We regret to inform you that we have more bad news about Snap. This time it’s a lack of demand for Snap’s (we thought kinda cool!) hardware effort, Spectacles. The sunglasses come with a built-in camera for hands-free snapping—do with that what you will. Hyped up demand during a limited first run may have given Snap executives the wrong idea. They built waaaaaay too many pairs, and demand has dried up for the glasses now that they’re readily available online. One of us on the roundup beat is an admitted Snapchat partisan, but we genuinely hope this doesn’t hobble Snap Labs, the company’s hardware division. Spectacles were a quirky on-brand design, and got good reviews at the time. We’ll totally be on the lookout for discount specs during the holidays. (via Gizmodo)
From fake news to no news. Reports from foreign test markets detail an interesting—and potentially dramatic—change to Facebook’s News Feed. According to users (and later clarified in a blog post from Facebook’s Head of News Feed), Facebook is testing two separate news feeds: one for friends and family, and one for pages. It’s hard to imagine this will make organic traffic much worse for company pages, since estimates peg views as low as 2-3% without boosting posts. But while brands will likely adapt, it’s an uneasy question about what this would mean for publishers, given how many people get their news from Facebook. And it makes you wonder what the cost will be to promote stories into the friends and family feed. Which you totally know will be something they sell in 3… 2… 1… (via VentureBeat)
Double the livestreaming, double the fun on Instagram. Instagram now lets you tag in a friend to co-host your live videos. You can remove them and add new people at any time, and people who can see your guest’s videos will also be able to watch this shared video. Is this a ploy to help double engagement numbers? To get people past the awkwardness of livestreaming solo? Or will this just frustrate twice as many friends who thought they were about to watch a regular story and now they’re stuck watching your goofy livestream? Probably all of the above! (via Instagram)
Last week in technology…
Flexibility is music to our ears. Can’t—or don’t want to—decide between Amazon vs. Google in the smart speaker war? Sonos is here to help with a platform-agnostic option that will eventually support Google, Amazon and even Apple. Caveat: universal support is “on the way” (it’s just Alexa for now) and setup is more involved than plug-and-play. But the reviews are in: if you prefer a smart speaker that’s actually great as a speaker (and not just for casual listening while controlling your smart home), Sonos sure looks and sounds like the clear winner no matter your preferred tech giant. (via Select All)
Amazon has a new open door policy. In order to combat the issue of stolen packages, Amazon is introducing Amazon Key, a security system that combines a smart lock with Amazon’s Cloud Cam. The system will be able to unlock the door, so couriers will be able to place packages inside the house or apartment. The Cloud Cam will also record the entire delivery drop-off, so you can surveil—er, watch along—as deliveries arrive and leave. Amazon’s kicking things off with package delivery, but they hope to expand to more home services in the future, like housecleaning or dog walking. (via NPR)
Walmart hired some new employees. Shelf-scanning robots have popped up in the past, but now Walmart is rolling out the largest real-world test of the robots in over 50 stores. The company says the expanded trial run will complement human workers, not replace them. (For now.) And they’ll still need human technicians to help with maintenance and, of course, serve as the first line of defense against the robot armageddon once they achieve sentience. Robot duties will include checking stock levels, pricing and misplaced items. (via Engadget)
Last week at Mindset Digital…
Twitter updates, WiFi security and Google redeveloping a waterfront in Toronto? Still getting caught up on last week? Here’s your 90-second debrief so you’re up to date with those water cooler chats at work. (Or Slack chats. We’re here to help any and all tech preferences!)
Thank you, Internet!
Vulture has a fascinating oral history of David S. Pumpkins, the SNL character played by Tom Hanks that went dumbfoundingly viral approximately 1 second after airing. David S. gets an animated Halloween special treatment this year:
And in the spirit of Halloween, we thought we’d throw it all the way back to 2009 with the godfather of viral dancing pumpkin videos. (Yes, we live in a society with multiple viral dancing pumpkin videos. And “viral dancing pumpkin videos” is a collection of words that your brain actually understands. 2017, folks!)
It’s the clip that inspired the infamous pumpkin dancing man GIF, aka Pumpkinwise the Dancing Pumpkin (a name that may or may not have been made up by us). Metaphorically put your hands together for the KXVO Pumpkin Dance!
This video went so viral that America’s Got Talent called the man behind the pumpkin mask to have him audition for the show as the dancing pumpkin, but he turned them down. Pumpkin Dance has its own fascinating origin story. Check it out here.
I mean… the guy is good, but he’s no David S. Pumpkins. Let conflict rage among our Roundup contributors.
Kelly Rudolph, Matt Weiner and Pete Brown all contributed to this week’s roundup.