This Week in Tech News – Google developing a smart watch, Nokia debuts Here Auto, Apple launches buyback program, Facebook begins utilizing facial recognition.
Google Acquires WIMM Labs
While the rumors of the iWatch are still circulating, it’s been reported that Samsung and now Google both also have their eyes on the smart watch prize, too. Google acquired WIMM Labs last year to bolster their efforts in development. It’s been a confidential relationship and there was even speculation that Apple may have been the company that picked it up, but as of Friday afternoon, a Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition of WIMM by Google for the purpose of building a smart watch.
Here Auto Debuts
Nokia announced Friday the debut of Here Auto, an embedded in-dash navigation system that is connected to the cloud. Nokia has long been a developer of mapping data for cars thanks to its purchase of Navteq. Here Auto will reportedly adjust depending on the type of driving that is taking place. The app is always connected and continually updating with real-time information like construction and road closures. One of the best features of Here Auto is that maps can be stored locally for use with weak coverage areas. The system’s details are scheduled to be released at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 10, 2013.
Apple Offers Credit for User iPhones
It’s official. The iPhone buyback program has been launched. As of Friday, August 30, Apple began offering its ‘credit for used iPhone’ program. In anticipation of the next iPhone announcement on September 10, the trade-in program allows customers to receive credit for their used iPhone when they upgrade to a newer iPhone model from an Apple Retail Store. This move is hoped to improve iPhone sales at physical retail locations. How does it work? Well, you take your iPhone into an Apple store to have it evaluated. Once it’s determined that there is no water damage or major physical flaws or mechanical issues, the Apple store employee will input the information into their system to determine a value. Once determined, the amount is put onto an Apple gift card that must be used for an updated iPhone model. An Apple employee informed us at MacSources that if the trade-in value exceeds the value of the new iPhone, that the remainder can be used elsewhere in the store. We were also told that they have to have the physical phone to evaluate the price of the trade-in and could not estimate a value without seeing the actual iPhone.
Facebook Begins Using Facial Recognition
Facebook is considering incorporating facial recognition into their social networking technology. This facial recognition would be used specifically for a ‘tag suggest’ feature. The technology automatically identifies faces in uploaded photographs by comparing them to previous photos already stored on Facebook. While users still have the ability to remove tags in photo uploaded by other Facebook users, this move by Facebook calls security into play. Facial recognition is a sensitive issue. Luckily, Facebook has included an ‘opt out’ function for those who are uncomfortable using it.