The FTC says it’s cracking down on scammy pop-ups offering ‘tech support’

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s cracking down on pop-up scams selling tech support “fixes” to fake computer problems.

The FTC says it has taken 16 new “actions,” from settlements to guilty pleas, as part of Operation Tech Trap, a plan to stop similar scams. In all, the agency says it’s now taken 29 law enforcement actions against the perpetrators.

According to the agency, the scams are generally similar. An unsuspecting web user sees a pop-up claiming their system is in trouble: compromised by a virus, maybe, or infected with ransomware. The pop-up directs them to call a toll-free number.

When the person makes the call, someone on the other end says they need remote access to their computer. That person claims to run a “diagnostic test,” and then pressures the user into spending hundreds of dollars to fix the issue.

With real malware spreading, and a major ransomware attack in the news, it’s easy to see how someone could be fooled. The FTC says it has filed four new complaints alleging similar scams, and has received restraining orders stopping the alleged practice in three.

Here’s everything we expect to see at Google I/O 2017 — and how you can watch it

Google has numerous events throughout the year, but I/O — an acronym for the computing phrase “input/output” — is by far the biggest. It’s a three-day affair of keynote presentations, developer workshops, and product announcements, and it’s where Google has unveiled a range of innovations, including Project Jacquard, Google Home, and Daydream.

We’re expecting Google I/O 2017 to be no less newsworthy. The festivities at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California don’t begin until May 17 at 10 a.m. PT — the day and time of the conference’s first keynote address — but rumors have already begun to circulate about what Google has up its sleeve. Here’s how to watch the conference, and what to expect.

How to watch Google I/O

Can’t make it to I/O? Not to worry — Digital Trends will have boots on the ground covering I/O. If you want to stream video directly from the show floor, Google has made it easy. Like last year, the official I/O website and corresponding app (iOSAndroid) offer an interactive schedule that allows you to keep track of upcoming developer sessions — you can add sessions you’re interested in straight to your Google Calendar to get notifications before they start. The sessions with the black video camera icon mean they will be available for live-streaming on YouTube via the Google Developers channel.

What to expect at Google I/O

Android O

In the past, Google has teased forthcoming iterations of Android, its smartphone operating system, at I/O, and this year’s conference won’t be an exception. Android O, the successor to Android 7.1.2 Nougat, launched quietly in March as an unfinished, buggy Developer Preview. We’re expecting new developments at this year’s conference.

Specifically, we’re likely to hear more about Android O’s revamped notification system, which lets you snooze alerts and schedule them to reappear at a later time, and Notification Channels, which allow developers to aggregate multiple notifications into a single bundle. Google will also likely talk about Android O’s battery life management,which puts strict limits on apps running in the background, and the company could spend time detailing Android O’s high-quality Bluetooth audio capabilities.

At the very least, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a second, more polished Android O Developer Preview for Nexus (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player) and Pixel (Pixel and Pixel XL) devices. Google could announce an Android O update for the Android Beta program, which would make it easy for those interested to download onto supported devices. If we’re lucky, we might learn what “O” stands for, but that announcement usually comes later in the year.

Fuchsia

What is Fuchsia? It’s a mysterious new operating system, and we’re really hoping Google will spill the beans at I/O 2017.

Fuchsia, also known as Armadillo, is a little different from Google’s other operating systems in that it’s not based on Linux. Instead, it’s built around a kernel called Magenta, which the company describes as “[coded for] modern phones and modern personal computers.” It sports a re-imagined user interface with a home screen that showcases your profile picture and the current day and time, along with a list of cards that show recent apps and Google Now-like contextual suggestions.

It’s unclear if Fuchsia’s meant to be an alternative to Android. Hopefully, I/O 2017 will bring answers.

Andromeda and Chrome OS

At I/O 2016, Google announced that Android apps were coming to select Chromebooks. Some reports — including one from the Wall Street Journal in 2016 — suggested it was a harbinger of tighter integration between the two operating systems to come. At I/O 2017, we’ll see once and for all if that’s true.

