It’s Wednesday, Austin, and that means we’re halfway to the weekend. Today’s tech news is dominated by news coming out of Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
Facebook details how smartphones will fuel an augmented reality future
On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced an augmented reality platform, according to the New York Times, which will allow people to view and digitally manipulate the physical world through their smartphones.
The Times notes that some forms of augmented reality already exist today -- think about the stickers and filters people add to their photos. But Zuckerberg sees more potential for AR, envisioning “a world in which people could eventually point smartphone cameras at a bowl of cereal and have an app create tiny sharks swimming in the milk,” or friends can leave “virtual notes” for each other at restaurants.
Facebook expects developers to build a lot of these AR experiences through its Camera Effects Platform. At the conference, Facebook was announcing new tools to aid developers.
In other Facebook news, the company also announced a new social virtual reality platform called Spaces. It allows Oculus Rift owners to virtually hang out with one another.
Trump orders review of H-1B visas through his “Hire American” executive order
President Donald Trump ordered a review of the H-1B visa program on Tuesday. On the campaign trail, he’s criticized this program as taking jobs from Americans and driving down wages.
A San Francisco Chronicle article found that tech companies in Silicon Valley actually pay their H-1B workers higher than the prevailing wage. That’s not so for tech outsourcing firms, though.
And in Austin, tech companies optimistically said they were hoping this review of the H-1B program would actually raise the quota of H-1B workers, allowing for more visas to be issued to foreign workers.
PetSmart buys Chewy.com for $3.35 billion
Pet store PetSmart is buying a fast-growing pet food and product site called Chewy.com for $3.35 billion, according to Recode. This is a sizeable acquisition, bigger than Walmart’s purchase of Jet.com last year.
Recode reports that Chewy.com is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites on the planet, with nearly $900 million in revenue last year, in what was only its fifth year in operation.
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