March 4, 2011

Weekly roundup: TED 2011, the privacy economy and mobile traffic monitors in China

Posted by: in North America

-This year’s TED conference had a lot of ideas worth spreading. Ford’s executive chair Bill Ford proclaimed that “Very soon, we will see the days where cars are essentially talking to each other.” Some caught a sneak peek at Google’s self-driving car. And street artist JR took home the TED prize this year with his request for people to engage in a global art project to “turn the world inside out.”

-In an effort to better manage road congestion, Chinese leaders announce plans to create a “cell phone-based traffic monitoring platform that enables the government to track where and how 17 million Beijing residents drive,” reports Fast Company.

-Newsweek has an in-depth look at how information overload is changing the way we think, as well as our ability “to make smart, creative, successful decisions.”

-As part of its “What They Know” series, The Wall Street Journal reports on “the new privacy marketplace”—new products and services that protect people from Internet tracking or help them profit from it by selling their data.

-The New York Times examines the trend of consumers who are using products longer before they replace them, from waiting longer to purchase a new automobile to squeezing more from a toothpaste tube.

-Retailers are re-thinking the idea that bigger is better, reports The Wall Street Journal, as stores such as Best Buy and Sears are reducing space in existing stores and opening smaller locations.

-As bookstore chains struggle, publishers are wooing retailers in everything from clothing to hardware, according to the The New York Times.

-The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how the ad industry is experimenting with sophisticated gesture- and facial-recognition technologies, as well as dealing with related privacy concerns.

-The New York Times reports that “Investors Are Drawn Anew to Digital Music,” taking an interest in established companies like Spotify as well as several startups, despite the fact that few have yet to show a profit.

-“It’s an underserved audience, which makes for an obvious and important opportunity,” one Hollywood studio executive told The New York Times, regarding the increase in people over 50 going to the movie theater.

-eMarketer predicts that Facebook will take “the largest share of U.S. display ad revenues” this year, garnering more than 21 percent of the market.

-A survey conducted for World Book Day in the U.K. finds that, despite the clamor for tablets and e-readers, teens still prefer books.

-The New York Times tracks the rise in coconut oil as the latest health food ingredient.

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