Happy Thanksgiving Weekend AweTechies! As you feast with family and congregate over left overs, read up on what happened this week in tech:
Instagram Bites Off of Snapchat (Again)
It seems that the more time that passes by, the more Snapchat features IG adds to it’s platform. In a major (petty?) move meant to snuff the life out of Snap, Instagram is rolling out a live video feature and, available now is–get this–disappearing private photos and videos. For long-time Snap users, that latter should sound incredibly familiar as it pretty much is the the very foundation of the app.
Users can now send super secret, self-destructing messages and videos via Instagram Direct (i.e. “the DMs of Instagram”), to individual people or groups. Once your friend views this message in their inbox they disappear. And, just like on Snap, if someone tries any funny business and screenshots your message or tries to replay it–you’ll be notified.
The Live Video addition should look familiar to people that use Periscope, as it allows users to start a live video stream from the app. Friends are notified you’re currently live and as you’re streaming they can leave comments and heart/like your stream at will. The main difference with IG Live Video is that you can stream for up to an hour and once you’re done streaming the live story disappears from the app. You can also watch any, currently live, stories by browsing through the explore app.
Uber Let’s You Give Better Compliments To Your Driver
As a way to provide more focused feedback, Uber has added a little extra something to the rating system. After a trip is completed, riders now have the option of sending their driver a “compliment”, which is actually stickers with varying kudos such as “Excellent Service” and “Expert Navigation”. These stickers are being included on top of the feature released earlier this year which allows users to type personalized feedback to their drivers.
The new compliments are seen by the driver directly and are stored in the drivers personal feedback area of their account where they can see the good vibes rack up. While that’s all good and well I really have just one question to Uber: I know that tipping is optional and that the app is a cashless experience–but why not just add in a tipping option directly in the app like Lyft? Would probably save you guys a lot more grief in the long run.
Microsoft Dreams in VR Streams
I have to applaud Microsoft because they have been doing exceptionally well over the past couple of years in terms of innovation, especially in the virtual reality space. As part of their on-going partnership with Oculus, your Xbox One library will be able to be streamed to your Oculus Rift Headset, starting on Dec 12th.
The free app will allow the Rift to connect to your Xbox One and give you three VR views to choose from. You’ll be able to use your Oculus Rift as your display as you play games like Halo 5:Guardians, Madden, and a slew of Xbox 360 backward compatible games. And considering that an Xbox Wireless Controller comes with the purchase of an Oculus Rift, you can get nice and comfortable playing between your PC and the console. The new streaming option is a fairly big deal as VR units these days are so highly immersive that you feel that you’re honestly, truly in the game yourself.
Cyber Monday Deals
If you’re not quite into stampeding over a small child for a $10 crockpot from Walmart, Cyber Monday may be of interest to you. Long established as a way to get in on the Black Friday action without having to leave the comfort of the gravy bowl you’re swimming in; it’s usually the place to be if you’re looking for great deals for tech gadgets. There are also tons of deals on home goods, jewelry, and even food.
If you don’t know where to look or you’re not on speaking terms with Google, check this list of some Cyber Monday round-up sites to make your lazy-smart shopping even more relaxing (or stressful if you obsessively watch countdown clocks):