Late last year, reports suggested that at least two major hardware manufacturers were in the process of creating devices that would run Andromeda, the code name of a unified OS made from bits and pieces of Android and Chrome OS. The hardware is rumored to launch in the second half of 2017. More recent leaks point to a bigger event later this year, potentially headlined by Android O, a Huawei-made tablet, and a long-rumored successor to Google’s last Pixel-branded Chromebook. There have yet to be any official reports.

Chromebooks, such as Samsung’s new Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, can run Android apps — though the feature has been in beta for months with little improvement. Google may make an announcement regarding this at I/O 2017.

Google Home

Google Home

Google Home, Google’s smart speaker, is flying off the shelves. Some analysts estimate that the company’s on track to sell a million units by the middle of 2017. It’s no surprise that Google is reportedly at work on a successor — and one it could announce at I/O 2017.

Rumors suggest Google is looking to add mesh Wi-Fi networking features to Home — basically a combination of Google Wifi and Google Home. If true, the new Google Home will have to impress to beat back competition. Amazon’s forthcoming Echo Show speaker touts a touchscreen and a camera, allowing it to serve up news briefings from CNN, video-conferencing apps, and more. Apple is reportedly working on a smart home assistant, too — one powered by Siri — with a powerful speaker and support for HomeKit, its home automation platform.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a new Google Home announcement at I/O 2017, considering Google unveiled the first iteration of the device at last year’s conference. Don’t expect it to launch any time soon, though.

Google Assistant

Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Assistant, Google’s umbrella brand for the virtual assistant on newer Android devices, Google Home, Android TV, and Android Wear, launched at I/O 2016. Back then, it could schedule reminders and pull up nearby movie showtimes, among other tasks. Thankfully, it’s gotten way better in the time since.

Google has kept the Assistant up to date. In April, Google Home gained the ability to distinguish between up to six different voices, and more recently, a recipe feature that recommends dishes and guides you through the cooking process. Google Assistant on the Pixel also received an update to control smart home devices.

We’re not expecting earth-shattering Google Assistant news from I/O 2017, but integrations with new services are pretty much a guarantee.

Daydream

There hasn’t been much news about Daydream, Google’s answer to Samsung’s Gear VR, since its launch last fall.

The Daydream platform, which consists of the Daydream View headset and a motion controller, is available on select Android smartphones such as the Google Pixel, ZTE’s Axon 7, Asus’ Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and Lenovo’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force. There’s an augmented reality and virtual reality keynote on May 18, the second day of I/O, so it’s safe to say we can expect a lot of updates to the Daydream platform.

There’s also a slim chance that Google could take the wraps off a new VR device at I/O 2017. Last year, the search giant was said to be developing a standalone VR headset that is “less powerful” than products such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but with the necessary chips, lenses, sensors, and motion-sensing cameras to deliver a self-contained VR experience. We’ll have to wait and see if the rumor pans out.

Project Jacquard and ATAP

Project Jacquard

Android, AI, VR, and TV may form the bulk of Google’s business, but some of the more interesting announcements come from its experimental pursuits from the Advanced Technology and Projects division.

Project Jacquard, one of ATAP’s most impressive projects, is a capacitive platform for textiles. It can turn ordinary shirt sleeves into touch-sensitive surfaces, or pant legs into gesture-sensing shortcut buttons. Google partnered with Levi’s for Jacquard’s first implementation, the Commuter jacket, which has a touch-sensitive cuff strap (the Jacquard Tag). It performs actions on your smartphone when you swipe across it or tap it. It’s early, but we might hear about new Jacquard partners and apparel at I/O 2017.

Project Soli, another ATAP project, is a tiny radar that detects hand gestures on smart clothing, smartwatches, and other devices. Google’s gotten it in the hands of about 60 developers so far, and shipped the first developer kits last year. So far, Soli tech has made its way to prototype smartwatches — Soli-equipped watches can adjust the volume when you move your hand closer and further away, and open messages with the flick of a finger — but we’ve yet to see any consumer devices hit the market. Here’s hoping that changes at I/O 2017.

