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Technology

The latest developments from the tech and science industry.

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Airbnb announces changes after Vice uncovers Chicago rental scam

The company is trying to improve user trust and make it easier for guests and hosts to report problems and obtain refunds when things go awry.

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TV streaming services: All the major options, from Netflix to Apple TV+, ranked

Not all streaming services are created equal. Before you subscribe to the latest, consider these, ranked from best to worst. We’ve included only services not available as a cable channel.

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Uber to launch on-demand staffing business in Chicago

Uber Works will launch Friday, handling employee screening while it’s partner, staffing agency TrueBlue, will handle payments and worker benefits, an Uber spokesperson confirmed Wednesday evening.

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Coming soon: Alexa in your ear and on your finger — and if you like— with Samuel L. Jackson’s voice

The online shopping giant said Wednesday that it will soon start selling wireless earbuds, finger rings and prescription eyeglasses with its Alexa voice assistant built in. It also launched its first celebrity voice for Alexa: actor Samuel L. Jackson.

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Airbnb, NAACP seek to bolster economic opportunity on South Side

The tech company wants to increase diversity among its workforce while creating economic empowerment on the South Side.

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Chicago cops could have access to video from thousands of new cameras — on residents’ front doors

Police are starting a pilot program with doorbell camera company Ring, which could aid in solving crime but which raises privacy fears.

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Amazon to hire 400 in downtown Chicago

The expansion would double the size of its local tech hub.

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Walmart debuts grocery delivery subscription

The service will charge an annual membership fee of $98 for subscribers to access unlimited same-day delivery, which will be offered in 1,400 stores in 200 markets.

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Apple’s new $5-a-month streaming services takes on Netflix, Disney

Apple TV Plus debuts Nov. 1. and will only carry original Apple programming.

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New iPhone is barely different, except for a price cut

The company’s new models are so similar to last year’s lineup they may be upstaged by Apple TV Plus.

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Major carriers, state AGs will work to combat robocalls

The state attorneys general say phone companies will offer call-blocking tools free to all but traditional landline users.

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Facebook paid contractors to transcribe users’ audio clips

The practice was, until recently, common in the tech industry.

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Are violent video games to blame for gun violence?

Video games have often been blamed for acts of violence, but the correlation is tenuous.

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Air-board inventor makes it halfway across English Channel before crashing into water

Unharmed and undeterred, 40-year-old Franky Zapata said he plans to try again. Perhaps within days.

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Facebook discloses FTC antitrust investigation

Hours after the Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5 billion fine, Facebook announced is was under investigation. The FTC confirmed this, but did not give additional details.

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Instagram expands test of hiding ‘likes’ to make users feel better

The Facebook-owned site has been hiding likes as part of a test in Canada since May. Now the test will expand to other countries — but not the U.S. yet.

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Russian app doesn’t upload all your photos, but could expose images to hackers

People raised fears that FaceApp, a Russian smartphone app that uses artificial intelligence to transform your current face into your younger and older selves, would be able to see and upload all your photos. That’s not actually true.

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New emojis from Apple and Google aim for inclusion, diversity

Apple and Google are rolling out dozens of new emojis that of course include cute critters, but also expand the number of images of human diversity.

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This app shows you what you’ll look like when you’re old

Everyone’s suddenly posting pictures of what they might look like when they’re old. Here’s how to get in on the fun.

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Report: Google looking at sizable growth in its Chicago office

Expansion could bring it to 1 million square feet in the Fulton Market District.

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‘Robot umpires’ debut in independent Atlantic League to call balls and strikes

The plate umpire wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and relayed the call upon receiving it from a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar.

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Restored Mission Control comes alive 50 years after Apollo

Recreated down to the tan carpeting, gray-green wallpaper, glass ashtrays and retro coffee cups, the room is intended "to capture the look and feel of July of ‘69," a NASA official said.

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Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp experiencing app issues

Online tracker DownDetector reported outages around the globe with 1,500 Facebook outages across the entire eastern half of the U.S. and throughout Europe alone.

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Flying car startups aim to begin test flights as early as next year

Uber is among one of several companies making plans for flying cars in the near future.

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Google Calendar down on desktop computers due to outage

Users trying to access Google Calendar from their computers instead received a "Not Found Error 404" message.

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You could have a personal robot follow you around and carry your things

The Illinois Senate passed a bill to pave the way for personal robots

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Pay a little extra to ride Uber in ‘Quiet Mode’

The setting is offered only for premium Uber rides.

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Facebook limits livestreaming to restrict broadcasting of hate, terror attacks

Facebook said it's tightening up the rules for its livestreaming service with a "one strike" policy applied to a broader range of offenses.

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Facebook co-founder: Zuckerberg’s power ‘unprecedented and un-American’

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, said in an opinion piece for the New York Times that the government must hold the social networking giant accountable after a series of missteps and break it up. Hughes also said the power of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is "unprecedented and un-American."

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Google to use AI to help disabled communicate

Google researchers are working to train its speech recognition system to understand people with speech impairments.

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Louis Farrakhan banned from Facebook over policies on violence, hate

Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and others from its main service and from Instagram, saying they violated the company's policies on hate and violence.

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‘The future is private’ — Zuckerberg explains new privacy strategy

Zuckerberg and his lieutenant, Sheryl Sandberg, have apologized repeatedly for Facebook's ever-expanding list of mishaps over privacy, data misuse.