Public Opinion of Big Tech Dips; Amazon Working on Smart Fridge; EU Parliament Calls for Ban of Facial Recognition in Public Spaces; AirPod Pro and Max Get ‘Find My’ Access

The Verge has released their latest survey of 1,200 US adults, and here’s what they think of Big Tech at this point: 66% view Facebook favorably, down from 71% in 2020, compared to 79% for Apple (down 2%), 87% for Amazon (down 4%), and 90% for Google. Theverge.com has been doing the survey since 2017. This year, they added TikTok. 31% recognized the brand, but a whopping 64% of those surveyed replied that they don’t trust it. There is also an increased interest in breaking up Big Tech. This year, 61 percent of our respondents said that the government should split up tech companies if they get too big; last year, only 56 percent of people said that. 

As if the little rolling robot dog ‘Astro’ wasn’t enough, Amazon is reported to be working on a smart fridge that ‘helps’ you shop. Cnet.com says it detects your groceries through computer vision and can order more food when you start to run low. If this is introduced, ‘Whole Paycheck’ (Amazon-owned Whole Foods) could become ‘Whole Paycheck and a Loan!’ The smart fridge has apparently been in development for several years. Amazon will likely not be making a fridge, but will provide the tech to appliance makers…and they have had talks with some already. Samsung already has a fridge with computer vision which can now access Alexa. Like the food from Whole Foods, the fridge won’t be cheap, and it won’t be aimed at the low end or mass market when it eventually rolls out.

It’s showing up everywhere, and it’s controversial everywhere. Facial recognition…which some developers have claimed has accuracy in the high 90% range…but some evidence points to it not even being 80% reliable, is in the sights of the European Parliament. According to engadget.com, that body voted on a non-binding resolution 377-248 to ban the use of automated facial recognition in public spaces. The MEPs said citizens should only be monitored when they are suspected of a crime. They are also calling for EU officials to ban private facial recognition database (some law enforcement agencies in Europe are using Clearview AI‘s one), as well as “predictive policing based on behavioral data.” As the resolution is only non-binding, it won’t really have an effect right away, but is a big shot over the bow when it comes to facial recognition tech.

Apple has not integrate4d AirPods Pro and AirPods Max with their ‘Find My’ service. Appleinsider.com reports that the new firmware is being pushed out, and you may be able to set your ear buds by your phone and get the update…but it is a rolling one, so be patient. Apple notes that the ear buds only use Bluetooth, and don’t have the Ultra Wideband chip, so the location info won’t be as exact as with AirTags. You can put the AirPods into the operation alert function, so you will get a notice if you take off and leave them laying somewhere, too. One thing that isn’t clear…will it work with the ear buds themselves individually, or only the case. For example, if you happen to lose one…which happens, can you locate that one, or will Find My just home in on the case and good luck finding the lost AirPod.



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