In this week on the web, a new app helped women get pregnant, and a pregnant giraffe became an Internet star. Google unrolled a new way to store and organize photos, and Adobe offered a new way to use photos to create presentations. GoDaddy went public, and Facebook's data collection and privacy policies alarmed European regulators. Leather wallets moved one step closer to becoming obsolete. An April Fool's joke made people go "awwww."
Europe Versus Facebook
Facebook could be in trouble in Europe. Privacy watchdogs from the governments of France, Spain, and Italy all have their eyes on the American company. Investigators are looking at Facebook's privacy features and at how the company collects and uses personal information from citizens within their countries..
If the investigators turn up anything that is a violation of their countries' laws, Facebook could have to change some of its features and/or pay a huge fine. So far, Facebook has been claiming that it is answerable only to Ireland, where its European headquarters are located. But even the luck of the Irish may not be enough to shield Facebook from the rest of the European Union.
GoDaddy Goes Public in a Big Way
Even though domain-registrar company GoDaddy loses money every year, its stock attracted a lot of interest at the company's initial public offering this week. When the dust cleared, share prices closed up 31 percent for the day. At the IPO, GoDaddy was valued at more than $3 billion.
That's a lot of money, but then GoDaddy likes to do everything in a big way. It has a big customer base (12.7 million), big revenues ($1.4 billion for 2014), and big losses ($143 million for the year), and it likes to create big controversy with its ads. As for the IPO investors, it's too early to tell if they will be big winners or, like investors in some high-profile IPOs in the past, big losers.
An App That Helps Women Conceive
Apps already exist that help women keep track of their fertility cycles. A new app, called Conceivable, goes beyond simple cycle tracking by taking many other factors that affect fertility into account, and then offering personalized advice on nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Conceivable even ships custom-selected herbal supplements to users' homes.
Subscriptions to the app, which is based on a successful program developed in a brick-and-mortar fertility clinic, cost $199 per month. Right now it's only available on iOS, but will be coming out on the web and on Android in the future -- so all babies conceived using the program won't necessarily have to be Apple babies.
Have You Seen My Vacation Pictures Yet?
Proud parents who conceived with the help of an app might want to turn to another app to show off their cute new babies. Adobe has just debuted an app for the iPad called "Slate," which makes it easy to combine text and photos into attractive presentations, perfect for sending to Grandma -- or for posting online, so the whole world can go "ooh" and "ahh."
Beyond baby pictures, Slate should be useful for business presentations, classroom assignments, and providing a new way to impose vacation pictures on your friends.
Have You Hugged Your Google Today?
Developers keep on trying to find new creative ways to deliver Internet access. Although Google Glass was a flop, and the success of the Apple Watch remains to be seen, hope springs eternal. How about an adorable, huggable talking stuffed bear, dubbed the "Google Panda," that will cling to your arm and answer your questions in Japanese and 49 other languages? That could be a hit. People who have seen the video unveiling this product desperately want it. Too bad it was just an April Fool's joke.
Take Your Photos for a Drive
The Google universe expands again. Now, if you store your photos or videos in Google+, they will be automatically available in Google Drive as well, where you have the option of organizing them into folders.
Tip: Photos and videos deleted from Google+ will also be deleted from Drive, and vice-versa. But if you edit a photo in Google+, the edit will only take effect there, not in Drive, unless you download the edited photo and then upload it to your Drive photo folder yourself.
Less Is More
A new gadget hopes to woo users by offering less -- less distractions, less features, less opportunities for multi-tasking -- for a more focused and tranquil experience. The gadget, called EO1, contains an elegant frame surround a simple screen that displays artworks. The art is animated, but not frantic -- the changes are subtle and slow.
EO1 is funded by both venture capital and crowdfunding. So far, it's a hit -- it's already sold out through September. Electric Objects, the company that makes the device, is also working on new ways to commission artworks to make owning art more accessible to more people.
Watch a Baby Giraffe Being Born
If watching a baby giraffe being born is an item that you haven't yet off crossed your bucket list, you'll be thrilled to know that the Dallas Zoo will be live-streaming the birth of the son or daughter of Katie the Giraffe, who Zoo folks call one of the friendliest and most charismatic giraffes in the Zoo's large herd. Even if the thought of watching a giraffe birth never occurred to you before, you might want to tune in, as this is something you don't get to see every day.
The Zoo is teaming up with the TV show Animal Planet to bring the birth to the world, in a high-tech production using eight different cameras to capture every angle. Bring your own popcorn.
Bitcoins Are Going Mainstream
The online-payment peer-to-peer system Bitcoin has its fans, but so far, it hasn't been embraced by the mainstream. That seems to be changing. The latest sign occurred this week, when bitcoin company Factom announced it was hiring an investment manager from the Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley to be its head treasurer. This is only the latest in a series of moves by people from major Wall Street firms to the bitcoin industry, including the chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, who became an advisor to a bitcoin exchange.
If bitcoins become more popular, along with their virtual wallets, what will we all do with our leather wallets, which will become obsolete? Will they remain unsold in millions of garage sales or be repurposed for children's art projects? A first-world problem, for sure.