Tech You Won't See in 2011
2010 has been a year where new technologies have really taken off. Apple's iPad redefined the concept of personal computer. Microsoft introduced one potential future of home video game entertainment with the controller-free Kinect. But, 2010 also had its share of failures and (some thankful) endings. Here we explore some of the more interesting tech fails, social network bombs and the world's oldest Twitter user.
Google Wave Bye Bye
Sometimes you're too smart for your own good. At least that's the impression we all got when we finally opened our invitations to check out the Google Wave Beta. Speaking from experience, Wave simply didn't make sense. The point of the application was lost on me, and yet I knew there was some serious code and thought put into Wave. The layout looked familiar, but not new and exciting enough to dive in and explore. Still wanting to know more about the product, I began reading about the uses and functionality of this potential successor to e-mail. And after I woke up...
There are aspects that I liked. The name was evidently a reference to one of my favorite programs, Firefly. I liked what they were trying to accomplish, but it just didn't hold my interest. I couldn't immediately see the benefit. Since Google stopped development in 2010, I imagine that I was not alone.
Microsoft KIN. Egad.
Microsoft was keen to take on the smartphone market. This should prove as no surprise to anyone; if Microsoft felt that world domination could be achieved by building toaster ovens, the MS Toaster XP would be on your counter. Unfortunately, they came to market with a, well, let's face it, a laughable product that was panned by almost every reviewer on the planet. It's not that the phone was terrible. Oh wait...yes it was. No apps. A boring OS. And very expensive for what it offered.
Nokia is Just Not Social Anymore
Earlier this year, Nokia launched a beta version of its messaging for social networks app. This application was meant to allow users to forgo the standalone Twitter and Facebook apps and be able to post to both at one place. Well, users seem to prefer the standalone apps. So, Nokia said nix nix.
Google Buzz, meet Nokia
Where Nokia limited its sights on only a few social networks, Google went after many. Google Buzz attempted to create a bridge between Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed and Picasa and integrate them all with their successful Google Gmail. So what happened? Sometimes too much is just too much. The interface was decent if not slightly confusing to read. The privacy issues were, um, an issue, and it caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Never a good thing.
Cuil: Yeah, Not So Much.
Cuil, a new search engine (new = 2008) developed by two former Google employees, unceremoniously died in September of 2010.
Why didn't this engine take a legitimate shot at knocking Google off its throne? Could it have been its "clever" name? Maybe, but I don't remember typing in "Googol" to search the web.
More likely, it was the fact that the results returned weren't always accurate and slow to display. Be that as it may, I still prefer Alta Vista. Oh wait. That's going away, too?
As a musician, the appeal of MySpace was strong and very obvious. Here was a place I could set up a website for my band, upload music to be listened to, become friendly with other musicians and hopefully score some gigs out of the deal. I can tell you that 2007 was a terrific year for my band and MySpace played a significant role. So what happened? In a word, Facebook.
After Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for around $500 million, the need to have the site generate income became dominant over the social networking aspect. Cluttered with ads, Flash pages galore, and a general dilution of its membership, the emergence of Facebook was very welcome to those seeking a more social tool. MySpace is still trying to reinvent itself, but I'm guessing that Fox Broadcasting is bummed out about its half billion dollar deal these days.
Ivy Bean, World's Oldest Twitter User
Ivy Bean, from Bradford, England, passed away in July of this year. Mrs. Bean had the distinction of being the oldest known Twitter user at 104(!). Mrs. Bean should serve as an excellent example of how social networking (and more broadly, computer usage) is not merely appealing to the young of age. You need just to be young at heart and not fear advances in technology. Evidently, Mrs. Bean loved to tweet and had a wonderful time on Facebook as well. The next time you type a message to a friend on FB, or tweet your thoughts, give a shout out to Mrs. Bean and her wonderful, adventurous spirit. Incidentally, at 42, I believe I am now the oldest Twitter user. Thank you and have a great 2011.
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