We also wouldn’t be surprised to see new experiments from ATAP as well.

Android Wear

Huawei Watch 2 Sport review

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s been almost three years since Google launched Android Wear, its smartwatch OS. Since then, Swiss watchmakers and electronics makers alike have adopted it earnestly — and aggressively. These days, it’s easy to find an Android Wear watch from LG, Fossil, Tag Heuer, Nixon, Polar, Michael Kors, New Balance, Huawei, and a host of other manufacturers.

Earlier this year, Google launched a reimagined version of the OS — Android Wear 2.0 — following an unveiling at Google I/O 2016. It features a revamped, vertically-oriented user interface, watch face Complications (small sub dials that act as notification-centric widgets), the Google Assistant, and a Wear Google Play Store. Most of the year’s biggest Android Wear watch launches took place at Baselworld 2017, the luxury trade show in Switzerland, but there’s a chance Google might announce minor tweaks at I/O 2017.

Allo and Duo

Google announced two new communication apps, Allo and Duo, at Google I/O 2016. Allo, a text-based messenger that was the first to tap into the Google Assistant, has seen a steady stream of updates since. However, Allo still lacks a desktop app. In February, Googl’s Vice President of communications products, tweeted a screenshot of an in-development Allo web app, which we expect to hear more about at I/O 2017.

Duo, a video messenger, hasn’t gotten as much attention, but it recently hit 50 million downloads on the Play Store. We could hear more about the Duo team’s connectivity efforts at I/O 2017.

Chromecast and Android TV

I/O 2017 may bring news about Chromecast, Google’s HDMI streaming dongle that turns your TV into a big-screen receiver. It was at I/O 2014, after all, that Google launched Backdrop, a Chromecast feature that lets you beam artwork and photos from a smartphone to a Chromecast. And the year before at I/O 2015, Google rolled out Chromecast tools aimed at game developers.

Last fall, Google launched a 4K-enabled Chromecast — the Chromecast Ultra — which supports Ultra HD content and high dynamic range (HDR), a more colorful and high-contrast video encoding standard. Google has also been partnering with manufacturers to build the Google Cast technology into various devices. You can cast directly to speakers and TVs from Vizio, Sony, LG, Philips, Polk, and Bang and Olufsen, so far, with more OEMs joining the fray every year. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google announced new hardware partners at I/O 2017.

Android TV hasn’t received as much attention from Google as, say Android Wear, but it’s gotten its fair share of updates. We’re not sure what to expect about the platform, but there could be a Google Assistant integration in the works — similar to what Amazon has done with the Fire TV Stick and Alexa.

Project Loon

alphabet-project-loon

Google’s Project Loon, which aims to bring internet to underdeveloped regions of the world with the help of transceiver-equipped hot air balloons, could get a mention or two at I/O 2017.

Google’s engineers have managed impressive feats so far. Thanks to a self-powered, self-contained system of solar panels and a predictive weather model, Project Loon balloons can now remain airborne for 190 days. During a test in South Africa last year, the team sent a balloon from Puerto Rico to Peru — a trip it completed after 12 days and more than 20,000 altitude adjustments.

We expect to hear more about Project Loon’s advancements — and plans for the future — at an I/O 2017 session next week.

Android Auto

2016 Chevrolet Spark Android Auto

Android Auto, Google’s infotainment platform for vehicles, could see fresh announcements. Not too long ago, the platform got an upgrade in the form of Android Auto 2.0, which added support for hands-free voice commands, improved apps, real-time traffic, and weather alerts.

Last year, Hyundai brought Android Auto support to its Blue Link system, allowing drivers to use the Google Assistant to start their car, lock the doors, and carry out a slew of other useful actions. Kia recently deployed Android Auto as a free software update on cars spanning model years 2014 through 2017. Google said more than 200 new car models from 50 brands now support Android Auto. Expect that number to grow at I/O 2017.

