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Tech News Today for July 11, 2017

Tech News for Tuesday July 11, 2017

Microsoft is looking to improve broadband internet connectivity in rural America with a $10 billion dollar pilot program called the Rural Airband Initiative that should reach 23.4 million Americans who don’t have access to high speed internet. Microsoft is proposing a five year program funded by federal and state grants, corporate investment, and its own funding which President Brad Smith said was “very substantial.” Critical to the plan is the utilization of TV white space technology, of which Microsoft owns 39 patents, that connects to a database to determine what spectrum in a given area is unused. That unused frequency would then be used to transmit broadband data to rural customers. Read more at seattletimes.com.

Unless your job, like ours, is to talk about Prime Day, every minute you spend at work searching for deals is one fewer minute of work you're doing for your boss. And according to one CNBC analyst, Prime Day could lead to $10 billion in lost productivity. The math works like this: Approximately 85 million Prime members spend about a minute on Amazon every time a new round of deals pop up. Prime Day lasts about 30 hours, and that doesn't even count the time it takes to check out. But if you combine that with GDP and productivity data and the amount of stuff we're bound to buy that we don't need, it seems that the only winner in all this is Amazon. Read more at cnbc.com.

Facebook Messenger is about to connect its users with businesses as the company readies a worldwide rollout of ads in the Messenger chat app. Facebook has been testing the feature in a beta locked to Thailand and Australia since last January, and the ads beta is expected to roll out to all in the coming weeks. Those ads will begin to appear in the home tab, called out with a Sponsored label, and targeted to the specific user. Read more at venturebeat.com.

A Chinese facial recognition startup called SenseTime has just received $410 million in a series B funding round. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of SenseTime's most important customers is the Chinese Police. Chinese law enforcement agencies use SenseTime's facial recognition, vehicle recognition, and object recognition technology primarily for surveillance. Read more at wsj.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Doree Shafrir from Buzzfeed to talk about the sexism problem in the business of virtual reality. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at twit.tv/live. Subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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