Today’s cache | Getting your video conferencing etiquette right, and more

File photo showing people gathered together online for a virtual happy hour is shown.

File photo showing people gathered together online for a virtual happy hour is shown.   | Photo Credit: AP

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

As the COVID-19 pandemic locks up a billion plus people indoors to maintain physical distancing, a large number of them are congregating virtually via video-conferencing apps. A rocket-making CEO shifts focus to manufacture hand-sanitizers. Flipkart gets a go-ahead to sell in India, while Amazon waits for government’s nod. And finally, get your basics on video-conferencing etiquettes.

A Huawei phone without Google

Huawei is set to launch its flagship P40 series phones at an event that is streamed live on Wednesday. Ahead of the launch, The Verge previews what to expect from a phone devoid of Google Mobile Services (GMS).

The new Huawei device will be sold without Google Suite apps as the search giant is banned from working with Huawei. This will be a significantly affect buyers as several apps in Android are tied to GMS.

For instance, the Uber app uses GMS to determine location information for mapping data. Several other app developers on the Android ecosystem use Google’s tools to build their software. That is making the take off harder for alternative app stores.

To counter Google’s dominant position, Huawei plans to launch its own app store. With a billion-dollar investment, the Chinese smartphone maker is building AppGallery for western audience.

Another alternative for users of P40 would be Amazon’s app store. Or they may use a slightly inconvenient method to access

Google apps through the Phone Clone tool provided by Huawei.

The Phone Clone has to be installed while the device is being set up. Once it is done, you have to install the same app from Play Store in a different device with the apps you want on the P40. And after the two devices are paired, you can use the GMS supported apps on your P40. However, core Google apps still can’t be used in the Huawei device.

Partying virtually using a viral app during the COVID-19 lockdown

As millions of people have been forced into a lockdown to reduce the risk for COVID-19, many are taking time out to party, virtually.

People are congregating with their friends via video-chats to socialise.

One of the apps, Houseparty, owned by Epic Games, has become an overnight sensation, Financial Times reported.

The app has 20 lakh new downloads compared with around 1.3 lakh the same week a month ago, according to data from App Annie.

Houseparty has always had a high user rate among teenagers. But recently, millennials and more older people are flocking to the app, which is considered more casual compared to Zoom or Google’s Hangouts.

The app has a focus on shared experience. It allows users to play in-app games and share screen to watch same content together. Houseparty permits upto 8 persons in one group.

SpaceX makes its own hand sanitizers and face shields

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is making hand sanitizers and face shields to give to hospitals and other facilities that need them to fight COVID-19, The Verge reported.

The face shields are made by the same team that manufactures space suits and crew equipment. As on Tuesday, SpaceX has made 75 masks and donate them to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to an email seen by The Verge.

When the COVID-19 broke out, Mr. Musk repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the disease. His stance seems to have changed after two SpaceX workers tested positive for COVID-19, and at least another dozen employees quarantined on Tuesday.

Flipkart resumes operation, Amazon India in talks with govt.

After temporarily suspending operations on Tuesday, Walmart-owned Flipkart will resume its grocery and essentials services after assurance of safe passage of its supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities, PTI reported.

Flipkart, along with rival Amazon India's Pantry service, were suspended temporarily on Wednesday morning as India entered into a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today (Wednesday)," Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement.

Dos and Don’ts of Online Video Meetings

As a large multitude of people are shifting to working from home, there are some basic etiquettes one can follow to have a useful and productive video meeting.

Working from home can be a great time for individuals, but one has to ensure that personal and professional boundaries don’t blur. This will help you to make the best use of time.

Here are a few steps to follow before you get into that video-call:

Test your camera settings and make sure that your image is clearly visible. Check your microphone to see if the sound quality is perfect, and that there is no echo.

During group meetings, default to mute so that any background noise wouldn’t disturb the group environment. Also set an agenda for the call so that you don’t use the video-calling time to bring it up.

Try limiting the number of video-calls as not all meetings require a video interface. A simply phone call may sometimes be more effective. Unnecessary video-call will also strain the internet bandwidth.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:31:52 AM |

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