Files from Samira Balsara
Google is developing a feature that lets users control their Android phones using facial expressions, the U.S. government has launched an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system, and viral TikTok videos are increasing book sales at book retailer Indigo.
It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday August 17, and I’m your host, Jori Negin-Shecter.
Google is working on an Android accessibility feature that allows users to control their phones using facial expressions. In an updated version of the Android Accessibility Suite App, XDA developers reported that the operating system’s latest beta includes a “Camera Switches” function. According to an article by PC Magazine, the feature will allow people with disabilities to connect external accessories through USB or Bluetooth. Among the new features includes the Camera Switches feature, which allows users to use facial gestures to complete on-screen tasks, and the ability for a user to open their mouth to open notifications. The features are not yet available, however, XDA developers suggest they may be added to Android 11, and may not be exclusive to an eventual Android 12.
The United States government has opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system after a series of accidents with parked emergency vehicles. The investigation involves 765,000 vehicles, which accounts for almost every vehicle Tesla has sold in the U.S. since 2014. According to The Associated Press, of the crashes identified, 17 people were injured and one person was killed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified 11 Tesla crashes since 2018. In those cases, Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control have collided with cars at times where first responders have used flashing hazard signs. This investigation involves Tesla’s current model lineup, including Models Y, X, S and 3 from the 2014 to 2021 model years.
And lastly, book lovers are posting their favourite reads on TikTok causing book retailer Indigo to see a surge in sales. The viral videos are tagged with hashtag “#BookTok,” and according to a report from BNN Bloomberg, have generated billions of views. The demand for these specific books are benefiting book retailers like Toronto-based Indigo. Indigo’s CEO says the exploding popularity gain amongst TikTok teens is adding to an already strong performance in book sales. Indigo has even gone as far as to add a section to their stores called “BookTok” which includes many trending books. The company reported a revenue of $172 million this past quarter, which is up from $135 million in the same quarter last year.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Jori Negin-Shecter.