Tech Facts November 2014

Robot conducting an orchestra

GOOGLE

The European Parliament approved a non-binding resolution calling for the “unbundling of search engines from other commercial services” in order to ensure “competitive conditions within the digital single market.” The proposal would affect Google’s dominant position in online search by forcing it to decouple its search and ads businesses. Having only the ability to sway new legislation, the European Parliament is urging the Commission and the member states “to enforce EU competition rules decisively.”

The European Union wants Google to extend the “right to be forgotten” to searches worldwide, including those made on Google.com. In place following a court ruling earlier this year, the right to be forgotten requires Google to remove irrelevant, outdated, or inaccurate search results about people in Europe. Google has begun removing links across European domains, but the EU now wants to see those removals extend to all of its domains so that the block can’t be circumvented.

The latest extension of a deal that puts Google Search as the default search provider in Apple’s Safari browsers since 2007 is set to expire in 2015 and, according to a report, both Google rivals Microsoft and Yahoo are aiming for this position. Microsoft’s Bing is already the search provider used by Siri, iOS’s personal assistant, and OS X Yosemite’s Spotlight search.

Google launched “Google Genomics“, a cloud computing service that help university labs and hospitals store their client’s genomes. The system allows researchers to access millions of genomes and run batch analyses, exploring genetic variation interactively. Making it easy to compare genomes is becoming increasingly important, told David Glazer, the Google leading software engineer. People used to study a single genome, but now they’re looking at many at once. At least 3,500 genomes from public projects can already be found on Google Genomics, and the storage service costs $25 for a year.

UBER

Uber heart Spotify

Uber announced a new partnership with Spotify that will allow users to choose their own playlist that’ll stream as they ride to a destination. Passengers will be able have their tracks played even before entering the car, but the driver has to opt in to participate for this to work. At launch, the integration will be offered in New York, San Francisco, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Singapore, Stockholm, Toronto and Sydney. A premium Spotify subscription will be required, linked to an Uber account.

SNAPCHAT

Snapchat launched a service called Snapcash, which lets users that have entered their debit card details, quickly send money to a friend and have it deposited into their bank account. The service was created in partnership with Square, which will handle storing card numbers and processing payments, and is only available in the US for users age 18 and over.

FACEBOOK

Facebook is said to be working on Facebook at Work, an app that Facebook’s employees currently use internally for collaboration. Facebook has been working on and refining its office-focused platform for years, and the tool is already being tested with a few companies. It will “look very much like Facebook” with the newsfeed and current features, but will differ between personal and professional identity.

MARVEL

A judge granted a subpoena for Marvel against Google so it could determine the identity of the leaker of the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Someone with the pseudonymous user “John Gazelle,” uploaded a version of the trailer to Google Drive, and told Google to fork over the IP address of the person who uploaded the leaked file to Drive, as well as the IP addresses associated with the person’s Google+ and YouTube accounts. On November 18, Google should’ve appeared in court with that information.