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BIGnews in the Tech World: A Year In Review

by Abbey Treamer

technology

Well, 2017 has finally come to an end (it was a doozy, wasn’t it?). This weekend, we’ll be popping some much needed champagne and counting down the seconds ‘til midnight, but in the meantime, we’re recapping some of the biggest tech stories – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Apple and the iPhone X

With a new year came, of course, new Apple products. Along with the new AppleTV and Apple Watch, Apple had its own first, where it released three new iPhones! The iPhone 8/8+ and the iPhone X brought frenzy to Apple stores this September-November. Despite the iPhone X’s $999 price tag, many felt it was worth it for a for a phone that can recognize your face (who wouldn’t want Animojis?). When it came time for the phone’s release, however, many complained of delayed arrival times with countless orders not arriving on their promised day. But users were ultimately happy with their new phone purchases no matter what day it arrived. Overall, we would say Apple had a very successful year, and you can bet on the BIGteam covering the next Apple Keynote in 2018.

Uber

Uber had a rough year all around starting in January 2017 with #DeleteUber. After discovering ties with the company and President Trump, many Uber users created a movement to delete the app altogether. This was followed the next month with an Uber engineer writing about sexual harassment and gender inequality within the company. Following this, multiple executives were fired throughout the year and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down.  But Uber’s bad luck wasn’t over yet. In May, the company was caught taking more than its share of customer fare ride pay for years from New York City drivers. Uber then lost its license to operate in London just this August. Most recently, it was revealed that Uber tried to cover up a cyberattack that left millions of its customer data hacked into. What’s next for Uber in 2018? Who knows, but the company has left us with a few valuable PR lessons to learn from.

Bitcoin

Created in 2009, Bitcoin is a currency created to get rid of the “middleman” in the banking system, eliminating transaction fees altogether and creating an anonymous way to pay. While bitcoin was mainly invented to pay for things, between 2009-2017 a rise in investing in bitcoin began. While bitcoin is highly volatile, that may be the very thing that encourages more people to continue investing. Bitcoin reached a high of $18,000 this year, but since then has continued to fall and rise. With its unknown future, many are nervous bitcoin is a “bubble” that will soon “pop.” But bitcoin prices continue to change daily, with no indication that it will be failing anytime soon. Just recently, bitcoin released Bitcoin Futures and Bitcoin Cash. However, this led to popular wallet service Coinbase being accused of insider trading. Ultimately, bitcoin grew in both popularity and in price this year; will the same continue for 2018?

Facebook and Fake News

Throughout the presidential election, it was revealed this year that Russia bought fake advertisements and articles that were being shared over Facebook. While it is still hard to tell how far this fake news spread, it did cause Facebook to up its indicators to notify how reliable a source is and change its advertising regulations and blocks pages that spread this fake news. While it is alarming to think the widespread implications this fake news has had, it’s important to remember how to look out for fake news and prevent it from spreading any further. 2017 has been a year of revelations, and Facebook has not been immune to this.

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated the same. It prohibits your internet service provider from blocking, or charging extra, for content you wish to see on the internet. Ending Net Neutrality would make it harder for smaller websites to have the same chance as larger, more profitable websites. Many people on social media have pushed for this repeal to not happen. #NetNeutrality quickly took over Twitter, with many creating their own images to help spread the movement. Petitions were created and millions of people signed them. The movement to prevent the repeal of Net Neutrality has been largely social media based, with many celebrities and public figures trying to spread knowledge and awareness about what this could mean for the future of the internet. On December 14, Net Neutrality rules were repealed. This has now led to many states deciding to come together and sue the FCC. There is no doubt that these people are not done fighting for Net Neutrality and 2018 will be a defining year for this case.

Smart Speakers

In 2017, we saw a boom in the creation and popularity of smart home speakers. Everywhere you look you can find articles about using Alexa or Google Home. Many people turned to creating their own smart homes with everything from voice controlled lights to thermostats (and even sleep systems and video doorbells – shoutout to #BIGclients Nightingale and Ring). New innovations almost always include a smart home feature now, and these technologies keep expanding. This year Amazon began introducing Alexa for Business, making smart speaker technologies for the office such as conference room bookings, or office tours from the smart speaker. With such an exciting 2017, we can’t wait to see what is next in line for these smart speaker companies in 2018!

Twitter – 280 Characters

It was a slow rollout, but now everyone on Twitter has the ability to tweet 280 characters instead of the original 140. The release started earlier in the fall with random accounts getting this ability. By December, everyone had the 280 characters and could tweet as much (or little) as they wanted to. While the BIGteam had mixed feelings about the new update, it will be interesting to see what new additions Twitter will bring our way in 2018 as the world of social media continues to grow.

What were some of your favorite tech moments of 2017? Let us know on Twitter and be sure to check back next year to keep up with the latest in tech news!

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