Just in time for 4/20…
There’s a truism about the gold rush days of San Francisco: It wasn’t the miners who got rich; it was the people selling picks and shovels. As the legalization trend picks up steam, Silicon Valley thinks it can make a better shovel.
Twitter just agreed to buy its long-time partner Gnip, a data company that anaylizes and sells Twitter data to a host of third parties companies. Gnip is the largest provider of social data in the world.
In its announcement, Twitter’s VP of Global Business Development and Platform Jana Messerschmidt writes:
Public Tweets can reveal a wide variety of insights — so much so that academic institutions, journalists, marketers, brands, politicians and developers regularly use aggregated Twitter data to spot trends, analyze sentiment, find breaking news, connect with customers and much more.
It is true that Twitter has become a powerful tool for social science researchers and journalists, but ultimately this move will help Twitter make its fire hose of data more palatable to Fortune 500 companies. The bottom line down the road is that Twitter needs to continue to find ways to monetize, and data about what we like, what shows we watch, where we are, how old we are, if we have dogs, what time we go to bed, etc. etc. is incredibly valuable to brands who want to target ads to us. They will pay handsomely for it. And now, they will pay Twitter directly.
But despite arriving on April 1, 2004, its webmail service was no joke. Google’s simple, browser-based inbox helped seed several ideas that have become so commonplace over the intervening decade, they practically define modern computing as we know it.
So happy 10-year anniversary, Gmail. Here’s hoping in the next 10 you’ll let us show inline GIFs in our email.
The robots of the future will be smart and highly adaptable, with the miraculous ability to imitate how the human mind learns new information. So what, pray tell, does humankind do with such wondrous, advanced technology?
We build robotic strippers.
Spreading around the WIRED office this week is this HTML5 Game Boy emulator built for iPhone browsers. Apple doesn’t allow unauthorized emulators on the App Store, although the relatively open nature of the store allows people to sneak them on there for a few days before they get too popular and Apple pulls them down.
So get after it, quick!
Four tech giants embroiled in the government’s secret PRISM collection program reported today that they had received classified national security demands for the contents of at least 59,000 user accounts during the first half of 2013.
In the wake of a legal battle to provide more transparency about the number of government national security requests they receive for customer information, Yahoo reported that between January and June last year, the government sought content for between 30,000 and 40,000 user accounts, mostly using classified court orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Google reported that it received FISC requests for content on between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts during the same period.
Chris McKinlay was folded into a cramped fifth-floor cubicle in UCLA’s math sciences building, lit by a single bulb and the glow from his monitor. It was 3 in the morning, the optimal time to squeeze cycles out of the supercomputer in Colorado that he was using for his PhD dissertation. (The subject: large-scale data processing and parallel numerical methods.) While the computer chugged, he clicked open a second window to check his OkCupid inbox.
McKinlay, a lanky 35-year-old with tousled hair, was one of about 40 million Americans looking for romance through websites like Match.com, J-Date, and e-Harmony, and he’d been searching in vain since his last breakup nine months earlier. He’d sent dozens of cutesy introductory messages to women touted as potential matches by OkCupid’s algorithms. Most were ignored; he’d gone on a total of six first dates.
On that early morning in June 2012, his compiler crunching out machine code in one window, his forlorn dating profile sitting idle in the other, it dawned on him that he was doing it wrong. He’d been approaching online matchmaking like any other user. Instead, he realized, he should be dating like a mathematician.
Nineteen eighty-four was not like 2014. When Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh, he had to generate excitement about a product — a computer — that was unfamiliar to most people, if not downright scary. His creation would eventually entice them into changing their minds, but first, they had to be intrigued enough to learn about it.
The Macintosh was new, but the media would have to be old. There were no tech blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter, and certainly no Mac rumor websites. There were no websites at all. So Jobs had to generate his own campaign to tell the world about the computer that he would announce on January 24, 1984, 30 years ago today.