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News & Views

Tech News Roundup: May 5

Introducing the first wearable tech that’s fully biodegradable

Planned obsolescence is part and parcel of the tech world’s hype cycle, and that can lead to millions of old devices cluttering up landfills. In a bid to reduce electronic waste, scientists at Stanford University have created the lightest, thinnest wearable device yet — and it completely dissolves if you leave it in vinegar for 30 days.

Apple’s iPhone sales drop, but services are strong

When Apple revealed its Q2 results this week, many were surprised at the slump in iPhone sales, but CEO Tim Cook believes this is merely due to a “pause” before the annual launch of the new iteration in autumn. While device sales may be down, Apple’s Services revenues are healthy, generating $7 billion last quarter.

Why isn’t Facebook building a voice-controlled assistant?

While voice recognition technology is now a given with virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, Facebook’s chatbot (named ‘M’) remains firmly text-only. Messenger’s Head of Product Stan Chudnovsky won’t rule out voice recognition in the future, but he says the team are focusing on the AI’s ability to identify and complete tasks first.

Blockchain might hold the key to stopping fake news

A new startup called Userfeeds deploys blockchain tokens to provide an “economic incentive” to ranking social content based on accuracy rather than sensationalism. Essentially, using blockchain means Userfeeds can create an audit trail, boosting transparency in the provenance of content and helping both platforms and consumers get wise to fake news.

Snapchat rolls out viewability score for advertisers

Advertising regulators recently urged social platforms to open themselves up to external audit of their ad campaigns. Snapchat is taking a step in that direction by partnering with measurement company Moat, which will determine what content warrants chargeable impressions. And since Moat is regulated by the MRC, regulatory bodies will most likely have a say on what counts as meaningful engagement.

WhatsApp’s Status feature has more daily users than Snapchat

Facebook’s plan to roll out ephemeral messaging across all of its apps, essentially edging Snapchat out of the market, seems to be doing well. The ‘Status’ feature on WhatsApp, similar to Instagram Stories, now has 175 million daily users — trumping Snapchat’s 161 million.

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