Project Tango and AR

We could see more news about Google’s Project Tango, a self-contained augmented reality platform, at I/O 2017.

The impressive software-sensor combo can track objects, walls, and table surfaces in three-dimensional space. The best Project Tango apps and games enable computer-generated characters to bounce on top of nearby tables, virtual drapes to draw closed over real-world windows, and digital dominoes to topple onto physical floorboards.

But hardware partners haven’t been quick on the uptake. The first consumer-oriented Tango phone, Lenovo’s Tango-equipped Phab 2 Pro launched last year, and the Asus ZenFone AR Tango Phone, doesn’t have a release date. It’s been pretty quiet on the Tango front, but we’re hoping to hear more about Tango hardware — and related software — at I/O 2017.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther & the Crew comic has been cancelled

After just two issues, Marvel is cancelling Black Panther & The Crew, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest series following Black Panther and some of Marvel’s better known black characters. Coates tells The Verge that the cancellation is due to poor sales, and the series will end after six issues. However, the story currently being told will have the chance to end.

Black Panther & the Crew launched last month, and follows Black Panther, Misty Knight, Luke Cage, Storm, and former Avenger Manifold as they grapple with police violence in Harlem. Coates teamed with poet Yona Harvey to weave a mystery around a character named Ezra Keith, who dies while in police custody. The story is certainly timely, reflecting the years of high-profile police killings of black men, women, and children like Sandra Bland and Jordan Edwards.

However, Coates never set out to make pronouncements about the state of the country. Rather, the series was a chance to delve deeper into characters and their experiences. “The Crew was an opportunity to get inside them as black people,” he said.

Coates says that “the mystery will be solved,” even though the series couldn’t find an audience. Meanwhile, he just recently entered the second season on his Hugo award-nominated run on Black Panther.

Black Panther & the Crew is a revival of former Marvel editor Christopher Priest’s 2003 series The Crew. That series followed a different group of black superheroes coping with loss. It, too, was cancelled.

Watch Rick & Morty cross over with Alien

Adult Swim might not release its upcoming third season of Rick & Morty until later this summer, but to hold us over, it just dropped an entertaining clip that ties in with Alien: Covenant. In it, the show’s titular characters have some advice for the hapless employees of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation: an unhealthy amount of alcohol and drugs in your system could save your life.

It’s not clear if this is a clip from the upcoming season, if it’s a weird marketing stunt, or if it’s just a throwaway gag, but either way, it’s entertaining one. The clip follows Rick and Morty as they explore one of the Engineer’s ships, where Rick is attacked by a facehugger. Fortunately, his drug and alcohol habit helps save him from becoming a host, something that the characters from Alien should take into consideration next time they decide to take a closer look at an extraterrestrial. It’s a short clip, but it’s enough to get us excited for the show’s eventual return.

Analyst: Apple likely to unveil 10.5 inch iPad Pro at WWDC

Apple is reportedly planning to add a 10.5 inch iPad Pro to its lineup of tablets this year, and according to a new report from noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, it is likely to announce the device during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, along with a touch-screen Siri speaker.

Kuo has been predicting that Apple will release a trio of new iPads (a 12.9 inch iPad Pro 2, a new 10.5 iPad Pro and a low-cost 9.7 iPad) in 2017 since August. According to a report on MacRumors, Kuo thinks that a reveal at this year’s conference is likely because of the timing of a production ramp up at the end of this quarter. The iPad in question will be similar to the 9.7 inch iPad, but could have smaller bezels thanks to a larger screen.

Kuo reiterated his belief that there is a 50 percent chance that Apple will use this year’s conference to launch its rumored Siri Speaker. In this latest report, he says that the device will come with a touch panel display, a feature that’s been rumored after recent comments from Phil Schiller. Apple employees have reportedly been testing the device for several months, which is designed to compete with Amazon’s Echo. While Amazon has released several versions of its own device, it revealed its first touchscreen model earlier this week.

