Google goes to Washington, Instagram unfriends fakes and Apple wants to increase diversity: What you need to know

Mindset Digital
Mindset Digital // December 3, 2018

Our roundup brings you a list of curated content in social, technology and Mindset Digital happenings from need-to-know to silly social trends.

Last week in social…

Instagram cracks down on fake followers. Tired of all the fake friends in your life? So is Instagram. The platform is coming down hard on “inauthentic followers and likes,” in particular those that come from less-than-legit third-party tools that inflate your online presence. Twitter undertook a similar purge earlier this year, and it’s hard to argue with the results: despite losing a million users they managed to post record profits. Turns out making a social media platform a more enjoyable place is a winning customer strategy. (via Social Media Today)

Snap to give spectacles another go, this time with two cameras. Reports surfaced this week that Snap is planning on releasing a new dual camera version of Spectacles, the camera-on-a-pair-of-sunglasses device they released in 2016, and which I bought for my teenage daughter and she has used exactly once, but no hard feelings, #regrets. Snap overestimated the demand for v1 Spectacles, and reportedly was left with $40 million of unsold inventory. But with two cameras, Snap will be able to create AR lenses and 3D photo effects using the glasses. So maybe that’s what the issue was. (via Cheddar)

Instagram wyd?? Glad to see we’re not the only ones who spent the past week committing this faux pas. The new Quick Reactions feature to Stories is meant to be a helpful AI time-saver (we guess?), but its screen placement that pops up immediately when you put your finger on the “Send message” area means that in practice you can very easily send out a random emoji thanks to some careless thumbing. And if your luck is like ours, 99% of the time it will be to someone you’re barely acquainted with online.

 

Last Week in Tech…

Google gets its turn in the congressional hot seat. CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before Congress in December, according to news outlets. This will be his first hearing with lawmakers in what has shaped up to be a busy (and often contentious) year for tech companies on Capitol Hill. Executives from Twitter and Facebook met with lawmakers previously in September. Pichai will speak with the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to ask a number of questions around alleged bias in Google’s algorithm. (via the Washington Post)

Apple to launch coding camps for women-founded startups. The program will be a two-week technology lab held on Apple’s Cupertino campus. Participants can expect to receive mentorship, inspiration and insights from top Apple leaders, according to the company. The program is still very much needed in the industry: women receive far less venture capital, and make up less than a quarter of the workforce at tech giants like Apple and Google. (via Fast Company)

Ohio will accept tax payments in bitcoin. Cryptocurrency news from our own backyard: Businesses in Ohio will be able to pay their taxes in bitcoin—the first state in the country to do so. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said in a statement that this is a way for the state to plant a flag in the cryptocurrency space. But given the recent price fluctuations, including a massive decline in value, it’s just as likely that the state finally saw this as a good deal. And don’t expect the government to start speculating anytime soon: payments are immediately converted to USD before being deposited into a state account. (via Mashable)

 

Last Week at Mindset Digital…

In our latest podcast, Mindset Digital’s learning guru Mike Taylor shares some top takeaways from this year’s #DevLearn conference in Las Vegas, including why you should run your elevator pitch past a four-year-old.

 

Thank you, Internet!

Whoever said we’ve reached peak Internet of Things clearly peaked too soon. Because this holiday season, you can order your very own Alexa-enabled Big Mouth Billy Bass:

The new Billy Bass can set timers, answer questions, play music and remind visitors to your home that fine art never goes out of style. But it’s not a standalone Alexa substitute: you’ll need to connect to an existing Echo device in your house.

Developer Brian Kane first connected his Billy Bass to the Alexa API back in 2016. (With all the wires coming out of his hacked fish, the original video has a nice and/or terrifying Frankenstein quality to it.) But this new model comes with the official “Alexa Gadget” certification. And really, if you’re going to buy an Alexa-enabled Big Mouth Billy Bass in 2018, you might as well get the best, right?

(via the Verge)

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Matt Weiner and Pete Brown contributed to this week’s roundup.

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