Facebook Experiments on Users, Order the Oculus Rift… [Tech News Digest]

Facebook tests users’ addiction levels, how to pre-order the Oculus Rift, Windows 10 nabs 10 percent of Windows users, Yahoo shutters Yahoo Screen, and play Urine It to Win It! to let off steam.

Facebook Crashes Own Apps

Facebook has been caught experimenting on its users again, with the social network alleged to have purposely crashed its own app to test users’ tolerance levels. This is according to The Information [Paywall] (via The Verge), which reports:

“Facebook has tested the loyalty and patience of Android users by secretly introducing artificial errors that would automatically crash the app for hours at a time, says one person familiar with the one-time experiment. The purpose of the test, which happened several years ago, was to see at what threshold would a person ditch the Facebook app altogether. The company wasn’t able to reach the threshold. ‘People never stopped coming back,’ this person says.”

To be fair to Facebook, this was a one-time experiment conducted several years ago, probably prior to the social network having its wrists slapped for conducting other experiments on its users. However, this revelation still erodes our trust in Facebook.

Why would Facebook do something like this? To see what would happen if Google ever removed the Facebook app from Google Play for competitive reasons. Which is very unlikely now given the failure of Google+ to eat into Facebook’s territory.

Pre-Ordering the Oculus Rift

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You will be able to pre-order the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift from 8am tomorrow (8am Pacific Time on Wednesday, January 6th). However, we still don’t know how much this new version of the Oculus Rift will cost, or when it will actually ship to buyers.

The company announced the news in a blog post, with Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey set to reveal more in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Wednesday evening (6pm Pacific). However, we do know one rather important detail about the Oculus Rift, and it’s likely to completely kill your interest in this product, at least for the time being.

It turns out you’ll need a powerful PC to even run the Oculus Rift, with only new and expensive rigs with high-end graphics cards even capable to powering it. Bloomberg suggests there are only 13 million PCs worldwide that are up to the job, which is a tiny percentage of the total number of computers. I’m out, as I don’t think my Chromebook is up to it.

Windows 10 Hits 10% Market Share

Windows 10 ended 2015 with just under 10 percent of the share of the operating system market. This means Windows XP is still more popular than Windows 10, despite Microsoft’s best (and slightly underhanded) efforts to persuade people to upgrade for free.

According to Net Applications, Windows 7 leads the way with 55.68 percent, followed by XP on 10.93 percent, Windows 8/8.1 on 10.30 percent, and Windows 10 on 9.96 percent. It’s now just a matter of time before Windows 10 leaps ahead of XP and 8/8.1, but catching Windows 7 is going to be a much tougher ask.

Yahoo Shuts Down Yahoo Screen

Yahoo has shuttered Yahoo Screen, hammering another nail in its own coffin as a media giant. Yahoo Screen has already gone, but no one seemed to notice for a few days. Which shows just how deep into the abyss Yahoo has already slid.

A Yahoo spokesperson told Variety:

“Video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place”.

Yahoo Screen was Yahoo’s platform for original programming, and it spent millions of dollars acquiring the rights to a sixth season of Community. However, while fans appreciated that move, it has ultimately contributed to Yahoo’s downfall.

Urine It to Win It!

And finally, a new game looks set to prove toilet humor still has a place in society in 2016. Titled Urine It to Win It!, the game requires you to keep peeing into a toilet to win upgrades. And that’s it. Literally. You can watch the video trailer, but it won’t reveal anything new.

This may seem like a dumb idea, but it’s actually rather clever. Not only is it a play on incremental games where nothing much happens except for leveling up, it’s also an analogy for life itself. After all, we all pee. And hopefully into increasingly better toilets as time goes on. [H/T Polygon]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Should Facebook stop experimenting on its users? Will you be pre-ordering the Oculus Rift? Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? Are you sorry to see Yahoo Screen shut down? Is Urine It to Win It! the best game you have ever seen?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credits: Eduardo Woo via Flickr

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