10 things in tech you need to know today

Mark zuckerberg
Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. David Ramos/Getty

Good morning! Here’s the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.

1. Businesses can now build their own intelligent chatbots on Facebook Messenger, allowing them to automate their conversations with customers. Facebook made the announcement at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

2. Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner are launching a $100 million (£70 million) initiative to send robots deep into space. The duo want to develop light-propelled nanocrafts that can get to Alpha Centauri, the next closest star system to the Solar System.

3. Snapchat has surpassed Instagram as the app of choice for teens, according to a new survey by investment bank Piper Jaffray.Twitter continued its slow decline, while Facebook saw a slight bump.

4. Facebook is still “a long way” from broadly releasing “M,” its own super-smart chatbot. The bot, which Facebook first introduced to the world last year, got few on-stage mentions during the company’s F8 developer conference.

5. Facebook has built a disc-shaped camera that shoots 360-degree videos.The company hopes the product will spur the creation of a new wave of virtual reality videos.

6. Airbnb has brought on a team of bitcoin experts from a startup called ChangeCoin, which allows people to tip each other with bitcoin. The home-sharing business acquired approximately seven engineers from ChangeCoin.

7. Twitter has made it easier to listen to music on its platform. It’s now possible to listen to SoundCloud tracks within Twitter Moments.

8. Google has announced the winners of a $20 million grant (£14 million) for organisations building tech for people with disabilities. The winners range from British blindness charities to projects to help leprosy sufferers.

10. Buzzfeed missed its $250 million (£176 million) revenue target last year, according to the Financial Times. It reportedly generated only $170 million (£119 million).

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