High-tech 2012: The 10 biggest news events of the year

Epic hardware launches, ugly lawsuits and continued disruption in social media and the cloud made 2012 a busy year for consumer technology

By Alex Castle, PC World |  IT Management

Speaking of privacy flaps, Facebook capped off a controversial year with the decision earlier this month to eliminate user voting on privacy issues and site governance, provoking a predictable (and predictably unfruitful) public outcry.

Apple loses its edge in online maps

Apple and Google were once natural allies, united against perennial tech juggernaut Microsoft. As smartphones have become the new tech battlefield and Microsoft has receded from its once-dominant position, the relationship has broken down and Google services have started disappearing from Apple devices. The final straw came with the release of iOS 6 in September, which replaced the popular Google-powered Maps app with Apple's own internally-developed app. The new Maps app lacked several major features, including transit directions and street view, and had a nasty habit of sending people to the completely wrong location.

Users, it turns out, aren't fond of having something they're used to taken away and replaced with a shoddy alternative. The uproar was swift and sustained--enough that Apple CEO Tim Cook released a public statement apologizing for the app's shortcoming and suggesting that users try downloading a different map app from one of their competitors.

iPhone users finally regained access to the maps they had come to love when Google released an official maps app into the iOS app store in mid-December. That's got to be a relief to Aussies, who had been warned just days before that Apple Maps' inaccurate directions could send them on a potentially-fatal trip into the outback.

Kickstarter and the meteoric rise of crowdfunding


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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