posted 3 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Amazon has suspended thousands of third-party sellers for price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic, but sellers have found a loophole to avoid detection when raising prices: labeling their products as “collectibles,” even if there’s no conceivable way they could be. Take this Bowflex dumbbell set, which my colleague Casey Newton encountered while browsing Amazon. Before it sold out in mid-March, Amazon had been selling the weights for $279. This week, the only available weights were from 20 sellers who were offering the dumbbells for between $899 and $1,275 (with free shipping). All had listed the item as “collectible.” The automated systems that detect price gouging appear not to monitor products if their condition is listed as... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post via Getty Images Instacart’s tipping system is getting some new scrutiny from Congress. In a pair of letters today, a group of senators led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) raised concerns that the service’s tipping system may be unfair or deceptive and called for a regulatory investigation of the practice. One letter sent to Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta took the service to task for allowing buyers to promise large tips but reduce them to zero after an order is fulfilled. “People are facing unprecedented economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators wrote, “and so we hope online delivery companies like yours are taking the necessary steps to protect shoppers and prevent unfair and deceptive practices.” Reached for comment, Instacart... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Venue will attempt to curate fan discussion while an event takes place. | Image: Facebook Facebook’s Venue is a new app that’s designed to make the process of watching live events more social. The digital companion app has been developed by Facebook’s R&D group, the New Product Experimentation (NPE) team. Its first live event will be this Sunday’s NASCAR race. Venue appears to be Facebook’s attempt to dethrone Twitter’s role as the de facto way to chat with others while watching an event live, TechCrunch notes. However, while Twitter allows any of its users to join a conversation, usually by tweeting along using a hashtag, Venue is a much more curated experience. Commentary will mainly come from select expert commentators such as journalists or athletes, while public participation will be concentrated into conversations or... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Sony is officially confirming its next PlayStation 5 event will be held on Thursday, June 4th. The event will begin at 4PM ET / 1PM PT, and Sony is promising “a look at the future of gaming on PlayStation 5.” It will run for “a bit more than an hour,” and feature “a first look at the games you’ll be playing after PlayStation 5 launches this holiday,” according to Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “The games coming to PS5 represent the best in the industry from innovative studios that span the globe. Studios, both larger and smaller, those newer and those more established, all have been hard at work developing games that will showcase the potential of the hardware,” says Ryan. “This digital showcase will run... Continue reading…

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posted 3 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Spoiler: you can’t nationalize Twitter Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images Twitter limited the reach of a second tweet from President Donald Trump this morning, as the White House and its allies sought to escalate their feud with the social media company. On Friday, Trump called people protesting the death of George Floyd in Minnesota “thugs.” The president continued, “Any difficulty and we will assume control, but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Shortly after the message was posted, Twitter determined that it violated rules involving the glorification of violence and placed a notice on the tweet. In doing so, the tweet is hidden from Trump’s timeline but is accessible once a user clicks a “view” button. Likes, retweets, and replies are all disabled from the tweet in an effort to limit its... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge With its ride-hailing business at rock bottom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber is introducing a new feature aimed at riders who need to take longer rides with multiple destinations. Using the new “Hourly” function, riders can set the amount of time the trip should take, thereby locking in a flat, hourly rate for the duration of the ride. Uber has allowed for multiple destinations in one trip since 2017, but the addition of an hourly rate for these longer, multistop rides is a new approach. Uber seems to be angling for the type of rider who may have once taken public transportation to run multiple errands but now might be avoiding it due to the pandemic. In a statement, Uber’s director of rider operations Niraj Patel also... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
If anyone steps inside the circle you’re legally allowed to fight them. | GIF: Google As lockdown measures are eased around the world, it’s more important than ever to observe proper health protocol in public. That means wearing a mask (if you can), washing your hands regularly, and social distancing. This last step can be the trickiest, but Google has released a handy augmented reality tool that makes things a little easier. If you’ve got an Android device, just open up the Chrome browser and go to goo.gle/sodar to launch the tool, named SODAR. There’s no app required, though it won’t work on iOS or older Android devices. Your phone will use augmented reality to map the space around you, superimposing a two-meter radius circle on the view from your camera. Sodar - use WebXR to help visualise social distancing... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Kim Shiflett / NASA Takeoff is scheduled for 3:22PM ET on May 30th Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Give Dad something to make him glad Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Tesla Well, I was going to write about the historic crewed launch and SpaceX, Tesla’s overachieving older sibling, but then the launch got scrubbed. Instead, let’s discuss money. Tesla cut prices on several vehicles earlier this week: the Model S and X now cost $74,990 and $79,990 — respectively — for their base model, a $5,000 drop. The Performance versions of both cars, which are more expensive, have also dropped by $5,000. The Model 3’s cheapest model, the Standard Range Plus Model 3, is now $37,990, a $2,000 decrease. All Model 3s are also now $2,000 cheaper. (The pricing is slightly different for the Model 3s in China, however.) The Model Y, introduced this year, remains unchanged. So did Tesla’s closing stock price the day after the... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge You can now buy a refurbished iPhone XR from the Apple Store, MacRumors reports. It’s a cheaper way of getting the bestselling phone of last year, and Apple’s refurbishing process means that it should perform almost identically to a brand new model. A 64GB refurbished iPhone XR will set you back $499, a $100 saving over its current $599 asking price, while a refurbished XR with 128GB of storage costs $539, $110 less than the $649 Apple now charges for the phone new. Although the refurbished phone is available in a more limited selection of colors, there’s a wider selection of storage options. The 256GB iPhone XR, which Apple discontinued last year, can be bought refurbished for $629. All refurbished phones come in a new box, complete... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. | Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images I. Oh boy, there’s an executive order! About social media! And also the entire internet! And the president signed it, reports Chris Megerian at the Los Angeles Times: The order directs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to request new regulations from the Federal Communications Commission to determine whether a social media company is acting “in good faith” to moderate content. In theory, that could open the door to users suing social media platforms if they feel their posts are restricted inappropriately. But it could also make the companies more likely to take down false or misleading content rather that just add a disclaimer — the opposite of what Trump wants. “That’s the irony of all this,” said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Twitter’s notice, which says that the tweet broke its rules about glorifying violence. | Screenshot: Twitter Twitter has placed a public interest notice on a tweet from President Trump for breaking the platform’s rules about the “glorification of violence.” However, Twitter has not chosen to remove the tweet from its platform entirely, because it believes it to be in the public interest. Twitter announced the notice in a tweet thread from its official comms account. The notice means that the tweet is hidden from Trump’s timeline, but is accessible if you visit the tweet directly after clicking a “view” button. The reach of the tweet will also be limited as part of the process. Although users can still retweet it with a comment, they cannot reply to it, retweet it directly, or like it. Twitter also says that its notice means that the tweet won’t... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired Rony Abovitz, the co-founder and CEO of lavishly funded augmented reality company Magic Leap, will step down from his position, reports Business Insider. Abovitz’s planned departure, which doesn’t yet have a concrete date, marks an unceremonious end to his tenure at the helm of Magic Leap, a once-buzzy startup that earned a high profile for how secretive it was early on about its technology and the eye-popping amounts of venture capital it raised. Magic Leap has so far raised about $3 billion dollars over the last decade, though it has only released one product, the Magic Leap 1 headset. The company raised $350 million of that funding just earlier this month, after laying off about 1,000 employees back in April and ditching its consumer... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Paramount Pictures A sequel to the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is in development, as first reported by Variety. It’s unclear when the film might be released, but Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler and screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller are all returning for the sequel. Fowler confirmed that he’ll be back to direct on Twitter. ROUND TWO WITH THE BLUE!! https://t.co/YTabuZy08C— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 28, 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog was a hit for Paramount, earning $70 million in its first four days in theaters this February, according to Variety. However, the film initially had some controversy because of the design of its titular character. The first design for Sonic’s movie representation was strangely (horrifyingly) humanlike. The backlash... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Twitter says you can now schedule tweets right from the main web app. When composing a tweet, you should see a little calendar icon on the bottom row of icons at the bottom of the compose window. Click that and you can specify when you want your tweet to be sent. Twitter had originally said it was “experimenting” with the feature back in November, and if you didn’t have access to that experiment, you needed to use Tweetdeck or another third-party service that supported the feature if you wanted to schedule tweets. Twitter says you can also now save draft tweets in the web app. However, drafts you write on the web app will only sync to other instances of the web app, according to Twitter, meaning drafts written in Twitter’s mobile app... