools) bots rather than spam bots.
2013 As It Happened On Twitter
Hot on the heels of YouTube’s end of year roundup, Twitter has launched its effort to condense 2013 into a more digestible set of data. You can browse each month in turn, discovering what the biggest stories, tweets, and hashtags were for each one. There are also curated lists of tweets by partners including NASA, TIME, and the BBC.
The Amiga 500 Lives!
And finally, the Amiga 500, a well-loved computer from the 1980s, has been given a new lease of life thanks to Google, and in particular, developer Christian Stefansen. He was responsible for porting the Open Source Universal Amiga Emulator — 400,000 lines of C code — to the Portable Native Client (PNaCl). This means that the Amiga 500 is now usable within the Chrome browser. Nostalgia, it’s a wonderful thing.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks
Image Credit: Jason A. Howie