Yahoo kills things, Facebook dumbs down, PayPal calls you, Google Maps goes diving, video games get inducted, and The Drone invents a new horror genre.
Yahoo Kills Maps and Pipes
Yahoo is killing off both Yahoo Maps and Yahoo Pipes, as well as Mail and Contacts for older devices, and a range of homepages specific to certain countries. This is the latest move in Marissa Mayer’s effort to streamline Yahoo into a smaller, more efficient company made up of core products people actually use.
The Yahoo Maps website will disappear at the end of June. However, Maps will still exist as a secondary service in support of Search and Flickr. Yahoo Pipes is disappearing altogether on September 30th, being switched to read-only mode from August 30th to “help developers migrate their data”.
Country-specific services vanishing include Yahoo Music in France and Canada, Yahoo Movies in Spain, Yahoo TV in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Canada, and Yahoo Autos in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. In addition, Yahoo Mail will no longer work on iOS 4 or older, and Yahoo Contacts will no longer work on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or older.
According to Yahoo, this is all “progress,” but the changes are bound to upset some users. Feel free to air your grievances in the comments below.
Facebook Lite for the Developing World
Facebook has launched a stripped down version of its Android app aimed at people in the developing world. Facebook Lite cuts a considerable amount of the crap few people ever use, and instead focuses on the core elements that most of us use on a daily basis.
This means the “News Feed, status updates, photos, notifications and more” are all included, but extraneous elements such as videos, games, and events are all stripped out. Which makes Facebook Lite less than 1MB in size, ensuring it’s “fast to install and quick to load”.
Facebook Lite is aimed at users with patchy network coverage and/or limited data quotas. Initially available in countries across Asia, Facebook Lite is due to be rolled out to parts of Latin America, Africa, and Europe in the coming weeks.
PayPal Can Now Call You at Home
Just deleted my @PayPal. Just read their user agreement (133 pages) and they are basicly playing God. You should delete your account ASAP!
— John A. Svensson (@Saphorik) May 21, 2015
PayPal’s new terms and conditions means that users in the United States may receive automated marketing calls, emails, and text messages from the company and its affiliates. The relevant passage states, “You consent to receive autodialed or pre-recorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained.”
This has caused consternation amongst users, who are being advised to “close your account before July 1, 2015 … [to] not be bound by the amended terms.” PayPal is insisting users will have the chance to opt out of these unsolicited communications, but automatically opting everybody in in the first place is the main source of complaint. Here’s hoping PayPal listens to it users, or they may go looking for alternatives.
Google Maps Goes Underwater
June 8th is World Oceans Day, designed to honor the world’s oceans and protect them for future generations. To commemorate this year’s event, Google Maps has explored the oceans that cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. The result is new Street View imagery captured at more than 40 locations around the world, including Bali, the Bahamas, and the Great Barrier Reef.
Users can explore these locations, many of which are hard for the average tourist to reach. However, these images also form a digital record of the oceans as they exist right now, which means scientists can use the data to track any changes over time. So, this is both entertaining and useful. Thanks, Google.
The World Video Game Hall of Fame
Six classic games have been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The first titles to be given the honor are Pong, Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros., Doom, and World of Warcraft. Some people have expressed surprise at the inclusion of Doom and World of Warcraft, but they have both, in their own way, contributed greatly to the video games industry.
As John-Paul Dyson, the director of the museum’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games said, “Games become eligible for the World Video Game Hall of Fame by meeting four basic criteria. They’re iconic, have longevity, reach across international boundaries, and exert influence on the design and development of other games, on other forms of entertainment, or on popular culture and society.” In which case, these six definitely qualify.
The Drone Spoofs the Horror Movie Genre
And finally, The Drone is a fictional horror movie as imagined by Jordan Rubin, showing what happens when a drone gains sentience and starts harassing an innocent couple. Alternative titles include, “When Good Drones Go Bad,” and, “When Drones Attack”.
This is a very professional movie trailer. So much so that we weren’t actually sure whether it was real or not on first viewing. And actually, perhaps someone should turn The Drone into a full-length feature. Surely anything is possible in a world where Sharknado is a thing. [H/T Gizmodo]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Will you miss Yahoo Maps or Yahoo Pipes? Are you interested in using Facebook Lite? Would you like the option to opt out of PayPal’s automated phone calls? Should Google explore more of the oceans? What titles would you induct into the World Video Game Hall of Fame? Would you watch The Drone if it was a real movie?
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.