Amazon Robot ‘Dog’ & Flying Drone Bow; YouTube Bans ALL Content With Vaccine Misinfo; Netflix Reveals Top Shows & Movies; Twitch Adds Phone Verified Chat

Amazon unveiled several gadgets yesterday, including a robot ‘dog’ and their flying indoor drone that was announced last year. Theverge.com reports that the robot dog, dubbed ‘Astro,’ rolls around on wheels, has a screen on the front with a couple of eyes (and sometimes eyebrows), and includes a 42 inch periscope cam so you can check if the stove got left on or maybe even peer out a window. There is a little cupholder on the back that can hold 2 drinks, which can be switched out for a small shelf. The Alexa powered robot can recognize faces and is capable of mapping your house so it can be told to go to a particular room (no stairs.) The display can show info when you ask Alexa, too! You can get on the list (by requesting an invite) to get one for the princely sum of $999! One tech observer wondered if you would have sex in front of Astro….which does, of course, have cameras built in! Better flip the little robs-critter off!

Also shown was the Ring Always Home Cam. This is the little flying drone cam that can scout around your house on a preset path, or a trip can be triggered manually. It then returns to its dock to recharge. It won’t be able to record video when docked, or fly up and down stairs or be directed remotely…which Amazon claims is for security and privacy reasons. Something I thought of…not unlike the nooky in front of Astro issue…what if you have cats? After initially being freaked out by the noise, that little drone cam will seem more and more like a little birdie to cats. You may come home to find your $250 flying Amazon toy in pieces all over the floor! You can also request an invite to buy the Always Home Cam. 

YouTube haș finally banned ALL videos containing misinformation about vaccines which are currently approved and administered by local health authorities or the WHO. According to engadget.com, this will even include prominent anti-vaxxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. YouTube claims it didn’t move to ban all anti-vaccine content sooner is because it was focusing on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Facebook formally banned vaccine info in February, and has been putting a warning up for months on any post that mentions vaccines or COVID-19. 

Streaming companies have played viewership info about shows and movies pretty close to the vest. It’s been hard to know how many eyeballs they were getting compared to TV and cable…which have ratings…and movies at theaters…which, of course have ticket sales. Now, for the first time, Netflix has put out a list of its more popular TV shows and movies. Bgr.com says the info was revealed by co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos during his talk at the Code conference this week. He even shared slides, one of which is reproduced here. Now, this only indicates people who watched the 1st two minutes of a show, and during the 1st 28 days of release…so the numbers aren’t exact, but they are the first of any kind we have had. 

Twitch has announced it is adding new channel-level security features to help curb harassment on the platform. Techcrnch.com reports that creators and moderators can now enable verified chat, which will require participants to verify their phone and/or email before they can send messages. The settings are opt in, and can be toggled to enable verified chat for all accounts, first-time chatters, those under a certain account age or ones that haven’t been following the streamer for a chosen amount of time. Creators can access these new settings by navigating to Dashboard → Settings → Moderation. Moderators can do so via “Manage Moderation Settings” in Chat.



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