Today’s cache | Apple’s new magic keyboard, Microsoft’s Plasma Bot, and more

Reviewers are unpacking the new floating keyboard from Apple. We’re seeing how it pairs with the iPad Pro.

Facebook has launched its gaming app that will allow users to live stream gameplay. The company is also expanding its presence in Southeast Asia with a plan to launch a mobile payments app in the region.

YouTube is facing a transparency challenge as it wants to limit the information brand safety firms use.

Finally, Microsoft is developing Plasma Bots to support an alliance researching on a cure for COVID-19.

Facebook launches gaming app

The social networking giant launched Facebook Gaming mobile app on Monday, the company said.

The app has been designed to allow users to create and watch live games, to play instant games and to become part of gaming groups.

The free app is available for download from the Play Store. However, the iOS version is still in the works. Facebook had originally planned to launch the app at a later date.

“Truthfully, we were planning a June launch, but given the state of the world, we wanted to let you play earlier,” the company said.

The COVID-19 pandemic had prodded the company to speed up other gaming projects, too, including a new tournament feature, Fidji Simo, the head of Facebook app said in an interview to New York Times.

The new app has been in testing for almost 18 months in Southeast Asia and Latin America to be released on Android devices via Google Play Store.

Facebook is waiting for approval from Apple to launch the iOS version.

Facebook’s gaming app includes regular games and access to gaming groups, so its success largely relies on users streaming and creating live games. The app’s Go Live feature allows gamers to upload streams of games on the same mobile device with the help of a few buttons.

YouTube spars with brand safety analytics firm over ad risks

Google wants to limit the information that one of the prominent brand safety firms uses to tell its clients about transparency of advertising on the video-streaming platform, Wall Street Journal reported, citing an email the firm sent to ad agencies over the weekend.

According to the letter, New York-based OpenSlate refused to sign a contract with YouTube that will restrict it from letting its clients know when their ads are placed alongside content that may include hate speech, adult content, profanity and violence.

The contract states that OpenSlate would need approval from Google to report certain ad measures on YouTube’s content.

OpenSlate is an analytics firm that works with brands and ad agencies to let them know whether their ads placed on YouTube appear along with content that are deemed safe, and if they reflect the brand’s image.

“Our brand safety partners are always able to share their independent reporting with clients,” Google said in a statement.

About the contract with OpenSlate, Google said the firm isn’t currently among its official brand-safety partners, and that it won’t comment specifically on any proposed restrictions in any categories of content, citing contractual confidentiality obligations during active negotiations.

Over the past few years, brand safety has become critical for marketers as their ads started to appear alongside objectionable content on social media, including YouTube videos.

This is where firms like OpenSlate add value to brands and ad agencies. They act as a critical link between social media platforms and brands.

Microsoft launches Plasma Bot for COVID-19 research

Microsoft announced on Monday that it is partnering with an group of plasma companies to support their initiative to accelerate the development of a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance includes leading plasma companies like Biotest, BPL, LFB, and Octapharma along with CSL Behring and Takeda. The alliance is advised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Microsoft will power the group’s website and launch a Plasma Bot for donor recruitment.

The bot will act as conduit for the alliance to connect with plasma donors. Potential donors are healthy and have recovered from COVID-19.

Donors can self-report their recovery and voluntarily offer their blood plasma to licensed plasma collection centres in the United States. The bot will help the donor know if they qualify to donate their sample.

The convalescent plasma in a COVID-19 recovered individual will contain antibodies that fought the coronavirus. The alliance’s goal is to make a potential therapy called polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-Ig).

The group will pool multiple plasma donations together and concentrate the antibodies to consistent and reliable levels to make medicine that can delivered in lower volumes. This can be administered to COVID-19 infected patients.

The “I” and “g” in CoVIg-19 stand for immune globulin, which the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance will use to create an investigational medicine, the group said in a statement.

Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro

Apple opened orders for its new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro for delivery this week.

“Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to iPad Pro, putting the beautiful Multi-Touch screen up on display with a floating cantilevered design for smooth adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees,” the company said in a statement.

The keyboard is also used as a case to cover the iPad. It comes in two sizes; the smaller one costs $299, and the larger is priced at $349.

The keyboard is designed to work with the new iPad Pro, and is also compatible with the previous generation of iPad Pro models.

One of the top technology reviewer, Marques Brownlee, has filed his views on the keyboard in a YouTube video.

Brownlee has been using the keyboard for the last few days, before reviewing it.

“This is the most interesting case (keyboard) we’ve seen in a long time,” Brownlee said in the video.

Together with the iPad Pro, the combination is the best version of the iPad as a computer, he added.

The case’s top part is made with magnets to attach the iPad to it. It has a hinge in the middle to fold the case, which helps to open the tablet and use like a laptop.

The case weighs slightly more than the tablet at 702g, which makes the combo weigh as much as 1.3kg. So, they are thicker and heavier than the Mac book Air.

The keyboard is neatly designed, but does not have ‘esc’ and ‘fn’ keys. This means that users need to touch the screen frequently, unless they use the alt+tab buttons to switch tasks.

Facebook plans to launch mobile payments app in Indonesia

The social networking giant is planning to apply for a regulatory approval to launch a mobile payments app in Indonesia, Reuters reported.

Facebook will be partnering with three local Indonesian firms on this initiative.

If the regulator approves, this could become the first service under its unified payment service Facebook Pay it. The service was unveiled last November, and allows users from WhatsApp and Instagram to make payments through the apps.

The three Indonesian firms are GoPay, OVO and LinkAja. OVO is backed by ride-hailing firm Grab, and GoPay is backed by Gojek.

“So far no one submitted the formal application. Some of them just came to discuss during the consultative meeting with BI (Bank Indonesia),” Bank Indonesia’s assistant governor Filianingsih Hendarta told Reuters.

Facebook’s spokeswoman said the company was seeking to bring digital payments to more countries.

“We are in conversations with partners in Indonesia, however the discussions are ongoing and we do not have anything further to share at this stage,” she added.

Indonesia is home to 260 million people, and the region’s largest economy. It is also one of the largest market for Facebook and WhatsApp.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 4:37:04 AM |

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