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CNET Update: Questions hover over Amazon's drone plans

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CNET Update: Questions hover over Amazon's drone plans

2:54 /

Amazon shows off drones that could deliver packages to doorsteps, but it's doubtful the project will take off anytime soon. Also, Facebook tinkers with feed flashbacks and #GivingTuesday gets a push from Google+ Hangouts.

Drones could be the future of same-day delivery. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. What if you could buy something online and have it delivered to your door within 30 minutes? Amazon is working on doing just that with a service called Amazon Prime Air. Once you place your order, the item will be boxed up at the warehouse and picked up by a drone with eight propellers, and in this perfect world, the drone would fly off and land in front of your doorstep, dropping off your shoebox-sized package. It can handle up to 5 pounds of weight which covers about 86 percent of the items that Amazon delivers. The drone does this on its own. There is no human controlling this thing. It's all automated with GPS coordinates and it would have to be delivered to a location within a 10-mile radius of the warehouse. Amazon's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, said he doesn't expect this to actually take flight for several more years and he's hopeful that, maybe, it can happen in five years if the Federal Aviation Administration can improve rules for drone delivery. There are many factors to be addressed before this happens, like how do you keep it from landing on someone's head, what if it hits a building or gets caught in power lines, how does it avoid dropping your package off on the roof or in a tree, and of course, this does not help folks who live in an apartment or office building. You don't want your package just abandoned on the sidewalk. But when the FAA is ready to discuss rules and regulations on drone delivery, you can bet Amazon will be ready to lead the conversation. But while Amazon looks to the future, Facebook is tinkering with your past. The social network confirmed to the blog AllThingsD that it is working on a newsfeed feature that lets you quickly pull up your old Facebook post. So, Throwback Thursday may be as easy as clicking a button to reflect on what happened a year ago. People can do this now with an app called Timehop. It also pulls up old updates from other sites like Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Foursquare. After the spending spree of Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday. It's another marketing term made up for this season of shopping, but this time, it's about donating money to charitable causes and organizations. If you haven't heard of it, well, it's only the second year of Giving Tuesday. And Google is raising awareness with a Google+ Hangout-a-thon with nonprofit organizations using video chat to explain their work and some celebrities will also be dropping by Hangouts to encourage donations. That's your tech news update, but you can get more details at CNET.com/Update and be sure to follow along on Twitter. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.
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