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Instagram is testing a text-based ‘Type’ feature for Stories

Instagram keeps updating its Stories feature lately with new additions to keep things interesting. The company recently added polls, a way to surface past Stories and has been experimenting with cross-posts to WhatsApp. Now, according to a report at The Next Web, the latest Stories addition is something called Type, which gives you a number of new fonts to type your message across a background or photo as part of your Story.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/instagram-testing-text-type-stories/

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Yahoo Sports teams with NBA on live games, AR and more

Verizon and the NBA are promising development for augmented reality and "other new forms of content" that will take advantage of the carrier's network. There will also be a daily highlights show as well as original sports and "lifestyle" shows drawing from the NBA's deep video catalog. And while Verizon is touting how well this will work on its service, it stresses that the content won't be carrier-exclusive. You 'just' have to visit Yahoo Sports.

The partnership will launch in earnest starting with the NBA All-Star game on February 18th.

When you combine this with Verizon's switch in NFL strategy, it's not hard to see what's happening: rather than depend on carrier exclusives to reel you in, it's betting that special offers and exclusives on Yahoo will make it a go-to destination for sports fans. There's a considerably wider audience on Yahoo (including outside of the US) than there is with a carrier-specific service, and that means considerably more potential to make money from ads.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/yahoo-sports-verizon-nba-deal/

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Huawei and its peers won’t win over the US without trust

You can almost hear the trepidation in Yu's voice as he begins. "You know today, uh ... Many people are waiting [for] me to announce that we are, uh, partnership with a carrier. Many of you guys have seen the newspapers that something is happened. That, uh, unfortunately this time, we cannot, uh, have this, uh, uh, to sell this phone, you know, from the carrier channel." Yu laughs nervously as he says this. "Everybody knows that in the US market, that, uh ... over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by the carrier channels," he adds. Whether it's due to nerves or frustration, his almost-candid rantlet is refreshing, his motivation clear. Yu has had enough.

For years, Huawei has made phones that are well-received by global and American media alike. In the US, however, the company's devices are consistently criticized for not being sold through a carrier. Like Yu says, a vast majority of phones bought in the US are from carriers, and the apparent inability to make a phone that passes stringent carrier requirements not only limits Huawei's access to American customers but also makes the company seem incompetent.

The thing is, Huawei is anything but. In recent years, its phones have greatly improved in quality, especially when it comes to design. It seemed to have finally gained enough momentum to achieve carrier buy-in, with multiple reports saying the company had clinched ATT's approval to sell the Mate 10 Pro. Yu's speech seems to confirm this, although he never mentions the reason for the dissolution of the partnership. The Information reported that political reasons were behind the last-minute pullout while Reuters said shortly after that Congress lobbied for ATT to drop the deal.

In its official statement, Huawei doesn't directly address the deal and why it fell through. "We have the strongest confidence in our products and will continue to innovate and break new ground. At the same time, we believe that U.S. consumers deserve equal opportunity and the choice to enjoy the best technology and more smartphone options through more channels, just like other satisfied Huawei users around the world," the company writes.

Huawei isn't the only major Chinese company with its eyes locked on America. Baidu, which is Google's equivalent in China, showed off a trio of smart speakers at CES, and company reps told Engadget that it definitely wants to bring its products to the US. Alibaba, also known as China's Amazon, also wants to establish a presence in America. But there are many challenges clouding these companies' ability to forecast a timeline.

In Baidu's case, tweaking its smart speakers for the US involves a complete overhaul. Its natural language interface DuerOS not only needs to be tailored for different consumer behavior but also has to learn an entirely new language (and all the associated nuances). Basically, American and Chinese people have different habits and tastes, and a product for one market cannot simply be reskinned to suit the other.

Chinese companies simply don't have a good reputation in the US.

Chinese companies also frequently have names that Americans find hard to pronounce, like Xiaomi and Huawei. This affects the consumer's ability to recall the brand when deciding what to buy, making it even more difficult for Chinese companies to appeal to the US market. The problem is so bad that Huawei has had to launch a massive ad campaign teaching Americans how to pronounce its name ("who-ah way" in Chinese, "wah-way" in Cantonese, "wow way" in the company's unfortunately inaccurate marketing material). Xiaomi, which is frequently mispronounced as "show-me" actually sounds closer to "see-ow me."

But it's not just language and cultural differences that get in the way. Chinese companies simply don't have a good reputation in the US. Right after Yu's press conference at CES, Congress quickly proposed a bill to ban government agencies from working with Huawei and ZTE. These two companies were also the subject of a 2012 report from Congress claiming they "cannot be trusted."