This year’s conference is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 5th.

What to expect and how to watch Google I/O 2017

Google has numerous events throughout the year, but I/O — an acronym for the computing phrase “input/output” — is by far the biggest. It’s a three-day affair of keynote presentations, developer workshops, and product announcements, and it’s where Google has unveiled a range of innovations, including Project Jacquard, Google Home, and Daydream.

We’re expecting Google I/O 2017 to be no less newsworthy. The festivities at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California don’t begin until May 17 at 10 a.m. PT — the day and time of the conference’s first keynote address — but rumors have already begun to circulate about what Google has up its sleeve. Here’s how to watch the conference, and what to expect.

How to watch Google I/O

Can’t make it to I/O? Not to worry — Digital Trends will have boots on the ground covering I/O. If you want to stream video directly from the show floor, Google has made it easy. Like last year, the official I/O website and corresponding app (iOSAndroid) offer an interactive schedule that allows you to keep track of upcoming developer sessions — you can add sessions you’re interested in straight to your Google Calendar to get notifications before they start. The sessions with the black video camera icon mean they will be available for live-streaming on YouTube via the Google Developers channel.

What to expect at Google I/O

Android O

In the past, Google has teased forthcoming iterations of Android, its smartphone operating system, at I/O, and this year’s conference won’t be an exception. Android O, the successor to Android 7.1.2 Nougat, launched quietly in March as an unfinished, buggy Developer Preview. We’re expecting new developments at this year’s conference.

Specifically, we’re likely to hear more about Android O’s revamped notification system, which lets you snooze alerts and schedule them to reappear at a later time, and Notification Channels, which allow developers to aggregate multiple notifications into a single bundle. Google will also likely talk about Android O’s battery life management,which puts strict limits on apps running in the background, and the company could spend time detailing Android O’s high-quality Bluetooth audio capabilities.

At the very least, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a second, more polished Android O Developer Preview for Nexus (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player) and Pixel (Pixel and Pixel XL) devices. Google could announce an Android O update for the Android Beta program, which would make it easy for those interested to download onto supported devices. If we’re lucky, we might learn what “O” stands for, but that announcement usually comes later in the year.

Fuchsia

What is Fuchsia? It’s a mysterious new operating system, and we’re really hoping Google will spill the beans at I/O 2017.

Fuchsia, also known as Armadillo, is a little different from Google’s other operating systems in that it’s not based on Linux. Instead, it’s built around a kernel called Magenta, which the company describes as “[coded for] modern phones and modern personal computers.” It sports a re-imagined user interface with a home screen that showcases your profile picture and the current day and time, along with a list of cards that show recent apps and Google Now-like contextual suggestions.

It’s unclear if Fuchsia’s meant to be an alternative to Android. Hopefully, I/O 2017 will bring answers.

Andromeda and Chrome OS

At I/O 2016, Google announced that Android apps were coming to select Chromebooks. Some reports — including one from the Wall Street Journal in 2016 — suggested it was a harbinger of tighter integration between the two operating systems to come. At I/O 2017, we’ll see once and for all if that’s true.

Late last year, reports suggested that at least two major hardware manufacturers were in the process of creating devices that would run Andromeda, the code name of a unified OS made from bits and pieces of Android and Chrome OS. The hardware is rumored to launch in the second half of 2017. More recent leaks point to a bigger event later this year, potentially headlined by Android O, a Huawei-made tablet, and a long-rumored successor to Google’s last Pixel-branded Chromebook. There have yet to be any official reports.

Chromebooks, such as Samsung’s new Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, can run Android apps — though the feature has been in beta for months with little improvement. Google may make an announcement regarding this at I/O 2017.

Google Home

Google Home

Google Home, Google’s smart speaker, is flying off the shelves. Some analysts estimate that the company’s on track to sell a million units by the middle of 2017. It’s no surprise that Google is reportedly at work on a successor — and one it could announce at I/O 2017.

