Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- In his mission to connect the world, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Thursday that his company has been quietly testing unmanned aircraft that can beam Internet access from the sky.
"Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10 percent of the world's population that live in remote communities without existing Internet infrastructure," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page Thursday.
He said he would share more about the initiative in a keynote address Thursday afternoon at Facebook's F8 developer conference.
The aircraft has already gone on one test flight in the United Kingdom, Zuckerberg said. It's expected the final design will produce an airplane with the wingspan of a Boeing 737 but lighter than a car.
Running on solar power, Zuckerberg said it's expected the plane could fly at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge faced off in a beauty contest with the HTC One M9, it would be hard to say which phone would take the crown.
Samsung and HTC's new devices are sleek, but ultimately what's on the inside will help guide people in the market for a new Android phone as to which device is right for them.
Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphones are available for pre-order beginning Friday and will be available in the United States on April 10. HTC's One M9 will be sold directly from their site on Friday to customers in the U.S. with the device reaching stores on April 10.
Keeping in mind that the key difference between the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge is the latter's curved side that comes with additional functionality, here's a breakdown of how Samsung and HTC's offerings stack up against each other:
The HTC One M9 will cost around $649 for an unlocked device with 32 GB of storage. Samsung hasn't released pricing for the Galaxy S6 devices, however expect them to start at a comparable price point for the 32 GB option, with the 64 GB and 128 GB choices costing more.
Samsung's phones have a 5.1-inch display, and HTC's latest flagship offering measures 5 inches.
The camera is often the tipping point for most people when deciding between similar smartphones. Bother cameras are sharp but have their differences.
Samsung boasted that it would have the "fastest, brightest camera on the market" and showed how it was able to illuminate a night scene and turn on with a quick double tap of the home key in less than a second.
The Galaxy S6 phones have a 5 megapixel selfie camera with a 120-degree wide angle lens, while the rear camera packs 16 megapixels.
The HTC One M9 also boasts a wide angle, ultrapixel front facing camera that can take in more light, while the rear camera has 20 megapixels.
Samsung's new devices are outfitted with wireless charging, making power cords obsolete. In 10 minutes, Samsung says the devices can get enough charge for four hours of everyday use.
Samsung's Galaxy S6 devices are powered with 2,550 mAh of battery life. Comparably, HTC's One M9 has a battery capacity of 2,840 mAh which packs up to 25.4 hours of talk time, according to the company's website.
Samsung's latest flagship devices standout for ditching the plastic backing of their ancestors in favor of a sleek aluminum and glass body. Also expect Samsung Pay, a contact-less payment system to rival Apple Pay, to come to users of the phones sometime this summer.
HTC's One M9 looks a lot like its predecessors but comes with a newly enabled customization feature, letting users change the look and feel of their phone's interface.
Another standout offer from HTC is "Uh Oh Protection." The free insurance policy promises to replace your new phone if it's damaged in the first year.
Lyft(NEW YORK) -- No longer will your Lyft driver assume you don't like to listen to Taylor Swift in the car just because you're wearing a business suit.
The ride-sharing company is inviting drivers and passengers to share personal details with each other, including hometown, favorite music and a short bio. The new app feature will launch early next week for iOS users, "with Android soon to follow," Lyft says.
"We chose hometown because we know roots grow deep," Lyft wrote in a blog post. "We added favorite music because music is both a universal and personal connector."
Lyft emphasizes that sharing any information is completely optional. Drivers can choose to include their star rating and ride count also.
"Profiles is a new feature that gives passengers and drivers the option to share fun facts about themselves and discover mutual friends and interests," the company wrote in a blog post Thursday.
The basic premise of Lyft will stay the same: users who have already provided their credit card information request a ride in an app. Then they get automatically matched with a Lyft driver in the vicinity. After the ride, passengers can choose to add a tip.
Last year, Lyft introduced Lyft Line, giving passengers the ability to share a Lyft ride with other customers going in the same direction for a fixed lower price, up to 60 percent less.
