Tech News Weekly Episode 286 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:00:00):
Coming up next on Tech News Weekly. It's me, Jason Howell, my cohost Micah Sergeant, and we start the show with Caroline Mims. Nice from the Atlantic, talking all about the Montana TikTok ban for the state of Montana, not just federal accounts, that sort of thing. Micah talks about a free TV set that you could get but it does carry a little bit of an asterisks ads, basically permanent ads on the screen. So that's something to know. Inactive Google Accounts gonna be deleted forever. We give you some information on how to prevent that from happening and more insight into Apple's upcoming VR headset. Can they stick the landing? T n w is next. Podcasts you love from people you trust.

Speaker 2 (00:00:46):
This is twit.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:00:51):
This is Tech News Weekly, episode 286, recorded Thursday, May 18th, 2023. This episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Brook Linen. Brook Linens. Bundles will help you save time and money, whether you're outfitting a bedroom, a bathroom, or both. For a limited time, go to brook to get $20 off plus free shipping on orders of $100 or more with code T N W and by ZipRecruiter. Whether you're starting a new business or growing one, if you want it to be successful, you need the most talented people on your team. That's where ZipRecruiter comes in. And right now, you can try it for free at Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where every week we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am one of your hosts, Micah Sergeant, and I'm the other host, Jason Howell.

There are indeed two of us. Two ladies show two mostly most of the time there are two, usually there are two <laugh>. It's good to see you. Good to see you, Micah. We're gonna jump right in. We have a new guest joining us, and I'm super interested in this topic. Late yesterday, the news broke, and it was kind of bound to happen at this point that Montana became the first state to officially ban TikTok. This move is seen by many as a bellwether for other states that are looking to impose similar bans on TikTok. And joining us to discuss this news is Caroline Mims Nice from the Atlantic who wrote about this actually back in April. So just last month when the state approved the ban initially. So welcome to the show, Caroline. Hi. Thanks so much for having me. Absolutely. It's great to get you on. So we've got some ground to cover here. So why don't we start with the reporting that you did one month ago and just kind of catches up to base up to date right now, Montana at that time had approved the ban, of course that followed, that actually came after a few months of debate in Montana legislature. What were the primary talking points, the primary reasons at that time? I imagine they're the same now, but just give us a little highlight, I suppose.

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:03:05):
So, I think the best way to understand this bill according to the experts that I talked to, is really as a cry of grievance, more than sort of a practical piece of legislation that was sort of carefully implemented and structured that will become law any minute. Although it is, it has been signed by the governor and is on its way, is law and on its way to take effect in 2024. This, I talked to a lot of technologists and policy experts that had questions about whether this bill could even work <laugh> from a technological perspective, from a legal perspective. There are constitutional questions. One expert I talked to, I loved this analogy compared it to legalizing flying in the state of California or in the state of Montana or California. You can say now people can fly, but people aren't really built to fly. It's sort of like, you know, people,

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:04:16):
It's aspirational

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:04:17):
Flapping their wings. Yeah, exactly. <Laugh> you know, our internet is not really structured in such a way that like, it recognizes the state of Montana and we can just throw up a geo gate really quickly. So I think that's sort of the, that's the way that I'm thinking about it, is sort of a nonsense bill, but a very real Bill <laugh> that is, has been passed by the legislature and signed into law.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:04:43):
So, okay. So what exactly are they stipulating? Because I, you know, I kind of failed to mention in the intro, this doesn't just impact TikTok, you know, this is also Telegram WeChat. Is it teu TEU from I guess that's for government devices. But anyways, Montana is, is going full board down this road saying no TikTok in the, in the state, none of these apps in the government, which you can imagine that's kind of like a signal that like, hey, we'd like to take this even further. I mean, what, what is this exactly called for? It just says no one in the state can access TikTok and who's responsible for that? Is the visitor or is it the tech company that, you know, allows for that to happen?

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:05:27):
So this bill targets TikTok specifically permits it from operating in the state. Okay. and app stores. So pretty much Apple and Google. Right? and it implements a $10,000 fine for anyone that is offered the ability to download TikTok. So it's not like you go to your app store, you type in TikTok, and then you click it and it says, no, you can't download this. You literally cannot, there cannot be a TikTok offered to you. So it's, I think it's important to say that it is not you know, p individual users are not going to be fined under the structure of the spell. Don't worry. That's

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:06:10):
A good thing. Yeah.

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:06:11):
People making content creators that you're going to be hit with some large fine. But again there are questions about the implementation of how that would work. So it'll end whether it's even legal to do. So it'll be really interesting to watch

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:06:27):
So many questions as far as that's concerned. Like, when I think of the technological ipl implications of this Apple and Google have app stores, it's very easy for Apple and Google to say, don't show this app to these users. You know, often that's done by country, but this would be by state, I suppose. And I'm guessing infrastructure wise, that's relatively easy to build in. But like from my Android perspective, I've been on Android forever. It's very easy to side load apps <laugh>. So finding, you know, the, the install, the install file is no big deal. So then does the responsibility come down on the I S P that allows traffic to TikTok in that case? In which case, I imagine VPN n operators are very happy.

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:07:15):
So the bill does actually target app stores. So there was an earlier iteration discussion about targeting the ISPs and that language was removed. Okay. So interesting. It and it Apple and Google through, or a trade group that represents Apple, and Google has said that they do not have the technological ability to do this. Like you said, on the country level, it's somewhat doable but on the state level, we just don't have the technology. Yeah. and one of the funny irony several experts pointed out to me was that in order to have the infrastructure to do this, we would need an internet more structured like China's where there is surveillance infrastructure built in. And we just don't have that. We have, we generally in the us have a, a operator principles of a free accessible internet. So it's, it's kind of a funny tension there.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:08:15):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. No kidding. Now like I said, kind of in the leadin to this story, this is being seen as a, an example or possibly a, you know, telling the future of what other states might do in, in a similar fashion, whether they can or not. Like you point out, like, we don't even know if this is even enforceable. It's cer most certainly gonna be challenged both by TikTok, I have to imagine they're pushing back on this. But also, you know for rights activists, they're probably targeting this. Like, are we, are we gonna see more in the, in, in the light of this action in Montana happening in other states? And yeah. Where, where exactly is this gonna happen if that happens?

