Weekly Bytes | Clubhouse gets live captions, Spotify’s Lyrics feature, and more

Here's our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.

November 20, 2021 11:03 am | Updated 11:03 am IST

Social audio app Clubhouse has introduced closed captioning feature for iOS users.

Social audio app Clubhouse has introduced closed captioning feature for iOS users.

Clubhouse gets live captions

Social audio app Clubhouse has introduced closed captioning feature for iOS users. The accessibility feature will help people with hearing disabilities to follow the conversations on the audio platform. Users will have to update the app to use the feature. The platform currently supports 13 languages for captions, including English, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Turkish, a company representative told TechCrunch . Clubhouse has added a number of features recently to improve the experience of users on its platform, including the ability to record and replay conversations , wave , and spatial audio technology . Earlier this month, Clubhouse started supporting local language with 13 new languages, including five Indian languages .

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Spotify’s new Lyrics feature

Audio streaming service Spotify has launched a new feature – Lyrics, which as the name suggests, will display track lyrics that scroll in real-time while the song plays. “Lyrics are one of the most requested features from listeners across the globe. So, after iterating and testing, we’ve created an experience that’s simple and interactive,” the Swedish firm said. Spotify has partnered with Musixmatch to bring the song lyrics feature to its users. Lyrics will be available to all free and premium users globally across iOS and Android devices, desktop, gaming consoles (Xbox One, PS 4 and 5), along with TV (Android TV, including FireTV, Samsung, Roku, LG, Sky, and Comcast), the company noted. Last week, Spotify made a major push to have more audiobooks on its platform by buying U.S.-based audio tech firm Findaway as it tries to recreate its success with podcasts .

Intel 4004 chip’s 50th anniversary

Intel 4004, the world’s first commercially available microprocessor, which was launched in November 1971, paved the way for modern microprocessor computing. The 4004 proved that it was possible to build complex integrated circuits and fit them on a chip the size of a human fingernail. It delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which filled an entire room, according to Intel. The 4004’s invention also established a new random logic design methodology, one that subsequent generations of microprocessors would be built upon, before evolving to create the chips found in today’s modern devices. It delivered the modern computing era through the design and production of the first commercially available microprocessor for a desktop calculator. In another update, an Intel commissioned survey showed that a number of organisations believe that technology will make it easier for them to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals .

Google Meet’s immersive backgrounds

Google has started rolling out new immersive backgrounds for its videoconferencing solution, Meet. The new backgrounds, which will be available on the web, will feature subtle animation. Cafe and condo interiors will have various iterations, such as snowy or rainy weather. Users can add the backgrounds prior to joining a call or during a call through the effects settings panel. Meet users will also be able to customise their video with various light and colour filters and more stylised backgrounds. The new immersive backgrounds and styles will be available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers, the company said. This week, Google made a slew of announcements for the India market, including Google Assistant-enabled vaccine booking, introduction of ‘Hinglish’ language on Google Pay , and a partnership with Small Industries Development Bank of India .

Samsung launches One UI 4

Samsung has launched a new version of its One UI software for Android phones, which includes new customisation options, privacy features, among others. One UI 4 will offer a host of new colour palettes, widgets to users to customise their devices. They will also have access to a variety of emoji features, GIFs and stickers directly from their keyboard. The software’s privacy and security features include alerts for camera or microphone access along with a new privacy dashboard, making it easier to monitor and control privacy settings. One UI 4 will roll out first on the Galaxy S21 series, and will soon become available on previous Galaxy S and Note series as well as Galaxy Z series, A series and tablets, Samsung said. In a separate development, chip designer MediaTek released a new 5G smartphone chip that it hopes will be used in premium-priced Android smartphones .

Qualcomm, BMW partnership

Luxury automaker BMW and chipmaker Qualcomm have partnered to develop the former’s next-generation advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving (AD) platforms. Qualcomm will offer its latest advancements in driver assistance technologies, and products of its Snapdragon Ride Platform. BMW will utilise the chipmaker to bring a full spectrum of ADAS/AD functions, including front, rear and surround view camera computer vision in a dedicated computer vision SoC, as well as a high-performance ADAS central compute controller, to host BMW’s drive policy and other planning and driving functions. The duo plan to deliver safe, smart and sophisticated driving experiences to BMW vehicles. In another update, investors once believed that Qualcomm’s fortunes rose and fell with Apple’s iPhone. According to analysts, Qualcomm can keep growing without Apple .

Halo Infinite multiplayer beta

Halo Infinity, the next instalment of the first-person shooter game in the iconic Halo series, will be launched on December 8. Celebrating Halo’s 20th anniversary, Microsoft’s 343 Industries launched the free-to-play Halo Infinite multiplayer beta and Season 1 three weeks early, for all players on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, and via Xbox Cloud Gaming, it said in a blog post. Gamers will be able to enjoy the Season 1 content including all maps, core modes, Academy features, and Battle Pass, and all of their progress carries over into the game’s full launch on December 8, Microsoft noted. In January, the video game developer, will share more details about the Season 1 event calendar as well as Season 2, campaign co-op, and Forge release plans. In another gaming update, we reviewed ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’ earlier this month .

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