Big Tech &
Google Maps AR Navigation comes to iPhones and Android devices (2 minute read)
Google Maps AR Navigation is finally out of testing and will be launching in beta on Android devices and iPhones. Live View will be able to more accurately determine the direction that the phone is facing while also giving more information about the location through an augmented reality interface. Maps will be able to determine the direction that the camera is facing by matching existing image data with the camera feed. The augmented reality overlay will show directional arrows in the camera feed for clearer navigation. The new Maps feature will roll out to Android and iOS devices that support ARCore and ARKit.
Google will start surfacing individual podcast episodes in search results (3 minute read)
Individual podcast results will start showing up in search results in Google, and the feature will soon be implemented into Google Assistant as well. Google has been automatically transcribing all the podcast episodes that it finds and has indexed over 2 million shows. It uses certain signals to determine which shows will be displayed first in search results, such as how many people listen to the show or whether the show comes from a publisher with a lot of authority. Podcasts have always lacked discovery tools, but this new functionality may change how people find new shows. Shows may also start changing their formats in order to become more visible to the search engine, similar to how websites compete with search engine optimization.
Optimus Ride’s Brooklyn self-driving shuttles begin picking up passengers this week (2 minute read)
Optimus Ride is set to become the first commercial self-driving service in New York. It will be used in a restricted private commercial development, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has 300 acres of space. The vehicles are fitted with six seats across three separate rows. Optimus Ride's shuttles have been running across a range of locations including Boston, California, and Massachusetts. It will still be a long time before fully autonomous driving can be mastered, but success in controlled environments on a smaller scale can bring in revenue while offering value to paying customers at the same time.
Scientists develop 'artificial tongue' to detect fake whiskies (3 minute read)
A team of scientists based in Scotland has created a device that can detect fake whiskeys and scotches. Called 'The Artificial Tongue', the technology works by measuring the wavelengths of light from special arrays which change depending on what liquids surround the arrays. Although the different drinks have similar chemical compositions, the way that the device is designed allows it to identify each drink as a separate entity. The technology could eventually be used to identify poisons, for quality control for production lines, and for the environmental monitoring of rivers.
Programming, Design & Data Science
GitHub Actions now supports CI/CD, free for public repositories (5 minute read)
GitHub Actions is an API for cause and effect on GitHub. Developers can orchestrate any workflow, based on any event, and GitHub will manage the execution and provide rich feedback while securing every step along the way. After receiving feedback from developers, GitHub has implemented CI/CD for any OS, any language, and any cloud. GitHub Actions is currently in beta and will be generally available on November 13.
electron-extensions (GitHub Repo)
electron-extensions allows users to use Chrome extensions APIs with Electron. All that is required to use the library is to insert a short snippet of code into the main process.
MoviePass Changed Some Users’ Passwords on Purpose So They Couldn’t Use the Service (2 minute read)
MoviePass, a movie ticket subscription service that was extremely popular in 2018, was built on an unsustainable model and it started having problems when the userbase grew too quickly. Instead of trying to offset costs, CEO Mitch Lowe ordered his employees to change the passwords of heavy-use premium users as they were costing the company too much money. This was done discreetly without the members finding out. Eventually, the company implemented an automatic shutdown system if it surpassed a certain budget on that day. The company is technically still running but it is suspected that many legal hurdles await. Some critics believe that the story behind the rise and fall of MoviePass has what it takes to be made into its own movie.