Jun 05, 2021
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About this Deal
The switch is about to be flipped on Amazon Sidewalk, the tech giant's vision of smart neighborhoods connected by an array of its gadgets.
Amazon, which originally announced the networking project in September 2019, plans to make Sidewalk operational on its Echo devices on June 8.
The low-bandwidth shared network uses a smidgen of your home Wi-Fi to connect Echo devices, Ring security cameras and lights, and Tile Bluetooth trackers to help everyone's devices "get connected and stay connected," according to a description on the company's website.
This connectivity across neighborhoods could come in handy when, say, your Echo speaker or Ring camera loses its Wi-Fi connection. When that happens, Sidewalk can more easily reconnect your devices.
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Amazon's Echo speaker, shown here, will be part of the tech giant's Sidewalk low-bandwidth shared network to keep devices connected.
And, as Amazon says in the project description, "Sidewalk can also extend the working range for your Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights, pet locators or smart locks, so they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances."
Amazon doesn't charge anything for Sidewalk and the company says "multiple layers of encryption" provide privacy and security for your personal data. But Amazon has gotten some flak for automatically opting users in.
You can use the Alexa app to opt out, which is something Shelly Palmer, CEO at The Palmer Group, a tech strategy advisory group, said he plans to do in part because of the automatic opt-in and "I don’t like the idea of being a node on an Amazon peer-to-peer network and enriching the richest man in the world with my bandwidth, my data and my money."
What else happened in tech?
Meat producer cyberattack. The world's largest meat supplier, JBS SA, was hit with an “organized cybersecurity attack" over Memorial Day weekend that shut down all of its U.S. beef plants and led to disruptions at all of its U.S. plants, as well as some in Australia and Canada. JBS said most operations were back online Thursday. President Joe Biden said he planned to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses by Russian-based hackers at their joint summit in Switzerland later this month.
New Windows. Microsoft has a "what's next" event for its Windows operating system scheduled for June 24 at 11 a.m. ET. At the software maker's Microsoft Build developers conference last month, CEO Satya Nadella hinted at the plans, saying, "Soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators."
Spotify gets playful. At the end of each year, the streaming service releases its Wrapped roundup of your year's listening habits. But as 2021 approached its midpoint, Spotify put out the "Only You" feature, which highlights some fun facts such as interesting musical pairings, your Sun, Moon and Rising artists, and provides a guest list for your dream dinner party.
Spotify's new "Only You" feature uses your musical favorites to suggest which artists might represent your Sun sign (the artist you listened to over the last six months), Moon sign (artist that shows your emotional or vulnerable side), and Rising sign (an artist you’ve recently connected with).
Many video game companies spoke out recently against a growing wave of anti-Asian violence and racism, The Washington Post reported. Among them: Niantic, the maker of "Pokémon Go," which said it would donate $1 million (total) to organizations including Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
This week in Talking Tech
On this week's Talking Tech podcast, we discussed Google's new Pixel Buds, USA TODAY's video game submissions and what we would like to see coming to iOS 15 out of next week's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
Contributing: Brett Molina, Kelly Tyko, and Josh Meyer
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.