What’s new in tech
Big Tech’s jump into health care
Apple’s new-model watch is the latest sign “Big Tech is trying to remake health care in its own image,” said Zachary Tracer in Bloomberg.com. The latest iteration of its watch is Apple’s “boldest foray so far into personal health.” The device is capable of monitoring heartbeats for dangerous conditions and performing an electrocardiogram, “a test that monitors for a common abnormal heart rhythm and is usually done by a doctor.” With health care accounting for roughly 18 percent of U.S. economic output, “the business of keeping people well is a logical frontier” for Silicon Valley. “Already, the companies are in deep.” Amazon is engaged in the pharmacy business, for instance, and is working to create an employee-health venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway. Microsoft and Google are also heavily investing in health technology.
Google to send maps to 911
“Emergency call operators will soon have an easier time pinpointing the whereabouts of Android phone users,” said Sarah Krouse in The Wall Street Journal. Google has negotiated an agreement with T-Mobile to pipe Android location data to emergency call centers. With cellphone callers accounting for up to 80 percent of 911 calls placed in parts of the U.S., locating callers is a burgeoning problem for operators. “While landlines deliver an exact address, cellphones typically register only an estimated location” that can be as wide as a few hundred yards. T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to work with Google’s emergency location service.
Facebook’s dating app test
“Facebook Dating is now a reality,” said Ashley Carman and Casey Newton in TheVerge.com. The social network has long hinted at a set of dating-related features that exploit key Facebook features like Groups and Events to encourage users to meet face-to-face. Available as a test for users in Colombia ahead of a global rollout, Facebook Dating joins a bevy of apps, from well-known ones such as Tinder and OKCupid to cutely named newcomers such as Coffee Meets Bagel. Facebook’s effort resembles the dating app Hinge, which encourages users to start conversations based on their profiles. Dating will be limited to users 18 and over. In the test, the company is making the feature free of charge and opt-in only, with Dating “walled off” from the rest of Facebook to allay privacy worries.