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In The News 12-23-2011

In The News 12-23-2011
Your Weekly Update In The World Of Technology

Facebook Timeline

Facebook Maps Out Your Life

Say hello to Facebook’s newest change: Timeline.  The new feature, which was originally introduced three months ago, is now available since last Thursday.  Right now it’s turned on via an optional link, however Facebook plans to turn it on for everyone very soon.

So what is Timeline?  Timeline is the new way Facebook plans on displaying your profile page.  User’s posts, milestones, and photos will be organized in a vertical timeline.  The information is divided into two separate columns.  The main focus here is to “feature” certain events in a user’s life.  Recent events show up in more detail, while highlights are pulled from previous years.  Milestones can include anything from weddings, vacations, births, and more.  Users are also able to jump to previous years easily with the sidebar on the right of the profile.   Beyond the ability to navigate and add features to a timeline, users are also able to add a “cover” photo at the top, in addition to their profile page.  This seems to be a step in the direction of a more personal and in depth profile, focused on a user’s life and not just the present moment.

This is obviously a huge change for Facebook, perhaps the biggest overall change to user profiles. Usually Facebook adjustments come with a fair amount of angst among users.  There also seems to be positive feedback as well.  Either way, Timeline is here, whether we like it or not.

Let It Rain

Let It Rain

We have a saying here in Ohio, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”  Now it looks like there may be an app that will tell you exactly what the weather will be in 5 minutes.  The app, named Dark Sky, is the product of Jack Turner and Adam Grossman of Troy, New York.  It promises to do with away with vague forecasts such as “20% chance of precipitation.”

Dark Sky is meant to give you weather predictions up to that very minute, including when exactly rain or snow will start and when it will end.  The problem with current weather apps, according to Grossman, is that the radar is very choppy and inaccurate.  You can’t accurately predict exact moments weather will begin or end.  Dark Sky uses an algorithm, as well as free radar data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to accurately map out the “in-between” of radar station photos, which are taken every 5 to 10 minutes.

The app has yet to be released, but hopes for a March reveal are in the works.  They expect it to be on iOS devices first (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and follow up with an Android version later on.

It's Friday

Google Proves It: We’re All Doomed

Google search statistics can tell us a lot about ourselves and the world as a whole and, according to Google Zeitgeist 2011, society may very well be doomed.  The list, which compiles the hottest search items and ranks them according to percentage increase, had Rebecca Black topped out as #1 with a whopping 10,000% search increase over the past year.  In case you’re not familiar with Miss Black, imagine an aspiring teen pop star, a low budget production crew, and an unknown rapper.  Mix them together and you get Black’s “Friday” music video, the hottest (and some say most hated) Internet sensation of 2011, if not Internet history.

Others search items included in the Top 10 were Google+, Google’s social networking site, at #2 as well as Steve Jobs, who’s death sent shockwaves through the tech community back in October, at #9.  The iPhone 5 was also another hot search item coming in at #6.  For those keeping track, the iPhone 5 does not exist (yet) and the searches peaked just days before Apple announced the iPhone 4S.

Big world news did crack the Top 10, as the damaged Fukushima power plant in Japan was #8, as well as national news as the Casey Anthony trial hit #4.  Knowing that 2011 was filled with many big news stories, including terrorist attacks in Norway, the death of Osama bin Laden, and political uprisings in the Middle East, it’s interesting to see what people are actually searching Google for these days.  Oh, and “it’s Friday, Friday… everyone’s looking forward to the weekend.”