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:09:03):
So I think we're in sort of a Wayne Sea mode. Montana was the big escalation. Yeah. and now we've gotta sort of watch this play out in the courts and see what goes on. It is, a lot of states have already taken action to ban it from government devices. So that's a little different. It's like how your work can ban you from visiting websites or downloading applications without that being a First Amendment violation. The state governments and actually the federal government have banned the ability to access the app on state owned devices. So it'll be interesting to see whether other states try to push it further. And a lot of states have done that. So a you know, I think it's 25 or so. So I don't know that it's a specific region or mm-hmm. <Affirmative> kind of state.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:10:00):
Yeah. I mean, that's another question that I had is, is kind of the the political breakdown. I mean, this is obviously, it's a very politically motivated decision to do this. And I'm just curious, like, is that a bi, is that a bipartisan effort or is it one, one party more than the other? I feel like I've heard kind of talking points for this on both sides of the aisle.

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:10:26):
I think that's right. You know, in the National Congress, we've definitely seen bipartisan concerns around data collection around mm-hmm. <Affirmative> content moderation on TikTok. And obviously national security, like this is a much broader conversation that's going on, and I think both parties have expressed concern.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:10:47):
What is TikTok saying? I mean, I'm, I'm sure they're saying we don't like this one bit, but <laugh>, have they, have they given any hints as far as kind of like the direction they intend to go, since this is an escalation of what we've seen before?

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:11:01):
So we don't know what their legal strategy will be here. We do know that they have said that the bill violates the First Amendment rights of people living in Montana and that they plan to defend the ability to access the app. So, you know, they are very much you know, against this. And it again, we're, I think we're just waiting to see Yeah. The battle that ensues from here.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:11:30):
There's a lot that we obviously don't know, cuz this is really the beginning of of a battle. Anyways, I'm just, you know, I gotta a feel for the kids, the kids that want to use the TOS <laugh>, and you know,

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:11:42):
A lot of experts that I talked to, a couple of them said that they really doubt that there will ever be a day where you are driving into Montana and you cross that state line and it poofs just woo, like goes away.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:11:56):

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:11:57):
For technological and also legal reasons. So, you know, I think it's important to sort of hedge this in that it, we, we don't totally know where this is going. It certainly could have, if it, you know, goes all the way up to the Supreme Court, it could have a broader impact depending on where, how they rule. But, you know, for now, I think there's a lot of questions about this bill and whether it can become a re feasibly become a reality.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:12:25):
Yeah. And I'm sure before we know the answer to that, we will see other states following in the footsteps that kind of raises the, the importance of figuring out can these things actually survive. Is like, what, what is the temperature of this surviving a challenge? It kind of feels to me like it <laugh> it's unlikely, but I don't know. Are you hearing anything in that regard?

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:12:50):
A lot of the experts that I, you know, a lot of the experts that I talked to really saw it as politic more political grandstanding. Yeah. than an actual practical bill. I think one thing that is interesting is you know, we can look at this in the arc of privacy legislation in the us. This is one, how one expert sort of put it to me is the federal government has almost sort of abdicated its responsibility, arguably, to regulate these technology companies. So what you're seeing is these kind of state bills pop up, you know, you, the California passed its own privacy legislation. You see this Montana bill, there's all kinds of bills where we're grappling with these bigger, broader issues around privacy and data collection in the us. And I think that this really gets at that. But it, again, I'm just excited, I mean, in a news reporter kind of way to see what, where this goes from here. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it's a really interesting story.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:13:59):
It really is. It really is. And I appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to talk with us about it. Caroline Mims Nice writes for the Atlantic, the If people wanna find you online and follow your work, follow what you're doing, where can they find you?

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:14:16):
I'm at MIMS on Twitter. Are we still using Twitter <laugh>? Some, some of us I'm not on.

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:14:21):
Some aren't. Yeah. Are we, I saw, I saw that study that said like 60% of Twitter users have like backed away from it, or at least taken a break or something. So there's that.

Caroline Mimbs Nyce (00:14:30):
Yeah, I was just looking at that. I'm not on Mastodon yet, I just got on Blue Sky. But, you know I guess the better question is what social media, could you all tell me what social media people are using?

Jason Howell & Mikah Sargent (00:14:43):
All of them. All of the above. Yeah, exactly. <Laugh>, it's a lot more splintered now than I think it has been in a very long time. So I think you're doing, you're doing okay. I sounds like you're doing okay, Caroline, thank you so much. It, it was a pleasure to meet you. Pleasure to talk with you and we will see you very soon. Appreciate it. Thank you. Bye bye. All right. Take care. All righty. Up next, a two screened 55 inch television that you can get for free. Oh, really? Asterisks. Oh, we'll talk about that in a moment. But first, this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Brook Linen, a home essentials company. I am so excited to be talking about Brook Linen because look, when I am looking for something new to add to my home or to add to my life when I'm going to make a purchase, the first place I go is the wire cutter.

