Skype Offers Universal Translator, Facebook Stops Accepting ‘Users’ [Tech News Digest]
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 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 , 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 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 . 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 (NES). While most of them enjoy the game, these youngsters clearly aren’t used to video games being impossibly hard to beat . 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
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