Recommending Windows 10, Alphabet Overtakes Apple… [Tech News Digest]

Microsoft recommends you get Windows 10, Alphabet overtakes Apple, Gmail and WhatsApp both join the 1 billion+ users club, Bill Gates chooses his favorite songs of all time, and this Dutch eagle eats drones for breakfast.

Windows 10 Is a Recommended Update

Windows 10 has been upgraded to a “Recommended” update for anyone currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. This means that affected users are no longer merely reserving their copy of Windows 10, or installing it as an “Optional” update. Instead, Microsoft is recommending users take advantage of the free upgrade to its latest operating system.

As reported by ZDNet, Microsoft stated:

“We are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, schedule a time for their upgrade to take place”.

What this means for the average user depends on whether or not they have automatic updates enabled on their PC. Those who do may find Windows 10 downloaded and ready to install on their machine the next time they switch it on. Those who don’t can continue to refuse the upgrade for the time being.

Thankfully, for those who upgrade to Windows 10, whether accidentally or on purpose, have 31 days to revert back to their previous version of Windows if they regret the move. However, we fully expect a new wave of complaints to roll in based on Microsoft’s aggressive effort to get everybody switched to Windows 10.

Alphabet Is Now More Valuable Than Apple

Alphabet is now the most valuable company in the world, with Google’s new umbrella organization leapfrogging Apple in after-hours trading. The stock price rose to such an extent that Alphabet’s market cap shot up to $570 billion. Apple’s market cap currently stands at around $540 billion.

Investors piled into buying Alphabet stock after the company announced its latest earnings. While it wasn’t all good news, Alphabet made a profit of $4.9 billion for the quarter, taking the sting out of the losses posted under the “Other Bets” column.

There is, of course, no guarantee Alphabet will retain this position, and there’s a chance Apple will have taken back the number one spot by the time you read this. However, this is the first time since 2010 that Google (now Alphabet) has been worth more than Apple, so we should let them celebrate this victory, however short-lived it may end up being.

Gmail and WhatsApp Boast 1 Billion Users

Both Gmail and WhatsApp have announced they now boast more than 1 billion monthly active users.

For Google (read Alphabet) this is nothing new, as the company already has six products boasting more than 1 billion users. By reaching this milestone, Gmail has joined Google Search, Google Chrome, Google Android, Google Play, Google Maps, and YouTube.

WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for $19 billion, has reached the milestone in just six years. The Facebook must have helped push it over the edge, and so many users afforded WhatsApp the freedom to stop charging the one-time subscription fee of 99 cents.

Bill Gates Chooses His Desert Island Discs

We now know what eight songs Bill Gates would happily spend the rest of his days listening to, if he was ever to find himself stuck on a desert island. We know because Gates recently appeared on Desert Island Discs, and chose the following eight songs…

  1. Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie
  2. Blue Skies by Willy Nelson
  3. Sing by Ed Sheeran
  4. Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix
  5. One by U2
  6. Two of Us by The Beatles
  7. How Can Love Survive? from The Sound of Music
  8. My Shot from Hamilton: The Musical

Gates chose each of these songs for specific reasons, which you can read in full on the BBC News Magazine article all about his visit to Radio 4. Gates also gave a lengthy interview which includes references to Microsoft, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs, and his wife Melinda.

For the uninitiated among you, Desert Island Discs is a long-running BBC radio show where guests choose the eight songs they would take with them to a desert island. They also get to choose a book and a luxury item, and Gates chose The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, and “a whole bunch of DVDs of all the world’s great lectures.”

Watch an Eagle Taking Down a Drone

And finally, Dutch police are training birds of prey to take down drones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are becoming much more popular thanks to a combination of affordability and publicity, but they’re not always welcome. Hence the authorities’ need to take them out as and when necessary.

Police forces around the world are using different methods to achieve this, and while Americans have a penchant for shooting drones out of the sky, the Dutch prefer to use eagles and hawks. Which feels more civilized, and looks 10 times more awesome. As long as the birds aren’t getting hurt, of course. [H/T Reddit]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? Will Apple ever catch Alphabet from this point? Are you one of the 1 billion people using Gmail and/or WhatsApp? What song would you recommend Bill Gates listen to? Have you ever seen anything cooler than that eagle taking down a drone?

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.