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Friday Five: 6/1-6/5

Katie Beyer

Happy June! Here’s a round-up of this week’s tech and PR news:

 Upload the Pictures, and Let Google Photos Do the RestThe New York Times

Last week, Google upped the ante (yet again) and announced their new photo sharing services, Google Photos. Thanks to this new update, organizing your photos won’t be as painful as getting teeth pulled. You can search for whatever photo you happen to be looking for, be it your dog or your trip to Europe last summer—Google has the answer.  It sorts pictures into people, places and things with top-notch facial recognition. Google Photos is compatible with Twitter and Snapchat so all of your friends can see just how much fun your life is. Your move, Apple.

Report: Xiaomi Now World’s Second Biggest Seller Of Wearables Behind Only Fitbit – TechCrunch

According to new data from IDC, Fitbit’s popular wearable continues to reign supreme over its competitors. Second place goes to China’s Xiaomi - a wildcard in the wearable device sector – which has risen to become the industry’s second largest company and is responsible for one-quarter of all shipments in the first quarter of 2015. Fitbit topped with 3.9 million shipments (34% of the market), Xiaomi with 2.8 million (24.6%) with Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone making up the rest. It should be noted that this data was pre-Apple watch—so next quarter’s numbers will be shaken up quite a bit, or so Apple would hope. Another fun note in wearable tech news—Jawbone is currently in the process of suing Fitbit for stolen data by ex-employees. 10,000 steps or bust, I suppose.


Chinese hackers breach federal government’s personnel office – The Washington Post

In national security news, it was reported late Thursday that the federal government’s personnel office was breached. Officials are pointing fingers at Chinese hackers, but this has yet to be confirmed. The hack originated in December of 2014, and government officials will be notifying those 4 million current and former federal employees to let them know their personal data may have been compromised. The data exposed is believed to have included information regarding employee job assignments, performance ratings and training. Luckily, the breach did not involve background or clearance investigations.

Apple Watch to arrive at retail stores 'within two weeks' – USA Today

No more playing hard to get—Apple announced late this week that roughly two months after its debut, the Apple Watch will be available to purchase at their brick-and-mortar stores. Apple execs said, “The response to Apple Watch has surpassed our expectations in every way, and we are thrilled to bring it to more customers around the world.” They are also making quite a bit of progress on the large backlog of original orders of the April 24 release—so if you’re still waiting, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Originally, Apple had intended for the watch to stay exclusively online and never to set foot (or wrist) into a physical store—thankfully, they’ve changed their minds.

Report: NASA and Verizon are trying out tech that could monitor all U.S. drones – Mashable


Revealed late Thursday, NASA and Verizon have announced they will be teaming up to create technology which will monitor commercial and civilian drones in the U.S. NASA plans to use Verizon’s cellphone towers to determine whether or not it’s possible to monitor low-altitude drone flight with tests beginning later this summer. If this occurs, it’ll rule out reliance on using radar signals to track drones—a tactic NASA believes to be rather ineffective. So all those commercials you see for the “America’s Largest 4G LTE Network” might have been annoying to you, but clearly NASA was paying attention. You go, Verizon.

Read anything interesting this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands.