Good morning! Here’s the technology news you need to know this Wednesday.
1. Google is creating a new division that will be dedicated to developing virtual reality products like Google Cardboard. The company’s VR efforts so far pale in comparison to those of Facebook-owned Oculus, which just opened pre-orders for its first consumer VR headset.
2. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is starting a new $100 million (£69 million) philanthropic fund that will focus on education. The Hastings Fund will aim to “expand educational opportunity.”
3. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has criticised the draft Investigatory Powers bill, or the Snooper’s Charter, warning about the risks of requiring communications service providers to weaken encryption. It also asserted that no clear case has been made for why the state should require data on all its citizens to be retained for a full year.
4. Twitter has integrated Periscope into tweets so you can watch live video in your stream. Twitter bought the live video broadcasting app a year ago for $86 million (£59 million).
5. Yahoo’s latest job openings suggest it’s planning for a big expansion this year. In the first two weeks of 2016 alone, Yahoo has already posted 84 new job openings, with positions spread across search, content, advertising, and data analysis, according its career page.
6. Apple has been granted a patent for software that can work out information about a person’s “skeleton” by looking at it through Microsoft Kinect-style hardware. The patent is described as a “depth map” that can judge information about a person, such as height, by recognising body parts, such as a head or arm.
7. Vivino, the Danish-founded wine community and app maker, raised a $25 million (£17 million) Series B round led by SCP Neptune International. The company currently boasts 13 million users from all over the world.
8. Uber has announced “Uber Trip Experiences” in a bid to make your rides less dull. It’s a way to let developers integrate their apps into the main Uber app so customers can use them on a journey.
9. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, claims artificial intelligence has the potential to fix some of the world’s “hard problems,” including population growth, climate change, human development, and education. He made the comments at a conference that was also attended by representatives from Facebook and DeepMind.
10. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence (DNI), appears to have become the latest government official who had a personal account accessed by a hacker. The hacker allegedly accessed Clapper’s Verizon account so that calls to the director would be forwarded to the Free Palestine Movement.
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