Bytes: What’s new in tech
Mark Zuckerberg’s offline quest
“Mark Zuckerberg’s 2017 resolution might just be his most radical yet: meeting people in real life,” said Alison Griswold in Qz.com. The Facebook CEO has for the past few years shared a major New Year’s resolution on the social network, inviting users to chime in with suggestions or join him in the challenge, such as running 365 miles last year and reading 25 books in 2015. “My personal challenge for 2017 is to have visited and met people in every state in the U.S. by the end of the year,” Zuckerberg wrote this month on Facebook. “My hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working, and thinking about the future.” The tour has prompted speculation that Zuckerberg might be considering a political future.
Google’s augmented shopping
Google wants to let shoppers try out their prospective purchases in augmented reality, said Elisabeth Behrmann and Mark Bergen in Bloomberg.com. The Alphabet subsidiary announced retail partnerships with BMW and Gap last week that make use of the company’s 3-D-scanning technology, dubbed Tango. Through smartphone cameras and sensors, Tango lets users overlay digital images on their physical surroundings, “akin to the hit mobile game Pokémon Go.” With a new app from BMW, customers can “walk around” the car they’re thinking about buying, “placing it to look life-size in their driveway or garage.” Gap uses Tango to let shoppers see how different outfits might look on a 3-D model of themselves. The technology is “still in its infancy.” For now, only two smartphones support Tango: the Asus Zenfone and Lenovo Phab 2 Pro.
Cruise ships of the future
Carnival Corp. is set to launch a “smart” cruise ship that caters to its passengers’ every whim, said Chabeli Herrera in The Miami Herald. Come November, travelers boarding the Regal Princess will find that crew members know their n ames, needs, and interests without asking; that drinks can be ordered anywhere on the ship; and that long lines are a thing of the past. The key is a “quarter-sized” medallion that all guests will carry—and use to unlock cabin doors, book shore excursions, and alert crew where to find them. “The more cruisers do, the more the medallion knows what they like and the more customized their experience becomes.” Some passengers may find certain features invasive, however—such as a photo wall that shows “other cruisers who have passed within 5 feet of you.”