“Unriddled” is HubSpot's mid-week digest of the tech headlines you need to know. Each week, we highlight the top stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It's tech news: explained.
Unriddled: The Tech News You Need
1. Samsung's Big Moves
Samsung, which is largely known by some for its mobile devices, has been appearing in its fair share of headlines lately. From its latest smartphone release to a new smart speaker, here are some key highlights.
The Galaxy Note9
Samsung held a high-profile product unveiling last week, where it officially debuted the Galaxy Note9: its much-speculated latest smartphone release, which boasts such nifty features as a “health censor” that can measure vitals like your heart rate and blood pressure.
It comes with one of the company's signature stylus pens: the Note9 S Pen, which can remotely unlock the phone, play music (from the phone), and even control games like Fortnite — a game that, Samsung will have you know, is available in beta to Galaxy users.
Its other boasting points include all-day battery life and 512GB built-in storage space. The price tag: a cool $1,000.
As for the design and build specs, VentureBeat‘s Kyle Wiggers has you covered. Read full story >>
Back to Bixby
When I attended the Samsung Developer Conference last year, the spotlight was largely on Bixby: the company's digital personal assistant, akin to Amazon's Alexa or Google's Assistant.
But in the months following the event, Bixby had yet to make a mainstream appearance — until now. At the same unveiling event for the Galaxy Note9, Samsung at long last debuted its Bixby-powered Galaxy Home smart speaker.
The Galaxy Home speaker is slated to boast superior sound quality — much like the otherwise disappointing HomePod did — and is activated with the “Hi, Bixby” command. According to the Verge‘s Jacob Kastrenakeshe, the speaker should have the same Bixby capabilities as those available on Samsung phones. As for its release date, well, that's to be determined.
However, this year's Samsung Developer Conference is currently scheduled for early November, where I expect to hear more about Bixby — including, perhaps, more details around the Galaxy Home.
Of note: Among these announcements, Samsung also announced a new Galaxy smartwatch. Read full story >>
2. Facebook's Video Acquisition
Facebook confirmed this week that it acquired the seven-person team, along with accompanying technology, from Vidpresso: a startup that helps make video content interactive.
For some time now, Facebook has been seeking ways for users to engage more with video. Earlier this year, we covered these efforts when it announced a host of new native features to make live videos more interactive, like real-time polling and game-show-style Q&A filters.
Some have speculated that these features are Facebook's attempt to mimic the success of HQ Trivia (which yesterday announced a new partnership with Apple TV). That app offers interactive Q&A features similar to the ones slated to be incorporated into Facebook's video platforms. TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine has more. Read full story >>
3. YouTube Rolls out New Incentives for “Stars”
YouTube is reportedly offering to pay its most popular creators to make use of and promote such new features as premium memberships and live chat. The compensation, allegedly, falls somewhere between tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It's one of the ways YouTube is responding to Creator demand for more diversified ways to monetize beyond advertising. The new options also include a built-in platform for merchandise sales, and “Super Chat,” which allows followers to pay the Creator to give their messages a shout-out during live broadcasts. Bloomberg‘s Lucas Shaw has more. Read full story >>
4. You Can Expect Group FaceTime, but Not Next Month
One of the many new items unveiled at WWDC — Apple's annual developer conference — was Group FaceTime: a new feature within Apple's built-in video call platform that would allow numerous parties to join the conversation at once.
But according to the beta release of iOS 12 — the latest iPhone operating system, expected to launch in full in September — Group FaceTime isn't included. It also won't be included in the latest MacBook operating system, macOS Mojave, according to 9to5Mac.
Apple is one of the later players in the Big Tech realm to offer a group chat platform. Instagram, for example, offers four-way video messaging, while Facebook offers group calls and video chats within Messenger. For the later, the maximum is 50 people — whereas Group FaceTime would cap participants at 32. Read full story >>
More News You May Have Missed
5. Facebook Page Engagement Has Dropped 50%, According to New Data
Spoiler alert: Page engagement is still down. Read full story >>
6. YouTube Poised to Unseat Facebook as #2 Website in the U.S.
A new study shows YouTube might soon dethrone the social media giant. Read full story >>
7. I Looked at Everything Google Is Tracking on Me. Here's What I Found.
New research shows that Google may know exactly where you are and where you're going — even with location history turned off. Read full story >>
8. 65% of People Think Social Media Sites Should Remove This Content
Are social media networks responsible for the factually incorrect content shared and published on their platforms? Nearly two-thirds of internet users think so. Read full story >>
That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you'd like us to cover.
Featured image credit: Samsung