This Week in Web: January 12-18
In this week in web, Google Glass got a new start, Facebook invaded the office, but China did not invade the U.S., Blackberry made an embarrassing tweet, surveys on responsive design were inconsistent, New Orleans taxi companies fought back against Uber and Elon Musk planned to make life better for future visitors to Mars.
The Next Reincarnation of Google Glass
Google Glass is dead. Long live Google Glass. While Google pulled the plug on the Explorer program that handled the launch of the much-hyped wearable computer, the product is now starting a new phase.
Although Google Glass debuted with tons of publicity, it never caught on with consumers, who cast a dim eye on its high price tag, unappealing design, and short battery life. Now, development is moving to a different unit within Google. Will a new, improved product emerge, one that will capture the hearts -- and eyeglasses -- of consumers? Stay tuned.
Why Your Boss Won't Mind That You're Using Facebook on Company Time
Facebook launched a product called "Facebook at Work," meant to help employees work together by making it easier to communicate with each other, share documents, and make plans. Employees of Facebook itself have been using a similar system for a decade.
Although Facebook at Work is still in the beta stage, it's likely to be a hit. Employees often resist learning new systems, but this is just like the Facebook they already know and love (or hate), so there's no learning curve to climb.
Soon, bosses everywhere may be urging their employees to use Facebook more.
Want to try it? It's available as an app for iOS and Android, and is also accessible through the main website.
No, WW III Has Not Started
Sony may have breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't the target of the latest hacking attack. The Twitter feeds of the New York Post and news agency United Press International (UPI) were briefly taken over by unknown hackers, who used the accounts to tweet a series of messages containing fake news.
Among the tweets sent out were false reports that the U.S. Navy and Chinese ships were engaged in "active combat," that the Pope had said that World War III had begun and that the CEO of Bank of America was urging everyone to stay calm.
It just goes to show that your mother was right -- you shouldn't believe everything you read.
Oops -- Blackberry Employee Uses an iPhone
Someone at Blackberry is in trouble. At the bottom of a tweet on the official Blackberry Twitter account was something embarrassing-- a notation that the message had been posted via "Twitter for iPhone."
After the gaffe was posted on a popular website, the tweet disappeared. Hopefully, the same won't happen to the employee who inadvertently revealed to the world a preference for Apple's phone over that of his or her employer.
Just How Popular Is Responsive Design?
How many websites use responsive design to make their sites work well on mobile devices? It turns out that the answer to that question depends on who you ask. If you go by Google Webmaster's survey, then almost all web designers -- an overwhelming 82 percent -- are on board.
If you go by statistics that cloud service provider Akamai released last year, it's a very different picture. According to Akamai's stats, only 18.7 percent of the top 10,000 websites used responsive design. When they looked at just the top 100 sites, the percentage was even lower -- a mere 11.8 percent. An analysis by Pure Oxygen Labs similarly found that only 11 percent of the websites of the Fortune 100 companies were responsive.
So according to who you believe, either almost all sites or almost no sites use responsive design. Whatever other designers do or don't do, though, if you are a webmaster, you would be wise to use responsive design on your own sites.
Beating Uber at Its Own Game
Uber introduced a new way for people to get rides by using a smartphone app instead of calling a cab company or hailing a taxi on the street. The service has been controversial with municipal governments, but popular with users. Now, in New Orleans, licensed cab and limo companies are saying if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em.
They are launching their own apps in an attempt to win back business that Uber siphoned off. Unlike Uber, though, whose prices fluctuate with supply and demand, the cabs use a traditional metered fare system.
Whatever the outcome of this competition, it looks like the apps-for-rides concept is here to stay.
Putting the Internet on Mars
You may be reassured to know that if you ever get to Mars, you can still check your email. At least that's the goal of visionary Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. He wants to develop a satellite internet that at first will serve low-density areas on Earth, but that will eventually reach out into space, all the way to Mars. The price tag? A mere $10 billion.
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