Rumors suggest Google is looking to add mesh Wi-Fi networking features to Home — basically a combination of Google Wifi and Google Home. If true, the new Google Home will have to impress to beat back competition. Amazon’s forthcoming Echo Show speaker touts a touchscreen and a camera, allowing it to serve up news briefings from CNN, video-conferencing apps, and more. Apple is reportedly working on a smart home assistant, too — one powered by Siri — with a powerful speaker and support for HomeKit, its home automation platform.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a new Google Home announcement at I/O 2017, considering Google unveiled the first iteration of the device at last year’s conference. Don’t expect it to launch any time soon, though.

Google Assistant

Google Pixel XL

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Assistant, Google’s umbrella brand for the virtual assistant on newer Android devices, Google Home, Android TV, and Android Wear, launched at I/O 2016. Back then, it could schedule reminders and pull up nearby movie showtimes, among other tasks. Thankfully, it’s gotten way better in the time since.

Google has kept the Assistant up to date. In April, Google Home gained the ability to distinguish between up to six different voices, and more recently, a recipe feature that recommends dishes and guides you through the cooking process. Google Assistant on the Pixel also received an update to control smart home devices.

We’re not expecting earth-shattering Google Assistant news from I/O 2017, but integrations with new services are pretty much a guarantee.

Daydream

There hasn’t been much news about Daydream, Google’s answer to Samsung’s Gear VR, since its launch last fall.

The Daydream platform, which consists of the Daydream View headset and a motion controller, is available on select Android smartphones such as the Google Pixel, ZTE’s Axon 7, Asus’ Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and Lenovo’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force. There’s an augmented reality and virtual reality keynote on May 18, the second day of I/O, so it’s safe to say we can expect a lot of updates to the Daydream platform.

There’s also a slim chance that Google could take the wraps off a new VR device at I/O 2017. Last year, the search giant was said to be developing a standalone VR headset that is “less powerful” than products such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but with the necessary chips, lenses, sensors, and motion-sensing cameras to deliver a self-contained VR experience. We’ll have to wait and see if the rumor pans out.

Project Jacquard and ATAP

Project Jacquard

Android, AI, VR, and TV may form the bulk of Google’s business, but some of the more interesting announcements come from its experimental pursuits from the Advanced Technology and Projects division.

Project Jacquard, one of ATAP’s most impressive projects, is a capacitive platform for textiles. It can turn ordinary shirt sleeves into touch-sensitive surfaces, or pant legs into gesture-sensing shortcut buttons. Google partnered with Levi’s for Jacquard’s first implementation, the Commuter jacket, which has a touch-sensitive cuff strap (the Jacquard Tag). It performs actions on your smartphone when you swipe across it or tap it. It’s early, but we might hear about new Jacquard partners and apparel at I/O 2017.

Project Soli, another ATAP project, is a tiny radar that detects hand gestures on smart clothing, smartwatches, and other devices. Google’s gotten it in the hands of about 60 developers so far, and shipped the first developer kits last year. So far, Soli tech has made its way to prototype smartwatches — Soli-equipped watches can adjust the volume when you move your hand closer and further away, and open messages with the flick of a finger — but we’ve yet to see any consumer devices hit the market. Here’s hoping that changes at I/O 2017.

We also wouldn’t be surprised to see new experiments from ATAP as well.

Android Wear

Huawei Watch 2 Sport review

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s been almost three years since Google launched Android Wear, its smartwatch OS. Since then, Swiss watchmakers and electronics makers alike have adopted it earnestly — and aggressively. These days, it’s easy to find an Android Wear watch from LG, Fossil, Tag Heuer, Nixon, Polar, Michael Kors, New Balance, Huawei, and a host of other manufacturers.

