Tech 2.0 for Monday, November 18, 2013
NASA's newest robotic explorer, Maven, is on its way to Mars. The Maven spacecraft blasted off aboard an unmanned rocket from Cape Canaveral on Monday. It will take Maven 10 months to reach Mars following a journey of more than 440 million miles. This is NASA's 21st mission to Mars since the 1960s. But it's the first one devoted to studying the Martian upper atmosphere. Scientists want to know why Mars went from being warm and wet during its first billion years, to the cold and dry place it is today. The early Martian atmosphere was thick enough to hold water and possibly support microbial life. But much of that atmosphere may have been lost to space, eroded by the sun. Maven may solve this case of mysterious climate change.
Google will pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to settle claims it violated consumer privacy by placing unauthorized cookies on computers using certain Apple Safari web browsers in 2011 and 2012. The New York Attorney General's office said Google Inc. altered coding from its DoubleClick advertising platform to circumvent default privacy settings on Safari without consumers' knowledge or consent. Altering the coding allowed Google to put DoubleClick cookies on Safari web browsers. Google disabled the coding in February 2012 after the practice was widely reported. Google also agreed Monday to injunctive relief that requires it to take certain actions, including improving the information it provides about cookies. Google Inc. said the cookies collected no personal information and that it's pleased to have reached the settlement.
Sony says it sold more than 1 million of its PlayStation 4 video game consoles during their first 24 hours on the market. The consoles went on sale Friday in the U.S. and Canada. Andrew House, president and group CEO for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., said in a release Sunday that sales remain strong in North America. The company will launch the gaining system in Europe and Latin America on Nov. 29. Sony has said it expects to sell 5 million units by the end of its fiscal year in March. The PlayStation 4 is Sony's first new video game console in seven years. It faces competition from Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox One, which goes on sale this week. But unlike seven years ago, video game systems are also now competing against tablets, smartphones and other gadgets for the attention of gamers.