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And thank you for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. All righty. Back from the break. And now it is time to talk about my first, actually of two stories of the week. This week. I want to talk about a television. So picture this, a 55 inch television. Of course, we know 55 inch. It's, it's a measure from one corner to the other. So a pretty large screen a soundbar built into it, high quality soundbar built into it. And then below that 55 inch television, another screen <laugh> that can show you the weather, can show you obviously the date. Over time it may add smart home components. If you are constantly worried about stocks, it can display stocks. It has a built-in webcam and microphone, and you can have this television in your home for free, for free, free.

That sounds, that's the right kind of price right there. That seems like a really amazing cool idea, right? Yeah. But as with all things, there is, there is no such thing as free. There is no such thing as free <laugh>. And there is a catch of course. This is the tele T e l l y a 55 inch 4K h d r TV you can add to your home for free. And in return for having it in your home for free, that screen down at the bottom will display advertisements, advertisements that you cannot escape. Hmm. so what you will see, and you'll, you'll notice in the, the sort of product imagery it's about a quarter of the screen that is used for advertisements and three quarters of the screen shows dates and all sorts of other stuff that you can program it.

Oh, so this, so that right corner is the only logo, is the, is the at now. Got it. Mm-Hmm. Just because it's, I've got ideas <laugh>, right? There's this gap tape. I know if it's always there, find a wonderful picture and hang it there. <Laugh>. so here's the thing. We don't know that that's the only way that the act would blend to destroy. That's fine. And it could be that over time, you know, maybe they, they work out deals where certain companies that pay more, oh, you get to take over three quarters of that bottom screen. There's, there's a lot of That would be very smart. Yes. Because if it was really just that corner Yeah. Then somebody wants that won an oversight. Cause holy cow, he's like, oh, I don't need super easy. But it's not just that Jason, I think the bigger understanding that we have to have here is that it is more than just showing you ads.

It's all about collecting data. Data. Oh, so I'm, there's the not free and free. Yes. So I'm gonna quote from this fast company interview with the founder says quote, we know where you live, what your income bracket is, but we know it's, lemme do that again. We know where you live, what your income bracket is. Obviously it's all anonymized, but we know what your, what car you're driving. We know when your lease is up. We know where you shop, we know what your favorite sports teams are, et cetera. And then goes on to talk about more data collection that's taking place. Whenever you go to sign up for getting one of these free TVs, you have to put in a lot of information about yourself to be able to do so. And then from that point on, the only way for the TV to work is if you have it internet connected and it's doing what's called acr, automatic content recognition.

So in that way they can sell that information to all sorts of data brokers who are looking at behavior of people in terms of what they watch. But then also to companies that are trying to see like Nielsen, you know, think about the, the companies that are trying to see what content is of most interest. But I brought up this topic on a podcast that I record on Wednesdays that I do called Clockwise and basically just said, here's this tv, it's got data tracking, it's got ads that display on the screen. You, here's what you get and you get it for free. And then I just said, what are your thoughts? And there was one individual who was on the show, Alison Sheridan. And she was talking, she, she said she started out, you know, her, her part of the response and she was like, I honestly think this is fantastic because this is for the first time that I've seen in terms of smart televisions, the a smart TV brand being upfront and honest about what they're doing mm-hmm.

<Affirmative>, because what we know, and I think what some people know is that most televisions these days are subsidized. That the cost is brought down for that smart functionality that is content recognition that they can use to sell to third parties. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I wish I had my phone with me cuz I would read out the number I've talked before my TCL Roku TV that I, I purchased. I did not agree to any sort of mm-hmm. <Affirmative> bring this TV into my house and I get this extra screen and all this cool stuff, da da da da. I purchased this TV and I have it connected to my network for the purpose of being able to, it's, it's a goofy thing, but being able to turn it off from my phone if I ever want to. Okay. But what I've done is I've blocked it from being able to communicate with the outside world so it can't phone home, but because I've blocked it, I have track of every time it tries to phone home and it gets to be like 50,000 blocks every month Hmm.

Of it trying to phone home Wow. And send off information. Wow. That is a TV that doesn't have this upfront thing about, Hey, this is all the stuff that we're doing. This is the, the deal that we're making. So it's not as if the TVs that we have right now that we are actually paring for mm-hmm. <Affirmative> don't do a lot of this. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, this company's just being more upfront about it. Now at the same time, I do have to say one concern I have with this television, one concern of many concerns, I guess is the fact that it's being marketed as this, you know, all in one device. It's got a camera and it's got a microphone. I think maybe even multiple microphones if I, I don't like that <laugh>. Yeah. Honestly, it would be more of a maybe device to me if it didn't have a camera and a microphone because I don't know what's gonna happen down the line as the company tries to continue to solidify its deals with companies.

And does that mean that one day it's going to be listening for my reaction to certain shows that I'm watching? Right. To try and understand and or literally use that webcam to look at facial recognition of emotion tracking. Oh, when Micah watched the new Star Wars show when he watched the latest episode of the Mandalorian, he was shocked most of the time. Let's send that information off. That is a, and again, I'm not saying that the company is saying that they are going to do this, but these are just my concerns and fears that come along with this. And then I talked to you and Aunt Pruitt off air before we did this show about my concerns in general about the chance for people to end up undervaluing their privacy and their sort of data packages. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> that obviously a company, because this is capitalism, a company exists to make more money than it spends.

Sure. Which means that they feel that they can engineer this device with all of its do dads and components and send it to you and handle all of the, the sort of background software and systems and still make money by selling your information. That means that that's gotta be valuable. Yeah. You are trying to make mo the company's trying to make money. Right. So God, if that doesn't, doesn't tell you just how valuable your data, your personal data actually is a 55 inch television Yeah. A soundbar and another screen below it. And then you've also got developers who are creating new tech for this regu like Yeah. That has to tell you how valuable this can possibly be. And so, yeah. I I'm curious. I I can think of a million, sorry, I I didn't mean interrupt. No, please. No, please. But what, what comes to mind for me is I can think of a million different ways that we give away our data and we get nothing near this kind of value.

