IT Trends: Artificial Intelligence Doctor Smartphone App, Brazil's All-Digital Census

Facebook, Twitter reach new user heights; UK phishing e-mails.

by News Staff / July 31, 2010

Gobbling Up Time

On May 21, Google paid homage to Pac-Man's 30th birthday by replacing its logo with a prominent interactive game on its home page. While the game was fun, it occupied 4.8 million hours of what could have been productive time, according to RescueTime, a company that makes time management software.

E-Mail Scamming

More than 420,000 scam e-mails are sent every hour in the United Kingdom, according to a report by life assistance company CPP, which estimated that Brits were targeted by 3.7 billion phishing e-mails during the last 12 months.

Office Upgrade

Microsoft Office 2010 software was launched in June and the results from beta testers are favorable. In a survey conducted by the company, 90 percent of users said Office 2010 is better than Office 2007, and 75 percent said they planned to buy the software in the next six months.

Calling Dr. Google

Many people with medical questions turn to Google for answers, but there soon might be an app for that - an artificial intelligence physician app for smartphones that would provide a diagnosis based on pictures and other information submitted by users. Development of such an app reportedly is one of several initiatives being planned by the X Prize Foundation, an educational nonprofit aimed at finding innovative solutions that benefit humanity. Observers say such an app would be a boon to citizens in rural areas and an educational tool.

Digital Census

Brazil will hold its first all-digital census this month. Census takers will use GPS-equipped handheld devices, digital maps, satellite images and Internet data transmission to increase the speed and efficiency of gathering and disclosing information from Brazil's 58 million households. The project's budget is more than US$790 million, and the government will employ more than 225,000 survey agents and census takers.
Project highlights:
o The digital mapping system uses a combination of satellite and Google Earth images.
o The main results from the digital census will be available in December 2011 - less than half the time it took to compile the 2000 census results, which took two and a half years to finalize.
o Handheld devices used by survey agents will use Wi-Fi data transmission and GPS tracking capabilities.

Source: The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics

Mind-Blowing Social Media Stats

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are considered more powerful than ordinary advertising like TV ads and radio announcements - perhaps because their audiences are continuously increasing and more engaged, as shown by these statistics from
o Facebook announced in late July that it has officially reached 500 million active users, meaning around 250 million people use the site daily. More than 100 million active users currently access the site through mobile technology, and more than 25 billion pieces of content are shared each month.
o Twitter has 190 million users; 75 percent of its traffic is generated from outside of Twitter's search engine gets more than 600 million queries each day. Monthly, this is more than Bing and Yahoo.
o LinkedIn has more than 70 million users, and a new member joins approximately every second.
o Wikipedia has more than 15 million articles on the site, with roughly one-fifth of them written in English.