SRAX Recap: Puma recruits beta testers, Google partners with YouTube Music, Social networks reveal new code of practice for minors

In this week’s digital news, Puma announces testing period for self-lacing sneakers, Google reveals free music streaming feature on smart speakers, Facebook and Instagram place new like restriction on minors, and more.

Puma recruits beta testers for new self-lacing sneakers

Puma recently announced plans to recruit beta testers for their new “Puma Fi,” self-lacing sneakers. After teasing the public earlier this year, Puma opened an official application period for the “Puma Fi beta testing program.” Individuals willing to test their luck can access the application via the PUMATRAC app. Applicants will input shoe size, smartphone model, list their active interests, and provide general thoughts on Puma Fi’s adaptive technology. Unfortunately, the program restricts those who do not live in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, India or Turkey. Chosen participants receive the Fi sneakers in return for providing subjective feedback until the Spring 2020 launch.  The application process is currently open, with the deadline set for April 28th.

Via Pexels

YouTube Music now free on Google Home devices

Google shared the news yesterday that Google Home owners will have access to free music via YouTube Music. Owners of other Google assistant devices, such as those from JBL, Panasonic, Sony, and more will have access to the free music service as well. The free service includes ad support and will only be available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and parts of Europe. To enable the free music service, users just need to go to the “Account Settings” section on the Google Home app. From there, users can tap Services, Music, and select “YouTube Music” as default. Like most voice commands on Google devices, users only need to say “Hey, Google,” before requesting any music or mood. Though it’s wise to be aware that the free music version does not take particular music requests for on-demand streaming. Users will have to upgrade to YouTube Music Premium for $9.99 a month to get full functionality.

Facebook and Instagram may be forced to remove likes for minors

News broke out earlier this week that new privacy laws may force social networks to restrict minors from liking posts. A code of practice, drafted by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), aims to help protect children’s safety online. One major motivating factor behind the legislation is a desire to discourage tech companies from using “nudge” techniques.” These techniques often encourage minors to give unnecessary personal data, and weaken or turn off their privacy protection. The new code could force social networks such as Facebook and Instagram to remove likes for minors on posted content. It would also affect Snapchat’s “Streaks,” which encourages users to snap back and forth every day. However, people will have the opportunity to offer feedback and have a say in the code‘s approval before its passage.

Via Pexels

Researchers use drones to detect potential road maintenance needs

Researchers revealed a new use for drones, and it’s probably not what you’d expect. These new drones will be able to observe streets, freeways, and detect various road maintenance hazards. Hazards such as potholes, cracks, and other road damage. The framework of the research involves a high-tech “stereo vision system,” defined as the algorithm that extracts 3D depth information from images and captures a reference view. From there, a “disparity map” renders. Which develops based on the imbalance shown between the reference image and “real-time snaps” of the road. As a result, the damaged areas became easier to spot. With major developments such as this road maintenance application, it’s no stretch to say the commercial drone industry will continue growing at a faster rate than ever before. And with incredibly useful applications like the aforementioned, that accelerated rate is a welcome development.

iOS 13 will reportedly add Dark Mode, Undo Gesture, and Mail categories

Details about  Apple’s iOS 13 update leaked a monthly early to the public earlier this week. The leak gave users insight on new expected features for devices, such as Dark Mode, an Undo Gesture, and Mail categories. The system-wide Dark Mode feature will work like the Dark Mode features offered on various other apps. Twitter pioneered the concept recently, and Facebook has now added the feature for its messaging platform. The addition will help conserve energy and reduce the amount of blue light emitted, which often causes eye strain. To start the Undo feature, users will activate a three-finger tap on the keyboard. Once activated, users can move left to undo or right to redo, in what’s essentially a back-and-forth motion. Lastly, the mail app will offer users the ability to categorize messages such as travel, purchases, read later, and not important. The iOS 13 beta stage will  begin around June 3rd, with the possibility of more updates to come.


Published on April 19, 2019

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