Tech

What's the difference between Alphabet and Google?

Well, Google is the search engine, YouTube, all the stuff you probably think of as Google. Alphabet is the parent company that was created four or five years ago. And it contains a whole bunch of other entities like Jigsaw, Verily - the health care company that Google runs, Waymo - the self-driving car unit. Also, it's important to know Google makes tons of money. Alphabet, all that other stuff loses tons of money.

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What tech deal should I expect to find on Black Friday?

Tons. And they've been curated really well on WIRED.com. We have a whole bunch of reporters looking all over the Internet for good deals. But there are always great electronic deals. You want to get a new TV, a new robot vacuum? Amazon, which is trying to pull you in, will often have its core products at deeply discounted prices. There's lots of stuff, lots of electronics that you can get.

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As technology and A.I. evolve, do we need a WTO for data?

That sounds suspiciously like a question from someone who watched the recent Democratic debate, because Andrew Yang said we need a WTO for data. Now, I'm not exactly sure what he means, but it would be very helpful to have a World Data Organization that created databases, shared data silos, that companies could access.

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Why is Instagram going to hide likes?

Well, one explanation is that they want to encourage healthy behavior and a like can make us addicted. Second explanation is that they get rid of the likes, they can get more of the cut in the market for influencers, who get money from advertisers, sometimes based on likes.

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Will Disney Plus win the streaming wars or can all platforms coexist?


I would be a fool to say for sure who's going to win the streaming wars but Disney has the inside track because they can tie their streaming offers to the whole Disney ecosystem, like their parks. And Netflix is not going to be able to make theme parks.

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What is "quantum supremacy" and is it a big deal?

Quantum supremacy is the idea that a quantum computer, a computer using the principles of quantum mechanics, can solve a problem that a classical computer cannot solve. The reason we're talking about it this week is that Google says, after billions of dollars in investment and years of work, that they actually have built such a quantum computer and it has in fact, solved a problem in 200 seconds, that it would take ten thousand years for regular computers to solve. IBM fought back and said that's not true. But is quantum supremacy a big deal? Absolutely. Is what we saw this week quantum supremacy? That's a harder question.

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What should I take away from Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill?

Well, the clearest thing is that almost nobody there likes him. The only compliments he got were from Republicans comparing him to Trump, which Zuckerberg must have been slightly happy about, but maybe not. The other thing I think, I think Facebook is making a mistake having him out there so much, having him gives speeches about free speech. It sets him up as a target and puts him in situations like this where it didn't go very well.

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What technology was used to assist Eliud Kipchoge's historic sub two-hour marathon time?

A lot. If you watched the video of him, you saw that he was within a pace group, a whole bunch of runners in front of him cutting the wind. Some runners behind him, actually improving his wind resistance by having people behind him. There was a green laser showing him exactly what time he had to run. He had really high-tech gels that he took, these Maurten gels. I actually like those a lot, too. But the main thing were the shoes. These are the early prototypes of the shoes or the first version. He's now in the third version. But what's most important is there is a carbon fiber plate. You cannot bend this thing. So, Nike introduced these shoes, I don't know, two years ago. Now, there's a new generation. It's very controversial.

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