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Google Streetview uploads, HBO Max gets blockbuster 2021 films, and more

☕ Good morning! A week after Black Friday, here we are, mostly intact. Before we get humming, we wanted to thank this newsletter’s sponsor, Tile.

Brought to you by Tile

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Tile is affordable and effective, with devices lasting three years. Right now, they’re having a variety of offers and package deals, so you can save even more when you shop with Tile.

Now anyone* can add to Google Maps Street View

Street View is absolutely my favorite thing for figuring out where I'm going and what it may look like, if I think I’m going to get lost in the last few hundred yards.

  • If you’re interested, mind you, it’s far less useful in Germany, where the intense regard for personal privacy means no new Street View images have been published since 2010, but there are pretty good reasons for why that is (Big Think).

Anyway, minor details aside, the news is that Google is opening up Street View additions to anyone with an Android phone right now — or at least anyone that has an Android phone with ARCore

What it means:

  • The updated Street View app lets you add imagery and put it in the right place on Google Maps, and connect images as you wander a street. Google does most of the annoying work for you: “we automatically rotate, position and create a series of connected photos. We then place those connected images in the right place on Google Maps, so your new Street View can be found in the exact location where it was taken for others to see and explore.”
  • Previously, you had to take a Photosphere or use expensive 360-degree camera equipment which was much more tedious and expensive.
  • ARCore compatible devices go back pretty far, including the Nexus 6P - generally most Android phones had compatibility from 2018, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll own one. (Nothing said about iPhone compatibility with this new feature, by the way.)

Doing work for Google?

  • Now, loads of people will say: don’t do Google’s work for it, for free! It’s one of the richest corporations in history! 
  • Google's own Street View trekkers and cars already collected more than 170 billion images from “10 million miles around the planet” so far, by the way.
  • But hobbyists love this kind of thing, it’ll be great for people to add detail for hikes and trails, and it’ll be useful for businesses and tourism and the like, and it really is a great way to capture the world in a moment in time.
  • The other option is adding imagery via StreetComplete to OpenStreetMap, a more free editable map of the world.
  • But there is one major catch, right now: “The connected photos beta feature is now available for people using the Street View app with an ARCore-compatible Android device in Toronto, Canada, New York, NY and Austin, TX, along with Nigeria, Indonesia and Costa Rica—with more regions on the way soon.”
  • Sorry - obviously it’s incredibly likely Google throws open the doors, but for now these almost random regions are the ones who can do it.
  • And, will this be possible in Germany one day? Probably - you could already submit photospheres, even if there may never be StreetView cars driving around.

Black Friday recap:

I wanted to spend two seconds sharing with you some top devices that people bought or had the most interest in during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales extravaganza. This is all according to our own rough data, nothing official or final.

But! It is interesting — the following devices were variously popular for the great deal on offer and value — and stock availability helped too.

  • Smartphones: Moto G Power (which had at least a 50% price drop), Pixel 4a, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and the Google Pixel 5. The S20 was the best selling higher-end flagship.
  • Popular gadgets: Google Nest WiFi router 2-pack, Samsung Evo 512GB microSDXC cards, and interestingly, the Nintendo Switch Pro controller - which I own and love, too!
  • Headphones and earbuds: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, Sony WH-1000XM4 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus were top sellers. Good choices there, too.

Round Up:

🔜 Samsung appears to have three foldables in 2021: the Galaxy Z Flip 2, Galaxy Z Fold 3, and Galaxy Z Fold lite model, from reports (Android Authority).

📽 Every single 2021 movie scheduled from Warner Bros. will debut first on HBO Max, as well as in cinemas. That roster includes Dune, Matrix 4, and Suicide Squad 2 (Android Authority).

👂 Razer’s new Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earbuds add noise cancelling, and keep the bass (Android Authority).

📁 Royole’s FlexPai 2 has been given a hands-on, and while it aims to be a much better folding phone, that wasn’t hard given the struggles of the original. It’s still super expensive, still looks a bit awkward (The Verge).

🛠 Razer’s Tomahawk modular gaming PC is finally a real product, but pricing makes it pretty niche (The Verge).

🐤 Twitter dumps threaded replies, ditches experimental twttr app (CNET).

🛫 DJI’s cinematic FPV drone leaks in photos (Engadget).

💱 Stripe has rolled out a new feature and tool: Stripe Treasury, which aims to offer businesses the ability to offer banking solutions for customers via useful APIs. Now, you say, why is this very business detail here? Well, it may be the backbone of much of what we see for easier money handling on platforms, soon enough (Stratechery).

US states plan to sue Facebook as soon as next week (Reuters).

😬 Prominent AI ethicist Timnit Gebru says Google fired her (Wired).

📡 The exact moment of the huge Arecibo telescope collapse, captured on video (NSF.gov).

🌠 All the stars above us are moving, as this ESA animation shows (Twitter). 

🌞 ELI5: “In regions that are "100% powered by renewable energy", what happens to the traditional power plants?” (r/explainlikeimfive).

Friday Fun

New glue! Researchers have created super-strong glue that can be unstuck by heating it, and the glue dissolves into gas. No need to unstick with force.

  • That’s new. Things like sticky notes and painter’s tape adhere to a surface loosely enough to be removed, but still need to be pulled apart.
  • This new glue, created by researchers at Dartmouth University, is both incredibly strong, and can be removed without any force.
  • Don’t expect to be using it alongside your Christmas wrapping paper: the advantages are likely to be in manufacturing things like semiconductors, where components are temporarily bonded together as they’re assembled. 
  • This glue may help develop smaller, more powerful chips - a big claim but hey, that’s what science does, and engineers try and make it work, and marketers sell it to us!
  • “This temporary adhesive works in an entirely different way than other adhesives,” said Katherine Mirica, an assistant professor of chemistry at Dartmouth. “This innovation will unlock new manufacturing strategies where on-demand release from adhesion is required.”
  • Or, you know, just hanging from rafters?

As you can see, the glue is strong enough to hold up a chemistry PhD candidate - it’s hard to see but two metal plates were stuck together with 300mg of glue, then connected via straps and carabiners, and supported the weight of the researcher.

(It’s kinda hard to see the paltes so I added some yellow arrows:)

Thanks for sticking around,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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