Waiting for a video to load. Finding friends on Facebook. Locating an internet connection. Playing a game. These may sound like simple activities, but there is often a lot more to them than you’d think. Those seconds you wait for a video to load are a challenge to YouTube’s team, just as getting a game with potentially controversial content to users is for a number of developers. Even something like global internet access isn’t a simple process.
This week’s round-up of some of the top tech stories on the web includes some of the back stories and behind-the-scenes insights into everything from seemingly simple actions to futuristic technology.
Mixed in with the flinging birds and pieces of candy lie more “serious” mobile games designed to comment on and bring attention to current events, ranging from the war in Syria to the suicide of Foxconn workers. But, more often than not, they’re falling foul of Apple’s rules, and getting kicked out of the App Store. But is Apple justified in protecting its users from inappropriate content, or just preventing developers from tackling contentious issues in a game format?
Ever joined a social network site and opted to find friends you already know? You may have just handed over your friends’ contact details to some lesser-known database. Slate discusses what sites like Facebook use this data for and why their attempt at providing a service could become a problem for your real life friends.
When Google announced its plan to bring connectivity to all corners of the globe via giant floating internet balloons, it seemed like a crazy but awesome idea. But is it really feasible? Even if they get the system working, will countries allow balloons to drift across their airspace, and for Google to become essentially a global ISP?
It’s the next stage in gaming that has been talked about for years — so why isn’t virtual reality an option for the regular consumer? The Atlantic speaks to the teams currently working to make VR more than a pipe dream, and explains why it’s taken so long to get to this point.
Let’s face it: buffering sucks. So does waiting unnecessarily for the video player to load when you’re just stopping by YouTube for a few minutes. Gizmodo details the behind-the-scenes work being done by the team at Google to keep you watching, whatever your internet speed or device.