Today’s Cache | Facebook tones down Libra project, and more

The Libra project will now focus on building more traditional payment network in which coins will be tied to a local currency. | File

The Libra project will now focus on building more traditional payment network in which coins will be tied to a local currency. | File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Today’s cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology

Telecommunication company Verizon buys BlueJeans, a video-conference and online event organising platform used primarily by business clients.

‘Algo’ trading seems to be navigating quite well during the turbulent COVID-19 times.

Within ten months of publishing its first white paper on cryptocurrency, Facebook has toned down the ambitious Libra project.

Google’s working with educators to build an app page that will host app for kids.

Finally, here’s how you can stream music from Spotify while gaming.

Verizon buys Zoom’s rival

Technology and communications service provider Verizon on Thursday announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy BlueJeans Network.

BlueJeans is an online event organising and video-conferencing service provider. Its cloud-based platforms is used by companies such as LinkedIn, Facebook and many others.

Wall Street Journal estimated that Verizon will pay $500 million to acquire BlueJeans.

The deal comes at a time when video-conferencing app Zoom has risen in popularity in the last few weeks. Zoom has also faced mounting criticism for security issues on its platform.

BlueJeans, unlike Zoom or Microsoft’s Skype, does not provide its platform for free. And the service is also targeted towards business clients.

Verizon plans to build BlueJeans into its 5G ecosystem as video-based services have significant use cases for the next generation telecommunication technologies.

Post acquisition, BlueJeans’ founders and top team will join Verizon to lead the growth and innovation for the platform.

‘Teacher Approved’ apps for kids on Play Store

The COVID-19 crisis has curtailed kids from venturing out, making it difficult for parents to keep them engaged.

Parents are searching for relevant and appropriate apps for their kids, to keep them focussed at home. The task is quite difficult given the ocean of apps in Play Store.

To make the search easy for parents, Google is launching a new kids tab in Play Store. The new tab will host ‘teacher approved’ apps that are a mix of entertainment and learning for children.

The service was planned to be launched at a later date. But, given the COVID-19 situation, the team started the roll-out immediately. So, some of the apps won’t be listed on the page yet.

“Because it’s early, you may not see some of your favourite apps in there just yet, but we’re adding new content as quickly as possible,” Mindy Brooks, UX Director at Google Play said in a statement.

Google has worked closely with academic experts and teachers to rate the apps bar. Apps that qualify are given a ‘Teacher Approved’ badge.

Factors used to rate an app include age-appropriateness, quality of experience, enrichment and delight. That information is added to the app’s screen for parents to know if a particular app can be used by their kids.

Parents can also search for ‘teacher approved’ apps in the kids section to find the relevant ones.

The new feature will be rolled out in the U..S in the next couple days. But, the international launch will take another couple months, the company said.

Facebook tones down Libra project

Last June, Facebook launched an ambitious Libra project.The social networking giant said that its digital currency will be the future of global money, and may lay the foundation of a new financial order.

Facebook, and its partners seemed to have toned down their cryptocurrency project in less than a year. On Thursday, the group shared (white-paper) a new white paper on Libra’s redesign after working with regulators and various stakeholders globally, including central bankers.

In the new format, Libra will “complement existing currencies by enabling new functionality, drastically reducing costs, and fostering financial inclusion,” the paper said.

The project will now focus on building more traditional payment network in which coins will be tied to a local currency, similar to the digital dollars in a PayPal account, New York Times reported.

Its initial plan of having a coin backed by multiple national currencies will be less prominent in the new format. In the changed version, the Libra Coin will be backed by a single currency, instead of the multi-currency backing the association had planned last year.

“The Association’s goal was never to emulate other systems, but rather to leverage the innovative approach of using distributed governance through Association Members and distributed technology to create an open and trustworthy system,” the group said.

How to stream Spotify from your Xbox or PlayStation

Many gamers around the world listen to music while they are racing cars, investigating another world, or killing zombies. Now, the task of streaming music that you like while gaming just got easier with Spotify.

You can set up Spotify on your gaming console and stream the music you like. To give you the right music when you’re in the game zone, Spotify has tied up with biggest gaming companies like Twitch and Blizzard to stream music that matches the user’s gaming experience.

Here’s how you can set up Spotify on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One consoles. These three devices allow users to stream content from Spotify.

First, download the app on your device. Once you’ve done that, log into Spotify using one of these three ways:

  1. Use Spotify Connect to link your Spotify app to your device.
  2. Enter your Spotify email address and password. If you usually log in using Facebook, use Spotify Connect.
  3. Select “Log in with PIN.” Then, on your phone or computer, go to and enter the PIN on your screen. (This option is not available for PS4.)

If you don’t have a Spotify account already, you’ll be able to create one by signing up on the app. Both Free and Premium users can stream using their PlayStation console and Xbox One.

Bots navigate turbulent currency markets

Since early March, clients of investment banks are increasingly trading with ‘algos’ as the new generation of bots are proving to be faster than humans at adapting to fragmented markets in which liquidity dries up quickly, Reuters reported.

Not too long ago, the FX market viewed machine learning with scepticism, particularly when the markets are in turbulence. That’s because circuit breakers in-built in the application may halt trading when volatility spikes.

Persistent extreme volatility over a long period has enabled ‘algos’ to learn and adapt, according to some market players.

Newer machines are able to break down client orders and put them into different trading platforms to get better prices, they added.

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, next generation bots could speed up the adoption of algorithms in the multi-trillion dollar FX market, which has been slower to catch on than the broader stock market.

But market players will continue to prefer traditional methods of trading as the algorithms can expose investors to higher losses.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 3:47:48 AM |

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