Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg said at a conference in Germany that Facebook "needs to do better to protect people's data" and outlined her 5 priorities for Facebook in 2019: Investing in safety and security, protecting against election interference, cracking down on fake accounts and fake information, making sure people feel like they control their own information and, increasing transparency at Facebook. Ok, cool, I'll believe it when I see it. Meanwhile, the US FTC has spent a year investigating Facebook's bullshit and is considering giving them a big fine. That'll show 'em!
Microsoft hasn't been adding features to Windows 10 Mobile since 2017, but at the end of 2019, they'll stop releasing security and software updates too. Microsoft is recommending users grab an iOS or Android device instead. It's time to let go of that Lumia mate, put the Nokia down and enter 2019 with the rest of us. I wonder if this means the dream of a Microsoft Surface smartphone is dead? Maybe they'll still do one, but make it a fork of Android? If it integrated tightly with Microsoft's stuff instead of Google's it could be a winner. Stupider things have happened!
Remember the EU's proposed Copyright Directive? It's the law that would have introduced a "link tax" so media companies could make Google pay for linking to their news articles and a copyright filter applied to user submitted content as it is uploaded. Good news is that "multiple countries - including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland - made it clear they would not support the latest text put forth by Romania, and therefore would have blocked it from moving forward", meaning the Directive is kinda dead on arrival. It can still be revived if there's some sort of modifications to the Directive, but the activism around this issue seems to have achieved something.
Google Maps is gonna start displaying speed limits and speed cameras in both the Android and iOS apps soon. It's a tiny feature, I know, but damn it's a feature I've wanted for ages. Waze has had it for a while, and Google owns Waze, so it's weird Google didn't apply some of their big brain machine learning artificial intelligence to reading speed signs it captures on Street View. Apple CarPlay support for displaying speed limits is icing on the cake. It's slowly rolling out country by country, so expect it in Australia some time in the next few months I guess.
Bosch has scored $2.3m from the Victorian state government to do driverless car testing. Bosch plans to start testing a "highly autonomous vehicle on high-speed rural roads by the middle of the year", with the aim of "improving safety on rural roads". As someone who drives often on Victorian rural roads - this is good because I like things that decrease the odds of my death. I'm just glad it's not another stupid little bus on a 1km test track that gets wheeled out when the suits are in town. The Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program has $9m all up to hand out, so expect some more announcements soon.
IKEA has mentioned a new range of smart speakers called Symfonisk in a collaboration with Sonos. Apparently these speakers will be fully interoperable with the Sonos ecosystem and the other IKEA smarthome stuff (i.e: their Trafidi lights). There's no pricing and only one picture of one prototype speaker, but Symfonisk will be out in August 2019. Hopefully that includes Australia, as I could see this being super popular thanks to IKEA's scale. $99 Sonos speaker that doesn't sound like garbage? Yes please.
NBN is going to give ISPs $160 for each user they can convince to upgrade to a 100mbit or faster plan. Why? To boost the number of users on the fast speed tiers where NBN actually makes a decent bit of money and grow the important average revenue per user (ARPU) number. Right now, only around 11% of NBN users are on the 100/40 speed tier. The idea is that once people get a taste of the sweet speed, they'll see the value in paying ~$100/m for internet access. The $160 discount will probably be offered by ISPs in the form of "hey move to 100mbit and the first two months are on us!" kinda thing.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!