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Friday Five: 11/21 – 11/25

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Happy Black Friday! Here are some of the top headlines in tech news from this past week:

This is Snapchat’s new Spectacles store in New York City - TechCrunch 

Snapchat Spectacles are now available at a pop-up retail storefront in New York City. Previously, the eccentric smartphone-connected glasses, which allow users to post to Snapchat’s platform in first-person style, were only available from randomly located specialized vending machines. From Venice Beach to Oklahoma and elsewhere, the vending machines would pop up unannounced, and attracted long lines during each appearance. Snapchat made waves in various media outlets for not distributing the glasses to the press prior to releasing them to the public. But the rollout has proved to be a wise move, as the lines to buy the company’s first physical product are long. The store, located at the southeast corner of Central Park, right across the street from the Apple store, will be open until New Year’s Eve.

Instagram Introduces New Features That Mimic Twitter and Snap Tools - The New York Times

Instagram, the ever-hip social media platform owned by Facebook, launched a new live streaming option for users. More importantly, these live streams can only be watched in real-time, unlike Facebook’s live streaming platform, where the video is saved to a user's profile for later viewing. Also included in the update is the option to send self-destructing direct messages to other users, akin to Snapchat messages. Developers hope these new features will lead to more content being posted by users who are not celebrities or public figures. Recently, Instagram and Facebook have updated the respective platforms with features directly out some of their competition's playbook, Snapchat and Periscope. Time will show how popular these features end up being among users, but we are getting closer to an all-out development war between some of the most popular social media platforms.

Google will tell you how crowded your favorite bar is in real time - The Verge

Google will now be able to tell you how crowded your favorite restaurant, bar, or coffee establishment is in real-time. The feature takes anonymous user location data into account, allowing for internet browsers to see if the venue is considerably busy at any given moment. Google has previously implemented a feature showcasing the times when a location has historically been busy, but this nifty new addition will certainly help consumers make a more successful decision on where to get that vanilla latte during the morning rush hours.

Apple Abandons Development of Wireless Routers - Bloomberg

Apple has moved its staff away from focusing on developing future wireless routers, according to Bloomberg news. The engineers have been tasked to work on other projects, signalling a probable abandonment of Apple’s “Airport” product line. The routers have not been updated since 2013, and this move is likely because Apple wants to focus more of its resources on revenue-generating products. The routers were only a small blimp on Apple’s sales statements. More information about whether they will officially ditch the Airport line has yet to surface, but the move curiously comes not long after rival Google announced its own entrance to the router market.

Apple to replace iPhone 6S batteries in some handsets due to shutdown flaw - Ars Technica

Apple has announced they will replace the batteries in a “very small amount” of iPhone 6S phones were experiencing sudden shutdowns. Apple has insisted this is not a safety issues for the handset owners, likely in response to concerns raised after the recent Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. The Note 7’s batteries were occasionally bursting into flames, causing a massive recall. This less-serious issues, Apple says, is on a small scale, and consumers can get their serial numbers checked for free to see if their handset is affected.

Did you come across any good tech news stories this week? Tweet us @WalkerSands!