This ends the impeachment procedure. Now you can track all the business and technical news that you missed while President Trump drove his victory lap. Here are the key stories to prepare for the coming week. (Not included: the Valentine's Day plans you wanted to do. Then do that.)
What's going on? (February 2-8)
A rocky start
The Iowa caucuses have never been so easy. (Imagine a lot of spreadsheets and manual data entry.) However, a new smartphone app was supposed to streamline the system when the Iowa Democrats selected their presidential candidate on Monday night – until the process turned into a disaster. Party officials no longer blamed the app for errors that distorted the caucus results, which were mainly due to human error. However, reports say the software was hastily assembled and not properly tested. It is a bad start to an election where the role of technology has already frightened some voters.
You may have thought it was creepy when the police started monitoring face recognition on the streets and sidewalks. Now it is used to monitor a new population: children. A public school district in Lockport, New York, was one of the first in the country to install facial recognition software on campus for security reasons. Proponents say it would help fight crime, prevent mass shootings, and stop sexual predators. Critics say, however, that general concerns about facial recognition technology – privacy, accuracy, and racial bias – are even more worrying among minors.
To be too good to be true
President Trump pledged support for a paid family vacation plan during his speech on Tuesday. But the bill he supports and which was proposed in December doesn't quite do what he suggested. For starters, it actually "pays" no one – it only allows parents to borrow money by collecting some of their child tax credits early and receiving a lower credit for the next 10 to 15 years. (The loans are worth up to $ 2,000 per child in total.) They also do not guarantee occupational safety for the person on leave and only apply to parents of babies or newly adopted children under the age of 6 – nobody takes time to care for an older family member.
What's next? (February 9-15)
The foldable phone is back
And maybe this time it will work! Samsung will be launching new products at its annual San Francisco show, including a clamshell smartphone that folds into the size of a pocket square. The design has a touchscreen with ultra-thin glass that is flexible enough to bend in half – at least that's hope. You may recall that Samsung's first foray into this type of product, the Galaxy Fold, was a debacle last year when first reviewers noticed that the screens bulged strangely and died unexpectedly. The new version is called Galaxy Z Flip and is said to cost $ 1,400 – a bargain compared to nearly $ 2,000 of the original fold.
China's Valentine's Day
True to its word from the latest trade pact with Washington, China announced that it would cut tariffs on $ 75 billion in US goods effective February 14 (aw). The announcement shows Beijing intends to reach the end of the deal, but the fatal outbreak of the corona virus can make matters more difficult. The deal requires China to make large purchases of American products, but its economy is currently fluctuating under the aftermath of the disease that has infected tens of thousands of people in the past few weeks and has led to widespread blockade within the country. Since travel to and within China is restricted (and in some cases prohibited), fewer goods are imported and the population stays at home and does less shopping.
Will Google Cave?
Google is reportedly considering selling its third-party advertising arm. The company was under increasing cross-party pressure from Washington (especially Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic presidential candidate) to break out of the deal, which some lawmakers said was too big. Regardless of the size of the company, the double stroke of Google’s advertising and search technologies is a bit like an Internet snake eating its own tail. Critics claim that the company combines these tools unfairly to lead users back to their own services, such as YouTube and Google Maps.