Netflix loses subscribers for the first time in 10 years, Google plans to build the first-ever high-speed fibre-optic cable to connect Canada to Asia, and UK self-driving vehicle owners will not be held responsible for crashes.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, April 21, and I’m your host, Tom Li.
For the first time in over a decade, Netflix saw a loss of subscribers. The streaming service lost 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter, falling well short of its forecast of adding 2.5 million subscribers. The company cites the war in Ukraine, after it suspended service in Russia following the invasion, resulting in the loss of 700,000 members. In addition, Netflix says heightened competition and inflation have also contributed to the drop in viewers. The halt in subscriber growth is prompting Netflix to consider offering a lower-priced version of the service with advertising, citing the success of similar offerings from streaming rivals HBO Max and Disney+, Reuters reported. Shares of Netflix cratered more than 25 per cent early this week after the company reported the loss. Netflix is forecasting a further decrease with a global paid subscriber loss of 2 million for the second quarter. The last time Netflix lost subscribers was October 2011.
Google is planning to build the first-ever high-speed fibre-optic cable to connect Canada to Asia. The submarine fiber cable will be the width of a garden hose and is expected to be completed in 2023. It will run from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, and then across the floor of the Pacific Ocean to Japan’s Mie and Ibaraki prefectures. The cable is called Topaz and is supposed to make accessing Google products such as YouTube and Gmail faster. The company is working with Canadian and Japanese partners to make the cable, which also wants to be accessible to other internet providers.
Self-driving car owners will not be held responsible for crashes in the UK, Sky News reports. In addition, self-driving car owners will also be allowed to watch TV while behind the wheel under proposed changes to the Highway Code. Instead, insurance companies rather than individuals will be accountable for claims if vehicles are involved in collisions, according to the Department for Transport (DfT). The update to the Highway Code will make it clear that motorists have to be ready to control their vehicles when needed. While the DfT also intends to allow drivers to watch TV on built-in screens in self-driving cars, it will still be illegal to use a mobile phone. As of now, there are no vehicles approved for self-driving on roads in the UK but the first models could be given the go-ahead later in 2022.
sources: sky new
People in Japan may be able to enjoy their favorite salty meals without having to be concerned about their sodium levels. A report by The Guardians reveals that researchers have developed chopsticks that artificially create the taste of salt, in an effort to reduce the high sodium levels in some of the country’s popular dishes. The chopsticks operate by using electrical stimulation and a mini-computer that the diner wears on a wristband. The device transmits sodium ions from food, through the chopsticks, to the mouth where they create a sense of saltiness. The researchers collaborated with a food and drink manufacturer to develop this device. In Japan, a traditional diet tends to be high in salt due to ingredients such as miso and soy sauce. The creators of the chopsticks are looking to refine the prototype and hope to make the chopsticks available to consumers by 2023.
sources: The Guardians
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