Texting 911 In An Emergency, Twitter Launches Video Ads, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Apple pays tribute to Robin Williams, Samsung’s VR headset looks like Google Cardboard, Google opens Classroom up to all teachers, OnePlus pulls sexist contest after condemnation, and a video explaining why you suck at video games.
The FCC Rules On 911 Text Messaging
The ability to text 911 in order to access the emergency services will soon be an option for all U.S. citizens. Texting 911 is already an option in some states, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now ruled that all cellular service providers are required by law to back the effort.
On making the ruling the FCC stated, “Today’s action will make text-to-911 more uniformly available and keeps pace with how Americans communicate.” However, texting 911 is being seen as a complementary option to calling 911 rather than a direct replacement. Which is a good job given the obvious limitations of a method of communication better suited to playing games .
There are instances where the ability to text rather than call 911 could save lives, but actually speaking to a human operator who can gain additional details of the incident will surely always be preferable. There is also the problem of triangulating locations, which isn’t currently possible via text-to-911.
Twitter Launches Video Ads In Beta
The best bit about twitter ads is reading the replies pic.twitter.com/kHc4aElvnO
— Rob Manuel (@robmanuel) August 10, 2014
Twitter has launched Promoted Video ads as part of its ever-expanding Amplify program. Promoted Video gives brands and businesses “a new set of video tools” helping them “upload and distribute video on Twitter, and to measure the reach and effectiveness of this content.”
In an effort to make this more appealing to potential advertisers, Twitter is giving them “the ability to run ads with a new Cost Per View (CPV) ad buying model,” which means “advertisers only get charged when a users starts playing the video.” So if you hate a brand you could potentially cost them money by watching their crappy ads.
Twitter maintains that its “overall goal is to bring more video into our users’ timelines to create a richer and more engaging Twitter.” It helps that these will be paid for, obviously. And we’re fairly sure most Twitter users would prefer video content that isn’t trying to sell them something .
Apple Pays Tribute To Robin Williams
Apple has paid tribute to Robin Williams, who was found dead in his home yesterday morning (Aug. 12). The company gave the comedian and actor a spot on its homepage in order to commemorate his life.
This is a rare occurrence, with homepage tributes usually reserved for Apple execs such as Steve Jobs or public figures such as Nelson Mandela, but Williams seems to have touched almost everyone with his work over four decades.
Samsung’s VR Looks Like Cardboard
Samsung is set to unveil its VR headset at an event on September 3. However, The Verge has got hold of an alleged leaked image of Project Moonlight, which suggests Samsung’s VR headset is very similar to Google Cardboard .
This looks to be made from plastic rather than cardboard, but the idea of utilizing a smartphone as the immersive screen will probably be exactly the same as with Google’s effort. Not that Samsung would ever copy another company’s ideas, of course.
Google Opens Classroom Up To All
Google has opened Classroom up to all teachers with a Google Apps for Education account. After releasing a preview version of Classroom in May , Google is now opening the learning management tool to a much wider audience.
The free Google Classroom gives teachers a content management system optimized for organizing lessons and offering feedback to students; students who may well be using a Chromebook . Which means Google’s influence on education is growing by the day.
OnePlus Condemned For Sexist Contest
— Nupur Agrawal (@paletteoflife) August 13, 2014
Fledgling phone company OnePlus has been heavily criticized for running a contest which some consider to be sexist. The Ladies First contest invited females to take a selfie containing the OnePlus logo, either drawn on their body on a piece of paper. The 50 most-liked photos as voted for on the OnePlus forums would win a T-shirt and the chance to buy a OnePlus One.
After receiving condemnation across social media sites and more fake entries than real ones, OnePlus has now pulled the contest. It has also apologized for “any offense caused by this contest,” and called it a “very misguided effort by a few isolated employees.” Still, the OnePlus One is a damn fine phone .
Your Brain Sucks At Video Games
And finally, if you, like me, are decidedly average at video games despite playing them for many years, you only have your brain to blame. It turns out your gray matter isn’t capable of coping with the visual demands of most video games, and so we counter this cerebral lacking by blaming the game itself. The solution? Play more video games until your brain learns to cope. Result!
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do you think allowing people to text 911 in an emergency is a good idea? Are you disappointed to see video ads being heavily pushed on Twitter? Was the OnePlus contest as sexist as some have suggested?
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: Alan Cleaver via Flickr