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Xinhua/Ding Ting via Getty Images Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unlocked the first of 12 possible stock option awards from the massive compensation plan he signed in 2018, and it’s worth nearly $800 million. The company disclosed on Thursday that Musk now has the option to buy 1.69 million of its shares because Tesla eclipsed $20 billion in total revenue over the last four quarters and a market capitalization of more than $100 billion — the first in a series of tandem milestones Tesla must hit for Musk to realize the full value of the plan. Tesla’s stock price was $805.81 when the markets closed on Thursday, meaning those shares are worth about $1.36 billion. But Musk only has to pay a $350.02 per share “strike price” to get them, according to the agreement, or a total of... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Electronic Arts Electronic Arts and the National Football League have renewed the exclusivity contract that gives the game publisher exclusive rights to make so-called simulation football games, which is the classification used for photorealistic football games featuring licensed team names and real players. The contract now extends to May 2026, although financial terms of the deal, like past contracts between EA and the NFL, were not disclosed. The deal was voted on and approved on Thursday, although Polygon reports the terms were decided before today’s vote among team owners and that any such vote over NFL’s video game licensing renewal is merely a formality at this point. While some football fans may have been hoping for the NFL to expand its... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google and Microsoft have worked together to improve the spellcheck experience in Chrome and Edge. The latest versions of Chrome and Edge are now powered by the built-in Windows Spellcheck feature rather than the previous Hunspell open source implementation. The switch means spellcheck within Chrome and Edge will now have better support for URLs, acronyms, email addresses, and an improved shared custom dictionary. “This feature was developed as a collaboration between Google and Microsoft engineers in the Chromium project, enabling all Chromium-based browsers to benefit from Windows Spellcheck integration,” explains Microsoft’s Edge team. The Windows Spellcheck improvements in Edge. If you’re not seeing the new... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
As part of HBO Max’s launch, WarnerMedia included a list of titles currently available to stream on day one, but after discrepancies were discovered between what WarnerMedia advertised and what was actually streaming, the company has pulled the list. The Dark Knight, 13 Going on 30, The Matrix, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are just some of the titles originally advertised on WarnerMedia’s website but aren’t actually on HBO Max. A spokesperson for the company told The Verge that they are “updating this section and will post again once it’s complete.” Other titles include Man of Steel, Gossip Girl, The Iron Giant, and The West Wing. Missing titles happen. Rights deals are being made up until the last minute, and it’s possible... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge DoorDash on Thursday launched a new initiative called Storefront to help restaurants create websites and directly manage online pickup and delivery orders. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants to pause their sit-down service, many have become increasingly reliant on delivery platforms like DoorDash, as well as competitors Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats. These partnerships, of course, saddle restaurants with all kinds of commissions and fees, but they’re still necessities for many that lack their own delivery infrastructure or a website to facilitate online orders. DoorDash’s goal is to help businesses create their own online stores instead; 40 percent of DoorDash’s partners don’t have any online ordering system, by the... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Image: Apple During a group call, FaceTime automatically enlarges the window of whoever’s speaking. This means when you have four or more people on a call, the windows will resize, float, and bounce around during a group call. It can be distracting and confusing. If you’d rather keep all of your FaceTime windows static and the same size during a call, there is quick way to do that in the latest iOS and iPadOS versions, as well as the latest version of macOS. On iPhone These instructions are for an iPhone, but the process for the iPad should be similar. First, make sure your FaceTime app is up to date by checking to see if you’re running iOS 13.5 or iPadOS 13.5: Open settings. Go to “General.” Tap “Software Update.” If an update is available, you’ll... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google will soon let G Suite customers with Google Voice licenses make Google Voice calls right from their Gmail inbox. The new feature seems like a handy way to make a Google Voice call without needing to jump to a second tab to do so. If the feature is rolled out to you, you’ll be able to access Google Voice from the toolbar on the right side of your inbox, which is where you might currently see icons for Google Calendar, Keep, and Tasks. Here’s a GIF from Google showing what the interface looks like. Google says the feature will begin rolling out on June 3rd, though you’ll only be able use it from Chrome or Firefox on a computer. Earlier this month, Google announced that you’d be able to access its Meet... Continue reading…

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posted 4 days ago on the verge
Illustration by William Joel / The Verge Facebook will now require people behind individual profiles with “high reach” to verify their identity, the company announced today. Facebook hopes this will ensure users are seeing more authentic posts from people, instead of ones from bots or users concealing their identity. The change follows a similar move two years ago in which Facebook required viral page owners to disclose their identities and locations, following numerous accounts of overseas content farms using partisan US politics to game Facebook’s algorithms, go viral, and cash in on ad revenue. Accounts on the social network that exhibit “inauthentic behavior” that have posts continuously going viral in the US will need to provide a form of ID. Should the ID not match the... Continue reading…

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