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Tech News Today for December 19, 2016

Tech News for Monday December 19, 2016

Facebook Messenger is rolling out a new update that enables group video chat of up to 50 total users simultaneously, though not everyone is shown on screen at one time. The update allows for up to six to be shown at once in Brady Bunch fashion, and dominant speakers will push their way into that grid as the chat continues. Also included are a number of Snapchat-esque masks for chatters to wear if reality is too boring. Read more at techcrunch.com.

And in a strange confluence of events, the Kik chat app also released its own group video calls function that supports up to six people at once. Read more at venturebeat.com.

The Wall Street Journal says Super Mario Run is not meeting investor's expectations, despite making between an estimated 4 million and $8.3 million worldwide in its first 24 hours. The stock has fallen 11% since the app came out due in part to bad reviews, but also to worry about the game's payment model. Some investors say the $10 up-front cost of the game limits its future potential to bring in more income for the company. Read more at wsj.com.

Airbnb is looking to invade your travel planning even further by someday offering air travel booking capabilities. Sources told Bloomberg that the company hopes to get its new project, internally named Flights, launched before an IPO takes place sometime in the next 18 months. Read more at bloomberg.com.

What was your 2016 personal challenge? Lose weight? Make your own Jarvis to control your home like Tony Stark? That last one was Mark Zuckerberg's goal for 2016 and Today Fast Company checked in on the CEO of Facebook to see how it was going. After 150 hours of work this year, Zuckerberg does not think his will function as the set of next Iron Man movie, but he has has used Facebook's tools to control his lights, remotely open his gate with a Facebook messenger bot, and wake up his one year old daughter with Mandarin lessons. So the project is more of a personal experience of getting back to simple coding than it is a new iOT platform for everyone. Read more at fastcompany.com.

Alphabet’s self driving car division showed off a new addition to its fleet: A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan sporting Waymo’s self driving technology including the all-important sensors, telematics and onboard computer. One hundred of these vehicles will hit the road starting in 2017 as Waymo continues to test its technology. Read more at medium.com/waymo.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Hope Reese of Tech Republic to talk about Amazon's Mechanical Turk program. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and download it on demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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