Tech round-up for July 18: Google's big fine, problem influencers, emojis take over, Medimap eases waiting

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This week, the emoji takeover, Medimap makes getting sick slightly less terrible, and the influencers need to stop influencing. But first, Google sets a record for biggest fine: US$5 million.

European Union slaps Google with massive fine

Google has “cemented the dominance of its search engine” says Margrethe Vestager, who heads up the European Commission for Competition. As such, the company has been handed a US$5 billion fine,

The commission actually found Google guilty of three types of illegal restrictions:

  • Bundling the Google search engine and other apps into the Android operating system
  • Preventing mobile device manufacturers from running variant versions of Android
  • Paying manufacturers and mobile networks for exclusivity on smartphones

This has shades of the decision against Microsoft for bundling Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer within the Windows operating system.

Those decisions led to the creation and popularization of alternatives like Firefox and Chrome.

The difference here is that Google’s advertising revenues rely on the search engine. Reducing the impact of Google’s search engine could have a profound affect on the company.

Vestager said Google has 90 days to stop or face further action. The fine could have been up to $11 billion.

Google says it will appeal the decision.

The problem with social media

Happy World Emoji Day (yesterday)

It’s almost like we’ve found ourselves in Ancient Egypt and the era of hieroglyphs. Emoji have become central to how we communicate today.

Yesterday was World Emoji Day. There are currently 1644 of them. Another 1145 include skin tone variants

Emoji were invented by Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita. The first one, in 1999, was a heart for use on pagers.

In Canada last year, Twitter determined that the most popular sport emoji was a basketball. The hockey stick and puck came second.

There was even a movie featuring emoji as characters, which may have been the worst idea for a film ever. Somehow, The Emoji Movie won Golden Raspberries for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screen Combo, and Worst Screenplay, and still grossed more than $200 million.

Reactine Canada wants you to have an allergy emoji and has started a petition by way of encouraging the Unicode Consortium to add it to the library.

Find out the wait time at your local medical clinic before you leave home

There’s nothing worse than feeling terrible and having to sit in an uncomfortable chair with a bunch of other sickos while you wait to see a doctor.

Medimap is changing that.

The online service collects information from walk-in medical clinics in Canada and gives you wait times for the clinics closest to you. More and more clinics are participating because they know first hand what it’s like to have to deal with the frustrated patient who has shown up only to find out there are no more spots open for the day.

You can’t book an appointment using Medimap, but using it means you don’t have to call the clinic and pester the overworked receptionist/nurse to ask how long the lineup is.

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