In this week’s digital news, Facebook removes a critical ad, Microsoft confirms expansion of Xbox live, Japan announces Toyota moon rover, and more.
Facebook removes critical Elizabeth Warren ad
Facebook removed and then restored an advertisement from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign that sharply criticized Facebook and other tech companies. Warren has made breaking up Facebook, Google, and Amazon a major platform point of her campaign thus far. The ad said the three tech companies have “used our private information for profit,” and absorbed all of the competition. A Facebook spokesperson said the company originally removed the ad because it violated Facebook’s restrictions by modifying their logo. Once attention shone on the removal of the ad, Facebook restored it. The social network filters through millions of posts, videos, ads and other pieces of content. And this filtration process uses a combination of human and software intervention. For that reason, it’s unclear whether a human actor deleted it or not. Either way, it doesn’t look good for Facebook, especially considering the critical nature of the ad in the first place.
Xbox Live will come to iOS and Android
Microsoft announced plans to bring the full Xbox Live experience to iOS and Android. Xbox Live will expand from around 400 million Xbox and PC gaming devices to more than two billion devices. The update falls under a larger program called Microsoft Game Stack. This program’s dedicated to expanding the offering of cloud-based tools for game developers. Under Game Stack, Xbox Live will expand its cross-platform capabilities and introduce a new software development kit as well. “People should have the freedom to play the games they want, on the devices they want, with the people they want,” said Kareem Choudhry, corporate VP of gaming cloud at Microsoft. “We are here to empower game devs to build the game of their dreams, and we will support them on whatever platform they choose.”
Japan’s moon rover will be made by Toyota
Japan and Toyota are going to the moon hand-in-hand. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced this week that they’ve teamed up with Toyota to develop a rover. As of now, the device should land on the lunar surface in 2029. The six-wheeled rover will be able to carry two humans for a distance of 10,000 km. Plus, it’ll use solar power and Toyota’s fuel cell technology. With about 13 square meters of space, the astronauts will be able to take their suits off inside the vehicle. This element makes the endeavor especially unique, as astronauts can live in it without having to wear spacesuits. “Manned rovers with pressurized cabins are an element that will play an important role in fully fledged exploration and use of the lunar surface,” said JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa.
Google killed 2.3 billion ‘bad ads’ in 2018
Google released its annual report of “Bad ads,” or those that violate Google’s advertising policies. These advertisements typically include fraud, phishing scams, and malware. And the ads can be one-off accidents or coordinated scam campaigns. Over the past year, Google’s ad team killed 2.3 billion bad ads. Interestingly enough, this number is actually lower than that of the previous year, when it removed 3.2 billion bad ads. One factor is that Google now goes after the bad actors behind the ads, rather than just deleting the ads. Google uses “improved machine learning technology” to identify and terminate these bad advertiser accounts and publishers. In total, they deleted 1 million bad advertiser accounts in 2018, which is double the number in 2017. By getting to the root of these bad ads, Google arguably makes a bigger impact.
Nuro expands Kroger driverless deliveries to Houston
Self-driving car company Nuro announced that its partnership with Kroger grocery stores will expand to Houston, TX. The service debuted in Scottsdale, Arizona last August, and now it’ll reach further south. Utilizing Nuro’s custom vehicle, the R1, the company will service four Texas zip codes. The zip codes are located near two key Kroger locations. Integrated with Kroger’s website and app, users can order groceries seven days a weeks starting later this spring. And the best part? The service charge is only $5.95. Store employees load the groceries into one of several compartments in the cars, and vehicles hit the road. They can’t go above 25 mph, and for now they’ll be escorted by human-driven cars. Once the car arrives, the orderer uses a biometric authentication system built into the car to retrieve their goods.
Published on March 15, 2019