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Tech News 2Night 89
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Tonight, the Graphene wars can begin!, Pinterest takes on Google, Bitcoin fans can't catch a break...
Tech News 2Night is Next!
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This is Tech News 2Night Episode 89, for Friday, May 16, 2014
I'm Jason Howell, Let's get right to the Tech Feed!
The next big battleground for Apple, Samsung and even Google could be just one-atom thick. According to Bloomberg, companies are amping up patent applications involving Graphene. It’s a revolutionary material that has the potential to drastically change electronic devices. For example, electricity flows through Graphene 100 times faster than silicon, it is one atom thick, transparent, bendable and can be folded. It could be used in everything from flexible touch screens, smart watches, tablets, and other wearables yet to be invented. Here in the U.S. Samsung has 38 patents and at least 17 patent applications involving graphene. Apple has at least two. Add to this other tech companies who want to use it like Google, IBM, Foxcon, plus laboratories, and the manufacturing industry-- Graphene might just be technology's next battleground.
Bitcoin can’t seem to catch a break. So far at least 10 members of the Bitcoin Foundation have resigned over the election of entrepreneur, financier and former Disney child star Brock Pierce as the new director of the non-profit. Pierce has been plagued by drug and sex related accusations and lawsuits. Regardless of how this plays out, many members are calling for a better vetting process for candidates to positions within the foundation.
On a somewhat more positive Bitcoin note... Circle, a new online Bitcoin bank has raised $26 million. The service opened to the public today by invitation only and allows customers to deposit US dollars and convert them to Bitcoin immediately without any fees. The deposits are 100 percent insured and Circle complies with all of the US money transmitting and anti-money laundering laws. Their hope is to be a Bitcoin bank for the masses and easier. Bitcoins are not widely used and their regulation is uncertain. Circle also faces a number of competitors including Coinbase and Bitpay.
Could Pinterest take on Google? After raising $200-million from investors and with a current valuation of $5-billion they could become a big player in Search. With over 30 billion "pins" Pinterest could be a leader as search moves from text into visual. According to ReadWrite with a growing trend of a Visual Web “Pinterest could leapfrog search as we know it, and become the search engine of tomorrow”. Recently CEO Ben Silbermann introduced Guided Search which tries to predict the information a user wants before they finish typing it in. We’ll see if the company moves from a social network into more of a search-service.
And speaking of Google, how about a little Google three-pack? First, Google just snapped up Quest Visual, the company behind the cross platform app Word Lens that let's you use the camera on your device as a real-time language translator. The Word Lens team will become part of Google's Translate team, undoubtedly improving the intelligence in that app to make sure that you don't get lost the next time your traveling through foreign lands. As a thank you, Google is making the Word Lens app free as well as all of the language packs, something that you would have had to pay extra for prior to this acquisition.
Second, that digital assistant known as Google Now just got a bit smarter with the addition of bill payment reminders. Google will monitor your Gmail inbox and if it detects a statement that points to a payment due date coming up, Google Now will do you a solid and remind you to pay up on time. So, if you've stopped all of those bill pay reminder emails to cut down on inbox spam, you might want to think twice and reactivate in order to take advantage of this new feature.
And third, if you bike and you love Google Maps, then you're going to have a good day. Google Maps now includes elevation for bike routes making it even easier to plan your rides in advance and know just how much water you're going to need in your Camelbak when you reach the peak. If a route is actually flat, no elevation information will be shown, and this extra information isn't yet available in the mobile version of Maps. Though, one can expect it to hit mobile devices sometime in the future.
Coming up... I know you've always wanted Wolverine claws that extend and retract! We'll show you one crazy guy who created the real-deal! But first...
Joining us today is Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Consumer Technology Reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the show, Nathan!
Not too long ago, Foursquare made an announcement that they would be splitting their efforts in two different directions, seeing that users either used Foursquare to meet up with each other, or to discover new places to go. And Swarm, the newly released app, is their answer to those who wish to find their nearby friends and check in to places.
-What exactly can Swarm do by itself that couldn't be done using the current Foursquare app?
-We just this week saw Foursquare hit Google Glass with new Glassware that lets users check in and find places through the service. And Foursquare has a new revision to their mobile app that's currently scheduled to see a big update sometime this Summer that focuses its core functionality in some ways. What kind of changes should we look forward to when that happens?
-Foursquare as a company, came out of the gate strong when it debuted at SxSW in 2009, and it certainly has it's devotees. But in the world of social networks online, there are a number of other ways to do a lot of what Foursquare has done for so long, and these changes are obviously the result of that. But is splitting the app into multiple directions the answer? Do they risk confusing users who have grown accustomed to the service the way its been for years?
-How dire is the financial situation of Foursquare right now, and is the current trend of unbundling apps the answer to turning things around for the company?
Thank you Nathan! Where can people follow your work online?
And finally, if you've ever wondered what it might be like to actually harness the power of Wolverine's retractable claws, well, Colin Furze has your back. He's a…slightly mad garage inventor with a penchant for creating things that look, oh I dunno, a tad unsafe, maybe. But undeniably cool. He created the fully automatic claws around a system that harnesses compressed air to both extract AND retract the claws mechanically. He does have to wear a backpack to make it all work, and it all looks rather weighty, but WOLVERINE CLAWS! Who cares! Bryan, crank up the audio and let the mad scientist take over for a second.
EXTREME! If you like his devotion and creativity to the X-Men franchise, you'll want to follow him in the coming days as he's promised even more X-Men themed projects to come. And hopefully more videos like this one. Please, more videos."
[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.
Subscribe to this show at Twit.tv/tn2, and write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Jason Howell, thanks for watching.
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