Uber has already tried its hand at a more personalized experience. Starting last November, Uber allowed passengers to control the music in their cars through a partnership with music streaming service Spotify.
Lyft, based in San Francisco, serves 65 U.S. cities, most recently launching in Philadelphia in late January. Its mega-competitor Uber, also based in San Francisco, has faced a number of publicity hurdles, including driver safety concerns and transportation regulation, as it has expanded to 55 countries, or over 270 markets around the globe.
On Wednesday, Uber released an informational safety video that emphasizes that Uber drivers pass federal, multi-state and county background checks and that each ride is covered by a $1 million commercial insurance policy. Like Lyft, Uber champions the safety benefits of having a digital record of a trip history.
A spokesman for Uber told ABC News that regulatory frameworks have been approved in 24 jurisdictions for ridesharing.
Twitter, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- Twitter launched its Periscope live streaming app on Thursday, gunning for the estimated hundreds of thousand of users and others that upstart streaming app Meerkat has attracted during its first month in existence.
Broadcasts from around the world are featured on the home screen of the Periscope app showing off everything from friends dining at a fast food restaurant to a guy lounging in bed with his dog to a live view of the Eiffel Tower.
Users have the option of choosing to push a link to their Twitter followers, allowing them to tune in to the live stream.
While Meerkat was the darling of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, the biggest complaint users have with the app has been that by the time they click a live streaming link in Twitter, it's already dead.
Periscope differentiates itself by offering broadcasters the chance to let viewers replay their stream when it is complete, while Meerkat is more bare bones, taking an ephemeral approach to live video.
Audience love is also a huge aspect of the Pericscope app, which allows viewers to tap the screen and send hearts to the broadcaster, letting them know they appreciate what they're doing.
Twitter revealed earlier this month it had acquired Periscope. Around the same time, Twitter stripped away Meerkat's access to Twitter's social graph.
The move means users will have to individually re-build their network of friends inside of the app as opposed to getting a populated list of people they follow on Twitter. Meerkat users can still push links from their live streams to Twitter.
While Periscope might be aesthetically nicer to look at and offers more users engagement opportunities, it's unlikely to be a Meerkat killer.
The company announced on Thursday that it has received an investment for an undisclosed amount led by Greylock Partners -- providing more capital for Meerkat to continue on its explosive growth path.
Banastock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With airtime on TV expensive, advertisers will do whatever they can to stand out from the rest of pack, often by producing loud, fast-moving and obnoxious commercials.
Instead of grabbing viewers’ attention, advertisers may be doing just the opposite, particularly if commercials are run during shows that are low key or even melancholy.
Researchers from Oxford University, Columbia University and Babson College had participants first watch a clip from a sad movie or a neutral segment from a documentary. This was followed by a commercial for a car insurance company that was either highly energetic or only moderately energetic.
Although told that they could watch the ad for as long as they liked, people who had seen the sad movie clip first mostly watched only part of the high-energy commercial or none of it. Even worse for the advertiser, they had difficultly recalling the name of the sponsor.
However, those who saw the moderately energetic spot responded to it far more favorably even if they had just seen the sad clip, which featured a boy crying.
The researchers’ advice to advertisers is that lowering the level of energy in commercials might make them stand out more in a fast-paced modern world that leaves so many people drained to begin with.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Easter is a great bridge into the spring season and as usual, people will open their wallets wide to buy the various sundries associated with the holiday.
The National Retail Federation predicts that consumers will spend $16.4 billion this season with the bulk of it going towards food, clothing, gifts and naturally, candy like chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and Peeps.
On average, Americans will spend $140.62 on Easter-related items, about three bucks more than last year but not quite as much as either 2013 or 2012.
Overall, the NRF poll of 6,000 consumers finds that nearly three-quarters will spend about the same as 2014 while 15 percent plan on making more purchases and 12 percent will make less.
