3 Billion People Use the Internet, Facebook Adds Restaurant Reviews, & More… [Tech News Digest]
The Internet population hits 3 billion, Facebook adds restaurant reviews, Cortana comes to Android and iOS, thieves steal from the IRS, Periscope lands on Android, and watch someone watch someone watch Non-Stop Nyan Cat.
The Internet Nabs 3 Billion People
The population of the Internet now stands at 3.2 billion people, or around 44 percent of the 7.2 billion people alive in the world right now. While this is an extremely encouraging statistic, it also means 56 percent of the world’s population haven’t yet got access to the Internet. Which is depressing.
The current size of the Internet population comes courtesy of a new report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This United Nations body has tracked Internet usage since the year 2000, when there was just 400 million online around the world. The growth over the past 15 years has therefore been phenomenal.
Smartphones are currently the fastest growing sector, with 78 percent of people in the United States and Europe now using mobile broadband. There is still a huge difference based on location though, with 80 percent of households in developed countries having access to the Internet, as opposed to just 34 percent of households in developing countries.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said, “These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date, but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as the areas where ICT (Information and Communication Technology) investment is needed most.”
Facebook Adds Restaurant Reviews
If there was a review aggregator website that compiled reviews of metal bands it should be called Metalcritic.
— Boogie Travels On Youtube! (@Boogie2988) May 27, 2015
Facebook is adding reviews by food critics to restaurants’ pages. These critical reviews from the likes of Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Eater, New York Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle, will sit alongside reviews by paying proles who don’t get to dine at the finest eateries for free.
These professional reviews will initially only show up on the pages of selected restaurants in the United States, but should then roll out to a wider set of establishments. Facebook insists that negative reviews will be shown as well as positive reviews, which may cause consternation amongst restaurant owners.
According to The Verge, Facebook said, “Since reviews are such an important part of helping people make informed decisions about what to do locally, we’re excited to be incorporating a new way for people to use Facebook to find the best real-world experiences.”
Cortana Teased for Android and iOS
Cortana is coming to Android and iOS, with Microsoft extending its reach beyond Windows. Cortana will land on Android and iOS as an app, which will limit its capabilities compared to when it’s used on Windows 10 or Windows Phone . However, while you won’t be able to wake Cortana up simply by saying “Hey, Cortana”, once the app is open you’ll still be able to ask her questions.
Microsoft announced the Cortana app alongside the new Phone Companion app for Windows 10. This is Microsoft’s way of helping users stay connected to their PC even when they’re out of the house. Crucially, thanks to versions for Android and iOS, it doesn’t matter what mobile operating system you use. Well, unless you still own a BlackBerry , in which you’re not invited to the party.
Thieves Steal Tax Data from the IRS
Thieves have stolen the tax data of 100,000 people in the United States by using a flaw in the “Get Transcript” application used by the Internal Revenue Service. The cybercriminals nabbed the data after successfully bypassing security checks.
According to the IRS, the “Get Transcript” application has been “shut down temporarily,” and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is investigating the issue. Those affected should receive a letter from the IRS in the coming weeks.
Twitter Releases Periscope for Android
Twitter has finally released an Android version of Periscope, its live-streaming video app. The iOS version debuted two months ago, and rapidly gained over 1 million users. The app lets anyone with a smartphone broadcast live on the Internet, or, if they prefer, watch other people stream their boring lives instead.
Periscope is available on the Google Play Store, and designed to work with all phones running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or above. There are only a few minor differences between the Android and iOS versions of Periscope, which makes you wonder why it took Twitter so long to realize that not everyone owns an iPhone.
Non-Stop Nyan Catception
And finally, Reddit is currently embarking on a strange Non-Stop Nyan Cat challenge which is increasingly looking like an ode to Inception. Yes, this is “Catception”! Cue creepy Inception sound. You’ll just have to provide your own cat noises.
It started when someone decided it would be a good idea to watch the full Non-Stop Nyan Cat video for 10 hours. And then this guy watched that person watch Non-Stop Nyan Cat for 10 hours. For 10 hours. You know there will be more to come. And none of these people will ever be able to get these wasted hours back. The fools. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you feel about the population of the Internet reaching 3.2 billion? Will you take notice of critical restaurant reviews published on Facebook? Could you watch Non-Stop Nyan Cat for 10 hours?
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 Credits: Daniel Lobo via Flickr
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