Facebook Buys Mind Reading Technology & You Can Now Buy A Robot Dog – Digital News Roundup – 27.09.19

by | Sep 27, 2019 | News

This week we’re talking about reviews rich results (say that fast 5 times), new Instagram regulations, Facebook’s Portal device launch, new Google video search functionality, 3D Camera Mode on Snapchat, and a patent request from Apple on a made up word.

Home > News > Facebook Buys Mind Reading Technology & You Can Now Buy A Robot Dog – Digital News Roundup – 27.09.19


Facebook can, essentially, read your mind now ????


Man’s best (robot) friend

Ever wanted your own robot dog? Well, if you’re willing to splash the cash for one, now you can. Robotics company Boston Dynamics is making its popular robotic dog ‘Spot’ available to rent. 

The dog, which has amassed millions of views from its videos on Youtube, is said to be available to businesses for a variety of uses, including in the construction, oil and gas industries, as well as public safety.

As for how much it will set you back, the company said the price will be dependent on demand, although they did say it has the potential to be leased for “less than the price of a car”, which doesn’t really give much away. 

New car or new robotic dog though? I know which one I fancy… 


Twitter Launches Lists as Alternate, Swipeable Timelines on iOS

Organised iOS users rejoice! Twitter has launched Lists as an alternate swipeable timeline on its app.     

Users can now pin up to five selected lists from their ‘Lists’ settings so that they appear as swipeable feeds from the home timeline. This gives users more ways to access specific discussions on the platform.

For example, if you use Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest tweets from your favourite sports team while they’re in action, but also use Twitter for professional purposes like keeping up with industry news, this new setting allows you to separate these to give you more organised and specific feeds.

The idea behind this is to create a more engaging and interactive experience… #neat 


Instagram Dark Mode Revealed As App Prepares For New Look Update

Following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook, Instagram has announced it’s finally bringing a dark mode to their mobile app, one of the most requested user features.

Available on both iOS 13 and Android 10, the dark mode feature brings an entirely new look to the app, turning the background black and making the screen less glaring to look at (a real win for all you night owls). The preexisting colours of the app will remain unchanged, and photographs will look no different. 

To get the update, users simply need to be on the latest version of iOS and Android as well as the latest update of the Instagram app, then users can turn on the feature in the system’s settings. Instagram is rolling this out gradually so not all users will have access to the feature just yet. 


Facebook buys ‘mind-reading wristband’ firm CTRL-Labs

Ever wanted to control your electronic device with your mind? 

Well it seems like Facebook is currently working to make this a reality as they have recently acquired the start-up CTRL-Labs who develop devices that can pick up electrical signals from the brain and transmit them to a computer.

CTRL-Labs has previously designed a wristband that can identify brain signals that tell the hand to move, and decode them.

Using this information is can then transmit that command – for example, to press a button – to a computer or other device. The Facebook VR president Andrew Bosworth has said that it also “captures your intention, so you can share a photo with a friend using an imperceptible movement or just by, well, intending to.”

As you can imagine, there was a mixed response to the news with many saying that Facebook needs to be integrating itself with our lives less, not more.

Reportedly the deal was worth between $500m and $1bn (£0.4bn and £0.8bn), something that Facebook has not confirmed.


Snapchat released a host of new features including extended video ads and goal-based bidding.

Video content is all the rage these days, and Snapchat is looking to cash in with their new ad updates. 

Among some of the more interesting updates is the news that Snapchat will be extending the duration of their Snap Ads to three-minutes long. This makes it that much easier to get exciting video content out in front of eager eyes. 

Now before you go to upload whatever videos you like to Snapchat, it’s worth remembering that all of the same rules of user experience still very much apply. Users will still be able to skip ads, in fact, Snapchat said that the changes they have made are unlikely to change the user experience at all.

Other updates for the platform include more interactive features for their six-second non-skippable commercials. Users will now be able to swipe up on these ads in order to access websites, longer-form video or even camera attachments. This should be exciting news for businesses using the platform as the new features should allow greater flexibility when it comes to quick impacts and results-driving actions. 

Finally, one of the other changes for the platform is a new bidding option, allowing advertisers to optimise for 15-second video views. 


Google’s new snippet settings give webmasters control over their search listings display

New snippet settings released by Google this week will allow webmasters to customise how Google search display their listings. 

These new features will allow you to change the way Google search displays your listings, giving you increased flexibility in what you see including providing greater control over site links, snippets, mixing images and text in featured snippets and titles. 

This is a great opportunity for SEOs to test various tags/messaging to see how it impacts traffic and end even greater chance for people to utilise videos and featured snippets to entice users to their pages. 

The changes are set to go live at the end of October so make sure to keep an eye on the updates and plan accordingly. 


And that’s all we have time for in today’s edition. If you want to message us about any of the news articles featured you can do so by Tweeting us or messaging us on Facebook or any of your other messaging platforms of choice. In the meantime, we will be having a whip around in the office to raise money for a new resident robot dog ????


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