Tech News

Skype Offers Universal Translator, Facebook Stops Accepting ‘Users’ [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 16-12-2014

Also, Indiegogo Life launches, Valve bans Hatred, Google Wallet splits the bill, and teens react to Mega Man.


Skype Translator Helps You Communicate

Microsoft is rolling out a new version of Skype which includes real-time translation options. The previously teased Skype Translator Apple Finally Buys Beats, Microsoft Teases Skype Translator, Hidden Cash on Twitter [Tech News Digest] Apple gets Beats; a promise of real time translations from Microsoft; Chrome turns into a walled garden; Billboard ranks songs on Twitter; Uber gears up for the future; Avast hacked; and a Twitter cash grab. Read More will translate conversations on the fly, delivering translated audio and text for those signed up to the preview program.

Skype Translator will initially only translate conversations between English and Spanish speakers, with the video above providing a demonstration of the technology in action. The software is designed to improve over time, learning as it goes. More languages will then be added in the future as demand dictates.

Microsoft sees this very much as just the first step on the road to engineering a universal translator, a common trope in science fiction. “Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible and deliver the best Skype Translator experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users.

You can request an invite to take part in the Skype Translator Preview program by signing up on the Skype website.

Facebook Drops ‘Users’ From Vocabulary

[Warning: Video Is NSFW]


Facebook has dropped the word “users” from its vocabulary, referring to the 1.3 billion people who use the site as “people” instead. It’s a subtle change that is unlikely to affect the user experience 4 Brilliant Facebook Tricks You'll Love Messing With [Weekly Facebook Tips] Here's a bunch of useful tips you can try out to get around Facebook nuisances. They're also really fun to use, so you might find yourself playing with them a lot! Read More , but it hints at a company purposely changing its attitude to the people who pay the bills.

According to Business Insider, Facebook’s director of product design, Margaret Gould Stewart explained, “As somebody once said: It’s kind of arrogant to think the only reason people exist is to use what you built. They actually have lives, like, outside the experience they have using your product, and so the first step of designing in a human-centered way is to recognize that they’re humans.

To more deeply embed this way of looking at things into the company and its advertisers, Facebook has what it calls an “empathy team.” This team builds relationships on a personal level, so that successes or failures have more impact on individuals. Which is either a stroke of genius of a load of hooey, depending on your personal point of view.

Indiegogo Life Offers Free Fundraising



Indiegogo has launched a new crowdfunding 5 Crowdfunding Sites Where You Can Raise Money For Your Next Book If you're looking to write a book – either fiction or non-fiction – there are various routes you can take for initial funding. One of these routes is to harness the power of the crowd. Read More offshoot purely for personal fundraising. Indiegogo Life [Broken URL Removed] is designed exclusively for campaigns focused on raising money for individuals in need of help. Categories include Medical, Community, Education, and Memorials.

The big difference between Indiegogo Life and the standard Indiegogo is the removal of fees. While successful Indiegogo campaigns are subject to fees calculated as a percentage of the final total, Indiegogo Life campaigns will be free, whether successful or not.

Valve Bans Hatred From Steam

Valve has banned the controversial game Hatred from launching on the Steam platform 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 . Hatred, developed by Polish studio Destructive Creations, sees the player go on a genocidal crusade, slaughtering as many people as possible without any plausible motive.

Destructive Creations added Hatred to Steam Greenlight, but Valve quickly removed the game, telling Polygon, “Based on what we’ve seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam.” Destructive countered by arguing that with Postal and manhunt already available on Steam, Hatred also deserves its place on the service.


Split The Bill With Google Wallet For iOS


Friends can now split the bill between them when using the iOS version of Google Wallet. As well as a number of other new features, Google Wallet on iOS now includes a ‘Split Charge’, allowing you to “go Dutch” and pay your share of the bill. As Engadget points out, this is perfect for those people who always seem to inadvertently forget their wallet or purse. Naming no names.

Teens React To Mega Man On The NES

And finally, the latest video on the React channel on YouTube sees typical teenagers reacting to Mega Man on the Nintendo Entertainment System 5 NES Games That You May Have Never Heard Of That You Can Play Online Everyone knows of Mario, Contra, Excitebike, Rad Racer, Metroid, and a few others, but there are some really awesome and under-appreciated NES games that still deserve some love even today. With Nestopia, you can always... Read More (NES). While most of them enjoy the game, these youngsters clearly aren’t used to video games being impossibly hard to beat 7 Video Games So Hard They Will Make You Want To Throw Your Controller One of the major staples of old school video games is the incredible difficulty. I've talked about the level of challenge in older games before in an article about the things I miss most from... Read More . I sympathize, as I don’t miss those days either.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you excited at the prospect of using Skype Translator? Is Facebook right to see us as “people” rather than “users?” Should Hatred be banned or is it just another harmless video game?


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: Abdillah Wicaksono via Flickr

Related topics: Facebook, Google Wallet, Nintendo, Skype, Steam.

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  1. YellowApple
    December 20, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Wait, Facebook seriously believes its users have lives beyond Facebook?

    • Dave Parrack
      December 21, 2014 at 11:06 am

      It seems so. Mad, eh?!

  2. Greg Marino
    December 17, 2014 at 2:56 am

    I think just "slightly" too much attention in this day and age is paid to the likes of anything and everything that revolves around Facebook. Don't get me wrong folks for I've fostered some fine relationships I believed were long gone over so many decades. BUT...I do not use Facebook for sustainability of these aforementioned. Beyond that, life is worthy of so much more than the life so many spend parking their fannies in front of social media whilst the better things in life slip through their fingers.

    • Dave Parrack
      December 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

      I do agree. I limit my time on Facebook these days, and I think it's a growing trend. When I do something interesting I can't say putting it on FB is my first priority, but it seems that's the case for lots of other people.