Bytes: What’s new in tech

The instant messaging boom; A fix for clumsy users; Google Glass etiquette

The instant messaging boom

Instant messaging has now become “the center of the Internet,” said John Herrman in Over the years, every dominant Internet firm has had a system of its own, from AOL’s Instant Messenger to Google Talk. It’s little wonder, then, that today’s big players are trying to upgrade their instant messaging offerings—or that we’ll likely see new apps surfacing soon from other ambitious companies. The two current giants of instant messaging, Facebook Chat and Google Talk, are both moving those apps out into more prominent, stand-alone positions. And there are strong rumors that Instagram is about to launch an instant messaging system of its own-—and that Twitter is making a move, too. The micro-blogging site’s Direct Message (DM) function “has been sidelined for years, hidden deeper and deeper within Twitter’s interfaces to the point that using it feels almost furtive.” Expect to see it in the foreground in the near future.

A fix for clumsy users

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Do your “fat fingers” make touch screens a pain to navigate? asked Sarah Perez in There’s an app for that—kind of. Apple has refreshed its App Store search engine to improve results when users make typographical mistakes or misspell names. “The improvements could lead to increased app downloads” for software “with hard-to-spell or lengthy titles.” The real message, of course, is that no improvement is too small “when it comes to pitting Apple’s App Store versus competitor Google Play.” Google already offered a spell-checking function for clumsier spellers, and Apple is eager to keep up.

Google Glass etiquette

Early adopters are learning the hard way to watch their Google Glass manners, said Casey Newton in Google’s foray into wearable tech has been available to early users for nearly nine months, but “some merchants are doing their best to keep it out of their establishments.” One network engineer in Seattle said a local diner asked him to leave unless he removed the $1,500 headset. “It’s all about privacy,” said the diner’s owner. “It’s one thing to take out a camera and capture a moment; people see you doing it, they have a chance to step out if they want to. With Glass people don’t have a chance to do that. We want our customers to feel comfortable, not like they’re being watched.”

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