Friday Five: shopping on Insta and genderless voice assistants

1. Snap up a bargain on Instagram

Proving it’s good for so much more than humble bragging about holidays and posting pictures of your breakfast, Instagram has continued its foray into ecommerce by launching a beta checkout feature that allows users to buy products featured in posts directly through the app.

2. Google enters the streaming game

Music, cinema and TV have all experienced disruption at the hands of streaming, and gaming could well be next. Google has announced a service called Stadia this week, which has the potential to turn the industry on its head by offering gamers access to a catalogue of titles in exchange for a monthly fee, à la Netflix and Amazon Prime.

3. Giving diversity a voice

Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana. What does each have in common? They’re both given female names. And while you can switch Siri’s voice from female to male on Apple devices, where’s the option for those who don’t identify as one or the other? Enter Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

4. AI turns blobs into beauty

Didn’t manage to get away on that all-inclusive trip to the Bahamas? Don’t worry, you can fake it ’til you make it thanks to GauGAN, a new AI tool from Nvidia that turns pretty woeful, blob-like drawings into stunning Insta-ready vistas.

5. Mighty Morphin meme-makers

Ok, let’s get it straight: deepfakes are generally bad. But occasionally they can be sources of light-hearted entertainment too. And thankfully that’s the side of the divide that a new app called Morphin falls on.

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