Huawei writes in its official statement that "privacy and security are always our first priority. We are compliant with the world's most stringent privacy protection frameworks, including all GAPP and GDPR privacy protection requirements." Both ZTE and Huawei also stated back in 2012 that they felt they were being unfairly singled out in Congress' inquiry.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/huawei-china-us-tech-trade-relations/

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Ubisoft inadvertently releases ‘Assassin’s Creed’ DLC a week early

The early access was surprising, but certainly feasible. Game studios launching DLC frequently need to prepare well in advance, such as uploading the material itself, updating store pages and patching the base game. The extra time gives them a chance to coordinate the launch and catch last-minute issues. The problem, of course, is that it theoretically takes little more than an accidental flip of the switch to spoil everything. Clearly, Ubisoft flipped that switch -- much to the delight of Origins fans who couldn't wait to see what was new.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/ubisoft-inadvertently-releases-assassins-creed-dlc-early/

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DoorDash’s delivery drivers will take restaurant leftovers to food banks

The program is rolling out in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and all restaurants have to do is take a pic of their leftover food with Feeding America's MealConnect app. MealConnect will then find a place for the food to go, like a food bank or shelter, and DoorDash will get a driver to deliver it. "It removes the donation as quickly as possible from a restaurant's kitchen so that it doesn't take up space in their storage," Justin Block, Feeding America's director of retail information services, told Fast Company. "Also, once the clock starts ticking on that donation, there's a limited amount of time for its highest and best use...we're maximizing the available shelf life of that donation so we can preserve as much of it as possible for the client to enjoy."

DoorDash is donating driver time to cover delivery costs as of now, but in the future, drivers will have to choose to donate their time, according to Fast Company. DoorDash says more cities will see Project DASH this year.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/doordash-drivers-restaurant-leftovers-food-bank/

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The most eye-catching cars and tech from NAIAS 2018 in Detroit

The North American International Auto Show's press and industry preview week is winding down, but the show is far from over. Next week the NAIAS opens to the public and if can't make it to the Mitten State yourself but still want a peek at what's tucked inside Detroit's Cobo Center, we've got you covered. HoloLens and VR? Check. A Chevy pick-up with snowmobile treads for tires? Mhrm. Same goes for a Mercedes G-Class Wagon trapped inside a brick of "amber" resin. Hell, we even got the Michelin Man to flex his muscles for a photo. There's a lot to see, so kick back, pour yourself a frosty beverage and peep the slideshow below on the biggest monitor available.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/naias-2018-photo-gallery/

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Google may be bringing its handy Smart Replies to Gboard

Smart Replies may be cold and impersonal, but they've been handy if you've just wanted to acknowledge a work message or answer a simple question. And soon, you might not even have to open the app. The 9to5Google crew has discovered code references suggesting that Gboard may soon get Smart Replies. When an app supports it (Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are a few examples), you could deliver a canned response to someone directly from a notification. As dispassionate as that might be, it could save you precious time if you just want to fire off a quick "be right there" while you're racing to a lunch meeting.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/gboard-smart-replies-leak/

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Nintendo unveils Labo, DIY cardboard add-ons for the Switch

Labo comes in standalone kits, each with an assortment of designs and parts (like rubber bands and eyelets), as well as Switch cartridges holding the software. They include sets of pre-cut cardboard sheets, so kids can just punch out the pieces and assemble their project of choice. Two are listed on Nintendo's Labo website: A $70 variety pack, which includes the aforementioned piano, motorcycle and house, as well as an $80 kit to create a wearable robot-simulating suit. While aimed at kids, there's some, uh, cross-generational appeal here (ROBOT KIT!).

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/nintendo-unveils-labo-diy-cardboard-add-ons-for-the-switch/

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Google will consider load times in mobile search rankings

The so-called 'Speed Update' will only affect pages that 'deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries,' according to Google's blog. While the search team was coy with exactly how this new factor will affect rankings, it did encourage developers to gauge their site's performance (hint hint) using the Chrome User Experience Report, the automated tool Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights.

The update applies the same standard to all pages regardless of what tech it's built with. And if it's any consolation, relevance is still king: "The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content,' according to Google's post.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/google-will-consider-load-times-in-mobile-search-rankings/

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Autoblog’s 2018 Detroit Auto Show roundup

By Jeremy Korzeniewski

Yes, the 2018 Detroit Auto Show is a showcase for the latest and greatest American pickup trucks, like the 2019 Ford Ranger, 2019 Ram 1500, and 2019 Chevy Silverado. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything to interest those with nothing to haul.

Mercedes brought along its luxurious G-Class SUV, Volkswagen looks to entice sedan buyers with a brand-new Jetta, and Infiniti and Lexus pulled the covers of some hot new concept vehicles. And there's plenty more where those came from. Check out all of our Detroit Auto Show coverage, and stay tuned for more as news continues to flow out of the halls of Cobo Center.

This article originally appeared on Autoblog, the complete authority for news, reviews and car-buying research.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/17/autoblog-2018-detroit-auto-show-roundup/

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