As for their retail choices, discount stores are the number one retailer for Easter shoppers followed by department stores, small businesses, specialty stores and buying merchandise online.
Stockbyte/Thinsktock(NEW YORK) — Who wouldn’t want to receive a gift that was made with tender, loving care?
Certainly, most mass-produced merchandise doesn’t really fall into that category, no matter how good the quality of the workmanship might be.
Researchers from Cornell and two European universities tested this theory on a group of people who were told to choose from a list of products, including soaps and stationary that were either machine-made or handcrafted with certain extras such as labels that read "made with love."
When the participants were asked which items they’d most likely chose for a loved one, the hand-made merchandise by far was the runaway winner with people admitting that they’d even pay more money than what the products were listed for.
According to the researchers, “emphasizing the handmade aspect of a product can make it significantly more attractive, especially when consumers want to convey love to someone.”
Think Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, for instance.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Image(NEW YORK) -- Starting Thursday, and for five days only, Starbucks is celebrating its famous Frappuccino's 20th anniversary with a special beverage.
"To commemorate Frappuccino's 20th anniversary, Starbucks is offering a limited-time Birthday Cake Frappuccino blended beverage," the company's website says. The drink will include vanilla bean and hazelnut flavors and will be topped with raspberry-infused whipped cream.
Frappuccino blended beverages are available in all 66 countries in which Starbucks currently operates. The most popular flavors, according to Starbucks, are Caramel, Mocha, Vanilla Bean, Java Chip and Double Chocolatey Chip.
In his book, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote that the frappuccino's story "epitomizes the enterprising spirit we still have at Starbucks. It's experimental. It's adventurous. It fires people up and engages their imagination."
Photo by Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company may have created the ultimate solution to a problem that has plagued us for years -- how to get the last drop out of the ketchup bottle.
LiquiGlide has created a solution that "makes viscous liquids slide easily," the company's website says. The company's solution is used as a coating that keeps the inside of a bottle -- or other container -- permanently wet. In doing so, it would enable individuals to get the most out of the fluid products like ketchup, honey, syrup or glue.
On Tuesday, the company announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Elmer's Products that would allow the glue company to "explore LiquiGlide's breakthrough slippery coating technology to create innovative new products."
A number of videos, including the one below, on LiquiGlide's website claim to show the difference between a container with LiquiGlide and one without. In the below video, the bottle of grape jelly on the right uses LiquiGlide, and the container on the left is a standard container of grape jelly.
Steve Snowden/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Pennsylvania man is feeling very well, thank you, after he won a $7 million lottery prize from a ticket that was enclosed in a get-well card from his father.
“I don’t play the lottery at all, but my father is a retired hospital administrator-turned-avid Lottery player,” Joseph Amorese of Easton, Pennsylvania, said, according to the New York Lottery.
Amorese's father sent the $7 Million Golden Ticket scratch card inside a greeting card, while Amorese recovered at home from surgery.
“I scratched the ticket and it was a good thing I was already sitting down because I was shocked. I was and still am in complete disbelief,” Amorese, 46, said.
The Verizon employee said he immediately called his dad, who lives in Congers, New York, to double-check the winnings.
“I sent him a picture of the ticket and he said, ‘Yup, you won $7,000,000!’”
He also called his wife, Jodi, a social worker.
“I said, Honey, I think we won $7,000,000. And there was silence on the other end for a long time. She was too stunned to talk.”
The ticket was purchased at Just a Dollar in New City, New York.
lawcain/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taco Bell will unveil a new breakfast option for those hoping to "live mas" even earlier in the day.
The company says it encourages customers to "defect to the next generation of breakfast," beginning on Thursday when the biscuit taco is unveiled. According to a press release, the restaurant's morning offering will include a "warm, fluffy, buttery biscuit, folded...in the shape of a taco and filled...with classic breakfast flavors that people love like sausage, eggs and cheese."