Earlier this year, Google launched a reimagined version of the OS — Android Wear 2.0 — following an unveiling at Google I/O 2016. It features a revamped, vertically-oriented user interface, watch face Complications (small sub dials that act as notification-centric widgets), the Google Assistant, and a Wear Google Play Store. Most of the year’s biggest Android Wear watch launches took place at Baselworld 2017, the luxury trade show in Switzerland, but there’s a chance Google might announce minor tweaks at I/O 2017.

Allo and Duo

Google announced two new communication apps, Allo and Duo, at Google I/O 2016. Allo, a text-based messenger that was the first to tap into the Google Assistant, has seen a steady stream of updates since. However, Allo still lacks a desktop app. In February, Googl’s Vice President of communications products, tweeted a screenshot of an in-development Allo web app, which we expect to hear more about at I/O 2017.

Duo, a video messenger, hasn’t gotten as much attention, but it recently hit 50 million downloads on the Play Store. We could hear more about the Duo team’s connectivity efforts at I/O 2017.

Chromecast and Android TV

I/O 2017 may bring news about Chromecast, Google’s HDMI streaming dongle that turns your TV into a big-screen receiver. It was at I/O 2014, after all, that Google launched Backdrop, a Chromecast feature that lets you beam artwork and photos from a smartphone to a Chromecast. And the year before at I/O 2015, Google rolled out Chromecast tools aimed at game developers.

Last fall, Google launched a 4K-enabled Chromecast — the Chromecast Ultra — which supports Ultra HD content and high dynamic range (HDR), a more colorful and high-contrast video encoding standard. Google has also been partnering with manufacturers to build the Google Cast technology into various devices. You can cast directly to speakers and TVs from Vizio, Sony, LG, Philips, Polk, and Bang and Olufsen, so far, with more OEMs joining the fray every year. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google announced new hardware partners at I/O 2017.

Android TV hasn’t received as much attention from Google as, say Android Wear, but it’s gotten its fair share of updates. We’re not sure what to expect about the platform, but there could be a Google Assistant integration in the works — similar to what Amazon has done with the Fire TV Stick and Alexa.

Project Loon

alphabet-project-loon

Google’s Project Loon, which aims to bring internet to underdeveloped regions of the world with the help of transceiver-equipped hot air balloons, could get a mention or two at I/O 2017.

Google’s engineers have managed impressive feats so far. Thanks to a self-powered, self-contained system of solar panels and a predictive weather model, Project Loon balloons can now remain airborne for 190 days. During a test in South Africa last year, the team sent a balloon from Puerto Rico to Peru — a trip it completed after 12 days and more than 20,000 altitude adjustments.

We expect to hear more about Project Loon’s advancements — and plans for the future — at an I/O 2017 session next week.

Android Auto

2016 Chevrolet Spark Android Auto

Android Auto, Google’s infotainment platform for vehicles, could see fresh announcements. Not too long ago, the platform got an upgrade in the form of Android Auto 2.0, which added support for hands-free voice commands, improved apps, real-time traffic, and weather alerts.

Last year, Hyundai brought Android Auto support to its Blue Link system, allowing drivers to use the Google Assistant to start their car, lock the doors, and carry out a slew of other useful actions. Kia recently deployed Android Auto as a free software update on cars spanning model years 2014 through 2017. Google said more than 200 new car models from 50 brands now support Android Auto. Expect that number to grow at I/O 2017.

Project Tango and AR

We could see more news about Google’s Project Tango, a self-contained augmented reality platform, at I/O 2017.

The impressive software-sensor combo can track objects, walls, and table surfaces in three-dimensional space. The best Project Tango apps and games enable computer-generated characters to bounce on top of nearby tables, virtual drapes to draw closed over real-world windows, and digital dominoes to topple onto physical floorboards.

But hardware partners haven’t been quick on the uptake. The first consumer-oriented Tango phone, Lenovo’s Tango-equipped Phab 2 Pro launched last year, and the Asus ZenFone AR Tango Phone, doesn’t have a release date. It’s been pretty quiet on the Tango front, but we’re hoping to hear more about Tango hardware — and related software — at I/O 2017.

