This week, Facebook’s Trending Topics system was notably late to a huge social media protest, Elon Musk announced new solar roof panels that the company hopes will change how we consume electric power and Instagram tested shoppable tags. These are some of this week’s top stories in tech. Want to receive the Weekly Roundup in your inbox? Well, turns out you can.
1. Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new solar roof panels that the company hopes will revolutionize the way we use green power in the home. Also revealed was the new Powerwall 2.0 battery unit that now packs twice the energy storage. The solar roof tiles come in four distinct styles, and are transparent to solar but opaque when viewed from an angle. And they’re not just a fashion statement — the new tiles could become more efficient, durable and cost-effective than existing solar panel options.
2. Samsung won’t quit after the exploding phone debacle. The company is focused on the Galaxy S8 and is already promising discounts to loyal users. The S8 handset will have a new design, a better camera and “an enhanced artificial-intelligence service.”
3. After Apple’s big unveiling of the MacBook Pro, everyone is trying to make sense of the new Touch Bar. One take is that the Touch Bar is a compromise between adding a touch screen on a MacBook and ignoring touch entirely.
4. A massive social media protest exploded on Facebook, yet Facebook’s Trending system was hours late in picking it up. People around the country were checking in on Facebook at the Standing Rock Native American Reservation in an effort to supposedly hinder local Morton County police from targeting protesters attending in person to fight an oil pipeline through historic tribal lands.
5. LinkedIn launched a new portal called Salary, which acts as a tracker to collect and analyze salaries globally. It will let users chart the connections between themselves, their career, their industry and the wider economy.
6. Google finally officially launched its Tango smartphone augmented reality system to the masses. Right now, it’s only available on Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro, which arrived in U.S. stores this week, but you can expect to see this in a bunch of Android phones in the next year or so.
7. Instagram wants to integrate a shopping experience into its app without interrupting your scrolling with a browser window. That’s why the social network is testing shoppable tags on photos. Retailers can tag products in their photos, which are hidden behind a “Tap to view products” button.
8. There were two major earnings highlights: Facebook reported a wildly successful Q3, earning $7.01 billion in revenue and $1.09 EPS. On the other end of the spectrum, GoPro disappointed Wall Street as it missed revenue expectations by 23 percent and nearly $75 million.
9. Microsoft launched its Slack competitor called Teams as a preview, and we went hands on, concluding that while the app does a pretty good job organizing a lot of content at once, Teams is late to the game.
11. Amazon wants to strengthen its presence in Asia. The U.S. retail giant doesn’t currently offer local services in Southeast Asia, but it is working to enter the region with a launch in Singapore in Q1 2017.
13. George Hotz has cancelled the Comma One, his autonomous driving startup’s first product that would’ve allowed certain cars to gain autopilot-like highway driving assistance abilities with an aftermarket add-on.