Your WIRED.co.uk daily briefing. Today, EU preparing antitrust charges against Google, the US navy’s flying, swimming duck drone, Uber goes on the offensive and more.
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Europe’s competition regulator is doing the groundwork to file charges against Google after a five year antitrust investigation (Reuters via The Wall Street Journal). People familiar with the matter said the European Commission is asking companies that filed complaints against Google if it can publish confidential material. Sources said the charges would likely be published in the next few weeks.
The flying, swimming drone is just as at home in the sky as it is on the water (Popular Science). Currently under development at the US Naval Research Laboratory, Flimmer is a duck-inspired drone with fins and wings for swimming and flying. On smooth seas it can land like a seaplane but if things get rough Flimmer can dive into the water, much like a duck. The drone will be used to hunt for submarines.
In developing nations such as Bangladesh access to a mobile phone means access to money (The New York Times). In Bangladesh, four in five people don’t have traditional bank accounts and digital financial services accessed through a simple mobile phone are making a big difference. But women risk being left out — only 44 percent of Bangladeshi women own a mobile phone, compared to 72 percent of men.
The Google Chromebit, manufactured by Asus, will go on sale later this year for less than $100 (£67) (BBC News). The small stick plugs into an HDMI port and runs Google’s Chrome operating system. Google also announced its cheapest Chromebook laptop yet, costing $149 (£101).
Uber says the European Union should govern its services on the continent, not individual countries (CNET). The ride-hailing company has filed complaints against France, Spain and Germany for attempting to ban it, something Uber claims violated EU law.
A lack of competition is driving up the price of broadband in the USA (The Verge). Researchers looked at internet costs in five US cities and five comparable cities in France and found that prices were 3.5 times higher in the US. In France people have a choice of seven broadband providers, in the US residents are lucky to get a choice of two.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the link between money and happiness for more than two decades (Co.Exist). “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
More than 100,000 Chrome users have complained to Google about rogue extensions injecting ads into their browsers since the start of 2015 — and now Google is finally taking action (The Register). Ad injection is the process of replacing adverts on web pages with different versions, which can make big money for the people behind the malicious extensions. Nearly 200 have been blocked as part of Google’s crackdown.
German engineer Andreas Haeuser has built a solar-powered Stirling engine using almost entirely 3D printed parts (YouTube). Stirling engines use heat to turn a flywheel, which in turn can power water pumps and electricity generators. You can watch the engine in action and even order the design and print your own.
This art project makes you the subject (Parts, Parts, Parts). The work Miles Peyton, it allows anyone to upload a short video clip of any part of their body, which can then be moved around a giant interactive collage. Be warned, it may be NSFW.
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