Hashtag Trending August 8 – Amazon buys Roomba maker; federal government employees want to work from home; flight trackers irk public figures

Amazon acquires iRobot, federal government employees resent the idea of returning to office, and public figures are not happy with flight trackers.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, August 8, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Amazon has acquired iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, for $1.7 billion. iRobot of course makes more than just the vacuum cleaner; it also includes a wide range of smart home appliances. Amazon’s bid is to broaden its smart home repertoire, but some privacy advocates have raised concerns, alleging that by reaching into more appliances, Amazon will be able to gather more data on its users. For example, Amazon will now have access to room mapping data gathered by the Roomba vacuum cleaners. In terms of business, however, this deal is a win-win. Amazon will be able to help expand the Roomba beyond just a niche product while increasing the value of its smart home segment.

Source: ABCNews, Bloomberg

Canadian federal government employees are rejecting the prospect of returning to the office. While one study said that 25 per cent of employees would accept a hybrid structure, 60 per cent prefer working from home permanently. Only 10 per cent would like to return to the office full time. One Health Canada manager said the return to office work would also supply employees at a local Subway restaurant with more hours. As expected, this idea faced immediate satirical backlash.

Source: CBC

Flight tracking is rubbing a lot of public figures the wrong way. There are several websites and Twitter accounts dedicated to tracking real-time flight data of important figures. The operators of these websites say they receive many requests to stop posting these aircrafts’ whereabouts, but because the data they collect are legally available and open to anyone, they have continued operations. One reason for tracking the flights by celebrities and the like is to hold them accountable for their damage to the environment. One such case was when a flight tracker exposed that Kylie Jenner’s plane tooka flight that lasted just 17 minutes in July.

Source: TechXplorer

Delaware is planning to launch a pilot program that will install solar panels for low-income residents free of charge. Under the plan, low-income residents can install up to 4kilowatts of solar power at no cost. The program extends to middle-income residents as well. For them, the program covers 70 per cent of the cost for up to 6 kilowatts, according to the Good News Network. The goal is to increase the accessibility to renewable energy for low-income residents and to combat worsening climate change.

Source: Good News Network

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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