The tech world moves fast. To help small business owners like you keep up with the most important news in tech, we’re starting a monthly roundup of the tech stories that people are talking about the most.
Here’s a roundup of the top tech news of January 2017.
New Products and Updates Introduced at CES
The International Consumer Technology Associate Conference (CES) met from January 5 to January 8 and gave many of the world’s tech companies a chance to show off new products, updated versions of familiar products, and exciting advancements they’re working on for the future.
Conference attendees witnessed a ton of new gadgets, too many to talk about here, but there were a few main highlights that got a lot of attention. Drone cameras that can capture pictures of your travels for you, robots for home use, and cars of the future (including several looks at self-driving cars) all made an appearance. All in all, CES gave people a glimpse of a pretty cool possible future.
The Country’s Biggest Corporations Commit to AI
While large companies conducting AI research isn’t in itself a shocking development, some big players in the tech space did make some significant moves signaling their commitment to developing artificial intelligence.
Earlier this month, Microsoft acquired a Toronto startup called Maluuba, a company that focuses on AI research, specifically on natural language processing. Their AI system has reached the point of being able to comprehend writing at a level comparable to humans – a big step forward in AI research.
Just last week, Apple moved to join the Partnership on AI, a group devoted to instituting best practices in AI research. This group already includes many of the largest tech companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
The End of Vine
Remember when you were reading articles about how to best use Vine in your social media marketing? If you hadn’t quite gotten around to using the popular Twitter video feature, no need to learn it now. Twitter decided to shutter the program in October and this past month was the last chance users had to save their old vines before the feature went away.
If you were using Vine and are worried you’ll feel its lack in your social media marketing efforts, don’t worry too much. Twitter plans to replace it with a feature called Vine Camera that’s relatively similar in functionality.
Social Media Channels Begin Working Against Fake News
One of the biggest news stories of 2016 was the rise of fake news. That wouldn’t likely be a tech story, except that one of the primary ways people were exposed to fake news was through the social media sites we all know and love. In response to criticism, Facebook is making moves to reduce the reach of fake news by working with journalists and outside groups to fact check stories that show up on Facebook’s feed and help bring more attention to legitimate journalism.
On Twitter, some individual accounts have made waves by providing facts and definitions in response to inaccuracies shared in the press. The Merriam Webster Twitter account was one of the most talked about of the month for its clever posts sharing dictionary definitions of words used (often inaccurately) by politicians and media throughout the month. And a number of rogue social media accounts have popped up that are presumably run by people working in government agencies that no longer feel they can share facts about issues like climate change on the official government accounts.
While not a social media platform, it’s worth also mentioning that Google itself joined the fray by instituting a policy to kick publishers off one of its ad networks if they were found to be spreading fake news.
Slack Introduces Threaded Messages
On a lighter note, the popular platform for business collaboration responded to customer feedback about the difficulty in following conversations on the platform by releasing a threaded messages feature. The threaded messages are meant to make it easier to separate out and follow a specific conversation happening within the larger public feed. So far response to the feature is largely positive.
The Transition of White House Social Media Properties
Chances are, you’re well aware of the biggest non-tech news story of January, the inauguration of a new president. As the first new administration to take power after White House social media accounts had been established, this was the first time in history that figuring out how to transition social media accounts to a new presidential administration was a story.
The White House announced plans in October to make all the White House social media handles available to the incoming president on inauguration day, while archiving all old messages and updates and making them freely available to people in the days and years after. On January 20, the transition was made as promised and the social media profiles of the White House took on new ownership.
This month saw a lot of interesting and important technological advancements and stories. Next month’s sure to bring its share as well. Check back for future additions to our new series of monthly top tech news roundups.