It's true. That's true. At the same time, TV costs have come down a a heck of a lot. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they are a 55 inch TV at one time. Used to be incredibly cutting edge. Incredibly expensive. Yeah. Now you can get them for four, you know, five even $300. Oh yeah. I was gonna say, I was gonna say a couple of hundred dollars. You know, it really depends. Like, I don't know the quality of this tv, the quality of the components and longevity concerns me a little bit about something like this. If a, if a network goes, or if the system on the other end goes down, does that mean that the television just stops working? Yeah. Or, or the television works, but that bottom screen does nothing and it's blank. It's just like hanging there or whatever, you know. But yeah, I don't know.

I'd like, I Allison, I think up a very good point, right? Like so many times as users of services online and you know, the, the smart TVs that we have, like, I hadn't even considered that lately anyways, I've definitely thought about it before. But so often like we just give away, we don't, we don't consider the, the potential data kind of transfer of what we're giving because it's just not part of the equation to think I'm giving this, I'm getting this mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and in this case she's absolutely right. At least you know, upfront, like yeah, sure, this is slurping down data and you make a really great point as far as them as a business needing to make money. So that data's obviously worth something. But am I okay with that? If I get a TV that looks nice and Right.

You know, like, because at least that's something <laugh> versus Yeah. What we do now where that TCL television, if I was letting it take all of my data, I paid for it. Yeah. So it's not as if I'm getting anything else in return. Yeah. Or, or you sign up for these things and it's like, sign up for this and get a free $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. And it's like, you know, and then you go in and it's like 20 pages of really personal information. It's like, God, is this worth $5? Is S Star, is this worth a coffee? I don't even know <laugh>. Yeah. At least at tv you're gonna use it on a regular basis and no. Yeah. The guy who founded this company he is a previous co-founder of Pluto tv. Right. which is well known as kind of one of the big free television with ads streaming platforms that ended up being purchased by Viacom as fast company points out, which is now Paramount.

So the guy has obviously some understanding of how this market works, particularly so taking what he learned maybe in, in ad and content sales with Pluto tv and then attributing that to actually selling a device. Yeah, I, again, I'm a, I'm a little bit back and forth on this because I do think that it's pretty cool. I just think of the early days when everyone first started buying echoes after they were announced mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and people were saying, okay, but is this a Trojan horse that suddenly lets Amazon have a, an ear inside your home? And oh boy, we got used to that, didn't we? <Laugh>. Yeah. And, and Yes. Exactly. So it that that part, you know, to makes me a little concerned. I would almost want them to say that they would never use the webcam and microphone Yeah.

As part of the ad practices. Right. I agree to the, the content recognition. I agree to showing ads on the screen. I agree to this, I agree to that. But don't look anonymize to my collection shore. Yeah. But like a stream of, of audio or video. Yeah. It's in Yeah, I was gonna say the video really concerns me, but it is both very concerning. Yeah. That they would even have access to that. Now they point out that the video camera and the the microphone, that's all for like teleconferencing. Yes. That's what they Yeah. Zoom is actually an early partner with them, so you'd be able to do Zoom calls right. From that television. That is a feature that a lot of people would love to have. Yeah. I can sit in my living room and have conversations. I think. So I've talked to, talked to my mom on Zoom, you know, in the living room with a big screen tv.

That would be pretty sweet, you know? Yeah. And then lastly I did wanna point out that in states where there are privacy laws in place or data protection laws in place, you are able to opt out. So here in California where we have that do not sell your information thing you can opt out of having tele sell your data. So I don't know what that means for them. Yeah. Does that mean that they wouldn't want to give these to folks in California? Does that mean that they have to find some other way of ma? That is, that's a good question. If they can just show you ads, I guess, that are not necessarily targeted. Maybe that's how they make money off of folks there. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, because California is an incredibly populous state. So one would think that they would want to be able to exist there mm-hmm.

<Affirmative>. but running up against that law in California, I think is going to be something interesting. Now for sure, they are planning on rolling out 500,000 of these televisions over 2023. They've been doing a smaller beta test and then they'll go from there. Obviously it's still in its, its early days as they work to sort of secure those deals and figure out what's going to work. But yeah. I'll be keeping an eye on this tele, I think I feel more optimistic or more positive on this idea now than I did at the beginning of the, the, the story. You know, honestly, me too, from when I talked to you two about it before versus now, I do think that <laugh> from what we've had thus far to actually having a company say the quiet part out loud Yeah. That your data is, your data is valuable enough that there could be an exchange of you having a free TV that is perhaps a step in the right direction.

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> so long as it, I think doesn't stop there. Yeah. That, that maybe this makes people go, oh wow, my data is valuable enough for this. Maybe it's valuable enough for this or this or this. Right. Let we go from there. Yeah. Interesting stuff. Absolutely. Well, we've got a whole lot more stories of the week to come in this episode. If you've got a Google account and maybe you haven't checked it out for a while, you haven't logged in you definitely wanna stick around. We're gonna talk about that. I know I have a number of them. <Laugh>, I'm gonna have to make some decisions. So more on that in a moment. But first, this episode, tech News Weekly is brought to you by zip. Whether you're starting a new business or you already have a business and you're just growing it.

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All right. So let's see here. If you have some old Google accounts collecting dust mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you might wanna reevaluate if you actually need them anymore because they could be going away for good. Google has announced a change to its inactive accounts policy. Google, I feel, has been very liberal with their accounts policy up until now. And as we know, Google's been around for decades Yeah. At this point. So over that time, I know I've collected a number of accounts mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that I opened for a very specific reason. One account I opened for my daughter, just like lock her name in there. You know, actually for both of my daughters, they have Google accounts. Do I think, to log into them every couple of years? No, because I opened it cuz I wanted them to have that particular address so when they got older, they didn't have to, you know, choose one that has seven digits at the end of it or whatever.

