Tech News

Smart Contact Lenses, NSA Text Collection, Facebook Trending Topics [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 17-01-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, Google reveals its smart contact lenses for diabetics, the NSA is accused of collecting millions of random text messages, Facebook announces Trending, Spotify kills its listening time limits, Rdio goes free on the Web, Google Chrome gets a fancy update on Windows 8, and Cecelia Abadie is cleared of driving while Glassing.


Google Reveals Smart Contact Lenses

Google has revealed it’s working on a smart contact lens for diabetics to wear. The project, which has been worked on in secret for two years in the Google X division, foresees a time when people suffering from diabetes will be able to track their glucose levels through the contact lenses. The smart contact lens contains a tiny chip and sensor system held in place between two layers of material. Glucose levels are measured through the wearer’s tears, potentially presenting a non-invasive way of keeping permanent tabs on blood sugar levels.

Clinical studies have already been completed and Google is in talks with the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). However, Google has no plans to manufacture and market its smart contact lenses itself, instead seeking partners willing to take the project forward. Google X is the same research division responsible for Google Glass Google Glass Review and Giveaway We were lucky enough to get a pair of Google Glass to review, and we're giving it away! Read More and self-driving cars The Shocking Effects Of The Google Driverless Car [INFOGRAPHIC] The future is closer than you might think. Thanks to Google's top secret research department, Google X, driverless cars are now a reality and could be hitting the mainstream in the not too distant future.... Read More . This project is completely separate from Google Glass, but the possibility of some crossover must surely exist. And who wouldn’t want the Google Glass tech on a contact lens?

NSA Collects Random Text Messages



The latest investigation into material provided by infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden suggests that the NSA (National Security Agency) collected and stored millions of SMS text messages from ordinary people around the world.


A program codenamed Dishfire saw the NSA allegedly collecting up to 200 million text messages every day. The agency collects “pretty much everything it can,” including missed-call alerts, financial information, and geolocation data. All on “untargeted” people rather than those under suspicion of wrongdoing.

The Guardian newspaper has a lengthy write-up on the revelations, which should be of particular interest to those in the U.K.

Facebook Introduces ‘Trending’


Facebook has announced ‘Trending’, a new section being added to the social networking site which tracks hot topics, events, and articles being shared on people’s news feeds. Far be it from me to suggest Facebook copied this from Twitter, but Facebook copied this from Twitter.


Spotify Kills Time Limits

Spotify has removed all time limits on people listening to its content for free on the Web and desktop. Previously, people in many countries were limited to just 10 hours listening time per month unless they upgraded to a paid subscription. This all suggests that the combination of advertising and subscriptions is paying well enough to support those who want to use the service for free.

Rdio Free On The Web



Rdio has announced a free, ad-supported version of its service for those in the U.S. Rdio previously cost $9.99 per month, but this opens the music streaming option up to people not willing or able to pay.


It is surely no coincidence this was announced shortly after Spotify dropped its listening limits. Rdio needs to keep pace with Spotify or risk becoming surplus to requirements. Which is where Beats Music BeatsMusic Launches Curated Mood-Based Streaming Music The BeatsMusic music streaming app is launching on January 21st. BeatsMusic is a curated mood and genre-based player, so it's hoping to provide you with higher quality music for your dollars. Read More arguably finds itself even before it has launched.

Google Chrome Updated On Windows 8

Smart Contact Lenses, NSA Text Collection, Facebook Trending Topics [Tech News Digest] chrome app windows 8

Google has released an updated version of Chrome Google Updates Chrome For Windows 8, Adds Noisy Tab Feature And Desktop-like UI Chrome users on Windows 8 can expect an update rolling out to their browser today that includes a "Noisy Tabs" feature and Chrome OS-like desktop environment. Read More for Windows 8. When run in ‘Windows 8 Mode’, the new Chrome looks more like Chrome OS than just another Web browser. The other big innovation with this update is the ‘Noisy Tabs’ feature which identifies which tab is responsible for any audio that’s bugging you while browsing the Internetz.

Google Glass Driver Cleared

And finally, a Californian woman who, in November 2013 Google Secrets, Instagram Ads, Patent Wars, Netflix 4K [Tech News Digest] The secret behind Google's floating barge is revealed, Instagram adds ads, smartphone patent wars intensify, Netflix tests Ultra HD, Amazon launches Kindle MatchBook, Google+ appeals to vanity, and tickets for wearing Google Glass. Read More was ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving, has been cleared of all wrongdoing. Google Glass Explorer Cecilia Abadie made history when she became the first person to test the law in this way.


Abadie was cleared of the charge because there was no proof the device was in operation at the time she was pulled over for speeding; an allegation she was also cleared of. If Google Glass takes off in a big way 5 Reasons Why Google's Project Glass Is The Future & Why That's Awesome [Opinion] Google’s Project Glass has everyone talking. It’s a glimpse of the future of augmented reality, wearable computing, and better integration of the Internet and technology in our day-to-day lives. Imagine replacing your smartphone with a... Read More , then expect more cases such as this to occur. At least until the laws are made clearer.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Related topics: Facebook, Google, Google Glass, Online Privacy, Rdio, Spotify.

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  1. dragonmouth
    January 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    "And who wouldn’t want the Google Glass tech on a contact lens?"
    Depends on whether the lenses will be a data collection device.

    • Dave P
      January 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Oh, it will collect data, but then that hasn't stopped people using Google Search or Gmail!

    • Shaun F
      January 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      i preffer google glasses (glass) than google contact lences to find out about google glass go to

  2. JimOATSfan
    January 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    WIRED had a great article on email collection here:

  3. Ryashini K
    January 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Spotify used to have a time limit?

    • Swetank R
      January 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      I haven't noticed or seen?!?

    • Dave P
      January 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Not in every territory, but in the UK and others it was 10 hours a month after the initial six-month grace period. That's only 20 minutes a day!