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Life under Google and lies on Twitter: 5 top stories you have to read

Google is greedy. Twitter lies. Colour is simple. Data is boring. Processing power is all that’s important. Well, maybe. This instalment of top tech stories may make you think otherwise…

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping... More

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Google casts a big shadow on smaller web sites

Sometimes it feels like it’s Google’s internet and we’re all just left… um… googling everything. From Android, advertising, email and maps to analytics and more recently, Google+ local, Google has become much more than a search engine — but is it becoming too dominant? It says its only concerned with meeting the needs of its users, but it’s being investigated for possible antitrust violations because it could be using its muscle to flatten the competition by promoting its own services via search. You don’t have to go far to find a site that’s heavily dependent on Google’s referral traffic, both paid and free… but it all just a bit unfair or is it really just interested in making sure the average person finds what they’re looking for?

Inside the secret world of the data crunchers who helped Obama win

If you think about political campaigns, you probably think about speech writers, marketers and PR people — but probably not data crunchers. But big data played a role in the race for the US presidential election, with databases (which contain information from field workers, consumer logs, social-media and mobile contacts) forming the foundation for scientists to locate potential voters and target their interests. TIME investigates the carefully targeted emails, messages, phone calls and ‘personalised’ attention that helped ensure Obama stayed in the White House for another term.

Disruptions: Twitter’s uneasy role in guarding the truth

It’s often seen as the source for up-to-the-minute updates, but social media isn’t all real time honesty and fact. From death hoaxes to exaggerations and flat-out fibs, Twitter users often blend truth with entertainment… but the real stories can be validated almost as quickly. Nick Bilton queries if lying has become a less serious offence online, and explains how journalists are increasingly using the same tools as the users to fact-check images and messages.

Moore’s Law is becoming irrelevant

Despite the title, this interview with ARM CEO Warren East doesn’t really dismiss Moore’s Law… just that saving energy and space is a bigger focus for him. The boss of the company (whose chips are in 95% of smartphones and devices like Microsoft’s Surface) speaks about competition with Intel, the company’s future in PCs, Apple’s rumoured shift to ARM processors and how TVs are just “big smartphones”.

The magical tech behind Paper for iPad’s color-mixing perfection

In an interesting glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes when developing even a small change to an app, FastCompany heads into the mobile art world with award-winning drawing app Paper as they discuss the design of something as seemingly basic as their new colour picker. The generic options that come standard in everything from Photoshop to Paint didn’t work for the team, so they took a year to build their own mixer. The design had to be intuitive and touch-friendly but still beautiful and quick to use — so they combined insights from deceased German scientists with the team’s know how and produced the mixer which is a marriage of math and aesthetics (and way more complicated that it looks).

  • Copywriter Lu

    Hi Lauren.

    Love the article, starting from the Google is greedy. Twitter lies. Color is simple. Data is boring.

    I love the part where you say twitter users often blend truth with entertainment.

    With Google’s dominance, other engines have lost out big time: Yahoo. Which is sad cause my first email was a yahoo (I still use it, but not to check emails; log on to facebook instead)

    Gmail rocks as with all Google products. Especially the books they got, and so on.

    Think also of the Apple map blunder… Google comes out top.

    But when it comes to Barrack Obama’s White House extension, we can say, “Machine put the man!”

    Thanks, anyway, for the article.