The spying robot vacuum cleaner
Roomba makes great, adorable tiny robots that clean your house. They also happy to collect a bunch of interesting data, including a virtual map of your home, which resulted in something of a scandal last year when the news broke that Roomba was doing this quietly. A year later, a new partnership has the vacuum cleaners share minimal information with Google to make your home more useful, at least according to them.
Apparently the integration is designed to make smart homes "more thoughtful," so the new partnership is oriented around making setting up smart devices more seamless. The Roomba roams around with this update, detects other smart devices like connected lights, and helps the smart home assign rooms for it. Yes, your vacuum cleaner might fix the smart home.
It's a bit ridiculous, in my mind, but makes a degree of sense mostly because configuring a bunch of smart lights is an exercise in absurdity. Roomba isn't sharing any of that mapping data, just what device is in which room, with the idea of helping make the mess of IoT a little more orderly.
I just don't understand who was asking for this, but at least it's opt-in, so you don't have to share that data if you don't want to, and if you do, you can ask your Google Home to have a robot clean the house from the couch... or something.
The UK doesn't understand Apple's rules
In today's chapter of absurd Brexit drama, a story from the BBC in which the government was incredibly convinced Apple would open up access to the NFC chip inside the iPhone:
As things stand, people with Apple devices will not be able to scan their passports and will either have to borrow an Android phone to complete their application or post their passport to the UK Visa and Immigration Service instead, meaning the process is likely to take longer. [...] they were hoping Apple would release an update to its operating system to allow users of the firm's devices to scan their passports in the same way that people with Android phones can.
That's right; the UK government assumed Apple would either open up access to the wireless scanner required to read a passport, or make an exception to its own rigid rules, which the company immediately refused.
Even more amusing is that the app was built based on the assumption that rumors on Apple blogs saying future updates would open up NFC access to third-party apps. It almost seems like the representatives begged, but were rebuffed, with the government even sending a group to the Cupertino headquarters to try and convince Apple.
So, if you're affected by Brexit (like me), you'll have to find a friend with an Android phone to get your application in. Good job, everyone.
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Google faces internal backlash over handling of sexual harassment
A walkout is planned for today made up of over 1,500 employees over the way they handled Andy Rubin's dismissal, as well as other harassment cases. Employees are demanding removing the practice of 'private arbitration' in contracts, which requires them to waive their rights to sue in cases of harassment or other employment issues.
Facebook to shift workplace product to its own domain
A year after leaks, hacks and other issues plagued Facebook, the company has realized its enterprise product might do better if it weren't on the Facebook dot com domain.
Vice posed as 100 senators to run political ads on Facebook
And... the company approved all of them.
Twitter gets a floating compose button
I'm deeply amused by how many iOS-using people I know are upset by this, but it seems like a prudent move to put it in range of your thumb.