It’s fast, global, engaged and influential – so why isn’t Twitter flying?

While Facebook and Snapchat soar, the most immediate social media channel in the world has many experts worried

How many tech companies are saddled with the problem of enjoying global fame but struggling with lacklustre performance? Not Facebook, which revealed in its results that it has nearly 1.5 billion users logging in each month around the world. Twitter, however, is an example where participation is lagging behind reputation.

The company built around text-message-length “tweets” announced in its own quarterly results last week that it has 304 million monthly active users (MAUs), who logged in at least once a month in the past quarter. That figure was up only 0.7% from the previous quarter, while the figure for MAUs in the US stayed stubbornly at 65 million.

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How Google quietly revved up its very own car company

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal the tech giant created Google Auto LLC to help develop its self-driving cars even as it courted big car makers

Google has set up its own car company. The tech giant has flirted with major car firms as it explores driverless cars but has also quietly set up its own auto company, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Google Auto LLC is headed by Chris Urmson, project lead for Google’s self-driving cars. Urmson has been on a charm offensive with the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. At the North American International Auto Show in January, Urmson announced talks with General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Daimler and Volkswagen. In March, he told USA Today: “Making cars is really hard, and the car companies are quite good at it. So, in my mind, the solution is to find a partnership.”

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Right to be forgotten: Swiss cheese internet, or database of ruin?

Posturing over Google and the ‘right to be forgotten’ detracts from larger issues about respect for individuals v overreaching economic rights in digital space

Imagine, 25 years ago, someone telling you: we really need to redress this massive social ignorance that, when you meet someone for the first time, you don’t know everything about them. What we ought to do is assemble a giant database. On everyone.

Brilliant idea. But there are a couple of provisos, they add. This database will be sourced from whatever scraps of information are lying around about you – whether carefully crafted, or pulled from the streets. The product of your life’s work; or just some odd thing you once said or did, long ago, somewhere that the database decides to rank highly and eternally.

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On the road: Skoda Fabia – car review

‘It didn’t set my world on fire. It probably thinks setting things on fire is irresponsible’

I can seriously see the point of the Skoda Fabia. I can’t stand the convention that, as soon as you have a family, you have to start driving some lumbering bison of a car, destined to stick out in car parks and squeeze down urban roads. I would much rather drive something that looked like a hot hatch and just happened to have a bunch of people and animals in the back.

OK, the Fabia does not look like a hot hatch. It doesn’t look hot. It looks like your existing girlfriend. No, just kidding! That kind of sexist objectification has no place in car reviewing. It looks dependable and friendly, but not particularly invigorating. I’m not sure that it would wow the younger audience, but then I always think the young car buyer who has money is a figment of the industry’s imagination.

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