Bing promotes Edge, Pandora celebrates anniversary, hire drone operators using Droners, AI writes adventure stories, iPhones save lives, and hacking BB-8 from Star Wars.
Bing Pushes You to Install Edge
Microsoft is strongly suggesting people install its new Edge browser rather than Chrome or Firefox. According to Marketing Land, whenever someone searches on Bing for “Chrome” or “Firefox,” Microsoft displays a banner at the top of the results stating, “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10”.
On the face of its this behavior seems fair enough, as every company promotes its own products and services. However, Microsoft has been one of a handful of companies complaining about Google promoting its own products and services over the competition. Which reveals the company to be a bit of a hypocrite.
The only real differences are: 1. How much more popular Google Search is than Bing. 2. Google promotes Chrome on its homepage regardless of the search being conducted. These two factors combined means Google is putting Chrome in front of many more eyeballs than Microsoft is putting Edge in front of.
Pandora Drops the Ads for 10 Years
— Pandora (@pandora_radio) September 1, 2015
Pandora is currently celebrating 10 years of streaming music to its legion of fans. Which, at last count, numbers 80 million people. As a “thank you to each and every listener who has tuned in to Pandora over the past 10 years,” the company is removing the ads from the service for 24 hours.
The option to listen to Pandora ad-free will take place on Wednesday, September 9, running from midnight to midnight ET. The company has dubbed the event Listener Love Day, but it’s as much about prompting people to start using Pandora again as it is about thanking those who have remained loyal.
Unfortunately for our international readership, Pandora is only available in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, due to “licensing constraints”, and has been since 2007. Still, Pandora fans in the U.S. can look forward to a day of ad-free listening, whether or not they pay for the privilege.
Droners Lets You Hire Drone Operators
Welcome to the new economy, part x of y. Uber for drones: https://t.co/LzTjCKWJHc
— Matt Muir (@Matt_Muir) August 14, 2015
Drones are becoming so commonplace that there is now a marketplace designed to match consumers in need of a drone with pilots able to fly them. Droners.io works by letting users post job leads, and pilots post bids for those jobs. Users choose a pilot based on their price, with the option to read their portfolio and any reviews they have gained.
Droners.io takes a 10 percent cut of the final fee for its part in the process. Possible reasons for hiring an experienced pilot include shooting weddings, wedding proposals, and events which will be improved by capturing aerial footage. Just don’t let your pilot fly his or her drone over your neighbors’ houses, or there could be trouble.
Choose Your Own Adventure AI
An artificial intelligence program could soon be crafting interactive fiction for book lovers everywhere. This is thanks to researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, who have created an AI named Scheherazade-IF [PDF link].
This AI is capable of creating Choose Your Own Adventure-style books, using the patterns and keywords in stories to turn linear stories into interactive tales. This could also be used to help games developers create branching storylines such as the one in survival horror game Until Dawn.
An iPhone Saved a Student’s Life
A student at California State University, Fresno, survived an armed robbery thanks to his iPhone. According to Fresno Bee, the student was mugged close to the campus, but a shot fired at him from close range ricocheted off of the iPhone in his pocket, shattering the screen.
The victim was approached from behind, and, after being threatened with a handgun, robbed for his laptop bag containing an HP laptop. The bullet destroyed the iPhone it hit, but the victim was left uninjured thanks to a combination of sheer luck and Apple’s design genius.
What’s Inside Sphero’s BB-8 Toy
And finally, someone has opened up BB-8 to see what’s inside, and the results are, an anti-climax to say the least. This isn’t the real BB-8 you understand (not that there IS a real BB-8, but you know what I mean). This is instead the BB-8 toy from Sphero released on Force Friday.
The disappointment with seeing BB-8 torn apart in this way is two-fold: 1. These guys are hacking into a droid that everyone has already fallen in love with. 2. The heart and soul of BB-8 is just some plastic, a gyroscope, and a magnet. And there I was thinking it’s real! [H/T Engadget]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Is Microsoft within its rights to push Bing users to install the new Edge browser? Do you still use Pandora on a regular basis, or have you upgraded to a service such as Spotify or Apple Music? Would you ever consider hiring a drone and drone operator? If so, for what purpose?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Ming-yen Hsu via Flickr