Cool Things I’ve Seen This Week

For a third week running the Mountain View office of Alphabet has been a busy place. First up they have announced that they set aside a chunk of cash to help their content creators fight copyright suits. It was also a big week for Project Loon, their balloon internet concept with test in sub-zero conditions and plans to test it across the entire US. Lastly, as we know funding for making a film comes primarily from product placement and brand partnerships these days and Google is certainly getting their money’s worth out of their partnership with Star Wars.  Which side Google sits on is up for debate…

The folks at ZenithOptimedia conducted a some research that concluded that smartphone penetration in the UK will hit 50% by the end of 2015, making the UK the most ‘mobile’ in Europe. With smartphones comes lots of data and privacy campaigners should probably not click here for a a video that shows that your iPhone is mapping your every move ‘to deliver a more bespoke and intuitive experience’. hmmm

There has been chatter this week from VC’s and the city about the potential tech bubble bursting with a lot centered on current darling Snapchat. Their ‘lacklustre’ approach of their advertising model is apparently putting their $16bn valuation under threat, even though they are announcing new features such as story explorer, audience targeting and signing up new big name brand partners all the time. The city did exactly the same when Facebook went IPO and they did okay, but this is definitely one to watch.

Social media officially drove more referrals than search for the biggest stories of the year for the first time. This could be one of the reasons publishers are so frustrated with Twitter for taking their share count out of their widget. (Research has shown that higher visible share counts encourage further sharing).

Tumblr (remember that?), is known as one of the worst tech investments of all time, but the former ‘next big thing’ is launching a fight back with erm, taco’s and GIFs. Yahoo! have taken over all sales and opps functions (after saying they wouldn’t) in a bid to turn the horse back into a unicorn and to prove to their investors that this actually wasn’t the worst ever investment.

Jeff Bezos owns a rocket company. Who knew? Anyways, a rocket that he launched just went to space and landed safely with its rocket booster in tact, which is a pretty big deal. I wonder if they will be offering Amazon Prime to the International Space Station now?

In similarly crazy billionaire-ness the co-founder of Instagram thinks the future is teleportation. And, he is clever enough, crazy enough and rich enough to be taken seriously…

Artist Kyle McDonald has created (with Google and Stanford) an open source neural networking programme. Watch it describe what he sees whilst walking around Amsterdam. Geeky, but very interesting. Or interesting, but very geeky. You choose. Either way this is pretty cool.

Stat of the week – 4 The number of months paid paternity leave that Facebook now offers to all male employees globally.

And finally….

There is only one answer to the Rubik’s cube, but the cube itself can be rearranged in 43 quintillion ways. That’s 43000000000000000000. Now watch a 14 year old boy break the world record for solving it.