17th Aug 2018 by Sam Benzie

Old Spice Streamed a Board Meeting? Alexa Is Smarter Than All of US, Users Can Now Send Instagram Polls Through Private Messages, and Facebook Awards More Than $800,000 To The Winners Of Its ‘Secure the Internet’ Grants

Old Spice Streamed a Board Meeting?

This week Old Spice held their first live-streamed board meeting. And let’s just say, things got weird.

Old Spice spiced up the internet this week with their live-streamed board meeting that was broadcast on their YouTube channel. Even though things got a bit weird (in typical Old Spice style), this was the viewers chance to get involved in the meeting. Viewers were able to interact with and watch the crazy boardroom meeting, which involved a retro style setting and a manikin covered in cream. Yeah, we’re not sure either.

Now if you missed the live show, don’t panic. Old Spice still have four more scheduled sessions that will run over the coming months. And the best part is that there are no plans or agendas for these meetings, so you never know what might happen. Let’s just say, if they’re as funny as the first one then they’ll be worth a watch.

Alexa Is Smarter Than All of Us

According to reports, Amazon is starting the roll out of a new Alexa update; this update allows Alexa to answer questions it previously didn’t know the answer to. It will do this by storing the question and coming back to you later when it has found the answer.

Alexa is one of the top virtual assistants, but sometimes it isn’t able to answer users’ questions. So Amazon is rolling out this new update to solve that problem. The update will let users know when Alexa is able to find or learn the answer to their unsolved question.

TechCrunch spotted that the feature causes Alexa to ask users whether they’d like to activate it, by saying:

“If you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, but I find out later, I’ll notify you.”

TechCrunch stated that the update works best for “factual queries” rather than personal questions; however, it’s possible that the latter will come to fruition as well. Users will also be able to turn the feature off whenever they like.

This new feature comes after various studies have put Alexa below the Google Assistant in its ability to answer questions. Microsoft’s Cortana was found to be the second best at answering questions, but this new update has really pushed Alexa up in the rankings.

Users can now Send Instagram Polls via Private Message

Instagram polls took the internet world by storm when they first came out, and now you can do even more with them, as you can send them via direct message.

Polls have settled all sorts of arguments over the past year, and made the site much more interactive. Everyone has an opinion and everyone loves to share them; it’s a recipe for success.

But sometimes you only want to share your opinions with your friends, whether it’s a private question that you don’t want everyone to see, or something you need to keep from a specific person. Well, Instagram has saved the day; as of this week users will be able to send polls through direct messages on Instagram.

These DM polls work exactly like public Instagram Story Polls: take a picture; add a Poll sticker; ask a question and customise the answers. Except that now, users will be presented with the option to only send the poll to a selection of their friends. Once sent, everyone in the group chat will be able to give their opinion and see the live results.

Now this may not be revolutionary, but it’s a nice extra feature that we are sure users will welcome with open arms.

Facebook awards more than $800,000 to the winners of its ‘Secure the Internet’ Grants

As part of Facebook’s commitment to supporting ‘defence-focused research’ on security and privacy, it awarded more than $800,000 to the winners of its ‘Secure the Internet’ grants.

These grants are part of a $1 million commitment to invest in research that will make individuals and Facebook more secure. The awards were distributed last week in Las Vegas at the USA security conference, but this is just the beginning. Facebook plans to “award a further $200,000 to researchers through the Internet Defense Prize at the USENIX Security Symposium on August 15.”

The focuses of the winners of these grants included topics such as cryptography and encrypted messages, a new way of analysing malicious activity, online and offline safety, post-password authentication, privacy in emerging markets and perceptual hash algorithms.

One winner for example, “proposed enhancing safety during internet disruptions during times of war, while another aimed to advance digital privacy and security in countries where large numbers of people are encountering the internet for the first time”.

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