The Biscuit Taco will be available at participating locations at a suggested price of $2.49, the company says. Flavor options will include sausage, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; crispy chicken with country gravy; and crispy chicken with the new signature jalapeno honey. Each taco will measure between 369 calories and 471 calories.
"This year is about making sure we continue to give people the food they crave in a way that's unique to Taco Bell," CEO Brian Niccol said. He added that he hopes the Biscuit Taco will "reinvent the fast food breakfast experience by moving away from boring, round sandwiches and inserting bold tastes and flavors."
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A former CFO is now on food stamps after a video he posted on YouTube two and a half years ago criticizing Chick-Fil-A went viral and destroyed his career.
Adam Smith, 37, was the CFO of a medical device manufacturer in Arizona, until the summer of 2012, when he -- and thousands of other people -- started protesting against Chick-Fil-A for the fast-food chain’s anti-gay stance.
One day, Smith decided to go through the drive-thru at his local Chick-Fil-A, where he ordered a free water -- the fast-food chain offers customers free water -- and videotaped himself telling the drive-thru attendant how much he despised Chick-Fil-A.
“Chick-Fil-A is a hateful corporation,” Smith said, in part, to the drive-thru attendant. “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible values. You deserve better.”
Smith then posted the video on his personal YouTube channel, but when he got back to work, he received a major shock.
“I got into work and the receptionist, the first thing, big eyes, ‘Adam, what did you do?’ ... she said, ‘The voicemail is completely full, and it’s full of bomb threats,’” Smith said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' 20/20.
Smith was fired that same day. He said at the time he was earning $200,000 annually and had over $1 million in stock options.
“It was taken when I lost my employment,” he said.
After losing his job, Smith, his wife Amy and their four children also lost their home. They were forced to sell and give away their possessions and move into an RV. A few months later, Smith found a new CFO job in Portland, Oregon. It was the fresh start he needed.
“I felt like, ‘Yeah, I got it. I am back,’” Smith said.
About two weeks later, Smith was fired from that job after his new boss discovered he was the guy from the Chick-Fil-A video. Smith told 20/20 in subsequent job interviews he was very honest about the video, and while prospective employers seemed empathetic and understanding, in the end the companies would rescind the offers, saying they didn’t want the distraction.
Looking back at the video now, Smith said he was emotional.
“I don’t regret the stand I took, but I regret…the way I talked to her,” he told 20/20.
He even apologized to the drive-thru attendant he was angry with in another video posted to his YouTube channel, which also went viral. She has forgiven him. But Smith says even people who agreed with his pro-gay opinions won’t hire him.
“I think people are scared,” Smith said. “I think people are scared that it could happen again.”
Kevin O’Leary, an entrepreneur and panelist on the hit ABC show Shark Tank, said he always looks up potential employees online before hiring them.
“Every time I look at hiring somebody, I go and gather their digital footprint from every source I can get,” O’Leary said. “We look at who they are online, and we actually hire them in our minds before we actually ever meet them. And so the interview process is to just prove what we have already assessed online.”
O’Leary warns that all the emails, texts, tweets, selfies and status updates we send out into the world can be career-threatening.
Smith, with his spotty digital footprint, is still looking for a job nearly three years later, and has turned to meditation. He has also just written a new memoir, A Million Dollar Cup of Water, detailing how his public shaming led him from riches to rags and the intensive soul-search for healing.
Smith said he doesn’t know if his viral video will ever go away. “It feels like it just happened,” he said.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks fell for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as the number of orders received by U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured products fell for the third time in four months.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,792.60, closing the day at 17,718.54.
The Nasdaq fell to 4,876.52, losing 118.21 in Wednesday's session, while the S&P 500 slipped 30.45 to 2,061.05.
The U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday that new orders on durable goods dropped by $3.2 billion, or 1.4 percent. That figure has dropped for three of the last four months, the department notes.
Also on Wednesday, Kraft and Heinz announced a merger that would create the third-largest food and beverage company in North America.