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Latest by Lulu Chang

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Blue Origin eyes a date for the sale of tourist spaceflight tickets

Blue Origin is moving toward the day when it'll begin taking paying customers to the edge of space. With successful testing of its Blue Shepard reusable rocket continuing, a company executive has revealed that it plans to start taking bookings for the experience next year. The price, however, is yet to be set.

Split your Uber charges with friends more easily than ever with Venmo

After noting that more than six million Venmo transaction descriptions included the word, "Uber," the PayPal-owned app, Venmo, decided to help users cut down on the number of steps needed to repay friends. Soon, you'll be able to use a Venmo account to pay for your Uber ride or Uber Eats purchase.
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Samsung brings 400 new jobs to South Carolina with a new customer care center

Samsung customer service is getting a major upgrade. On Thursday, the South Korean technology company announced the opening of a new "consumer care center" located in Greenville, South Carolina. The enormous facility spans nearly 35,000 square feet and is slated to create 400 jobs.
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The Brava Smart Oven cooks with light (and costs about $1,000)

Cooking with fire was so 600,000 years ago. These days, you're cooking with light. At least, that is, if you're cooking with Brava and its new Pure Light Cooking technology, a new culinary methodology that harnesses light as an energy source to help you prepare delicious (and nutritious) meals.
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Amazon Alexa enrolls in Northeastern, where she’ll serve as a study buddy

For students at Boston's Northeastern University, Amazon's virtual assistant is much more than a helper around the house -- she's also lending a hand in college. While she likely won't help anyone ace an organic chemistry test, she can help busy students keep track of other important information.
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A few seconds cost an Apple store $27,000 worth of stolen merchandise

It took just seconds for a team of four thieves to make off with $27,000 worth of Apple products over the weekend. In the crime, the team of bandits ripped out electronics that were tethered to display chargers from tables across an Apple store in Fresno, California.
Sonos One

Only newer Sonos models will get AirPlay 2, but that’s not as bad as it sounds

Last year, Sonos announced that it would be bringing support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 to its multiroom wireless speakers. Now the company has clarified that while newer models like the Sonos One will get support, older models like the Play:1 don’t have the horsepower necessary to use it.
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Breathing better can be a breeze with the latest air quality monitor from Awair

You can't see the air you breathe, but a good air quality monitor can provide you with the vision you never thought you'd have. And if that air quality monitor is from Awair, you're likely in particularly good hands. The Awair 2nd Edition promises to be a new and sophisticated solution for your home.
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Augmented reality is coming to Facebook — in the form of advertisements

Augmented reality is coming to Facebook, but perhaps not in the way that you would have wanted. The social media giant announced at a media event on Tuesday, July 10 that it has begun testing AR advertisements within its newsfeed in order to prepare for the approaching holiday shopping season.

Building a new home in the U.K.? You may have to install an EV charging station

This week, the U.K. government unveiled a new plan to create a more environmentally friendly future, and make the nation "the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle." One of the key proposals involves requiring new homes to come with built-in electric vehicle charging stations.
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Want to burn Sonic the Hedgehog into your morning meal? Sega can help

Sega, the Japanese video game company, is branching out of games and into home appliances by way of a toaster that burns an image of Sonic the Hedgehog directly into your morning meal. Because nothing says good morning like a piece of slightly overcooked (but impressively artistic) bread.
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Amazon Prime Day 2018 is coming to Whole Foods Markets, too

The magic of Amazon Prime Day isn't being relegated exclusively to Amazon's online home. Rather, you'll be able to exercise your Prime membership benefits at brick and mortar stores, too. This Prime Day, Amazon members who spend $10 in Whole Foods will receive $10 in Amazon credit, among other benefits.

Apple’s HomePod only makes up 4 percent of the smart speaker market

Canalys recently published new data about the burgeoning smart speaker market, and revealed that Apple's HomePod, once a highly anticipated competitor to the Google Home and Amazon Echo lines, isn't catching on quite the way the Apple hoped. The HomePod only makes up about 4% of market share.
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Smart home devices are being used in domestic abuse, report finds

A disturbing new trend leverages smart devices as tools of abuse, with some ill-intentioned users (not even hackers), using their smartphones in order to remotely control locks, speakers, thermostats, lights, and the like, and wreak emotional havoc on those within the home.
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Uber rolls into electric scooter market with investment in Lime

Just a few months after acquiring electric bicycle company Jump Bikes, Uber has made yet another strategic investment in a two-wheeled startup. The San Francisco-based tech giant announced a new investment in Lime, the electric scooter company, as part of a $335 million financing round.

Google offers giant discounts on speakers and phones during its summer sale

Amazon Prime Day is fast approaching, but don't think that Amazon is the only online giant putting on a massive summer sale. Not to be outdone, Google is throwing a price-slashing party of its own, and is cutting the prices of some of its most popular flagship products, including the Pixel and Home.
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Anthony Levandowski, fired by Uber, to start another self-driving car company

Anthony Levandowski has now begun yet another self-driving car company called As it stands, the firm remains in stealth mode, so we don't know all too much about these new efforts -- yet. However, we do know that the company has ambitious goals, and that it's currently looking to hire engineers.

