8 Things Likely To Happen in 2013

2012 was an exciting year for technology and the world. But it was also a year of a lot of surprises. We expect a lot to happen in 2013. Here are 8 of our predictions.

1. The world will end

The Mayans may not have had the ability to accurately predict the end of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. From Global Warming to exponential population growth, we’re all screwed. 2013 will likely be the end for us.

2. Mark Zuckerberg will come out of the closet

Let’s be honest. Mark Zuckerberg clearly has eyes for guys. Just look at his face. He’s always on the verge of spilling the news. Stop kidding yourself Zucks. There are plenty of guys out there waiting for you. Drop the beard and get out there.

3. Color app will try one more time

Color has become regarded as one of the biggest startup failures of our time, flopping after raising $41 million dollars. They launched, started over, relaunched, and just couldn’t get momentum for the life of them. Apple may have bought their talent, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. We expect a new version of Color to make its debut in 2013.

4. Zynga will launch Farmville 3, 4, and 5

Zynga has been a huge disaster in 2012. After launching their IPO and many lackluster titles, many key executives and employees left and many others were let go in a desperate attempt to salvage the company in its free-fall. Though they tried to get creative, they’ve got to stick with what works if they have a shot in recovering.

5. Facebook will look exactly the same

Oh wait! We just heard a rumor that Facebook may add another link to their sidebar! I guess it won’t look exactly the same.

6. 9,242,159 photo sharing apps will launch

After Instagram’s $1 billion buyout, and now their policy backlash, there’s a good chance we’ll see even more photo sharing apps in 2013. How many apps does it take to share a photo? Millions.

7. Red Bull will sponsor first “Moon to Earth” skydive.

Diving from space was pretty cool, but how do you top that? Diving from the moon, of course!

8. Pebble Smartwatch will get closer to shipping

The Pebble Smartwatch was one of Kickstarter’s most successful projects of all time. After pushing back their original shipment date from September to the holidays, then from the holidays to 2013, it’s pretty clear that more delays are lurking. This is what happens when we give a bunch of money to a guy with a cool idea and hope he figures out how to handle distribution and manufacturing.

 

Instagram ignites users to read others’ Policies and Terms; scary stuff everywhere

Instagram has found themselves in hot water over changes that were made to the company’s Privacy Policy this week. According to the update, Instagram now has the legal option to sell any photo shared via the service. As one might expect, this was met with fierce criticism from the community, with many users swearing to leave the service forever. This also sparked a renewed interest in the reading and understanding the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies with all web services and applications, leading to shocking discoveries everywhere.

Our first tip came from a Farmville user. Deep in the Farmville Terms of Use was this little terrifying gem.

5.1.4  In the event of a situation that is deemed appropriate by Zynga or any entity or property of Zynga, the user may be asked to forfeit any number of U.S. dollars or personal assets to Zynga, determined by Zynga, and may not be contested by the user. The user will receive written notice via mail or electronic mail, and will be required to comply within thirty (30) days of the delivery of the written notice.

According to these terms, Zynga can simply take any amount of your personal money or assets for any reason they want. They can simply say “Hey, we want $10,000″ and you’d be legally required to send them a check within 30 days. Yikes!

Another tipster sent us this horrifying section in the Privacy Policy of the new MySpace.

44.2  If a user uploads an image or piece of content to MySpace that any executive, employee, member of the MySpace Board of Directors or Justin Timberlake disagrees with or believes in any way misrepresents the vision for MySpace, the user will be required to dismember their right index finger, then package and send said index finger to MySpace Headquarters via the United States Postal Service within five (5) business days.

How did this one slip by many thousands of users already? And who did they hire as their lawyer, the guy from Saw? It’s scary to think that there are savage terms like these buried within a policy that no one reads. What else have we agreed to without our knowledge?

Probably this. A tipster sent us this paragraph from Facebook’s Terms of Use.

551.22  Facebook does not, in no way, not own your entire identity. All content uploaded to and provided to Facebook, and content not uploaded to Facebook but can be discovered through other means, including but not limited to photos, videos, messages, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, passports and credit card numbers, will not not be property of Facebook. Facebook vows to never not have the ability to do anything and everything deemed necessary with this data and content, for any reason at any time.

If you can navigate the double negatives, I’m pretty sure Facebook said that they can and will own all of your identity and will do anything they want with it at any time. That’s frightening.

I think it’s safe to say that we should all just stop clicking “I Agree” to every Terms of Use and policy and start reading these things before we all become property of Internet services.

Zynga launches Draw Something clone despite acquiring it

Zynga is widely known as the game development powerhouse behind hot Facebook and mobile games such as Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars and more. Their incredible success was highly contributed to a formula they discovered which combined two very dangerous things – addiction and virtual goods. Zynga replicated this formula many times, using the same elements of gameplay and changing the theme, ranging from kingdoms to zoos. And it worked. Zynga has even been known to use analytics to help them tweak aspects of gameplay until it reaches the perfect point of obsession and impatience, leading to uncontrollable splurging, amounting to a gazillion dollars for Zynga.

Zynga is also known for blatantly ripping off games without any shame or concern. For example, one of their first hits, Mafia Wars was an exact copy of a Facebook Game that already existed. Zynga is also currently in production of a near-identical version of the hit mobile game, Tiny Tower. The Tiny Tower developers even reacted with a sarcastic “thanks for copying our game” response. Adding to their wreckless actions, Zynga announced today that they have launched a clone of their recently acquired game Draw Something, called Whiteboardville.

Whiteboardville is Zynga’s latest addition to their mobile lineup, allowing users to take turns drawing pictures for their friends based on a word selected from a random list. So basically, Draw Something. Some users believe that Whiteboardville is Zynga’s rebranding of Draw Something. However, apparently this is not the case. We reached out to Mark Pincus, Zynga’s CEO for a response.

“Oh Whiteboardville? Yeah that has nothing to do with Draw Something. We’re letting the Draw Something team do what they do best – improve Draw Something. Whiteboardville was our way to capitalize on a completely different market – those who love drawing and spending money.”

Mark expects Whiteboardville to be a huge success for Zynga. “In Whiteboardville, we reward users based on how many pictures they draw. But, you can only draw up to 3 pictures an hour. If you want to draw more pictures, you’ll have to pay to refill your picture meter”, he said. “Our analytics show that Draw Something users draw a lot of pictures. We expect that Whiteboardville will be a huge success for us.”