Daily Tech Headlines – July 1, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – July 1, 2016
Number 17
Broadcast Date JULY 1, 2016
Episode Length 6:57
Hosts Tom Merritt

Fatality while using Tesla autopilot, Chrome for VR, and WhatsApp funds froze.


The US National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration is investigating a crash that killed 40-year-old Ohio man Joshua Brown while driving a 2015 Tesla Model S on May 7. Tesla reported the accident because the Tesla Autopilot system was engaged at the time. It is the first known fatality in 130 million miles of Autopilot driving. A tractor trailer drove across a divided highway. It is believed that the white side of the trailer blended in with the bright sky. Neither autopilot nor the driver engaged the brakes. Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the truck told the Associated Press said he could hear a Harry Potter movie playing in the car and that Brown, "went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”
Road to VR notes that the latest version of Chrome Beta for Android now has a WebVR setting to display Web VR standard websites. Back on June 15 François Beaufort posted that Chrome Dev for Android had a VR Shell meant for Cardboard and Daydream users, although it's not yet functional. The shell will accommodate non-VR sites too so you don't have to take off the headset to view them.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury found Oracle liable for $3 billion in damages to Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In 2011, Oracle decided to stop developing software for systems running on Intel's Itanium architecture, which HP asserted was a breach of contract. Oracle agreed to continue supporting the chip in 2010 and told the jury that it had re-introduced the platform and would include support for it in future updates. Oracle intends to appeal the decision.
Reuters passes along reports from Brazil's G1 news service that a judge in Brazil's southern Paraná state froze Facebook bank account holdings of 19.5 million reais ($6.07 million) after its messaging company WhatsApp failed to turn over messages relating to an ongoing cocaine smuggling case. A Brazilian judge shut down WhatsApp for 24 hours in a similar case earlier this year though the shutdown was overturned after 24 hours. WhatsApp maintains it does not store messages and cannot read any messages on the system because they are encrypted.
Facebook's David Marcus posted Thursday about updates for Messenger's chatbot platform. Quick replies will show at the bottom of chat with pre-populated text options the bot will recognize. Developers can include a persistent menu for frequently used functions. Users can now rate bots and provide feedback to developers. And user's can link their accounts to a company's chatbot to allow for "a deeper and more personal experience". Finally bots can now send audio, video, "files", and GIFs, which Facebook is somehow assuming won't be immediately annoying.
The Wall Street Journal reports its sources say Apple is in talks to buy the Tidal music service. Musician Jay Z purchased Tidal in 2015. The talks may not lead to a deal. Tidal executives have denied an acquisition is being discussed.
Starting Friday, Amazon Prime Video will be the sole streaming providers of PBS Kids, with much of the channel's content being removed from Netflix and Hulu. All titles, including "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur," and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” will all still be available on local PBS stations, on PBS’s website and the PBS Kids Video app. Amazon will get streaming rights 6-months after shows premiere on PBS. The exceptions? “Super Why!” stays on Netflix; “Sesame Street” on HBO “Curious George” on Hulu; and “Thomas and Friends” will remain available on Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.
BMW, Intel, and Mobileye announced a collaboration Friday to bring a fully autonomous car called the iNext to market by 2021. The three companies also want to make an open platform with other automakers. The plan is for the platform to support level 3 to level 5 driving. Level 3 can hand control to a human in seconds. Level 5 can complete an entire journey with no human control.
Facebook added a few features to its website today. A new tool lets you create personal fundraisers for verified charities without sending donors off Facebook to complete transactions. The tool is available to 1% of US users to start. Facebook takes 5% of funds raised, the rest goes to the charity. Facebook also introduced an option to translate posts in up to 45 different languages selected from a pulldown menu. The company's AI then decides what language to display to which user. The feature is being tested with a small group of users.
At an intellectual property conference it’s hosting in Hangzhou, Friday, Alibaba introduced a new system to track and remove fake goods. The “IP Joint-Force System” is meant streamline communication between brands and Alibaba, simplifying the removal of suspected counterfeit goods. Alibaba was expelled from the Washington-based International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition earlier this year on the wishes of luxury goods makers.
All-electric Formula E racing wraps up its second season this weekend with a pair of races around Battersea Park in London. Faraday Future announced Friday it will become a technical parter with and stakeholder in Jay Penske's Dragon Racing team. The newly-named Faraday Future Dragon Racing will debut in season three's opener in Hong Kong this October. Farday Future's funder, LeEco will have a role in sponsorship as well.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – June 30, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – July 1, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – July 4, 2016"