Breakfast Briefing: Netflix 4K streaming, Snapseed desktop axed, Digg to reincarnate Reader
We round off the week with Netflix’s plans for 4K streaming, the muted death of Snapseed on the desktop, the conversational future of search and why we’re all doomed. Plus, riding the Reader bandwagon.
Netflix: 4K streaming by 2014
Netflix is planning to stream content using the super-high definition 4K technology within a couple of years, the company has told The Verge. The company’s hit House of Cards was shot using 4K and more films are following suit, with studios keen to make the most of this extra definition. However, there’s no rush as most living rooms are ill-equipped for the upcoming technology and then there’s the knotty issue of finding internet connections capable of carrying the bandwidth-munching streams.
Google kills off Snapseed
Amid the kerfuffle surrounding the closure of Reader yesterday, Google’s decision to also call time on the desktop version of photo-editing app Snapseed went largely unnoticed. Petapixel points out that in many ways it’s just as big a frustration to photographers that rely on the software as the closure of Reader, which has plenty of alternatives.
“This news will likely cause frustration among photographers loyal to (and dependent on) Nik programs,” Petapixel argues. “When Google acquired Nik Software back in September 2012, many wondered whether it would mean the end of many of Nik’s offerings, since the giant companies of the tech industry have a nasty habit of acquiring hot companies, neglecting them, and eventually allowing them to die.”
Digg jumps in the grave of Reader
In the wake of Google closing its much-loved Reader, it was revealing to see just how quickly a) people could jump on a bandwagon and b) create alternatives. Digg quickly announced that it wanted to resurrect RSS feed-driven aggregation with a Reader spin-off, claiming it had been planning to do so all along.
“We’ve heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we’re convinced that it’s a product worth saving,” the company wrote on the Digg blog. “So we’re going to give it our best shot. We’ve been planning to build a reader in the second half of 2013, one that makes the internet a more approachable and digestible place. After Google’s announcement, we’re moving the project to the top of our priority list. We’re going to build a reader, starting today.” No time like the present.
The chatty future of search
AllThingsDigital has been talking to Google and Microsoft about the future of search and how the companies are convinced direct questions, and understanding them, is the way forward. Both companies are pouring huge resources into developing artificial intelligence than can better understand what people are really looking for.
“When you talk about conversational search, you’re really talking about machines being able to understand the last thing you said or the path you’re heading down,” Bing’s search chief said. “The real challenge is deconstructing the digital world using the web as a very high-definition physical proxy.”
The challenge is highlighted by the sheer variety of things people want to know, with one woman in an academic test following up “What is string theory?” with “What does a cuttlefish look like?” Warning: includes Justin Bieber references.
Security guru: we’re doomed, basically
Wired has a piece penned by security guru Bruce Schneier which highlights fundamental, if defeatist, flaws in our security systems, arguing that “our security models will never work — no matter what we do”.
It’s grim reading for a Friday morning and asserts the bad guys will always win at some point because they have the element of surprise and increasingly have the technological advantage. “Because sooner or later, the technology will exist for a hobbyist to explode a nuclear weapon, print a lethal virus from a bio-printer, or turn our electronic infrastructure into a vehicle for large-scale murder,” he wrote. “We’ll have the technology eventually to annihilate ourselves in great numbers, and sometime after, that technology will become cheap enough to be easy.”