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Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Recommended Reads on the Mobile Beat This Week

A roundup of some of the most interesting stories about mobile technology from other sites, collected by Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for mobile.

  • October 30, 2015

Siri and Cortana Sound Like Ladies Because of Sexism
This piece from Wired explains why so many virtual assistants–Siri, Google Now, Cortana, and others–have female voices. One major reason is that we generally respond more positively to women’s voices than men’s voices.  

Report Says Uber Surge Pricing Has a Twist: Some Drivers Flee
This San Francisco Chronicle story says that a Northeastern University study of Uber’s practice of so-called surge pricing–a temporary jump in the cost of rides when demand climbs in a particular place–actually causes many drivers to leave an area, rather than drawing them in. 

Alphabet’s Google to Fold Chrome Operating System Into Android
A story in The Wall Street Journal says Google–now part of parent company Alphabet–intends to combine its Chrome operating system for PCs with its wildly successful Android mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets. (It should be noted that Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chromecast, and Chrome OS, seemed to deny the report by tweeting on Thursday that his company is “very committed to Chrome OS.”)

What Are the Most Stressful Places in Boston? We’re About to Find Out
The Boston Globe’s site BetaBoston writes about a project mapping Boston residents’ stress levels by giving people a wearable device that tracks body temperature and heart rate, and using their phones to glean information about their schedules and the places they go.

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