Family Tech News Roundup: October 20th-26th

This week we have news from Google, Facebook, Spotify... and did you SEE THAT GHOST BABY???

Spotify Google Home Mini

Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini’s again! Unfortunately, if you took advantage of the last giveaway, you won’t be eligible for this round. Also, they are not giving away the latest Nest Mini, it is the older model Google Home Mini.

Unlike last time, you won’t need a family plan. Any paying Spotify subscription is eligible. If you sign up for a subscription, you just need to login to Spotify’s website and click the message to get your free Mini! It will take you to the Google store, but upon checkout, the device will be free.

Messaging Standard Coming Soon

One of the arguments most teens use to get an iPhone is iMessage. Apparently it just works better if everyone involved has iPhones as well. Fortunately, the cell phone carriers are teaming up to elminiate this argument. I’m sure they aren’t really taking teen arguments into consideration, but it’s definitely a plus for us parents. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are joining forces to release a messaging standard called RCS.

“Texting is trusted, reliable and readily available — which is why we’re using it to build the foundation of a simple, immersive messaging experience,” said David Christopher, EVP and GM of AT&T Mobility. The joint venture is set to start rolling out in 2020 and will start with Android devices.

Google Released 6 New Digital Wellbeing Apps

Frequently dipping its toes into multiple arenas, Google partnered with some companies to launch what they call “experiments”. These forays into other applications can sometimes be shortlived and frequently closed with very little warning, even if they are incredibly popular like Inbox and the RSS Feed.

This week Google announced the launch of 6 new experiments that are promising to help users with their Digital Wellbeing. After I’ve had some time to test them out, I’ll be writing a post about them.

From a wallpaper clock that will tell you how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, to a paper printout of key information from your phone so you can leave it behind, there are definitely some fun things to try out here. Just don’t expect to rely on them in the future.

Facebook is Launching a Dedicated “News” Tab

As more people start getting their news from social media, it’s definitely a smart move to help access that news quickly and easily. Currently, news-related items can get lost in the shuffle on your Facebook feed in between photos of your friend’s new baby or what your co-worker ate for lunch. It also requires you to be following those pages in order to get the information.

Since, technically, your current feed it CALLED the News feed, it is curious if they will adjust some of the namings of each tab. They did try to do something similar a few years ago when they attempted to separate the feed from users from the feed from pages. It appeared to be a huge flop and they quickly changed it back.

I imagine this news feed would be more like top trending news from sites you may not already be following, much like the “trending” section used to show on the main FB page.

Ghost Baby

Sometimes video cameras pick up some random and spooky things! One mom found this out this week when she looked at her child’s video baby monitor and saw another baby in there with her son! Finally, after a pretty sleepless night, she figured out what was making the spooky apparition.

Shout it out when you see it!!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website

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