Facebook changes mission statement to 'bring the world closer together' - TechCrunch

“Making the world more open and connected” had one fundamental flaw: it didn’t push for any specific positive outcome from more connection. Technically, it could encompass digital voyeurism via the News Feed, trading in-person friendship for online acquaintanceship or the filter bubbles and echospheres that have further polarized the United States.

So today, as Facebook approaches 2 billion monthly users, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new mission statement, to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

We have a responsibility to do more.— Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg announced the change today at the Facebook Communities Summit for top Group admins where it announced new Group management tools. “For the last decade or so we’ve been focusing on making the world more open and connected. But I used to think that if we just give people a voice and help some people connect that that would make the world a whole lot better by itself,” Zuckerberg admits. “Look around and our society is still so divided. We have a responsibility to do more, not just to connect the world but to bring the world closer together.”

Rather than have the new mission be just a philosophy, Zuckerberg says Facebook is turning it into a goal. “We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities. If we can do this it will not only reverse the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen around the world… but it will also strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” Right now Facebook considers there to be only 100 million meaningful group members.

The evolution of Facebook’s mission statement is a milestone in its transformation. Catalyzed by the fake news scandals surrounding the U.S. presidential election, Zuckerberg first laid the groundwork with his 6,000-word community letter on “Building Community,” which focused on what Facebook could do to help. He noted that, “When we began, this idea was not controversial. Every year, the world got more connected and this was seen as a positive trend. Yet now, across the world, there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection.”

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Hololens Super Mario Bros. Looks Dangerously Fun - Kotaku



Designer Abhishek Singh created a first-person augmented reality version of Super Mario Bros.’ first level, which is very cool. Then he dressed up as Mario to test out his creation in New York City’s Central Park. That’s the dangerous bit.

On one hand, Singh’s AR game does a great job of demonstrating the potential of Microsoft’s Hololens tech. In the video, recorded directly from his headset while a second camera captured his movement, pixel hills sprout from the ground, enemies shuffle about and the sky fills with blocky clouds and boxes. Using movement and hand gestures he stomps on goombas, shoots fireballs and avoids obstacles, ultimate capturing the flag and entering the castle beyond.

At the same time, he’s walking down a path where real people are obscured by bits of Mario’s world while dressed like a video game character, wearing a very expensive piece of tech on his head. When he enters the castle at the end of the run he’s surrounded on three sides by orange walls only he can see.

Note the guy walking by in the top corner. He has no idea what is going on.

It’s the sort of augmented reality project that begs for a more controlled environment, but damn if the technology isn’t impressive. Check out Singh’s full run in the video below.

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Facebook Is Testing an Optional Profile Picture Guard in India - Adweek

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Traces of the Google Pixel 2 were found in another Android phone - BGR

Google’s Pixel 2 is surely going to be one of the most exciting Android phones of the year. We still have a few months to go until Google unveils it, but Pixel leaks are already piling in. Recently, we saw a Pixel 2 benchmark and learned that LG might make the Pixel XL 2 instead of HTC, but a brand new discovery indicates that HTC is working (or at lease was working) on both upcoming Pixel 2 handsets.

Japanese blog Soku discovered what are believed to be traces of the new Pixel 2 phones in a system file within the HTC U11 that launched in Taiwan. Specifically, the blog found a list of smartphones in the code that include S2 and M2 devices. As xda-developers explains, the original Pixel and Pixel XL were known internally at HTC as the S1 and M1, respectively.

The Japanese blog also notes that the HTC U11 code indicates that the S2 and M2 will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform and that both listings lack carrier specific entries, which may mean HTC is or was working on unified Pixel models that would support multiple carriers.

This finding seems to reinforce the idea that HTC is making the Pixel 2 phones for Google, just as it made last year’s Pixel and Pixel XL. But because we have no idea how old this code is, it’s not enough to dispute the recent rumor that said the Pixel 2 XL is going to be built by LG. That report claimed that Google ditched the original Pixel 2 XL device, an HTC creation, in favor of an even bigger version crafted by LG.

We won’t know exactly what’s going on for a while yet. In the meantime, enjoy these slick fan-made mockups of a Pixel 2 with a beautiful all-screen design.

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Amazon's Echo Show gets more practical by adding support for smart home camera feeds - TechCrunch


Amazon today announced a notable new trick for its next-generation Echo device, the Echo Show (aka the one with the screen), which could make it a more compelling purchase: it will be able to display the live streams from a number of smart home cameras. Already, companies like Ring, Arlo, Nest, August, EZViz, Vivint, Amcrest, and IC Realtime have created Alexa Skills that will use the new functionality, Amazon says.

In addition, Amazon is introducing a Smart Home Skill API that will allow developers to integrate live video feeds from their smart home cameras with the device.

The Echo Show, announced in May, is due to begin shipping next week.

The $230 Wi-Fi enabled device offers the same features found in Amazon’s smart speaker Echo – like the ability to talk to Alexa, play music, listen to news and weather, and more. But because it also includes a seven-inch screen, it enables a number of new uses as well, like being able to make video calls, see the lyrics to your songs as they play, watch video flash briefings and YouTube, along with other things that leverage the device’s screen.

One of those promised use cases was the ability to watch your smart home’s cameras, Amazon had said.

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