The Wrap: Verizon's big buy, Google's car unleashed, new drones with unique features
IDG News Service | May 15, 2015
Verizon plans to buy AOL for more than $4 billion, Facebook wants to make your news feed more engaging with Instant Articles and Google's self driving car is going to move off the test track and onto public streets.
The Wrap, May 9-15, 2015
Your Facebook news feed will be changing and a new drone will follow you, but not in a creepy way.
Here's your tech top three and what you need to know this week. Verizon plans to buy AOL for 4.4 billion dollars in a deal that could offer an edge against Google and Facebook in mobile advertising. It's a long term strategy investment for Verizon which is banking on massive video usage, which AOL's content could feed. Verizon could monetize that content for a huge reward low risk. Facebook wants to give iOS users a better news experience with what it calls Instant Articles. Traditional articles take 8 seconds to load, but these new ones will load faster with more engaging content. It's launching with a select group of international publishers with the aim of letting them control and monetize their stories. Google's self driving cars are going to leave the test track and start roaming the roads of Mountain View this summer - with a safety driver aboard. They'll crawl along at 25 miles per hour so don't expect to see them on any highways, but it's a big step forward for the technology. Google wants to reduce the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error. Drones, drones and more drones. We've got two new ones this week. My favorite is Lily Camera which is a waterproof- yes waterproof drone that will follow you. You clip on a receiver, throw the drone in the air and it will capture your action sports be it rock climbing, kayaking or running. There are a few problems though. First it can't avoid objects so look for trees, radio towers and buildings. Second its limited by its battery life so be ready to stop your action after about 20 minutes to retrieve it. The locator captures audio that can be married with the video afterwards. It costs 500 during presale and 1000 when it starts shipping early next year. The other drone is the LVL 1 from CyPhy. This drone takes a unique approach to stabilization with six rotors instead of four. It means the drone flies level and doesn't need an expensive fragile gimbal to cancel out movement. Like the Lily, the LVL 1 will have an integrated camera. The LVL 1 is 495 dollars during presale and will be more than 600 when it starts shipping next February. If you think of drones as cameras that fly it becomes clear why the drone market is exploding. Our selfie obsessed, share instantly culture feeds right into this market. Most of these drones are controlled by your smartphone--which can shoot video and take photos--but it can't get the kinds of shots that drones can. And there's nothing stopping these drones -- FAA rules are few for consumer use. As drones get more advanced like the Lily and LVL 1--and their prices come down, we'll start to see more buzzing around the sky. I'm Nick Barber and that's a wrap.