2016’s biggest technology stories span just about every category, from politics and media to security, transportation, and health — from Facebook and Twitter’s role in the U.S. election and Apple’s high-profile brawl with the FBI to Samsung’s exploding phones and Theranos’ exploding reputation.
But our readers have unwittingly picked their own favorite technology stories on VB. Here’s a shortlist of our most popular posts published in the year 2016, as determined by your taps and clicks.
While the recording and motion picture industries wage a perpetual holy war on file-sharing services, news of torrent directory KickassTorrents‘ mysterious downtime dominated our traffic this year as it outgrew the Pirate Bay.
To say 2016 was a big year for Pokémon is putting it mildly. The $45 billion franchise celebrated its 20th anniversary and Niantic released Pokémon Go. The smartphone app, with its distinctly lightweight augmented reality gameplay, attracted so much attention that Niantic’s servers crashed repeatedly.
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
To my surprise, Samsung’s exploding Note 7 smartphone didn’t top our list of most-read stories. Instead we have Evan Blass’ Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge scoop from January, where he revealed the smartphones in detail for the first time.
Another surprise: Amazon’s brick-and-mortar grocery store with no checkouts made it on our list with just three weeks to spare. Yes, it was yet another year-end marketing ploy from Amazon, but Amazon Go may have some substance to it. The company says it will open its first “Amazon Go” store early next year.
Minecraft, Overwatch, and …
Google and Urban Engines
Urban Engines was founded to make the real world as easy to navigate “as our web world.” Two years later, Google bought it. The startup joined Google’s maps team in September to “help organizations better understand how the world moves.”
A robot solves a Rubik’s Cube in 1 second
I’ll just leave this right here.
Domino’s pizza bot
Chatbot technology has a lot of growing up to do, but this year we saw a huge surge of interest in niche, single-purpose bots. Domino’s pizza-ordering bot topped our list, and it makes pretty good sense, as ordering pizza is generally a good idea — but do we have to get Domino’s?
Google hasn’t had a lot of luck with hardware. Aside from a few wins (Chromebooks and Chromecasts), the company is still pondering its strategy. Google’s new Pixel phones, however, pack plenty of promise. They’re the first devices to ever carry the “by Google” tagline … even though they’re actually made by HTC. This year, VentureBeat’s Emil Protalinski and Jordan Novet called the Pixel XL “the best Android phone money can buy.” There’s just one problem: “the Pixel perfectly presents Google’s messaging app disaster,” writes Protalinski. His critique is worth a read.