Facebook is trying out a useful feature to add to their 30 day snooze feature. Instead of snoozing accounts that annoy you, you can snooze by keyword to fight spoilers for sports events, movies, and even triggers…like the names of politicians you may be fed up with seeing posts about. The test drive of this feature is rolling out this week to a small number of users, who will be able to make such things go away for 30 days in their news feeds and groups. Techcrunch.com reports you go to a post in your feed with the subject, then hit the dropdown and look for the word you want to snooze…say for example ‘World Cup.’ Facebook says requests for the feature kept coming up in interviews with users, so they’re giving it a test run.
Apple is reported to be working on a big bundle of services including original TV content, Apple Music, and news. Macrumors.com says Apple has ordered multiple original shows, so won’t continue to offer all of them for free like Carpool Karaoke on Apple Music. The news and digital magazines from Texture will also be included in the service along with Apple Music…all for one price. Apple will continue to offer all of the services a la carte, too. The original TV series are expected to roll out next March, and it’s likely the bundled service will debut at that time, too. Pricing is apparently still up in the air, but top tier Netflix is about $14, so a good guess would be something like $25 a month for the 4 bundled services.
Yesterday, Google gave some journalists the chance to demo their Duplex intelligent assistant. The AI with the human-like voice and delivery had been debuted earlier with a call to make a hair appointment at a beauty shop. According to theverge.com, this demo had reporters (actually at a restaurant in Mountain View) call a restaurant and try to book a reservation. Google says they will be expanding tests for the AI system in coming weeks with a group of ‘trusted tester users.’ The larger test will be with businesses Google has already partnered with. The test calls are limited to holiday hours, booking a restaurant reservation, and hair appointments, the only 3 domains Duplex has been trained for so far. As a backup, Google does have a bank of human operators standing by for when Duplex inevitably goes sideways.
Amazon has rolled out…in home town Seattle at first…a new delivery program, staffed by entrepreneurs decked out in Prime branded vans and uniforms. Geekwire.com notes that Amazon has already been using this type of ‘last mile’ service to supplement the post office, UPS, and FedEx, but those have been plain white vans and only in some cases, an Amazon branded safety vest. This new program lets entrepreneurs own a delivery fleet of up to 40 vehicles and field staff of up to 100 employees. Amazon requires them to offer healthcare, paid time off, and competitive wages. The online giant said entrepreneurs can get started with as low as $10,000 and earn up to $300,000 annually in profit.
Early on, it was rumored Apple may add a blue color with the iPhone 7. That’s been tamped down up to now…until pictures appeared from China Unicom. Bgr.com reports that China Unicom posted an image that actually says iPhone 7, and shows 4 different colors….including blue! The others shown are the present Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold. The graphic also shows the double sized camera opening, as has show up in a number of leaks, and believed to be from the iPhone 7 Plus or Pro.
Alphabet’s Project Wing will be allowed to test its unmanned aerial vehicles in designated areas in the US. The test flights were announced as part of a new initiative unveiled by the US National Science Foundation, which plans to spend $35 million over the next five years on unmanned flight research. This just comes after Britain gave permission for Amazon to test delivery drones there a couple weeks ago. Google has said it plans to start using drones for delivery by 2017.
No, it’s not Amazon! The first actual test of drone delivery is being launched by Swiss Post, the Swiss postal service. They’ll use the service of Matternet starting this summer. The Matternet One drone can deliver about 2.2 lbs 12 miles on a charge. Swiss Post thinks that’s enough to deliver light packages such as documents, medical supplies, and parts. Check out tech crunch.com for more.
The widely used Dropbox cloud synced storage system has already expanded into photo storage and mail. Now, they are beta testing Dropbox Notes, a collaborative note taking function. It sports a similar interface to Google Docs, and competes with that as well as Evernote. The verge.com reports that so far, it looks like a corporate focused beta, not yet available to individuals.