All posts in “Mashtalk”

Google’s secret hardware ingredient is AI

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

What does Google know about hardware that no one else does?

If you said software, you’re almost right. Google likes to think its secret sauce is artificial intelligence, which manifests in its consumer products as the Google Assistant. The Assistant was front and center during the company’s big hardware event earlier this month.

From the new Pixel 2 phones to the Home Mini and Home Max smart speakers to the insanely powerful Pixelbook laptop, Google pointed to its command, “OK, Google” again and again as a key way to interact with its devices and get information.

Nowhere was the power of AI more clear than in the Pixel Buds earphones, a set of wireless headphones that can translate spoken language on the fly. AI is also the big selling point of Clips, a camera that Google touts as a kind of intelligent life logger: You set it down on the a shelf or a floor, and it will smartly capture only the moments that matter to you.

Are all these smarts compelling or creepy? And even if it’s the former, is having a smart AI enough for Google to actually move these products on store shelves? And is any of this stuff something you should think about buying?

Those are the questions Mashable‘s Tech Team tackles in the latest MashTalk. Tech Reporter Karissa Bell, who got to try out Google’s new suite of products, joins the podcast alongside Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong and Chief Correspondent Lance Ulanoff.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @mashtalk or attaching the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

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What Joel Osteen learned about social media from Hurricane Harvey

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

Thank heaven for social media.

That sentiment was definitely on the minds of many people caught in the path of Hurricane Harvey, which is shaping up to be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. It dumped 24.5 trillion gallons of water on Texas — enough to cover the entire state of Arizona in a foot of water. More than 32,000 people were displaced and forced to go to shelters. The official death toll stands at 46 (at the time of the podcast recording, it was 35).

That last number might have been higher if not for social media. In the early hours of the hurricane, 911 systems were overwhelmed, and many people reported not being able to get through to emergency services at all. 

With the water level rising and no help coming, lots of people turned to social media to plea for rescue.

In many cases, their pleas were answered. When calls for rescue went out, influencers began retweeting, Facebook groups were formed, and certain “low-tech” apps (like push-to-talk communicators) became invaluable. Social media networks became a force in connecting rescuers with those in need, and helping volunteer forces organize.

Public figures felt the power of social media in the wake of the disaster, too. 

Popular Houston-based televangelist Joel Osteen was forced to respond when Twitter stirred up criticism that his massive Lakewood Church stood nearly empty while shelters in the area were filling up. 

First Lady Melania Trump was a target, too, over her choice of footwear, although the backlash to that criticism was just as swift.

Over the course of the week, Twitter saw more than 27 million tweets related to Harvey, making it the second most-tweeted event in 2017 (the Super Bowl saw 27.6 million). Facebook opened up Safety Check to those affected by Harvey, and saw more than 1,000 users made requests for help via the feature, with more than 3,500 offers from volunteers seeking to help those affected.

On this week’s MashTalk, we talk to Houston resident and Ringer staff writer Shea Serrano, who became one of the most prolific “signal boosters” on Twitter for people affected by the storm, and Bill Moore, CEO of Zello, whose “live conversations” app was instrumental in enabling people to communicate directly when regular methods weren’t working.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @mashtalk or adding the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

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The one iPhone 8 leak to rule them all

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

For those who obsess about the iPhone, it was the mother lode.

After a long period without any substantive information (although plenty of whispers, speculation, and questionable photos), it finally happened: the biggest iPhone 8 leak so far. 

In what looks like an understandable but massive mistake, pre-release firmware for the Apple HomePod somehow got uploaded to a public server.

There’s a lot of interest in HomePod — the Apple “smart speaker” that’s meant for music and has Siri built-in. Apple plans to release it in December, so getting a look at the software four months early is definitely a big deal.

But that was just the beginning. The HomePod software actually included a lot of information about a new iPhone — what has generally been called the iPhone 8 — including details on the exact shape of its edge-to-edge screen, a new kind of biometric security that involves facial recognition, and other features.

One of the key people in deciphering the leak has been Guilherme Rambo, an iOS developer from Brazil. Rambo has been revealing the details he and others have discovered in the HomePod software on his Twitter feed, including references to something called “Pearl ID,” a virtual home button, and even an image of what the front of the iPhone 8 will supposedly look like (hint: get ready to hear the term “notch” a lot).

Rambo joins this week’s MashTalk podcast along with CNET Executive Editor and mobile analyst Roger Cheng and Mashable Senior Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong to fully unpack this huge leak, explore what this radically redesigned iPhone will mean (to users and Apple), and analyze the info to figure out what’s not in the leak.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @mashtalk or adding the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

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What happens after Net Neutrality falls?

The internet five years from now could look a lot different than what it is today.

Building an online business might be harder than ever thanks to the FCC throwing out the rules surrounding Net Neutrality — the premise that all data on the net should be treated equally regardless of origin or destination. Without Net Neutrality, providers would be free to create so-called “fast lanes” on the internet, prioritizing services that they’re friendly to, and relegating those that don’t pay up to the slow lane.

At least that’s the future many envision if Net Neutrality is thrown out, including those who protested this week in the Net Neutrality Day of Action, which saw many major tech companies — including Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, and Google — add their voices to the chorus of entities calling for Net Neutrality to be preserved.

However, Net Neutrality will likely be changed or thrown out no matter what, so the question now becomes: What happens next? On this week’s MashTalk, we explore what a future without Net Neutrality looks like, and ask: Is there a chance it might even be better for consumers in some ways?

Mashable Business Editor Jason Abbruzzese and Tech Correspondent Jack Morse join Pete, Lance, and… Elmo…? for an important discussion on the future of the internet.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @mash_talk or attaching the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

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iPhone 2020 roundtable: Dissecting the future of Apple’s ‘one device’

Image: Haley Hamblin/Mashable

It’s pretty remarkable that, 10 years after the iPhone first debuted, that it’s still recognizably an iPhone.

Put an iPhone 7 on the table next to an original iPhone, and, while it would be clear that one is more advanced and sophisticated than the other, you can easily see they share the same DNA. Apps, multi-touch, the home button — the overall design and the platform it enables has been very consistent through the decade of its existence.

That’s why, when Mashable‘s Tech Team took it upon themselves to imagine what the iPhone of 2020 would look like, we ended up with something that — while clearly a step beyond the smartphones of today — is unmistakably an iPhone. But an iPhone with an edge-to-edge screen, no home button, a more AI-driven version of iOS, and no ports whatsoever.

Image: Loris RAvera/Mashable

After revealing our vision, we invited a panel of experts to dissect it — to tell us what we got right and what we got wrong — on our MashTalk podcast. iMore Managing Editor Serenity Caldwell, Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster, and USA Today Tech Columnist Ed Baig join Mashable‘s Pete Pachal, Raymond Wong, Lance Ulanoff, and Sam Sheffer in a spirited discussion about the future of the iPhone.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @Mash_Talk or attaching the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

Listen on Google Play Music

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