One of the things that the internet has created is a way for nearly anyone to say anything for very little money and make it look good. A complaint on social media in recent months has been about the "rampant spread of fake news" online. That term means different things to different people, and can range from absurdly inaccurate information to information that disagrees with the reader's preexisting beliefs on the subject.
Somehow, the blame for this "epidemic" has been placed on Facebook and Google's shoulders, despite their complete disinvolvement in the phenomenon. In fact, Google only indexes websites, indiscriminant of their content, and Facebook allows OTHER people to share the content they find. Neither company or service produces and content at all.
For better or worse, both companies have been forced to respond to a situation that could be solved by critical thinking and reading comprehension - something that this has proven most people are incapable of anymore. The two companies have responded to the scenario very differently, with both beginning their strategies this week.
Facebook seems to agree that the solution to the problem is through public education. The company has introduced its new program, the News Integrity Initiative, whose purpose is to help people spot nonsense when they read it online. This $14 million initiative is being backed not only by the social network, but The Ford Foundation, Mozilla Foundation and more.
This joint fund will not be used to create technology to remove the thought process from reading content published online. Instead, it will be used to help people learn how to think for themselves. Facebook and its partners do not want to eliminate the process of critical analysis from people's lives, as that will ultimately make the problem worse. This initiative is designed to enhance that aspect of people's lives. When you read content, you should be capable of drawing educated decisions based on what you have read - it should not be up to someone else to tell you the way it is.
Going the other way, Google has taken a different approach to the legitimacy of online content. The company has begun to label content that another organization has "fact checked" the content. This label is in addition to the existing system of labeling content as "In-Depth," "Opinion." "Blog" and "Local Source."
With this move, Google is placing a lot of trust in third parties. Google is placing the trust of its own brand in the hands of organizations like Snopes and PolitiFact. Both of these organizations have had their own difficult relationships with reality in the past. No one is infallible and everyone looks at the world through tinted glasses. Their view of reality might be tinted by their past experiences, political affiliation or religions beliefs. What is for sure is that no two people live in the same reality.
Following Facebook's path has a lot of potential for failure. People today generally dismiss bettering themselves as beneath them. We all know people who think that they are too good to learn anything new, because they already know what is going on. Having a social network try to teach them something new could come across as lecturing, and the overall goal could be a total loss.
Following Google's path is a dangerous one. Their news content could easily become politicized, rather than indiscriminant, as it is today. An opinion that differs from that of the editors of a fact checking organization could be marked as invalid, or a fact that disproves a held belief could be discounted. All of this could potentially damage the national dialog, as well as the value of Google's search results.
There is no denying that the
Call of Duty franchise is a powerhouse in the console gaming world. When a new game launches, it sells more in its first week than most titles will in their entire lifespan. With that kind of gaming power, combined with the success that Nintendo has seen bringing their franchises to mobile platforms, and it was only a matter of time before CoD landed on your phone.
Taking advantage of their
King acquisition in 2015, Activision has handed the reigns of their flagship console franchise to the Candy Crush developer for mobile. This information comes to us care of a studio listing series of job postings on a subdomain of King's website. The subdomain, Reload, is a new team within the King family, based in Sweden, which is responsible for the new game.
The studio listing describes the project saying,
The team is adapting one of the most iconic game franchises of all-time: Call of Duty®, to become a mobile experience. This is a rare and exciting opportunity. Our challenge as a team is to create a Call of Duty experience on mobile that will strive to transform the best console experience fans know and love, while also breaking new ground for mobile and redefining the genre. Our approach and ambition is to be fresh, social, and highly accessible, while providing a very authentic game experience. The team will prototype extensively, have the freedom to think outside the box, and be encouraged to stretch their expertise in ways to create surprising results.
That is all we know about the game itself, as the site, obviously, is vague on the details. When King, and parent Activision, are ready, we'll get more information about the new game. As they are just now hiring systems designers and art directors now, it is likely to be a while before we know what is coming.
When Microsoft released their initial Band hardware, stores sold out on launch day. In fact, through almost the entire first model, Microsoft couldn't produce them fast enough for the demand. Customers were so happy with their first generation that when the Band 2 was released, many upgraded to the new features. Around the time that a Band 3 was expected to be announced, there was silence from Microsoft.
In October of last year, news broke of a prototype Band 3 device with new features and a similar design to the Band 2 that had been abandoned. Microsoft confirmed the device and its cancelation, suggesting that the Band 3 that many owners were excited to own would never see the light of day. Happy customers were suddenly disappointed in a lack of a successor to their Bands.
This week, Microsoft announced their plans for continuing the legacy of the Microsoft Band technology, and it involves IP licensing. Rather than continuing to produce Band hardware themselves, Microsoft will license their technology to Casio, who plans to integrate the Microsoft technology into their future products. Hiroshi Okumura, GM of IP for Casio, said of this partnership,
Casio is committed to creating innovative products for all our customers, and this partnership builds on our longstanding relationship with Microsoft that's covered products and solutions ranging from industrial handheld terminals to business information systems.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that we will see a direct successor to the Microsoft Band produced by Casio, but it doesn't mean that we won't. The Band hardware was popular and cross-platform compatible, and the Band 3 has already completed the prototype phase. If the designs come along with the licensing deal, perhaps a direct successor would be a quick and powerful way to market, and one that would come with an existing customer base, so it could still be a possibility.
Do you own a previous Microsoft Band? If so, would you be excited about a Casio Band 3? Let us know in the comments.