Tech News

Microsoft Launches Skype for Web, Amazon Echoes Audiobooks, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 08-06-2015

Skype for Web, Amazon books Audible, Popcorn Buzz calls groups, Tumblr GIF searches, Netflix expands into Europe, and dumb robots fall over like dumb dumb dummies.


Microsoft Opens Skype for Web


Microsoft has launched Skype for Web, with all new and existing users in the U.S. and UK now able to access the service. Skype for Web made its debut at the end of last year, but only selected users were invited to trial the service.

As its name suggests, Skype for Web brings Skype directly to browsers. This means anyone with a Skype ID who uses Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome on Windows can use Skype 10 Tips to Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More without the need to download the app. However, a plugin may be required.

Microsoft claims, “Skype for Web is an important step for Skype as we move towards implementing the technology to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) on the web a reality.” The company also claims this is in response to multiple requests from users who “want to call and IM when they visit our website.”

It’s important to note that Skype for Web is still currently in beta, so users who do try it out may encounter bugs. Especially as this is a Microsoft product. Microsoft is actively seeking feedback from users via the Skype Community boards.


Amazon Echo Reads Audible Books

Amazon Echo How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home Smart home tech is still in its early days, but a new product from Amazon called "Echo" may help bring it into the mainstream. Read More has learned a new skill: reading audiobooks 3 Simple Ways to Listen to DRM-Free Audiobooks on Android Want to listen to audiobooks without the restrictions of DRM? We sure have a treat for you. Read More . The monolithic personal assistant has been updated with a range of new abilities since it debuted in November 2014 Amazon Echo Is The New Siri, Free Microsoft Office Mobile, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also, Taylor Swift hates Spotify, CBSN goes online, Scribd adds audiobooks, and riding the world's first ice bike. Read More , and the latest is the ability to read Audible eBooks aloud. Audible is owned by Amazon.

Once the update has been applied automatically, Echo owners can get the device to read an eBook using simple voice commands. You can even get Echo to start reading from the place you previously reached in a book using the Audible apps on Kindle or mobile.

Popcorn Buzz Enables Group Calling

Japanese messaging startup Line Line Launches Whoscall Caller ID For Android To Block Pesky Companies Line, the messaging app, is now stepping into a new market by launching Whoscall exclusively for Android, which serves as a caller ID for company numbers. Read More has launched Popcorn Buzz, a free group calling service that lets up to 200 people take part in a single conversation. Only registered users can start a call, but even non-users can join an existing call by clicking on a shared URL.

Line states, “Popcorn Buzz can be used to talk with friends and family, catch up with classmates, make plans with club members, and more. Popcorn Buzz accommodates both personal and business usage, all for free.” Businesses could also use Popcorn Buzz.


Popcorn Buzz is initially available on Android, with an iOS version due at a later date. The app supports an impressive number of languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese.

Tumblr Gets Own GIF Search Engine

Tumblr has added a GIF search engine to its service. This allows Tumblr users to quickly and easily find the GIF they’re looking for, and then add it to a post. Tumblr currently contains over 112 billion posts, and GIFs are an extremely popular type of content GIFs, The Language Of The Web: Their History, Culture, and Future Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of GIFs, how they've evolved, and their cultural impact and significance. Read More .

Tumblr The Unofficial, Beginner's Guide to Tumblr Tumblr's the number one social networking site for people under 25. Clearly it's important, but it's a bit mystifying. It's less a blog than it is an anti-blog. Read More indexes GIFs using tags, which should mean searches for words and phrases used exclusively on Tumblr will deliver the right results. The GIF search engine is currently only available on the Web, but it should be added to Tumblr’s mobile apps sooner rather than later.


Netflix Expands Further Into Europe

Netflix 5 Tools To Super-Power Your Netflix Viewing Experience I have to admit that I am a huge Netflix fan. I mean, I like Hulu and Amazon for my instant movies as well, but there's something about the convenience of streaming Netflix quickly and... Read More has announced plans to launch in three new countries by the end of 2015. The streaming film and television service will debut in Italy, Spain, and Portugal in October. Pricing details haven’t yet been announced, but European neighbors such as Germany and France currently pay €7.99 a month ($8.88).

Most of the Netflix Originals which have driven the company’s growth of late will be available in the new territories. However, according to Variety, neither House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black will be available thanks to existing deals with television networks in those countries. Which is the downside of such a protracted roll-out.

Watch Dumb Robots Falling Over

And finally, while you should definitely watch this video, you should do your damnedest not to laugh while doing so. Why? Because it shows a succession of dumb robots falling over in all manner of comedic ways. And laughing at our future robot overlords 5 Advanced Humanoid Robots You Have to See to Believe Here, we count down some of the most impressive humanoid robots ever created. The future of robotics is coming, and it's weirder than ever. Read More could have serious repercussions.

All of these robots were taking part in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals over the weekend. It was eventually won by Team Kaist from South Korea, as their DRC-Hubo robot completed a series of tasks in the fastest time. However, seeing robots succeeding is scary, so it’s much more entertaining watching them fail.


Is a robot likely to steal your job? 6 Human Jobs That Computers Will Never Replace Read More

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be testing Skype for Web? If you own an Amazon Echo, what do you use it for? Are you interested in group calling via Popcorn Buzz? Will you be searching for GIFs on Tumblr? If you’re in Italy, Spain, or Portugal, will you be subscribing to Netflix? Should we be laughing at our future robot overlords falling over?

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: Dan Zen via Flickr

Related topics: Audiobooks, Microsoft, Netflix, Robotics, Skype, Tumblr.

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