In this week’s digital news, Google releases 2018 top search data, Firefox 64 arrives, Austrian retailers sue Amazon, and more.
Google releases 2018 top trending search data
Google’s report of 2018’s top trending searches is out, and it reveals some interesting tidbits. The top trending question in some countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., was notably: “What is Bitcoin?” And as per usual, several of the top 10 searches focus on celebrity deaths. Musicians Avicii, Mac Miller, and XXXTentacion were top results. As were comic book writer Stan Lee, chef Anthony Bourdain, fashion designer Kate Spade, and physicist Stephen Hawking. The top search overall, however, was for the 2018 World Cup. Top news searches included the World Cup, Hurricane Florence, Mega Millions, Royal Wedding, and election results. It’s important to note that the lists are built around search terms and topics that experienced the biggest spike compared to the previous year, which is why obvious searches, like Donald Trump, weren’t featured.
Firefox 64 has arrived
Mozilla today launched Firefox 64 for all operating systems, and it boasts a slew of impressive new features. One of the coolest new additions is the feature recommender, a “system that proactively recommends Firefox features.” So if you frequently open the same few tabs, for example, Firefox would offer a feature called Pinned Tabs. The system also recommends extensions, starting with the following three: Facebook Container, Enhancer for YouTube, and Google Translate. While this addition may raise a few privacy concerns, the company ensures that they don’t receive a copy of browsing data. So essentially, this whole process happens on your computer locally and doesn’t send data anywhere externally. Other new features include multiple tab organization, an updated Task Manager, and improved scrolling on Android. To address any speculation that the browser is past its prime, Mozilla recently announced that it has about 300 million active users.
Austrian retailers file suit against Amazon
Amazon is on hot water after Austrian retailers filed a complaint with their national competition authority. The news comes from Austrian paper Der Standard, a publication that claims to possess the legal documents. Amazon’s dual role as a retailer and a marketplace has allegedly created some possible antitrust issues. The Retail Association highlighted how the e-commerce giant’s dual role creates an unfair advantage. “Amazon can in theory see the prices of the listed retailers (on its platform), undercut their prices and in the long run attract all that business.” Having unfettered access to the pricing levels at which other retailers list their products, Amazon has an unprecedented level of access to data. They can easily sell their products at slightly lower price levels, and potentially rank those products higher in search results. Whether this practice is illegal, however, remains to be seen.
Facebook paints a bright future for VR
A new Facebook report, which surveyed 11,300 people across 11 countries, has provided some insight for the future of VR. The findings suggest that the tech will be used to preview purchases and spend time with distant friends/family. 65 percent of surveyed users believe that VR will become a part of daily life. More specifically, 63 percent of users said they wanted to use VR to test products before buying them. Interestingly enough, previewing travel destinations or hotels was the top subcategory of that specific application, appealing to over 70 percent of people. Unsurprisingly, the survey showed that 60 percent of people want to use VR to hang out with people who are far away. The report also claims that interest in AR and VR will soon skyrocket, especially considering the recently lowered retail prices of their Oculus Go.
Apple to build $1 billion campus in Austin
Apple announced plans this week to open a new billion dollar campus in Austin, Texas. In addition, offices will be opening up in Southern California and Seattle. The new offices are part of an ongoing expansion, which will also create new jobs in Pittsburgh, New York, and Boulder. The messaging of these announcements is clear: Apple wants to be seen as a significantly positive force in the U.S. economy. They now boast offices in all 50 states, and purport to be adding 20,000 jobs by 2023. The 133-acre campus in North Austin is the most significant development, as it will hire 5,000 employees, with the potential for 15,000 down the road. The company’s current total domestic employment figure sits at about 90,000.
Published on December 14, 2018