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Tech News Roundup: April 21

Baidu makes its self-driving car platform open-source

In an attempt to add momentum to the development of autonomous vehicles, Baidu is opening up its platform to the motor industry. This will start with Baidu sharing its technology for restricted environments first, with plans to roll out its full stack by 2020.

Facebook is banking on augmented reality

At this week’s F8 developer conference, it was announced that Facebook is building its future plans around augmented reality, with AR glasses in the works. One speaker even went so far as to speculate that in 20 or 30 years, the ubiquitous smartphone will have been completely replaced by a stylish pair of AR specs.

Amazon has patented an automated on-demand clothing factory

Ecommerce behemoth Amazon has been granted a patent which it believes will lead to greater efficiency in the apparel manufacturing process. While the company has yet to reveal specific plans, this technology could enable Amazon to respond rapidly to new trends and quell “fast fashion” competitor brands.

Alphabet seeks 10,000 volunteers — and their health data

Verily, owned by Google parent company Alphabet, is launching a massive medical study. “Project Baseline” will collect blood samples, environmental and genetic data, and a series of medical images in an effort to expand our understanding of human health.

Google plans to include ad-blockers in Chrome

The popular mobile and desktop web browser will reportedly be updated in the coming weeks to include ad-blockers. With the majority of Google’s revenue coming from online advertising, it seems fair to say that these blockers will focus on ads that actively interrupt or aggravate the user experience.

More People Use Instagram Stories Than Snapchat

It’s official; despite being in existence for less than a year, Instagram Stories have surpassed Snapchat with around 200 million daily users. It was probably inevitable, considering the Instagram platform had a 600 million user base to begin with. The popularity of Stories only looks set to grow, with the introduction of more visually playful features.

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