Technologizer

By Harry McCracken | What Harry McCracken is writing--and reading--on the web

Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place …

Mobile Devices

iOS 12: Geeky features iOS needs

If June is for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), then May is for stories speculating about what will be announced at WWDC. My …

Electric Scooter Charger Culture Is Out of Control

“Bird hunting” has become a pastime and a side hustle for teens and young professionals, but for some it’s a cutthroat business.<p>Every afternoon around 4 p.m., when school lets out, Brandon, an 18-year-old high-school senior in Los Angeles who asked to be referred to only by his first name, goes …

Starbucks Brews A Tech-Infused Future, With Help From Microsoft

When the biggest name in coffee sought to use tech to make its stores both more human and more efficient, it found a partner in another Seattle institution.<p>You’d expect a Starbucks at the company’s corporate headquarters in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood to be a bit of a showplace. But the coffee …

Coffee

Instagram Looks Like Facebook’s Best Hope

Through the glass doors, beyond the giant camera logo and before the artisan coffee stand, visitors to Instagram’s headquarters in Menlo Park, …

Social Media

AirPods and the Three Stages of Apple Criticism

It’s rare for critics, commentators, and especially commenters to admit that they were wrong. One reason is that they are rarely asked to, and being …

AirPods

The Seven Biggest Lies Theranos Told

Theranos, led by CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes, raised more than $700 million on the promise of a revolutionary blood-testing technology that never materialized. The Securities and Exchange Commission just charged Holmes with “massive fraud.”<p>Elizabeth Holmes once dazzled the world with a story …

This Is Why It’s So Hard To Calculate How Much Uber Drivers Earn

An MIT study measuring low driver wages was quickly debunked, but researchers need better data, and ride-hail companies rarely cooperate.<p>Last week, a working paper from MIT claimed that a third of Uber and Lyft drivers actually lose money from their on-demand work. It caught the attention of lots …

Transportation

Inciting a new future

Swati Mylavarapu and Matt Rogers are the definitive Silicon Valley power couple. Rogers, a cheerful, be-fuzzed technologist, co-founded Nest Labs. Swati, a sharp visionary, was at Square for four years before joining legendary investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner.<p>Now …

Venture Capital

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know. You meet someone and say, “I’m from …

Social Media

Tony Fadell’s Next Act? Taking on Silicon Valley—From Paris

Tony Fadell is at the Grove, a spectacularly beautiful country estate outside of London. The event is Founders Forum: the ultra ­exclusive …

Mark Zuckerberg’s Fake News Problem Isn’t Going Away

Technically speaking, Mark Zuckerberg has been on paternity leave. In late August his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave birth to their second child, a girl. …

Satya Nadella Rewrites Microsoft’s Code

Microsoft’s CEO has stopped infighting, restored morale, and created more than $250 billion in market value. All it took was focusing on what matters most.<p>Satya Nadella’s corner office, on the fifth floor of Building 34 at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters, features a can’t-miss 84-inch …

Satya Nadella

Polaroid is back in the instant photography business it created and abandoned

When Polaroid stopped making instant film cameras in 2007 and ceased instant-film production the following year, it was sad—but also, in the era of digital photography, perfectly understandable. Left with little other than a famous name it could license out, the company kept going bankrupt and …

Photography

15 Questions I Still Have After Apple’s Big Event

What we don’t yet know about Apple’s new product lineup is at least as interesting as what became official on Tuesday.<p>If you were paying attention to the pre-event scuttlebutt, Apple’s product launch on Tuesday carried few surprises when it came to specs, features, prices, and names. That removed …

Mobile Technology

WhatsApp’s Cofounder On How It Reached 1.3 Billion Users Without Losing Its Focus

Even under Facebook ownership, Jan Koum says that the simplicity and efficiency that made WhatsApp a hit in the first place remain all-important.<p>Three and a half years ago, Facebook announced its plan to acquire messaging phenom WhatsApp for $19 billion—a price tag that was a head-snapper at the …

Privacy

How Apple Plans to Change the Way You Use the Next iPhone

Apple Inc. plans to transform the way people use its next high-end iPhone by eliminating the concept of a home button and making other adjustments to …

Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant

WASHINGTON — In the hours after European antitrust regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in late June, an influential Washington think tank learned what can happen when a wealthy tech giant is criticized.<p>The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from …

Uber’s New CEO

In the last seven months, Uber has endured:<p>The #DeleteUber campaign<br>• The fallout from Susan Fowler Rigetti’s blog post, including the Holder …

FOIA: Internal Emails Show Government Officials Scrambling to Explain Why Climate Scientist’s Meeting With Mark Zuckerberg Was Canceled

Unpublished documents reveal new details about the circumstances behind the high-profile Facebook event.<p>On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped into Montana's famed Glacier National Park. He was supposed to rendezvous with Dan Fagre, a research ecologist at the US …

Samsung Verdict Sends a Tough New Message to South Korea Inc.

SEOUL, South Korea — More than two decades ago, South Korean prosecutors indicted the chairman of the powerful Samsung conglomerate on charges of bribing the president. He was let off with a suspended sentence and then a presidential pardon.<p>About a decade later, he was indicted again, on tax …

What’s New in the iPhone X

Better Late Than Never<p>While Apple invented the modern smartphone, it has since mostly played catch-up with competitors. A few times it got there …

What The End Of 32-Bit Support In iOS 11 Really Means

Most iOS apps are ready for the end of 32-bit support, but some beloved ones are falling through the cracks.<p>For years, Eddy Boxerman thought his company’s critically acclaimed iOS game <i>Osmos</i> would never need another update. He wasn’t even sure if a new version would be feasible, because the game’s …

Apps

These texts show Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Otto’s Anthony Levandowski plotting a press blitz

“We should have a undertone of scorched earth.”<p>You’re not supposed to see how the news gets made, the saying goes. For the same reason that you’re not supposed to watch how sausage gets made.<p>But here’s a slight glimpse of some newsmaking involving Uber.<p>Don’t worry! It’s not really unpleasant.<p>This …

Autonomous Cars

Google Has Paid Thousands to Academics Writing About Google

Over the last ten years, Google (er, um, Alphabet) has paid thousands of dollars to people in the academic community working on research that …

Susan Wojcicki Has Transformed YouTube—But She Isn’t Done Yet

To outmaneuver traditional TV—and secure Google’s future—YouTube’s CEO must satisfy homegrown creators, risk-averse advertisers, Hollywood celebs, and a billion-plus viewers.<p>Outside of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on New York’s far West Side—where YouTube is hosting the Brandcast, its annual …

Advertising

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 review: digital downer

A new kind of instant camera that’s not quite there yet<p>Do you want to keep your photos for a long time, and make some of them widely available? Or do you want them to be more ephemeral, something you can give to a friend and maybe never see again?<p>Consciously or not, we ask these questions a lot …

Snap's Spectacles hit Europe, complete with funky vending machines

Snap Inc. has introduced its camera-equipped smart glasses, known as Spectacles, to Europe. The wearable has been made available online as well as via its Snapbot pop-up vending machine — the same way in which they were introduced to the US last November.<p>The first place you’ll find the Spectacles …

Wearable Tech

Google confirms Chrome ad blocker coming ‘in early 2018’

Over the past six weeks, multiple reports and rumors have hinted that Google is building an ad blocker into its Chrome browser. The company today set the record straight regarding its plans, which are not quite what the speculation suggested.<p>Google has joined the Coalition for Better Ads, a group …