And so, so this impacts me in that regard. At least. Any accounts that have not been logged into sometime within the past two years basically runs the risk of being deleted. It's not gonna happen immediately, so that's good. Google is usually pretty, pretty clear and communicative about changes like this. But it is expected to happen by years end, likely not until at least December, 2023. So we have time, Google says they plan a phased approach to deletion while warnings sent to accounts accounts that fall into this category months in advance of the actual action that would be sent to both the primary email address as well as the recovery email address. Okay. Good recovery email. I was about that. Yes, exactly. So that they can kind of be sure that you get this message well in advance because, you know, this has the impact.

This has great impact. Google says that the reason that they want to do this is primarily about security. They say inactive accounts pose a security risk for things like identity theft and spam. They say quote, abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active accounts to have two step verification set up. Oh, that's something I hadn't considered. I certainly have two step on, on my account, but have I gone in for every account and set that up? I'm not gonna say it out loud, <laugh>, but I imagine you haven't has dear listener and viewer. Obviously it's also a cost saving measure. Yeah. yeah, that's kind of what I, I I just wondered about that. Is that, are they, do they see themselves starting to run out of space somewhere? They're like, oh, what can we, oh, we can purge those old accounts.

Yeah. Right. What are we gonna do? We'll, this is low hanging fruit right here. I don't even know if it's low hanging fruit. This sounds really, you know, really complicated involved. Yeah, yeah. Involved. So what's gonna be deleted? This is the kind of what has people, you know, kind of concerned. If you have a Google account, everything is tied into that account. So if you have a Google account that, that has your workspace services, Gmail docs drive, meet, calendar, all that information would go away. Photos. So anything stored in the cloud and Google photos that would go away accounts tied to schools and businesses will actually be spared. So that's okay. That's, that's positive. That makes a lot of sense. But the question I've heard a lot is about YouTube and Renee Richie, this person who you may know, I know that guy has a fellow twit.

Also it works for Google as a YouTube creator liaison. He had tweeted that Google doesn't plan to delete accounts that have YouTube videos attached to them. Okay. So if you got a Google account, it has a YouTube account and that YouTube account has videos posted on it, according to Renee, it will not get deleted. So then you could go in onto your daughter's account. Sure. Just upload a little video. Right. And then you're good. There we go. Then I don't have to think about logging in every two months or every two years for that. Another Google spokesperson told nine to five Google that they don't plan to delete accounts with YouTube videos quote at this time. Which is always one of those things that when you hear that, when I hear that, when I hear at this time, yeah, I hear nothing is certain.

Yeah. It will happen eventually. It'll potentially, it'll change. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. so, and actually Ron Amad and ours, Technica point this out. I didn't, I didn't really consider this when we're talking about remnant data, like emails and docs and everything, none of that actually creates any additional revenue for Google. Youtube videos do a YouTube video that exists online but is a attached to an abandoned account. It's still making YouTube, it's still making Google money. Yeah. By any visits, any ADSD served. So it actually stand makes sense for videos to survive. It's not just a leech. Yeah. Right. It's not it exactly. It's, it has reason on a company level to exist because Google wants its YouTube to be full of every, you know, all types of content so that people, when they go there looking for something can find it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so you can imagine the impact of suddenly there being this YouTubeing, you know, this reckoning where suddenly, you know, massive amounts of videos just start disappearing because of inactive accounts.

And there's no telling what those videos actually are. Like, you know, from a historical records perspective, there's a lot of really important stuff on YouTube. Now, I guess the big question is, should YouTube be seen as a safe store for your historical records? Right. I'm not entirely certain that it should be, but I know that's how a lot of people have used it. And you know, so there's that kind of, that dilemma of is it really is it really Google's priority or should it be Google's priority to to save these things because it's been used like that? Or is Google a company that can decide how it, you know, manages these services and nothing on the internet permanent? And that's how I think we should not assume that it is. Yeah. I think that's how we should think of it. Yeah.

Because otherwise you're going to be met with disappointment. Yeah. No one wants to be met with disappointment. <Laugh>. I mean, you run a lot, you run a, a huge amount of risk. The second you assume that anything you put out online is gonna stay there forever. It's just not how it works. And time and time again, we are reminded of this. Yeah. All of the different sites and services over time that have gone that you didn't think about it in the beginning changing or going away or morphing. Yeah. I mean it all, none of it's nothing is real <laugh>. Nothing, nothing is permanent. Even though it's funny, when I was reading this, I was like, yeah, nothing on the internet is permanent. But then I was like, well wait a minute. But I teach my daughters that anything you put on the internet is permanent.

It's a different kind of permanence. Yes. You know, it just means that that file or that thing can, you never know if it has a duplicate or is copied somewhere. This is kind of a little different. This is like, if I put it online, is it gonna be there when I die? And I want my family to, you know, take over that account and have access to these things. And I think what we're realizing again is that no, that's not necessarily the case. Business is business. And at, at some point there might be a reason for that not to not be true. Has Google provided any information on what folks who maybe aren't using their accounts anymore can do to make sure they have all the data from that account? Oh, I, I didn't see that Google went specifically to there Uhhuh, but Google does have something called Google takeout.

