2014 tech predictions

There's something sinister and reckless about these prediction pieces we produce every year.

At best, we (enlightened) tech experts are guilty of spoiling the surprise of what's in store for you this year. At worst, our predictions are completely wrong. For example, I think we were all certain that the rumored all-in-one Apple HDTV would debut in 2013. So to those of you who delayed your 2013 TV purchase based on that overly optimistic prediction, you have my sincere apology.

So this year I'm playing it safe, even at the risk of being boring and predictable (at … Read more

OK, Glass: Show me what's next for Google

December 2014 is a year away. Barring unforeseen complications, Google Glass will have gone public by then and just might have forever altered its maker in the process.

The story of how Glass could change Google begins back on June 27, 2012. Sergey Brin and his cohorts, in what we now know is Google's X division, pulled off the preposterous, dangerous, and wildly successful extreme sports debut of Glass at the end of its annual developer conference keynote.

It wasn't the first time that Glass had been seen in public, but it suddenly shot the Internet-enabled headset into … Read more

Top 10 predictions for the mobile market in 2014

This past year was a busy one for the mobile market. And next year will likely be just as intense.

Wireless operators were busy wheeling and dealing to get more wireless spectrum. And they were busy upgrading their networks to 4G LTE service, truly making 2013 the breakout year for faster wireless service.

There was also a lot of deal activity among handset makers, as smaller players struggled to find ways to compete against the two dominant players, Apple and Samsung. What's expected to happen in 2014? I took out my crystal ball and put together this list of … Read more

Flu predictions get more accurate

Google Flu Trends, the search giant's metric for estimating the percentage of a country's population suffering from influenza, falls in line with everything we dream the company capable of. By monitoring the frequency and geographical spread of keywords for flu-related queries, the tool is supposed to provide an accurate estimate for the propagation of the virus.

The only problem: it was wildly wrong last year, providing a flu estimate of 11 percent of the population, nearly double what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ended up estimating.

Now doubling back on last year's flu outbreak, scientists at … Read more

Adobe reads the crystal ball for 2013 online shopping season

What happens when you crunch billions of bytes of data? You can come up with some pretty good predictions.

Adobe Digital Index unveiled its crystal ball prophecies for this year's online shopping season, and it looks like it's going to be a doozy. Not only does Adobe Systems predict this year will see the highest-ever online spending during the US holiday season, but Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday will break records.

"Thanksgiving is the fastest-growing shopping day, and that's the biggest news this year. Cyber Monday will have the highest online sales in history," … Read more

E3 2013: Predictions and prognostications

E3, the big video game trade show, kicks off on Monday. And 2013 looks to be one of the biggest years ever.

The games industry is at a crossroads, with "hard-core gaming" under onslaught from 99-cent casual iPad and smartphone games. Two new consoles are on deck -- the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 -- and the third, the Nintendo Wii U, is fighting for its life. And the software publishers like Activision, EA, and Ubisoft will be fighting to outsplash each other with the latest and greatest sequels and franchise titles.

So what's going to … Read more

Google says it can predict movie hits based on search data

Curious about how well "The Lone Ranger" will fair at the box office? How about whether "Star Trek Into Darkness" will do alright overall?

This is information that Google now says it can predict with up to 94 percent accuracy.

The Web giant released a study (pdf) on Thursday that examines the correlation between Google searches and box-office performance. And, with people using search at an increasing rate (56 percent more in 2012 than 2011), it seems that Google's predictions will only get better.

"Moviegoers are now more actively discovering and exploring their film … Read more

Microsoft's game plan for E3 2013: Damage control

Microsoft's pre-E3 Xbox One reveal event in Redmond, Wash., wasn't a presentation targeted at gamers. In fact, most gamers hated it. Why? Because Microsoft used the opportunity to boast about the Xbox One's live TV integration and the seamless experience it will supposedly provide.

That mantra won't fly at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, where the priority is always games. The company teased with some details about what the Xbox One's gaming future will look like, but as of now it's still mostly unknown.

Here's a preview of what Microsoft needs to accomplish … Read more

Is Grokr Apple's foray into predictive search?

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced last week that Apple had acquired nine startups since October. And, Cult of Mac's Mike Elgan believes one of these companies could be the predictive search app Grokr.

While neither Apple nor Grokr has given any signals that this is the case, such an acquisition would indeed make sense for the tech giant.

Grokr is an app that can be used with iOS. Like Google search, it uses a type of knowledge graph that takes bits of information from across the Web and synthesizes it for users. In a sense, Grokr works a bit … Read more

Google smacks down reports that Now for iOS drains batteries

Hot on the heels of Google adding Now to its iOS app, a handful of users began complaining that the app update made their iPhone and iPad batteries drain more quickly. Questions arose, was Google Now slurping too much juice?

Google has responded that iOS battery life doesn't have anything to do with Google Now. The Web giant sent a statement to CNET giving a bit more explanation as to why the battery draining allegations were false.

Reports that Google Now on iOS drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people's concern about seeing the Location Services icon … Read more