Each Monday, I cover the tech trends, gadgets, business services, and apps of note. The goal is to highlight not just consumer flash-in-the-pan ideas, but actual developments that could impact your business. Post in comments if you spot other essential headlines!
1. Canva Debuts
I wrote about Canva in the July/August issue of the magazine. The tool is now debuting this week and allows you to create amazing posters, flyers, Facebook pages, and other artwork for use online or in print. There are over one million design elements to use, many of them for very low cost (about $1 each). "Design shouldn't be hard but somewhere along the way we became bogged down with expensive, complicated software that put design out of reach for most people. Canva is here to change that," says founder Melanie Perkins.
2. Design your own Moto X
The Moto X finally debuts this week--at least, the site is now live. The phone has other perks beyond a custom design. You can receive text and call alerts in the Chrome browser, talk to the phone when the display is dimmed, and see quick notifications.
3. Elon Musk uses hands to design rocket parts?
In a cryptic exchange over Twitter with "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau, as reported by FOX News, Elon Musk revealed that he can make rocket parts using gestures, ala "Minority Report." What exactly does he mean by that? It's unclear. Gesture interfaces give you the freedom to experiment. This fall, the Xbox One will include the new Kinect 2 sensor that can read your pulse using a camera. Musk says he will provide more details about his tech in the next week.
4. Yahoo to acquire IQ Engines
When one big tech company gobbles up another small tech company, it's sometimes a yawn. We know the tech won't debut for another two years. With IQ Engines, that might not be the case. Yahoo is acquiring the company to use the image recognition tech in Flickr. It's important because IQ Engines can categorize photos based on location and what is in the image. As we amass more images, categorizing them will become more and more critical.
5. Google Helpouts
In case you missed this recent news, Google is going to start helping you out. The Helpouts service is invite-only for now. It will be a live video platform where experts and businesses can offer customers help and expertise on the Web and mobile. Sites like Live Ninja already do this, but the difference might be in sheer volume--having access to an expert with just a click.