Hashtag Trending December 31 – Privacy Search Engine Boom; Apple Raises Salaries to Retain Talent; The James Webb Telescope lifts off

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DuckDuckGo sees a major increase in search queries, Apple hands out bonuses to its engineers, and NASA makes history on Christmas Day.

It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. Today is Friday, December 31, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

internet search engine DuckDuckGoDaily search queries have exceeded 100 million. It has increased by nearly 47% this year. While Google remains the dominant search engine, many people are experimenting with DuckDuckGo due to its privacy features. According to a report by Spread Privacy, Google tracks users when they use its search engine, unlike DuckDuckGo. Additionally, DuckDuckGo’s Android ecosystem includes “App Tracking” protection, which prevents the use of third-party trackers.

In an effort to retain talent and ward off competition, Apple Inc. issued unusual and large stock bonuses to some engineers. The surprise bonuses ranged from around $50,000 to $180,000. According to Bloomberg, several of the engineers received sums of around $80,000, $100,000 or $120,000 in stock. Recently, Meta and Apple have engaged in a talent war, with Meta having hired about 100 engineers from Apple over the past few months. However, Apple also took over some former Meta employees. This competition is most likely due to both companies planning to roll out augmented and virtual reality headsets as well as smartwatches in the coming year.

And finally, on Christmas morning, history was made with the James Webb Telescope launched into space. The Webb Telescope will be able to peer into the deepest abysses of our universe. It also has the ability to prove whether we have correctly documented the events that took place immediately after the Big Bang. More importantly, the Webb Telescope is equipped with a Near Infrared Camera or NIRCam, a primary imager capable of detecting the first stars and galaxies to form. What’s more, according to a CNET article, the telescope’s soft launch that happened Dec. 25 could help it stay in orbit for more than a decade.

And now for something a little different. After finding out how much it would cost to repair his Tesla vehicle, a Tesla owner decided the next thing to do was blow up the car out of spite. Tuomas Katainen blew up his 2013 Tesla Model S after learning he would have to pay $22,600 for a complete battery replacement. His car started showing errors after only 1000 miles. A repair shop kept the Tesla for a month and was told the only solution was to replace the entire battery. So, Katainen decides to blow up the car and make an explosion video for YouTube. Many cameras have been installed to capture the explosions in detail as well as slow motion functions.

It’s all the technological news that is in fashion at the moment. Hashtag Trending is part of the ITWC Podcast Network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefing or Google Home daily briefing. Be sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters straight to your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or advice, write to us in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening to me, I’m Tom Li.


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