In The News 12-16-2011
Your Weekly Update In The World Of Technology
Emergency Alert!…. Just Kidding
What would your response be to an alert message on your phone saying “Civil Emergency in this area until 1:24 PM EST Take Shelter Now U.S. Govern”? Panic? Fear? “But my roast is still in the oven!?” Well this exact message happened to Verizon Wireless customers who were residents of Monmouth, Ocean, and Middesex counties in New Jersey at 12:27 PM earlier this week. As expected, people panicked and called 911, alerting others on Twitter, and watching closely to the news for any updates. However, this was all a false alarm and police sent a message to everyone stating it was a false alarm.
So what happened? The police are saying that the message was sent on purpose to cause panic, while a Verizon spokesman is saying it was a test message that accidentally got out to everyone. CMAS, or the Commercial Mobile Alert System, was responsible for sending the message. It involves FEMA, the FCC, and carriers to alert customers in the event of an emergency. Obviously this was a case of “the boy who cried wolf”, so let’s just hope people trust the system in the event of a real emergency.
Christmas Tech Sales May Not Be That Good After All
I wrote a couple of weeks ago how holiday sales for tech companies, especially over Black Friday and the following “Cyber Week”. However sales may not be as good as originally thought, and it’s stemming from the source of all of our favorite tech gadgets.
Many companies in the tech supply chain, including DuPont, Corning, and Texas Instruments, have all cut back on their financial forecasts for the holidays. The reason? Lower demand for electronics. This may come as a surprise, especially after the strong post-Thanksgiving sales numbers. DuPont is a company responsible for semiconductors and components found in LCD screens, computers, and smartphones. Corning is the developer of the Gorilla Glass unit, which is used on many gadget and electronic screens.
Despite bleaker forecasts, the tech world still has a couple winners. Apple and Amazon have both hit record sales numbers despite growing concern over reduced holiday tech sales. The losers, however, include big names like Sony, Best Buy, and HP.
Google Knows What You Look Like
Google took another step into the world of social networking last week, introducing the new Find My Face, a tool for Google+ that uses facial recognition to suggest tagging. Find My Face, which scans through photos of users and suggests nametags, is actually pretty similar to the facial recognition software used by Facebook. The main difference between the two is that Google allows users to opt into the service before it scans photos.
Google believes this is a big step towards user privacy. Facebook, always under the gun when it comes to user privacy issues, released their face recognition software a year ago and automatically opted in its millions of users. Only after harsh criticism did Facebook offer the option to opt out of the service. Despite not having the user base Facebook does, Google+ is definitely making a move to counteract the privacy concerns of many Facebook users.