Every year, the first of April is a time for an incredible amount of creativity online. And today, April Fool's Day, will not disappoint.
I woke up this morning to find an amazing array of head-scratching technological advancements (PC World has the scoop on a Tivo feature). Some, I imagine, would actually be fun to use; others, I'm not so sure. For example, I am not sure how wise it is to switch your Gmail to Autopilot or for Qualcomm to fill the skies with Wolfpigeons. It also seems a little strange to use facial gestures in the latest version of the Opera browser, and for The Guardian to forgo the printed page for an all-Twitter format.
But like I said, who am I to judge the wonderful ingenuity of technological wizards? Here then is my top 10 list of technological marvels and milestones for April 1, 2009:
Reddit joins the Diggnation: Well, it looks like the crowd-sourcing wars are one step closer to being over. Now that Reddit has been reborn as Reddigg, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we also see DiggUpon, Yahoo! Diggzz and Digglicious. Isn't uniformity grand?
Google develops AI: It's an amazing day for humanity now that Google has created the first real instance of artificial intelligence or Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE). I'm not sure what that means, but CADIE's effect could be profound. One of CADIE's initial projects was to redefine web design principles for the social-networking age. She then took the next logical step of seizing control of Google for herself. If you want to see what CADIE is up to, you can follow her on her own blog and YouTube channel.
Technologizer celebrates 45 years: It's been a long time since Technologizer opened its doors in 1964. Those were heady times when the online magazine charged an "hourly access fee of $15,000," and its "network ran at 300-bpw (bits per week)." Since then, it introduced a paper edition, embraced the worldwide Web, and was the first magazine to be distributed through breakfast cereals. It's been an amazing and historical ride so far, and I'm sure it will break even more boundaries in the years to come. Congratulations, Technologizer!
Qualcomm's Wireless Convergence : The plan is simple enough: put tiny base stations in pigeons to create a wireless network accessible in even the most remote locales. If you're in range of a digital pigeon you can get online; it's that simple.
However, Qualcomm took it one step further by creating the Wolfpigeon, which will be more resistant to the cold and feral cats than a regular pigeon. Of course, to keep the Wolfpigeon population under control they came up with several safeguards. It's all very complex, so watch this video to get a complete understanding of how it works.
Guardian switches to Twitter: I know times are tough for the newspaper industry, but this is an incredibly dramatic step. Britain's Guardian newspaper has decided to give up print for an all-Twitter format. The news in 140 characters or less to capitalize on the Guardian's "position at the cutting edge of new media technology." This is a very modern idea, but the Guardian takes it one step further since even the Guardian's archives are going to be Twitterized. Here are a few examples of stories that have already made the switch, "OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"; and "JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?"
Opera embraces facial gestures: Forget pinching, flicking and two-finger scrolling it's all about winking, frowning, and puckering when using the Opera Web browser on computers with enabled Webcams. Check out this video to see it in action.
YouTube goes head-over-heels: We always knew Google was thinking ahead, but now they're thinking in even more directions.
According to Google's research, "modern computer monitors give a higher quality picture when flipped upside down -- kind of like how it's best to rotate your mattress every six months. You might find that YouTube videos look better this way." You can also check out this page for handy tips to get the most out of your new viewing experience. Google also has a link in every video page to revert back to the original YouTube look if this concept is just too advanced for you.
Amazon FACE : Amazon has taken cloud computing literally with its Floating Amazon Cloud Environment (FACE). Using modern airships, Amazon literally brings the cloud to you. The blimps have onboard data storage and can hover above your location for up to a month. You can communicate with FACE via WiMax or laser. If you think FACE is for you, act quickly because Amazon warns, "availability is limited and this may be a one-time, perhaps even a one-day offer."
Gmail Autopilot: It's true. Sometimes it can be a real pain to reply to every e-mail. Now, thanks to CADIE, you can let Gmail do it for you. After analyzing up to 100 of your messages, Gmail Autopilot will gain enough information to reply to e-mail as if it were actually you. There is also an authenticity control panel to adjust for "tone, typo propensity, and preferred punctuation."
Palm Pre: Palm is all about the Pre right now. Instead of amazing advancements in connectivity or revolutionary tools, Palm says it will make an announcement about the Pre at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. You can follow on its blog or on Twitter. [Editor's Note: Palm says this is a real announcement and not an April Fool's joke.] Not sure what that announcement will be, but maybe the Pre will be adding features like those found in this video:
So that's the best of the best for April 1, 2009. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the greatest advancements for this year. I can't wait to see what will be coming our way in 2010.