Author: Josh Constine

Zuckerberg tells Harvard we need a new social contract of equal opportunity

TECHCRUNCH Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard commencement centered around how we can improve life through big projects, equal opportunity, and building both local and global community. He outlined a plan “to create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.” Rather than focusing on the opportunities for the Harvard students graduating in front of him, he urged the students to ignite opportunities for those less fortunate. And instead of shying away from the fact that technology is creating new challenges for the underprivileged, he said we need to address automation’s impact on employment head on. You can watch...

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Watch Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard commencement speech here

TECHCRUNCH College dropout-turned-Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally got his degree today, and now he’s about to give Harvard’s 366th commencement speech. You can watch him speak here when he starts between 3pm and 3:30 Eastern Time, or just past noon on the west coast. We’ll embed the Facebook Live broadcast right here on TechCrunch, and provide frequent updates on any news or insights he mentions. “I’ll share what I’ve learned about our generation and the world we’re all building together” Zuckerberg writes. “This is personally important to me and I’ve been writing it for a while.” Until then, you...

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Facebook shrinks filter bubbles with alternate news sources in Trending

TECHCRUNCH You’re vulnerable to bias and polarization if you only get your news from one source. So instead of highlighting a single news outlet when you click through to a Trending topic, Facebook will now show a carousel of the other most popular articles written about the subject by different publishers. Meanwhile, Facebook is giving more exposure to Trending Topics on mobile. Rather than only show Trending topics in the drop-down when you go to search for something on Facebook’s mobile app, the company will test showing a box with the top three current Trending topics inside the News Feed. This way people will more likely discover Trending content on mobile when previously it was buried in an unintuitive spot. Facebook tells TechCrunch that the Trending sources carousel isn’t personalized to purposefully show you publishers you don’t follow or that might have a contrasting view point to what you typically click and share. But by swiping through to different news sources that you don’t follow, the company says it could show you different view points on the same topic. Of course that could backfire by showing you more biased sources than you’d normally read. Not every fact needs an “alternative” take. That can lead to misguided hot takes and senseless contrarianism. Facebook will have to keep an algorithmic eye on what publishers it shows in these carousels. Since Trump...

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Warby Parker’s Prescription Check app lets you skip the eye doctor

TECHCRUNCH Warby Parker wants to get you the right prescription glasses without forcing you to get an in-person eye test. It’s now testing its new Prescription Test app that uses your phone and computer in tandem to adminster a 20-minute series of eye tests, which are then reviewed by a doctor who makes the final call on your prescription. This could let Warby Parker sell people prescription glasses on impulse rather than hoping customers come back once they get their prescription the old fashioned way. For now, Warby Parker says only people between the ages of 18 and 40 in California, Florida, New York, and Virginia who already have Warby Parker glasses are eligible for the test. But eventually it could roll it out more widely to let new customers from a wider range of places get their prescription checked. The test sees users stand back from their computer screen that displays the vision tests while reading instructions off the phone they’re holding. The phone’s camera can measure a credit card placed in the corner of the computer screen to determine the distance and screensize so the tests are configured properly. Prescription Check’s technology works extremely similarly to startup Opternative, which has been doing online eye tests since 2014. A source says that Warby Parker has been working on the Prescription Check idea for a long time and considered...

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Instagram launches Story Search for hashtags and locations

TECHCRUNCH Instagram Stories wants to be your window into what’s going on around a topic or place right now, so it’s adding a way to search Stories two months after Snapchat did the same. Instagram users can now search for a location or hashtag, and see a Story compiled from Story posts by other users that include that location sticker, hashtag sticker, or hashtag in the caption. Location Stories from nearby places (but not Hashtag Stories) will also appear featured in the Explore tab. Story Search could open new use cases on Instagram, like checking out the weather, crowd, or what’s going on at a location right now, or seeing what people are doing or thinking about a major news topic or random theme. That could boost usage time of Stories while adding utility to the app, though for now Instagram says there’ll be no ads in Story Search or Explore. TechCrunch broke the news about Instagram testing Location Stories last week. Then yesterday we spotted Location Stories appearing in Explore and predicted that Story Search would come next. Now Location Stories are available in search and Explore on iOS and Android, with Hashtag Stories rolling out over the next few weeks. Only content tagged with a location sticker, hashtag sticker, or underlined hashtag will appear in the associated Stories. Instagram tells TechCrunch that users who do add these...

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Instagram deters deletion with reversible “archive” option

TECHCRUNCH When Instagrammers don’t get enough likes or think their posts look boring, they sometimes impetously delete them. But they can later regret this common emergent behavior which also deprives Instagram of monetizable content and your history in images that could keep you locked into the service. So Instagram is rolling out a new feature called “archive” that lets you hide any of your posts from everyone else, but keeps them safe for you to look at in private or restore to visibility. We were tipped off by the feature today by Matt Navarra, and now Instagram confirms to...

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Quora tests video answers to steal Q&A from YouTube

TECHCRUNCH Newly-minted unicorn Quora has even bigger ambitions than text questions-and-answers. And it’s not going to let video giants or startups disrupt its future. This week Quora began testing video answers, because sometimes it’s a lot easier to show someone how something works, the best way to complete a task, or why one thing is better than another than try to write it out for them. Users in the beta group will be able to record videos on iOS or Android as supplements or complete answers that everyone on Quora can watch. It’s considering allowing video uploads, which might offer more polished content but increase spam concerns. Quora video answer on web and mobile Previously, Quora only let users answer with text, natively hosted photos, links, and embedded videos from platforms like YouTube. Now it’s actively hosting and soliciting video uploads. By combining the feature with its upvote system, Quora could steal some How-To video content from its current home on YouTube, where SEO and popularity can overshadow accuracy. Quora’s video answers will be sorted by how useful they are to the community, not just how they’re shared and promoted. “Our mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge, and knowledge comes in many forms—not just written answers” Quora’s head of mobile Tommy MacWilliam tells TechCrunch. “Just like with text answers, people can upvote or downvote video answers to...

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Instagram Location Stories appear in Explore. Is Story Search Coming?

TECHCRUNCH It’s taking Instagram less and less time to copy Snapchat. Less than two months after Snapchat launched its Stories Search feature for seeing what’s going on at a location or related to a topic, Instagram is rolling out Location Stories to its Explore page. Last week, TechCrunch broke the news that Instagram was testing Location Stories, which aggregate the publicly posted Stories tagged with a location sticker into a collaborative slideshow. This lets you see Stories from strangers to get a sense for what’s up at a certain place such as Time Square in the last 24 hours, like the weather, events going on, or how many people are there. Instagram shows Location Stories in Explore But at the time, you could only find Location Stories by clicking through a location sticker on someone’s Story or navigating to that location’s Instagram Page. Now TechCrunch has spotted Instagram highlighting Location Stories in the Explore tab’s Stories section, seen in the screenshot above. Previously this only showed top Stories and live broadcasts from user accounts. This will make Location Stories much more serendipitously discoverable. Instagram declined to comment for this story, but given that we have a clear screenshot, the company’s reluctance may foreshadow an official announcement in the future. The Instagram Location Stories features beg the question of whether Instagram is preparing a full-fledged Stories Search option. This could...

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