Facebook Makes Moneypenny, Commodore Vets Android PET, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Facebook channels James Bond, Android encounters C64 games, Google protects Drive contents, Siri streams sound effects, Emmy voters receive Chromecasts, and behind the scenes at Google.
Facebook Develops a Personal Assistant
Fan theory: James Bond only exists inside Moneypenny's head.
— Rooster Illusion (@RuseterIllusion) July 2, 2015
Facebook is reportedly testing out a human-powered personal assistant codenamed Moneypenny. According to The Information [Paywall], the service will be baked into Facebook Messenger, although details are thin on the ground and there is no timeline for when this will become available to the public.
Moneypenny, as inspired by James Bond , won’t be a virtual personal assistant like Siri or Cortana . Instead, it will connect the user to a real person, enabling you “to ask real people for help researching and ordering products and services, among other tasks”.
This is, therefore, being compared to a traditional concierge service, just without the need to stay in a posh hotel. As The Verge notes, there are other companies offering similar services, including Magic, Operator, and GoButler. Still, none of these have the built-in audience enjoyed by Facebook.
Play C64 Games on the Commodore PET
Commodore is back, kinda. The Commodore PET is a new Android handset which plays heavily on the nostalgia factor, appealing to the millions of people who bought a Commodore 64 in the 1980s. Is the is really a Commodore? Only in name, as it shares its moniker with the first all-in-one home computer, the Commodore PET, which was released in 1977.
The Commodore PET is the work of two Italian entrepreneurs, with Massimo Canigiani and Carlo Scattolini claiming to have acquired the rights to use the brand for mobile devices. The result is a standard Android handset with a 5.5-inch screen, an aluminum frame, and interchangeable covers.
The specs are actually rather solid, with the Commodore PET boasting a 1.7 GHz Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor an ARM Mali T760 GPU, and at lest 2GB of RAM. But it’s the custom features which are likely to pique people’s interest, with two Commodore 64 emulators pre-installed on the device.
The Commodore PET is initially going to be sold in Europe for between $300 and $365. There are plans to bring the device to other parts of the world, including North America, at a later date. In the meantime, you may want to spend some time remembering how to succeed at those old Commodore 64 games you spent far too much time playing.
Protect Your Google Drive Files
Download prevention used to be there and it's good to see it return, although a little half-baked at the moment: http://t.co/GjbW6xEO55
— Prateek Agarwal (@prateekagarwal) July 15, 2015
Google has added Information Rights Management (IRM) to Google Drive, allowing users to prevent the downloading, printing, and copying of any individual file stored in the cloud.
Simply open the Sharing dialog on any file in Google Drive, and click on Advanced in the bottom left-hand corner. Check the appropriate option, and select “Save Changes”.
This is being rolled out to all users over the next few days, so don’t panic if it’s not immediately available on your Google Drive . Unfortunately, it’s only available on the Web, with no mention of bringing it to mobile devices. Still, some protection is surely better than no protection.
Apple Music Enables Siri Sound Effects
can someone introduce me to the folks who orchestrated the siri sound effects? i'd like to punch them. thanks.
— drew olanoff (@drew) May 29, 2015
If you own an iOS device and have an active Apple Music subscription then you can now use Siri as a soundboard. As discovered by The Verge, simply ask Siri to play the sound of [insert here] and she’ll stream it from the Apple Music library.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t cover every single sound effect in the world, but those that are available include “applause,” “farts,” “sad trombone,” “footsteps,” bees buzzing,” and “silence”. Ah, silence is golden. Remember that, Siri.
Emmy Voters Cast TV Nominees
How does HBO get shows nominated for Emmys, when the openly admit to being "Not TV."?
— Razzle (@MyNameisRazzle2) July 6, 2015
The days of DVD screeners appear to be over, as even the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is going digital. The Television Academy usually sends out a collection of DVDs for the TV shows nominated for the annual Emmy Awards, but not this year. Or next year. Thanks to the Google Chromecast .
The Television Academy has signed a multi-year deal with Google, which will see Emmy voters given special Chromecasts and access to a members-only website and streaming app. This means more members will be able to vote, and without the need to ship physical discs around the United States. The common sense is strong with this one.
Go Behind the Scenes at Google HQ
And finally, two Google employees by the name of Nat and Lo are using their 20% time to show us behind the scenes at Google headquarters. Which may just be the most useful thing for which that excuse to bunk off for a while has ever been used.
The first episode sees the pair revealing some of the secrets behind Google Street View, with a particular emphasis on the trekkers who capture footage without cars. The second episode focuses on Google X, which is responsible for groundbreaking technologies.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Would you make use of Facebook’s Moneypenny personal assistant? Do you have any interest in the Commodore PET? Will you be protecting your Google Drive files? Have you tried Siri’s sound effects yet? What would you do to get your hands on an Emmy voters’ Chromecast?
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: Anthony Ryan via Flickr