Yeah. Which is a place that you can go and, I mean here's the problem with takeout. It is not for the faint of heart. Yes. It is so comprehensive. Yeah. That it's really overwhelming. Like I used Google takeout to back up my Google Photos library to my network attached storage at home. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So now my photos, when I take photos on my phone and my wife's phone they automatically upload to Google photos like I'm used to. And then they also upload to our, our attached storage at home. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But that takeout process to pull down all those, you know, 200 gigs worth of photos from the cloud and everything, it was so convoluted. Yep. So confusing. It took so much time. I'm really happy I did it. But when I think about the wide reaching kind of impact of, of people losing their data and Oh, well all you have to do is go to takeout and pull out your data.

It's just not that easy. Yeah. Like depending on that, people are gonna be like, I don't know what to do with this. What is this dot c you know, this dot something something file that apparently it's all stored in. Like, who knows? Yeah. That's I my pro tip cuz we actually got a question about this on Ask the Tech guys. And I I, I don't tend to give pro tips that require you to sort of tie yourself into another service. But I've found for me, because I've worked at a couple of companies that were Google Workspace accounts essentially. And so to get all my information out of them, I used Google takeout. And for me, the simplest process was using Dropbox because you tie it to Dropbox and instead of it putting special archive files into your Dropbox, it's essentially just taking everything and moving it over.

And then Dropbox because of the, by by its very nature is, you know, syncing I look mirrors into your device or me mirror. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Then you're just getting those files directly. And so it was just much easier. Then I've just got that folder that's my Google takeout folder, and inside are the massive amounts of information, be it email or, or photos or documents or whatever. All right. There. and I just found that so much simpler than kinda what you're talking about. And for the listener, their problem was the place where they were going to get the files, their network was not very steadfast and true. And so as they were trying to download these in piece by piece by piece, then it would cut out randomly. Oh, they wouldn't get it. Yeah. So Dropbox, it's happening elsewhere and so then you can just get the files as you need them as opposed to trying and, you know, to download these huge chunks and it keeps it the, the directory structure intact.

Right? Yes. Like, that's one thing that I noticed would take out that was just such a pain in the butt was there was so, so much data there that it had to be split out across all of these zip these archival zip files. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But when I unzipped one file, it didn't take all the zip files into consideration. I had to do each one individually, which meant it, it unzipped all the folders and the folder structure in all of these like 30 different places, the same damn thing. So then I had to manually go into each folder and move them over. I mean, I, I feel like I even saying it out loud, I probably did it wrong. I must have done it wrong because how could it be that difficult? Complicated. But that's was, was my experience. I didn't know how to not do it that way.

And so, you know, I just bucked, bucked up and did what you had, did what I had to do because I wanted to protect the data. So anyways I think the long and the short of it is if you want to prevent this from happening, as you said, I suppose you could go on YouTube on these account log in one that gets you for the next two years. Yes. You're good there. Create a YouTube account, upload a stupid little video, which is dumb that you have to do that. I wonder if you upload a video and set it unlisted if that's still qualifies. I don't know. That's a question. But and what if it has to have at least a view on it? Yeah. I you have to go watch the video. It's gotta be valuable. It's gotta be public <laugh>. Or you just set a calendar reminder and log in every like a year and a half.

Don't, don't set it for two years. Cuz if you Yeah. You write Yeah. You're day late, like you'd be pretty sad. Also understand that like, like Google does have the system where it's gonna notify you Yes. You'll well in advance before it's gonna delete. So mm-hmm. <Affirmative> at least there's that. Yeah. Get, get logged in or let it go or let it go. Yeah. To let it go. This might be an opportunity to just let it go. Honestly, that's what I was thinking about. Any, you know, I may have created different accounts, especially in the before times where it wasn't as easy to sort of make a special alias or what have you to kind of like sort the mail. And so you just create a new account for, I don't wanna see this in my main email. It's gotten so much better since then.

So I'm sure there are some accounts out there. I'm gonna start getting emails for where it's like, oh yeah, you do and I'm gonna, yeah. I don't need that anymore. Yeah. That was tied to a very specific service that I'm not using. Part, part of me as, as I'm, I'm thinking of the idea of letting go now. I'm kind of like, I find myself getting a little impatient. I'm like, well actually maybe I'll just log into some of these accounts and delete it's Yes. Because then I can just be done and I don't think about it then it's done now, not later. Yeah, exactly. I, it's funny cuz I totally thought about that too. <Laugh>. Oh yeah. Google. I'm gonna beat you to it. Exactly. It's me. I decided not you, <laugh>. That's, maybe that's what it is. Yeah. I've got the reins. <Laugh>. Alright, let us move on to my next story of the week.

The final story of the show I wanna talk about. There's an incredible piece from Mark Gurman over on Bloomberg. This is a, a longer form piece that Germin is talking about the upcoming mixed reality headset from Apple. We've heard for some time that Apple is likely to announce and talk about, not necessarily launch, but announce and talk about its mixed reality headset at WW d c, the Worldwide Developers Conference. Which takes place in June. And when we see this product, of course this will be Apple's first sort of full jump into kind of a, a new product category in a while. And the company is aiming at creating a headset that in its current format, is rumored to look kind of like ski goggles with very premium components. Some incredibly high detail, high definition screens, a bunch of cameras, an external battery pack and the ability to switch between augmented reality and virtual reality.

But what the germin piece in Bloomberg talks about is how this product, according to people familiar with the matter in the more than seven years that Apple has been working on this, the, the product that is a, an amalgamation of compromises, if you will. I, I wanna quote a little bit from the piece. It says the device cook will present, say people familiar with a development process that's spread over seven years, has deviated far from his initial vision. His his being cook's initial vision initially imagined as a pair of unobtrusive eyeglasses that could be worn all day. Apple's device has morphed into a headset that resembles a pair of ski goggles and requires a separate battery pack. So, what's fascinating about this to me, or one thing that I find interesting is I can remember in the early days of these rumors that Apple was working on this mixed reality headset.

