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Today in Tech News Digest, the 2014 World Cup gets social, Nintendo reveals all at E3, Honeywell launches Lyric, banning Google Glass, the Turing Test remains undefeated, alarming news from Google, and a clever smartphone driving PSA.
Facebook & Twitter Launch World Cup Hubs
The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow (June 12), with a match between Brazil and Croatia. The tournament will then run all the way through until the final on July 13. In preparation for the World Cup, both Facebook and Twitter have launched dedicated hubs concentrating the action in one place.
Facebook’s 2014 World Cup hub acts as a central location for all World Cup news and status updates that are trending. There are links to the official Facebook pages for all of the teams, and upcoming fixtures are listed. There is even a map showing the locations of fans of the best players, such as Ronaldo and Neymar.
Twitter’s 2014 World Cup hub turns the #WorldCup hashtag into a repository for all tweets about the event. All tweets using the hashtag are listed, along with separate tabs for media content and associated accounts. Every match has been given its own unique hashtag, meaning you can keep up with the scores easily through Twitter.
We have also got involved in the build-up to this huge event, with a guide to following all the World Cup action, and a list of essential World Cup Android apps. Which team are you supporting? And which team do you think will win? Let us know in the comments section below.
Nintendo Focuses On Games At E3 2014
For the second year running Nintendo decided not to show up at E3 itself, instead hosting a digital event. This involved broadcasting a short, pre-recorded highlights reel online to anyone willing to watch. And those who did were treated to games, games, and more games.
New games revealed include Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, Yoshi’s Wooly World, The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Xenoblade Chronicles X, an insane shooter named Splatoon, plus Mario Maker and Amiibo, both offering elements beyond simple gameplay.
Nintendo has finally realized that games are the key to selling the Wii U to mainstream consumers. Without compelling games, the Wii U will continue to fail. And judging by the titles Nintendo has up its sleeve, the Wii U may still find its way into millions of homes.
Honeywell Challenges Nest Thermostat
Honeywell is challenging Nest for domination of the emerging smart thermostat market. The Honeywell Lyric is a $279 Wi-Fi thermostat controlled through iOS or Android apps. The Verge has an epic writeup on the Honeywell Lyric, which may just be good enough to have Google (which recently acquired Nest) worried.
Cinema Chain Bans Google Glass
American cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse has banned the wearing of Google Glass in any of its movie theaters. The chain has banned Google Glass because of the “potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas.” This is due to the ability for Glass to record video without drawing any attention to the fact. Is this decision a good or bad one? Let us know below.
Eugene Did Not Pass The Turing Test
Scott Aaronson shows how to be a Turing Test examiner, outs “Eugene Goostman” as a bot with one question. http://t.co/DdUbgebKRU
— Ed Felten (@EdFelten) June 9, 2014
It was widely reported that a chatbot named Eugene Goostman had passed the Turing Test, being the first “supercomputer” to do so. Unfortunately, this appears to be nothing more than hyperbole on the part of the University of Reading and a man called Kevin Warwick.
The truth is revealed in a brilliant article on TechDirt. Not only is Eugene a chatbot rather than a supercomputer, the rules were severely bent and yet this chatbot was still far less convincing than previous contenders. The Turing Test remains undefeated for the time being.
Google Now Knows When You Are Sleepy
.@google Now app will give you a little alarm when your stop is next while taking transit. Seems perfect for first time bus destinations too
— Robin Chase (@rmchase) June 9, 2014
Any Android users who have ever fallen asleep on public transport will love the new alarm feature added to Google Now. If set up correctly, your phone will alert you when you need to disembark, thus saving that embarrassing need to go back the way you came once you reach the end of the line. Or you could just drink more coffee instead.
Volkswagen’s Scary Phone Driving PSA
And finally, Volkswagen has pulled out all the stops to persuade people that using a mobile phone while driving is a really bad idea. This video shows how moviegoers in a Hong Kong cinema were reminded just how easy it is to crash your car while distracted.
Please, just leave your phone alone until you pull your car to the side of the road. That incoming Snapchat or WhatsApp messages isn’t worth risking your life over.
Image Credit: Peter F. via Flickr