Scooter company Bird enters Latin America with launch in Mexico City

California startup Bird said on Friday it has launched its electric scooters in Mexico City, expanding its effort to shake up urban transportation globally.

Facebook Messenger internally tests voice commands for chat, calls

Facebook Messenger could soon let you user your voice to dictate and send messages, initiate voice calls, and create reminders. Messenger for Android’s code reveals a new M assistant button atop the message thread screen that activates listening for voice commands for those functionalities. Voice control could make Messenger simpler to use hands-free or while driving, more accessible for the vision or dexterity-impaired, and perhaps one day, easier for international users whose native languages are hard to type.

Facebook Messenger was previously spotted testing speech transcription as part of the Aloha voice assistant believed to be part of Facebook’s upcoming Portal video chat screen device. But voice commands in the M assistant are new, and demonstrate an evolution in Facebook’s strategy since its former head of Messenger David Marcus told me voice “is not something we’re actively working on right now” in September 2016 on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt.

The prototype was discovered by all-star TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong, who’d previously discovered prototypes of Instagram Video Calling, Facebook’s screen time digital well-being dashboard, and Lyft’s scooter rentals before the officially launched. When reached for comment, a Facebook Messenger spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that Facebook is internally testing the voice command feature. The told TechCrunch “We often experiment with new experiences on Messenger with employees. We have nothing more to share at this time.”

Messenger is eager to differentiate itself from SMS, Snapchat, Android Messages, and other texting platforms. The app has aggressively adopted visual communication features like Facebook Stories, augmented reality filters, and more. Wong today spotted Messenger prototyping augmented reality camera effects being rolled into the GIFs, Stickers, and Emoji menu in the message composer.


Facebook has found that users aren’t so keen on tons of bells and whistles like prominent camera access or games getting in the way of chat, so Facebook plans to bury those more in a forthcoming simplified redesign of Messenger. But voice controls add pure utility without obstructing Messenger’s core value proposition and could end up getting users to chat more if they’re eventually rolled out.

Backing from senators puts Kavanaugh on track for U.S. Supreme Court

President Donald Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, looked headed for a lifetime job on the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday after two crucial senators said that sexual misconduct accusations against the judge would not prevent them from voting to confirm him.

Wall Street falls as solid jobs report boosts bond yields

U.S. stocks dropped for a second straight day on Friday, weighed down by another rise in Treasury yields in the wake of a solid jobs report that capped off a week of robust data.

Review: ‘Venom’ Is The Bane Of Sony’s Superhero Plans

Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff without actual ties to Spider-Man kicks off this weekend hoping to score blockbuster results and launch a shared world of other heroes and villains. But with terrible reviews and anxious buzz, will “Venom” be poison to Sony’s plans, or another critic-proof fan-driven hit?

Pompeo doesn’t see China tensions hurting North Korea talks

China will be part of the solution to the North Korean crisis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, brushing aside the possibility that worsening U.S. tensions with Beijing could hamper efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

Liberal groups won’t support Democrats backing Kavanaugh

Two well-financed liberal groups that help elect Democratic candidates will not aid the campaigns of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin or Senate candidate Phil Bredesen because the two support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.