There was talk about Apple essentially working on two different products mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that Apple was in the short term working on this, this mixed reality headset. And in the long term working on something that was just completely augmented reality glasses that you could wear all day that were comfortable that would do the, the notifications and all sorts of stuff. And that there was kind of no design compromise, but because the technology wasn't there yet, that they were working on this. In the meantime, what this Germin report suggests is that it was always Tim Cook's hope that the company could make these augmented reality glasses from the get-go. And that this device has essentially come about as a, that, that the, how do I put this? So instead of the company from the start working on two different products, one long term and one short term that it was originally focused on the one product and had to compromise and instead work on this, if that makes sense.

Those mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, those two, those two separations mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so because of that it's reported that there's kind of a lot of disagreements within the company. That there's a lot of of folks kind of not wanting to have anything to do with this. That there's skepticism in, in fact, I'll quote another part. It says, A person on the project describes a running joke that engineers were working on the hopeless N 4 21. That's the augmented reality glasses just to keep cook happy. By 2019, the company had made little or no headway on developing a viable plan to make ar glasses. Hmm. So they had already decided in 2019, according to this, that there was no way they were going to do those augmented reality glasses in the short term, but they had people still working on it because they knew that's what Tim Cook wanted.

There are a bunch of folks Craig Fedi, who is the senior Vice President for software engineering, seems according to these reports, wary of the headset. Johnny Farouk who is Apple Senior Vice President, president for hardware technology, has also been skeptical about it according to those familiar with it and said that, that he likened it to a science project and that Tim Cook has reportedly also been distant from the project. Which led to folks who were, who were working on this feeling like, you know, no one at the company was kind of cheering them on. Tim's like Imma this isn't what I wanted. I wanted my AR glasses. Right? So I'm, I, this is not my child. Yeah. I, I thought this was my child and instead I I thought it was you know, this, this, this dog I've always dreamed of and instead you've brought me a cat.

So I'm gonna keep that cat over there cause I'm allergic to that cat. I don't know where I'm going with that <laugh>. But yes, that there's kind of been some indecision, some, I, I, I'm trying to think of what this is like. It's, but the only sort of metaphor that I can have is quite literally this metaphor. It is like the c e o of the company who puts out an idea of what they want and the people bring that idea to them and it's not what they want. And then it's like George Lucas and the first Star Wars film, even after it had so much success on the day that it launched and he watched the film, he did not walk away happy with how ev how much everybody loved the first Star Wars film. He walked away disappointed that he wasn't able to realize his vision for the film, what he actually wanted.

And I think it's the same thing here. So you get a person who has this idea and is so, so sort of, it's just they, they know that they can make it happen, but everybody's not able to make it happen because it actually can't just happen. And so then you don't put all of your energy into it and it's like, I'm working on it as if it's a disappointment almost. I'm curious to know how, like, is Tim Cook then at all optimistic? Like, we don't know the answer to this, but is he optimistic about these goggles? Right. So here's what I, and of course this is all, or is he just like we gotta talk about this at WW d c? Well, I think it's, it's, you know, it's an opportunity that you often see of people to be of two minds. There's the Tim Cook that is optimistic about the success of his company and the success of, of Apple as a whole and the, the, you know, desire to see the business succeed that can be excited about this product.

And then there's a personal Tim Cook who has this idea for what he wants to be kind of his legacy product before. I mean, cuz Tim Cook's also getting up there in age mm-hmm. <Affirmative> before he goes and is not super into this. But when it comes time to talk about it and put it out there, and I don't think that, you know, I don't think that it's a false excitement at that point. It's still, here's what we're doing at Apple. So you can get excited about that and you can talk about that, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's this sort of private Tim Cook that is thinking about the legacy is thinking about. Yeah. Right. You know, what's next and has for so long had this idea of what he wanted and it's just not there yet. So Yeah. You've disappointed Dad a little <laugh> it seems like, but as far this is, he's looking at you from over the glasses.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The glasses that don't have the thing that he wants in them. <Laugh> <laugh>. And the, the another interesting thing about this, and this is where now I'm feeling very proud of my comparison to George Lucas and the Star Wars film, is that everything we've heard, including from the guy who invented Oculus the Oculus Quest, or the guy who founded Oculus, and you know, what is it? Is it, I can't remember his name. Is it Palmer Lucky? Yeah, Palmer Lucky, yes. The Quest. Yeah. Oculus vr. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. I don't know how he knows about it and if he actually does know about it and whether it's real or not, but Palmer Lucky is quoted as saying that the headset is just beyond anything that he's seen before. That it's fantastic that they've absolutely done it and from other, and I mean, he doesn't really have much allegiance to Yeah.

Exact He doesn't anymore pushed on. Yeah. I, I, you know, at the same time I didn't see it as like a, you know, shoving a knife into meta and twisting the, the, it was just he game recognized game moment. And that again, applies to some people who are familiar with the product, who may be third party developers who are making games for it or what have you, who have seen it, who have also said they've killed it, they've nailed it, da da da da da. So in the same way that everyone was just blown away by that first film, the people were happy, but it doesn't mean that the person who was trying to spearhead it is going to be happy because they have in mind something so much more or so much better. And I think the biggest the biggest concern for Apple itself, or the biggest soar for Apple from what I've read, is the fact that they had to do the battery as an external component.

That they couldn't put the battery within the headset and get what they wanted out of it. It was not that elegant design they had in mind mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. But as they've done in the past and from what Mark Kerman has told us on this very show, to see how they pivot and sort of turn that into a positive that you can suddenly now have multiple batteries. So you could keep playing over time. Or maybe they sell battery packs that are bigger or thinner for, you know, you're, you're on the go or you're you though, there's so many different opportunities there that they can now use and iterate on that and say, you know what? It was not something that we expected to be a positive and it's not what we wanted, but now it can be something that's good for it. So Yeah.