Facebook brought back its flower reaction for Mother’s Day

Last May, Facebook tested out a temporary reaction to coincide with Mother’s Day. The purple flower (which stands for “thankful”), was the first such temporary reaction added after reactions were added to Facebook in February 2016. The company rolled out the icon once more, and has added several additional ways to express your gratitude for your mom.

Facebook announced that in addition to the reaction button, users can support a cause, send a personalized card, or add frames and masks to your pictures. Users might see an option to share a card in their newsfeed, while mobile users can use the camera in the Facebook app to add on different masks and frames to pictures. The company also noted that users in the United States can start a fundraiser or donate to a cause in honor of their mother.

  Image: Facebook

The added features extend to Instagram as well — users who post an image to Instagram Stories have the option to add a series of Mother’s Day stickers to their image or video.

According to Facebook, people thanking their mothers “drove more posts in one day than any other topic on Facebook, with more than 105 million Mother’s Day posts” in 2016. At least you now have a backup in case you forgot to pick up a card.

After a massive bird strike last week, a Texas skyscraper will shut down its exterior lights

On the morning of May 5th, the Galveston Police Department were called to the American National Insurance Company’s 23-story skyscraper, where they found a horrifying sight: nearly 400 songbirds collided with the building overnight, killing all but three. In response, the building’s owners have decided to shut down the structure’s exterior lights for the remainder of the migratory season.

Storms swept through the area on the night of May 4th, and the weather might have prompted the birds to seek shelter, putting them in a collision course for the skyscraper, which is illuminated at night. The reflection of those exterior lights in the windows might have disoriented the birds, causing them to crash into the glass.

Authorities identified 25 different species involved in the incident, and The Audubon Society notes that the spring migration season for songbirds is currently underway, and that the area is a frequent stopping point for birds headed north.

This incident is unusual due to the high number of birds involved, according to Josh Henderson, Galveston’s animal control supervisor, who spoke to the Houston Chronicle. The dead birds will be sent to Texas A&M University and Louisiana State University’s Museum of Natural Science, while the three survivors were taken to the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston to be rehabilitated.

Bruce LePard, the American National Insurance Company’s Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, noted that this is the first time in the building’s history that there’s been an incident like this, and after meeting with the local Audubon Society, “we determined the first thing to do was to make the building less of an attraction to migrating birds,” and will be shutting the lights down for the remainder of the migratory season. The company plans to take further action by working to raise awareness birds in the region, according to the Houston Audubon Society.

Trump finally tweets (and promptly deletes) a unifying message

President Donald Trump trying to grasp how to properly use Twitter.
President Donald Trump trying to grasp how to properly use Twitter.

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is all about togetherness this weekend.

POTUS woke up, skipped his usual vicious Saturday morning tweetstorm, and instead, waited until the afternoon to tweet a simple, yet powerfully unifying two letters in the form of the word: “We.”

Image: screengrab/twitter

Now, we’re assuming this was an accidental tweet — which Trump, along with his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, are very familiar with — because the message was promptly deleted.

President Trump has already proven to be truly just so horrible at using the social media platform that this comes as no surprise, but the tweet spoke volumes to Trump’s Twitter followers.

While we may never know the full message Trump intended to type, many Twitter users called attention to the fact that with this single (probably accidental) tweet, Trump appeared to finally be acting like an inclusive, unifying president, rather than using the platform to bash Democrats.

How Sad!

Others simply mocked the president for once again, straight-up failing on at Twitter and had a little fun of their own.

Image: screengrab/twitter

However, this deleted tweet meant Trump would be back soon with another message. And back he was.

Approximately 20 minutes later, Trump returned to compose the following tweet about his interview on Fox News tonight. Notice this message did not even start with “We.” 

My gosh.

The President was quickly reminded that though tweets may be gone, they’re never forgotten.

What a wild ride we’re all on.

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