Technological World for December 4: Brin and Page step down from Alphabet, Twitter pauses plan to reclaim accounts, Columbia's Star Wars parkas, PlayStation is 25

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This week, Twitter delays a plan to delete dormant accounts, Columbia’s new Star Wars parkas, and Sony’s PlayStation turns 25. But first, the founders of Google are stepping down from their management roles of Alphabet.

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page step down from Alphabet management roles

In a surprise move on Tuesday (December 3), Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the two who founded Google and birthed a tech empire, announced that they were giving up their roles as president and CEO, respectively, of Alphabet.

That was the company created in 2015 to be an umbrella over Google, YouTube, and the other tech products and services like Maps, Chrome, Google Cloud, and Waymo.

In a letter published at the Google blog, the two wrote, We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company.”

The two haven’t been in the public eye lately, and analysts that follow the company aren’t as suprised by this move as the rest of the world.

And the two aren’t going anywhere. “We are deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders,” they wrote. “In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we’re passionate about!”

In a release announcing that he was now the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai was quoted as saying, “I’m excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Larry and Sergey in our new roles. Thanks to them, we have a timeless mission, enduring values, and a culture of collaboration and exploration. It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build.”

This is also a time of scrutiny of Alphabet and its companies. While YouTube is challenged to reign in unacceptable content, Google is under threat by its own employees who are reacting to the businesses it works with and issues of endemic sexual harrassment.

The combined net worth of Brin and Page is reported to be more than $100 billion dollars.

Twitter pauses plan to reclaim Twitter handles

Last week, Twitter announced that it was going to start reclaiming dormant accounts. But the company was alerted to a use case they hadn’t considered and they’ve since postponed the plan.

The purge was to begin this month, but when Twitter was asked how it would handle memorial accounts, which are accounts created by people who have died that are kept open in the interest of history and posterity, company representatives admitted they hadn’t considered that.

“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased,” the company said in a statement. “This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.”

Clearing out accounts that aren’t being used is good and proper maintenance, and has been a long time in coming, so once they’ve figured out how to identify and preserve the memorial accounts, this will happen.

The company isn’t trying to take anything away from users and they’ve been clear that you don’t have to be actively posting to keep your account if you only use it to lurk. All you need to do is log in with your username and password to keep the registration active.

If you want to keep accounts like this active, all you need to do is set a reminder to log in to them every six months.

New Star Wars parkas from Columbia will keep you warm, dry, and let you show your allegiance

Whether you side with the Rebels or the Empire, if you’re a Star Wars fan, Columbia’s got a winter jacket for you. Just in time for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker.

The new Challenger Jackets, which go on sale at 9 p.m. PT this Friday (December 6), are priced at $249 CAN. They come in black, for the Imperialists, and in grey, for the Rebels. Each style also has a chest patch with the appropriate corresponding insignia.

The jackets feature details in Aurebesh, the primary language of the universe, including the ID numbers for Luke Skywalker’s X-wing fighter and the Death Star.

They are also fully featured Columbia jackets that are both waterproof and breathable, and with multiple pockets and an adjustable hood.

It’s the 25th anniversary of PlayStation

Sony is celebrating 25 years of play.

On December 3, 1994, the first PlayStation console was released for sale in Japan. A quarter of a century later, the gaming business is one of Sony’s most robust and consistent. The PS2 sold over 150 million units and the PS4 is closing in on 103 million.

The PlayStation 5 console is only a year away, and some of the best games of the past decade are exclusive to the platform, including the Last of Us, God of War, and Uncharted franchises, and games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Marvel’s Spider-Man that are expected to have sequels.

PlayStation changed the video game industry.

Game Informer has a great feature on the history of PlayStation in the words of the people who were there, including Ken Kutaragi, who was tasked with building the video game business within Sony.

Originally, the first console was going to be the Nintendo PlayStation. But at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991, Nintendo surprised everyone by announcing that it would partner with Philips instead.

There’s also a 30-minute documentary on the early days from Polygon.

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