I'm so curious, <laugh>, that's what it boils down to. Right? I'm like so curious about this announcement. Me too. Just like, like yeah, I, I'm trying to find a better word than, than Curious cuz I'm, I'm, I'm baffled by it. Like, I honestly, like there's a part of me that is like, man, can Apple stick this? Like can Apple stick this a land thing on? Because feels really out there and the, the market, the industry just does not seem friendly to this idea right now. Yeah. Maybe a couple of years. It was a little bit more op a couple of years ago it was a little bit more open to it, but right now it's kind of punch Liney at this point. And so I'm just, I'm so, you know, and, and I don't, I don't discount Apple's ability to Right. To pull a rabbit out of a hat at all.

Cuz Apple has proven time and time again how good they are at doing that and how they can kind of survive even through their failures. You know, you don't really talk very much about their failures Yeah. Because they're really good at kind of like tho those things getting a little buried. Yeah. <laugh> sweet. But I mean, this is a major effort mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and a lot of billions of dollars of research, billions of dollars happening at a time where, like I said, things aren't really f friendly for this type of technology. Yeah. Especially at $3,000 and the price point. That was my other, that was my other consideration is there's just so many angles to this that like, if Apple can actually stick this landing, like more power to 'em. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, amazing company, I know they're amazing company already, but I give them even more props Yeah.

If, if they are able to do that. Cuz there's just a voice inside of me that's like, this just isn't gonna work. But maybe it will, maybe it will in the piece. Everyone really should go check out this piece. There's, they show the competition that's out there, all the different headsets and you know, I know of a few of them, most of them have pivoted over into commerce or into sort of specialized industries mm-hmm. <Affirmative> because they knew they couldn't make money in the consumer market. The c e o of Magic Leap is super excited about Apple entering this this thing because she was saying tide lifts all boats. Exactly. Yeah. And she's like, and basically said what you said about Apple kind of entering into a market and then doing well on that market. So yeah, I am curious to see if they can pull this off and then I'm sure, because I'm sure there are those engineers at the company who've been working on this, who are looking forward to seeing Tim Cook have to kind of, if he is, you know, not super pumped about this, to see him and go, holy moly, this has done well.

Right. Versus, oh no, why did we spend so much money on this and launch this? We should not have, I, you know, who knows, who knows what's gonna happen. I'm also very curious to see the eyeballs on the front of the <laugh>. I don't, I'm still skeptical. They, they say that there's like a screen on the front and that you could potentially display your fa I just like your eye, your, your eye eye movements and expressions and stuff and like, I wanna know what that actually looks like and how does that not look funny? Yeah. Let's go to, I can't imagine it looking anything but goofy. Yes, exactly. Exactly. We'll see a lot of other, I mean, obviously unanswered questions be curious like we're, we're getting within throwing distance of wwdc. Yep. Is Apple able to contain this long to get to the event?

Cuz if there are any major leaks or, or image lakes or anything like that, ooh, that could, that could poison the, the well a little bit. So we'll see. It's buckle up. It's gonna be an interesting couple of weeks I think leading up to ww d c there's a lot riding on the line for that, for Apple. So we have reached the end of this episode of Tech News Weekly. I, you know, we only had one interview, but I I really enjoyed kind of talking. It's fun getting to chat back and forth. I agree. I hope that all listeners out there enjoyed it as well. Yes indeed. Tech News Weekly publishes every Thursday at Twitter TV slash tnw. That's where you can go to subscribe to the show. And please do subscribing is really important in the realm and the world of podcasting.

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Did, did, did. Is it still invite only I mean, I just went to the site and it says I can join the wait list. Okay. I'll get you in. I'll get you in <laugh>. I can't even keep 'em all straight anymore. There's just so many. You can find me at Jason Hall on Twitter. Twitter Social slash Jason Hall. Mastodon search for Jason Hall, blue Sky everywhere. I, I'm exhausted. <Laugh> to be honest. Twitter tv slash a a a though is where you can go for all about Android and actually you definitely, if you like Android, if you're interested in more information about Google io we had a really great recap episode this last Tuesday. It was fantastic. We also have, coming up this next Tuesday, we have an excellent interview lined up with a couple of Google's developer team joining us so that we can talk all about kind of the developer news from the event.

So we've got Matthew McCullough, who's the VP of Product Management, and Jay Eason, who's the director of Product management and the Android developer team joining us. That's this upcoming Tuesday. So twit tv slash A a a, again, subscribe. Right? If you're not subscribed, do subscribe. You'll get it automatically. And we appreciate when you do that. Big thanks to everybody here who helps us do the show each and every week. And my goodness, like at one point this studio was filled with people. We had aunt, we have John Salina, John John Ashley Burke. I don't, I don't remember if Burke was running around here. But anyways, thanks to everybody who helps us do the show each and every week, including you for watching listening. Thank you and we'll see you next time on Tech News Weekly. Bye bye. Bye. Michael.

Rod Pyle (01:15:12):
Hey, I'm Rod Pyle, editor-in-Chief VAD Astra magazine. And each week I joined with my co-host to bring you this week in space, the latest and greatest news from the Final Frontier. We talk to NASA chiefs, space scientists, engineers, educators and artists, and sometimes we just shoot the breeze over what's hot and what's not in space books and tv. And we do it all for you, our fellow true believers. So whether you're an armchair adventurer or waiting for your turn to grab a slot in Elon's Mars Rocket, join us on this weekend space and be part of the greatest adventure of all time.


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