Northern white rhinos could be saved from extinction by a lab-grown embryo

A few months ago, the last male northern white rhino died, and with him went hopes of preserving the critically endangered species. But now, it seems as though the fate of the rhino may not be so grim after all. Scientists have recently revealed that they have managed to grow embryos containing his DNA.
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Bixby is bringing up-to-date sports scores to Samsung phones with TheScore

This week, TheScore announced it will be bringing live sports scores and news from top sports leagues like the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, and EPL to Bixby. While this may not seem like much, the move does represent an attempt by Samsung to make Bixby more applicable to users' lives, which has been a challenge.
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Skype introduces read receipts, but don’t worry, you can disable them

There's now another medium through which you can exercise your passive-aggressive tendencies (or just generally let folks know that their messages aren't going into the void). Skype has announced that its latest version (Skype 8.26.76) will finally include read receipts. It's currently available to Insiders.
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Google Duplex could have a new job — taking the place of humans in call centers

Google may be looking for more commercial ways to employ its A.I. assistant -- not Google Assistant, but rather Google Duplex. According to a report from The Information, Duplex could be replacing human callers, for better or for worse. They could serve as telemarketers and as customer service agents.
Apple Music

New leader alert — Apple Music is now beating Spotify in U.S. paid subscribers

As of this week, Apple Music has allegedly surpassed Spotify when it comes to the number of U.S.-based subscribers, and its lead if expected to grow by Christmas. According to sources who spoke anonymously with Digital Music News, Apple Music now boasts more paying subscribers than its main competitor.

Tinder rolls out its new video-looping feature, Loops, across the world

Tinder announced it's testing a new feature that will allow users to swipe through more than photos. With "Loops," you'll be able to create a two-second loop from an existing video that you can then add to your profile. Users across the world, including folks in the U.S. and U.K., can now use the feature.
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Volkswagen will soon offer an all-electric car-sharing service called WE

Volkswagen is doubling down on an environmentally responsible future with the launch of a new car-sharing service that will exclusively utilize electric vehicles. The new program, called WE, will launch first in Germany in 2019, and then will expand to international markets the following year.
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How to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup online

The world's best soccer players (and their most rabid fans) are convening in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. If you're wondering how to catch the monthlong tournament, we've put together a simple guide for how to watch all the action online, on your mobile device, or even in virtual reality.

Is Netflix planning a new Ultra plan for 4K HDR in Europe?

Netflix is one of the most affordable methods of getting the latest and greatest video content on the market, thanks mainly to its ever-growing catalog and generally steady subscription prices.. But now, it seems that the popular service may be looking into raising costs for folks in Europe. It would cost around $20.
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Facebook accidentally unblocked people on more than 800,000 accounts

You may have though that you had permanently muted that pedantic, annoying former "friend" on Facebook by hitting the "block" button, but as it turns out, a bug in the social network had other plans for your online relationship. A hiccup in Facebook and Messenger resulted in the unblocking of annoying digital denizens.
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Hyundai is stepping up its autonomous car game with an Autotalks investment

Hyundai wants to make it easier for cars to talk to one another, and now, has put its money where its mouth is. On Tuesday, the Korean carmaker announced a partnership with Autotalks, an Israeli vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technology company dedicated to bettering  road safety. 
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GoSun Fusion combines solar power with electric heating for outdoor cooking

We're no strangers to GoSun's lineup of solar-powered ovens. The company has created and crowdfunded its unique outdoor cookware since 2013. Five years later, it's back again with its latest project. It's called the GoSun Fusion, and it goes a bit beyond solar power with its electric heating.
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SpaceX delivers CIMON, along with berries and ice cream, at ISS

CIMON is the world's first flying, autonomous astronaut assistant featuring A.I., and it's heading to the International Space Station. Dubbed "the flying brain," CIMON will work with astronauts on a number of experiments as part of broader research to find out if such A.I. technology could benefit future missions.
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Have a question? Ask it on Instagram with open-ended questions in a Story

Polling public opinion is getting easier than ever on Instagram. The photo-sharing app is constantly introducing new features, and its latest is the ability to ask questions in Instagram Stories. Users already have the option of adding yes/no polls and multiple choice questions to their ephemeral content.
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A slimmer Spotify? Music streamer tests a ‘lite’ version for Android

Having a slower network or less data on your plan will no longer stop you from accessing the most popular apps and services on the market. The latest company to introduce a slimmed down version of its mobile app is Spotify, who has recently debuted the predictably named Spotify Lite. It's much smaller than the main app
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Instagram will now tell you when ‘you’re all caught up’ with your feed

Some will find it reassuring, others absolutely essential. We're talking about a new feature being tested by Instagram that lets you know when you've scrolled through all of the content posted in your feed in the previous 48 hours. So you don't have to worry about missing anything.

Tinder is making it safer than ever for you to keep swiping

Tinder has now finally encrypted the photos you send on the popular dating app. In a letter to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Tinder's parent company Match Group announced that it had implemented changes to ensure that photos sent between Tinder's servers and the mobile app are now encrypted.