Bytes: What’s new in tech
Airbnb moves into dining
Airbnb is expanding from room rentals to restaurant reservations, said Biz Carson in Forbes.com. While it’s common for online travel companies to try to up-sell customers by offering rental cars or flights, “Airbnb insists its approach is unique, because it will be tailoring recommendations to a traveler’s stay.” The Airbnb app will let users book reservations at restaurants near where they’re staying through an integration with Resy, which provides online restaurant bookings. The app will show a small, curated selection of local favorites, to make dining decisions easier for travelers. Although the feature is limited to the U.S. for now, visitors “will be able to see the restaurants in their native language, taking the confusion out of visiting a foreign country and not knowing how to eat.”
Amazon glasses are on the way
“Amazon is working on its first wearable device,” said Tim Bradshaw and Leslie Hook in the Financial Times. The internet giant is developing a pair of “smart glasses” that will allow users to summon virtual assistant Alexa “anytime, anywhere.” The as yet unnamed product could be launched before the end of this year, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. The glasses are designed to look and feel like a regular pair of glasses, and are expected to have a bone-conduction audio system that will allow the wearer to hear Alexa without having to wear headphones. But Amazon’s new glasses probably won’t have the camera and screen that made the failed consumer version of Google Glass “so controversial among privacy campaigners.”
Facebook’s political ad reforms
In a bid to make its political advertising more transparent, Facebook is putting a stop to so-called dark posts, said Colin Lecher in The Verge.com. These advertisements, which appear in the timelines of select users chosen by the advertiser, have come under criticism because they don’t appear on the advertisers’ own pages, making it possible to run ads that are effectively invisible to everyone but the recipient. Now the social network will require advertisers to disclose who paid for an ad and allow any user to see ads that the advertiser is currently showing to any audience. This could alter how political campaigns use targeted ads. In the past week, for example, Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign ran dark ads to reassure some supporters that the president would build a border wall with Mexico.