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Talk Social: 21 March, 2017

Meet Bixby, the new generation of smartphone assistant


To the ranks of Siri, Cortana and Alexa, comes a new smartphone personal assistant in the shape of Samsung’s Bixby.

The difference is Bixby – which will be included in the upcoming Galaxy S8 models – has greater built-in intelligence.

So, if you ask it to find the image of a car you took on Sunday, brighten it up and then send it to your brother, it would perform each task consecutively without needing to be asked three times. If it can do steps one and two, but doesn’t recognise the name for part three, it will take the instruction as far as it can.

This places it in a different league to current smartphone assistants and at launch, it will be compatible with 10 built-in apps on the Galaxy. Bixby will also have its own activation button on the side of the phone.

Samsung has big plans for Bixby to become the interface that glues every ‘smart’ device in our lives together – phones, TVs, washing machines, lights and heating for instance. It seems the next generation of assistant is on the way, with the potential to change the way we access information, use technology and get jobs done.

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Millennials switch off traditional telly


Television viewing habits are also changing forever, with more and more of us watching telly while connected to the internet and watching streaming services rather than traditional TV channels.

A study by Facebook showed that 71 per cent of Millennials prefer to stream TV content and just one in 10 Millennials consider traditional TV as their medium of choice. This contrasts with an almost mirror statistic of 64 per cent of older viewers still watching traditional TV channels and just 12 per cent opting for streaming.

These streaming viewers are more than one and a half times more likely than a non-streamer to watch content based on a friend’s recommendation, usually provided via social networks such as Facebook.

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Revealed: The motivations behind hitting ‘like’ and ‘share’


Watching TV shows while engaging on social media is another phenomenon of our times – but what motivates users to stop scrolling and engage with a post or piece of content?

US company Fractl has researched Facebook users to find out the answers. The primary reason to share is to give your network something they’ll find interesting (48 per cent), useful, educational or that will make them ‘feel’ an emotion – although 40 per cent of users also admit to sharing content that makes themselves look good.

Women are more likely to share at least once a day than men, too.

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Feed for thought


There have been a couple of minor tweaks to the appearance of twitter and Facebook feeds.

Twitter is presenting its options differently, by adding tweets and replies as a separate listing, and showing the options as a carousel.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, comments are now each contained in individual bubbles, in the same style as on Messenger.

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The most hi-tech loo roll in the world


We all know that tech continues to transform the way we live. From China comes surely the weirdest use of facial recognition software yet.

While this leap in technology is promised to bring improvements to security systems, potentially doing away with the need for passwords, it’s rarely if ever mentioned in the same breath as loo roll.

But, incredibly, a Chinese tourist hotspot has introduced facial recognition software to control the issue of toilet roll after suffering a spate of thefts.

Now visitors to the loos at Tiantan Park in Beijing have their faces scanned before paper is issued. And if they return within nine minutes, the machine will refuse them a second helping.

We’re sure this is what the inventors of this incredible technology had in mind when they first devised it…

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