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World Tech Update - Facebook's F8 announcements, 8K for Windows 10, drone laws

On World Tech Update Facebook brings Messenger to businesses, Ford debuts technology that helps drivers avoid speeding tickets and astronauts prepare for a year in space.

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Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. I'm Nick Barber. We'll start this week with Facebook, which hosted its F8 developer conference in San Francisco. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Messenger will open to third party developers as well as businesses.

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Facebook started requiring people to use Messenger last year and while some users were unhappy about it for Facebook it means the service has 600 million users. Zuckerberg also said he imagines that news feeds will be awash with virtual reality content in the future.

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Facebook attracted 3,000 developers to the event which was also livestreamed online.


Ford has announced new technology that will read speed limit signs and adjust a vehicle's speed accordingly. The company is rolling out the technology in new models of the Ford S-Max, a minivan for the European market. The new system, called Intelligent Speed Limiter, enables drivers to set a maximum vehicle speed. The max speed is then automatically adjusted according to information from an in-vehicle traffic sign recognition system that uses a windshield-mounted camera to read road signs. Those restrictions are then displayed on the instrument cluster. The intent of the Intelligent Speed Limiter appears to be helping motorists avoid tickets. There's no word on whether the technology will come to other models.

A Soyuz spacecraft that will carry an astronaut and cosmonaut into space for a year long study rolled out to the launch pad in Kazakhstan Wednesday. Taken by train the Soyuz TMA-16M is scheduled to launch on March 28. It will be the beginning of a year long stay on the International Space Station for American Scott Kelly and Russian Mik-i-el Corn-i-enko.

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The two will return to Earth around March 2016.

While 4K might be the next big thing for displays, Microsoft is looking to future proof Windows 10 with support for 8K. The 8K support for Windows 10 will be for displays larger than 27 inches. Large-screen TVs based on the 8K resolution have wowed many at trade shows like CES and NAB, but it's still many years away from adoption. Users are still moving to from conventional HD to the new 4K standard, and it could be many years until PC displays start supporting 8K. Support for 8K will be built in to Windows 10 for PCs, and 8K monitors will need to be attached to display ports.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has further loosened restrictions on commercial drone flight, removing the need for companies to obtain airspace clearance for flying approved drones. The new rules apply to a handful of companies that have been granted an exemption from current FAA regulations that ban commercial operation of drones. At present, companies with the flight exemption still have to apply for authorization to operate in a block of airspace -- a procedure that can take up to 2 months. The new policy grants a blanket waiver to these companies to conduct drone flights as long as the drones weigh less than 55 pounds and they stay within certain limits.

Well that's our show for this week, thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. As we head out we'll leave you with some shots of the Alpha Romeo 4C a high tech and fast sports car that PC World took a look at. I'm Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to see you next week.