Tech News

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Amazon reportedly planning 3,000 cashier-less Go stores by 2021

Amazon plans to open as many as 3,000 of its cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores by the year 2021, according to a report from Bloomberg today. That would be Amazon’s most aggressive move in the brick-and-mortar space since its purchase of Whole Foods in 2016. It would also significantly alter the company’s potential offline retail success as it moves to compete with grocery stores brands like Kroger, convenience and liquor stores like CVS and 7-Eleven, and big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.

The first Go store, which use sensors and lightweight automation software to let customers shop and checkout without interacting with a human employee or kiosk, first opened in Seattle in late 2016. Since then, Amazon has studied its...

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Facebook could face EU sanctions if it doesn’t change its terms of s

Facebook could face sanctions for not complying with the European Union’s consumer rules, according to a report from Reuters today. Back in February, the company was told to change its users terms and conditions to recently updated EU standards, but it has yet to do so, the report says.

In February, Facebook changed its terms of service, but to EU officials, it wasn’t enough. “While Google’s latest proposals appear to be in line with the requests made by consumer authorities, Facebook and, more significantly, Twitter, have only partially addressed important issues about their liability and about how users are informed of possible content removal or contract termination,” the European Commission stated in a press release at the time.

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Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is joining LeBron James’ Space J

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has more than a few projects on his plate, and he’s just signed up for another: he’s producing the upcoming Space Jam sequel starring LeBron James.

The original Space Jam was a live-action / animation hybrid that came out in 1996. It featured Michael Jordan, as himself, getting recruited by Bugs Bunny to help a basketball team made up of Looney Tunes characters defeat their animated sports nemeses: a team called The Monsters. (Look, the ‘90s were weird.) Along with the familiar animated characters, the movie also featured numerous cameos from Jordan’s basketball contemporaries, and went on to gross more than $230 million worldwide.

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Amazon leak reveals upcoming Echo subwoofer and smart plug

Amazon appears to have leaked some upcoming products on its UK website. Pocket-lint spotted listings for two new Alexa items, a smart plug and a subwoofer, that appear to be going on sale soon.

The subwoofer is by far the more interesting of the two. It’s called the Echo Sub, and it can work in conjunction with one or two other Echos to improve their sound quality. If you put two Echos in a room with the Echo Sub, the leaked listing says you’ll even be able to turn them into a 2.1 stereo system, with the standard Echos acting as left and right channels — something that isn’t currently possible. That’d help the Echo catch up to the HomePod, which already offers stereo pairing, though I do question the wisdom of purchasing multiple Echos...

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Apple Music now works with Android Auto

Apple has just released an update for Apple Music on Android, and the biggest new addition is that it now supports Android Auto. So if you’re an Android user but prefer Apple’s music subscription service over Google Play Music or Spotify for whatever reason, now you can listen to it through Google’s in-car platform. Apple began beta testing the feature last month.

This also means that Apple, which has its own competing take on this whole thing with CarPlay, somehow beat YouTube Music to adding Android Auto. Not the best look for Google, but at least the company has said that a car-optimized YouTube Music experience is coming soon. And to Google’s credit, it was very fast to bring Google Maps to CarPlay soon after the release of iOS 12.

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Nest tried to hide its identity as the buyer of a promising health sta

More and more tech companies are blurring the line between gadgets and health devices. The new Apple Watch Series 4 will eventually do electrocardiograms. Fitbit just announced a fitness coaching program tailored to the health care industry that aims to “help improve wellness, disease management and prevention.” Google recently gave its Google Fit software an overhaul that awards users “heart points.” Based on an acquisition made last year, it seems Nest also has ambitious plans for the health sector.

As reported by GeekWire, communications between employees of Senosis — a health-monitoring startup that Nest quietly snatched up — and the University of Washington (where Senosis was founded) make clear that the company has something in...

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YouTube’s trending tab is there to lure in new users, not views

How important is YouTube’s trending section for getting views? According to YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl, it has less of an impact than people might believe. In an interview posted today, creator Caspar Lee and Kyncl discuss everything from monetization and YouTube’s trending section to memberships, echo chambers, and abuse. “You are getting a majority of your views through recommendations,” Kyncl tells Lee.

Unlike recommendations, which are fed to users based on what they watch, YouTube’s trending tab bills itself as “the pulse of what’s trending” on the platform. A look at the section today offers videos like the Captain Marvel trailer, clips from The Ellen Show, iPhone reviews, and a new music video from Eminem. As Lee...

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Why it matters that Bert and Ernie are gay, which they are

Can puppets have a sexual orientation? It’s a question you probably didn’t expect to be debating this week, but here we are.

In an interview with Queerty earlier this week, long-time Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman said that he wrote Bert and Ernie’s relationship — long a subject of fond, tongue-in-cheek speculation — to be that of “a loving couple.” According to Saltzman, during his 15-year tenure with the show, he modeled Bert and Ernie after his own romantic relationship with the late Arnold Glassman, even going so far as to incorporate their real-life quirks into his interpretation of the characters. Adorable!

Unfortunately, though, instead of letting this stand as a charming glimpse into the previously closeted world of...

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Fortnite’s mysterious purple cube has created a strange, bouncy lake

We finally know what happens when a mysterious purple cube comes in contact with water. Fortnite’s cube, which has been traveling across the game’s island since late August, just dropped into the scenic Loot Lake, and it’s completely transformed the location. The cube is nowhere to be seen; instead, the lake is a huge bouncy pad, rendered in the same bright shade of purple as the cube. You can see it immediately when you drop onto the island.

This isn’t the first impact the cube has had on the island. Since it started moving, the cube has created a number of anti-gravity fields, left a series of cryptic runes burned into the ground, and even destroyed a building. At one point, the cube even outsmarted its creators,...

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Alibaba will no longer bring 1 million jobs to the US, citing tariffs

Jack Ma (center) arriving at Trump Tower last year, where he made the promise to bring one million jobs to the US.

Alibaba’s founder and chairman Jack Ma says the Chinese mega e-commerce company no longer has plans to create 1 million jobs in the US, citing the ongoing trade conflict as the reason Alibaba is retracting its promise to Donald Trump. A new round of tariffs between the US and China will make mutual trade more difficult.

Ma told Chinese state-run news outlet Xinhua today that his promise was based on the assumption that the US and China would have “rational trade relations,” which is no longer the case. “This promise was based on friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations,” Ma said. “The current situation has already ruined that. There is no way to complete the promise now, but we won’t stop working hard to promote the...

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