World Tech Update: Feb. 26, 2015

Network World | Feb 26, 2015

Coming up on WTU this week Samsung faces a complaint from a privacy group on eavesdropping TVs, Google debuts YouTube Kids to generate content and marketing opportunities and we let you know what trends we'll expect at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update I’m Nick Barber.
Samsung is facing a complaint from a privacy group and the US Federal Trade Commission charging that the company's smart TVs intercepted and recorded private communications. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has asked the FTC to investigate and stop the practice by Samsung of collecting private communications and transmitting the recordings to a third party. The South Korean company's privacy policy for its Smart TV came under criticism as it cautioned customers to "please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition." Samsung did not respond to a request for comment on the complaint.

Google debuted YouTube Kids this week, which is a way to for the company to capture and market to a huge audience without exposing them to potentially offensive content. The app is available in Google Play at the App Store. It has privacy-preserving features but also displays ads, which Google says will be "family friendly." The app is focused on content Google thinks will be best for pre-teens, organized into four categories: shows, music, learning and explore. YouTube Kids collects only anonymous identifiers to support internal operations such as spam prevention and ad frequency capping. Ads in nearly a dozen categories are prohibited including beauty and fitness, food and beverages, and politics.

Next week we'll be in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. I talked to IDC analyst Ramon Llamas about what we can expect.

SOT

Our coverage begins Sunday and of course we'll have World Tech Update for you next Thursday from Barcelona.

While Android Auto and Apple Car Play could change your in car infotainment experience, not all car makers are excited about it. Toyota is holding off on CarPlay support in favor of its own platform Entune, according to the New York Times. Several auto companies and aftermarket car stereo makers are on board with CarPlay, with plans to make the smart dashboard available in upcoming models. Some, like Ford, plan to support CarPlay, Android Auto, and their own platforms to ensure buyers aren't turned off by a lack of choice.

A robotic hand has replaced a man's paralyzed one and you won't believe what he can do. This is an Austrian man's robotic hand. He's one of three patients to undergo bionic reconstruction. After the procedure, the three men regained use of their hand and were able to do things like pour water from a container. The robotic hands are activated by nerve impulse or app signals. While this technology has been under development for years, this study is the first to combine the surgical method with the technology. The three underwent cognitive training and practiced with the robot hands for nine months before surgery.

If a giant robot bear picking you up doesn’t scare you, perhaps you should consider growing old in Japan. State-backed research center Riken is developing a robot that looks like a cartoon polar bear to help move elderly and bedridden patients into wheelchairs and beds. Robear has giant padded arms and is the latest in a line of prototype nurse robots that are designed to reduce some of the backbreaking work of caregivers. Unlike earlier prototypes, Robear is capable of gentler movements. It still requires human control though either by manually guiding its arm or through a linked Android tablet. Robear can lift up to 176 pounds and operates for about four hours on a full charge of its batteries.

Well that’s our show. Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. To find out what’s coming up on every week’s show be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. As we head out this week we’ll leave you with . I’m Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week from Barcelona.

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