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US Military is Testing Surveillance Balloons that Will Hover Forever – Top Trending Stories

Here are today’s Top 6 News & Events from Around the World. Take a look!


US Military is Testing Surveillance Balloons that Will Hover Forever

Project Loon Balloon in sky

        Image Credit: Google Project Loon

The U.S military is testing special balloon surveillance technology that will hover near stratospheric limits of the earth’s atmosphere. A chip developed by DARPA will allow this balloon to detect wind speed and direction from miles away. This will make it possible for the balloon to stay in the air indefinitely. These solar-powered balloons can come in handy in times of distress such as a hurricane or providing communication to remote areas. Stratospheric balloons have been flown for over 50 years by NASA. Google already has such a mission called ‘Project Loon’. It was instrumental in providing communication after hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.



Snapchat Under the U.S. SEC Scanner

Snapchat screen shot

        Image Credit: Snapchat

The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Snapchat Inc. regarding its IPO back in March 2017.  The crux of the matter is that the investors have filed the lawsuit stating that Snapchat deliberately hid information about the competition from Facebook’s Instagram and its effect on Snapchat’s growth during the IPO. Since its IPO, Snapchat has had a disappointing growth. The shares of Snapchat closed at $6.7 on Tuesday and was $17 during its IPO.



Netflix Offering Cheaper Mobile-Only Subscription in Malaysia

Netflix show Sabrina's poster

        Image Credit: Netflix Facebook

Recently, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had told Bloomberg that it was planning to offer a cheaper subscription plan in Asia. Seems like the results are already in. The mobile-only cheaper subscription will stream videos in Malaysia. The Malaysian news website The Star has reported that the mobile-only version will cost RM17 in Malaysian currency, which is around $4 per subscription. And for the HD and Ultra HD plans the subscriber will end up paying more.  Apart from attracting users through lower-tier subscription plans, Netflix is also investing in more than 100 films and TV shows across Asia.



Microsoft Buys Chatbot Firm XOXCO for Sprucing-Up its AI Capabilities

In near future, most of the big companies will have chat bots answering customer queries. Microsoft, the giant in the software industry has bought design and development studio XOXCO for sprucing-up its AI capabilities. XOXCO is known for its AI development work. Especially the conversational AI and was instrumental in the creation of the first chatbot commercially available called ‘Howdy’ used by Slack. This is yet another acquisition by Microsoft in the AI industry, after its much-hyped acquisition of GitHub.



Bike-Sharing Company Lime Forays into Car-Rental Services

Lime bike video capture

       Image Credit: Lime YouTube

Lime, which is a bike-sharing company operating across 100 cities around the world has plans to start its car-rental service from Seattle. The company will start with its car-rental service this week. Lime is at odds here as it is offering gas-powered cars when its motto was to enable a cleaner environment through its electric bike sharing service. To counter this point, the company, however, argues that the car-rental program decreases personal car ownership leading to less congestion on roads and less pollution.



Twitter Likely to Add Political Ads Portal Before the Next Indian General Election

Jack Dorsey meeting PM Modi

        Image Credit: Jack Dorsey Twitter handle

Jack Dorsey the Twitter CEO has told Indian Express that the company will soon launch Political Ads portal in India. Twitter launched the Political Ads portal in the recent U.S midterm elections. This platform will process certifications and will display billing information as well. Also, it will show the ad’s targeted audience. Facebook and Google have announced similar measures for India. Twitter officials have also said that the company will explicitly add caste category in its content policy.


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