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Spotify Simplifies Podcast, Music Navigation for Subscribers

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The streaming service on Thursday rolled out a new version of Your Library to Premium users.

“Everything about the reimagined Library is designed to get you to the content you want faster,” according to a Spotify blog post. “It also makes getting started and staying up-to-date with podcasts … a seamless, personalized experience.”

Visit the revamped tab for easy access to favorite songs, artists, and albums, as well as the latest podcast episodes, downloads, and a catalog of your shows.

All it takes is a tap or swipe to toggle between tunes and talk.

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The Music tab automatically drops you into playlists, with artists and albums you follow just a click away; pull down to search, sort, and filter as you like.

Every playlist you’ve ever created or approved lives here, with new roommate Liked Songs: Any time you “heart” a track, it gets added to this list (which is downloadable for offline listening).

Similarly, all followed artists and saved albums are front and center.

Podcast listeners, meanwhile, can now manage content in three distinct sections: Episodes, Downloads, and Shows.

The first tab prioritizes paused broadcasts (“so picking up where you left off is a snap”), followed by fresh releases; the second serves as a repository for the chapters you’ve downloaded for offline enjoyment.

Last but not least, the new Shows section collects all of your podcasts in one place—sorted by most recently released.

“From podcasts to music, the refreshed Spotify will help you manage and access all your audio content in a more personalized, streamlined manner,” the blog said.

A brief outage on Thursday was not related to the app redesign, TechCrunch reported.

Earlier this month, Spotify introduced the experimental listening app Stations and snagged the Obamas to produce a series of exclusive podcasts. As if that weren’t enough, on Wednesday it launched Your Daily Drive—a new playlist feature that merges news and music for the commute.

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Virtually Try On Makeup During YouTube Tutorials

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For a makeup novice like me, buying cosmetics can be a bit of a gamble: How do I know if it’s worth spending $30 on a new shade of lipstick I’m not sure suits me?

Google may have the answer.

Subsidiary YouTube this week introduced AR Beauty Try-On—a new interactive feature that lets viewers virtually test drive makeup while following along with content creators to get tips and product reviews.

While a video plays at the top of the screen, users can stream their own face below; simply tap the screen to virtually apply a palette of colors to your lips, cheeks, eyes, etc.

Find the perfect pink stain? Click the “shop” button to make your purchase.

The feature—available through Google’s in-house branded content program FameBit—is still in the early stages of development. M·A·C Cosmetics is the first brand to launch an AR Beauty Try-On campaign.

Google is helping YouTube beauty fans pick their next lipstick (via Google/YouTube)

There is no word on what merchandise, specifically, will be available for virtual appraisal.

YouTube, however, promised realistic product samples for a variety of skin tones. (How far that spectrum reaches remains unclear.)

Augmented reality and makeup go way back; the technology has long been used to create social media makeup filters and promote e-commerce. As TechCrunch pointed out, Sephora, Ulta, L’Oréal, and even Target have all employed this tactic before.

The difference, though, is that YouTube’s Beauty Try-On feature is more focused on creating an AR-powered ad campaign than a fun photo.

Google continues courting advertisers with its immersive mobile display format Swirl, which makes it easy to rotate a product, zoom in and out, or play an animation.

Brands can also tap into the new 3D editor Poly to create display ads with custom backgrounds and realistic reflections.

All three tools—including AR Beauty Try-On—will be available this summer.

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Domino’s Brings Autonomous Pizza Delivery to Houston

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Domino’s delivery drivers may want to start looking for work elsewhere.

The pizza company has partnered with robotics firm Nuro to autonomously distribute dinner—no human-to-human eye contact necessary.

Using the next-gen unmanned R2 vehicle, Domino’s expects to start serving select Houston customers “later this year.”

Lucky folks who order online from a participating pizza shop can opt in to Nuro’s autonomous delivery and track the car from Domino’s to your door. Er… your driveway.

Without a real live person to carry and hand over a greasy feast, you’ll have to actually leave the house—even if it’s just to walk 10 feet. Which may put a damper on your Friday-night PJ party for one. (Just don’t forget the keys.)

Once the wheeled pod arrives, simply enter a unique PIN to retrieve your food from the storage compartment—hopefully before the neighbors spy your fluffy bunny slippers.

“We are always looking for new ways to innovate and evolve the delivery experience for our customers,” Domino’s Executive Vice President Kevin Vasconi said in a statement. “The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience—and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush—is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing.”

This isn’t Domino’s first high-tech rodeo: The restaurant chain in 2015 crowdsourced the “ultimate delivery vehicle,” before introducing what they claimed at the time was the world’s first autonomous delivery robot—Domino’s Robotic Unit, or DRU.

Around the same time, former Googlers Jianjun Zhu and Dave Ferguson teamed up to form Nuro, which develops autonomous delivery vehicles.

The firm officially launched in early 2018 with the unveiling of its first product, the R1 electric self-driving local commerce car. Weighing in at 1,500 lbs., the stocky sedan is designed to carry only cargo, with space for 12 grocery bags in the first model.

“We are excited to expand our autonomous delivery service in Houston with Domino’s,” according to Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partner relations.

“Domino’s delivers millions of pizzas around the world every day, and the company shares our passion for focusing on the customer experience,” he continued. “We see incredible opportunity in offering Nuro’s world-class autonomous technology to Domino’s customers, accelerating our shared mission to transform local commerce.”

This marks Domino’s first real use of delivery automation.

A previous tie-in with Ford, as CNET pointed out, was “just smoke and mirrors”; its so-called self-driving car featured a human driver hidden behind blacked-out windows.

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Watch: YouTuber Simone Giertz Turns Tesla Model 3 Into Cool Pickup Truck

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Simone Giertz, a famous YouTuber who describes herself as the “queen of shitty robots,” was done waiting for Elon Musk to debut his new Tesla pickup truck, so she decided to turn a Tesla Model 3 into a functional pickup truck herself and the results are jaw-dropping.

Giertz, who has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, spent over 12 months planning her “Truckla” creation, which combines Tesla’s smooth electric ride with pickup truck features, The Verge reported. The YouTuber collaborated with a group of automobile experts, including Boston-based car modifier Richard Benoit, Bay Area maker Marcos Ramirez, and German designer Laura Kampf to get the job done. Giertz showcased her cool “Truckla” project in a YouTube video, which has more than 200,000 views so far.

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“I really want an electric pickup truck, and more specifically, I really want a Tesla pickup, but they haven’t released one yet,” Giertz said in her video. “And, rumors have it, they are going to announce one this summer, but then it’s going to be like years before you can actually have one and I don’t have time to wait for that.”

She added, “Elon Musk, this is me challenging you to making the world’s first functional Tesla pickup truck. I know people call me the ‘queen of shitty robots,’ and that my track record isn’t terribly impressive so far, but I have an angle grinder and a welder, and I’m not afraid to use them.”

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Giertz’s truck combines elements of a Tesla Model 3, a sedan, and a pickup. However, there are also some other standard truck features, including a lumber rack and Hella lights, that don’t make it look like a weird hybrid vehicle. Creating this pickup truck also came with its challenges: The Tesla Model 3 had trouble starting after some parts were stripped and the car was notifying Tesla headquarters about “its many faults.” Thankfully though, the “Truckla” came to life and people can’t get enough of it.

Last month, Musk mentioned Tesla’s pickup truck project at Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting, Engadget noted. No other updates have been provided yet, except that the company might unveil its “sci-fi” pickup vehicle at the end of the summer. Until then, Giertz’s “Truckla” will serve as creative inspiration for automobile fans everywhere.

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