Weekly Bytes | Facebook’s ‘Watch Together’ feature, Google Drive changes and more

Facebook introduces ‘Watch Together’ on Messenger.   | Photo Credit: Facebook

Facebook introduces ‘Watch Together’ on Messenger

Facebook introduced Watch Together feature on Messenger, allowing people to experience Facebook Watch videos with their friends and family. People will be able to use this feature on Messenger video calls and Messenger Rooms. Facebook users can create a Messenger Room or start a Messenger video call, then access the menu and select Watch Together, to get started. Facebook also introduced a new feature in Oculus capable of creating a flexible virtual reality office space.

Google announces changes in Drive

Google announced that files moved to Google Drive trash will now be automatically deleted after 30 days, starting October 13. Earlier, the files remained indefinitely until trash was emptied manually. Also, folder sharing feature in shared drives, is now available for users. People will be able to collaborate easily using this feature, as users can share a specific folder with other users, within shared drives. This week, Google also introduced new features in Search and Meet.

Microsoft tests underwater datacentres

Microsoft's Northern Isles datacentre.

Microsoft's Northern Isles datacentre.   | Photo Credit: Microsoft


Microsoft this week said its proof of concept of underwater datacentres is feasible, as well as logistically, environmentally and economically practical. Microsoft had deployed the Northern Isles datacentre 117 feet deep to the seafloor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands, in 2018. For around two years, its Project Natick team tested and monitored the performance and reliability of the datacentre’s servers. In another development, Microsoft and NASSCOM joined hands, to skill 10 lakh students in India in AI by 2021.

Zoom adds two-factor authentication

Zoom's two-factor authentication.

Zoom's two-factor authentication.   | Photo Credit: Zoom


Zoom introduced an additional layer of security in the form of two-factor authentication (2FA) for accessing Zoom web portal, desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Room. 2FA requires an additional one-time code, received via a phone app or text message along with a user’s login credentials. People can set up Zoom’s 2FA from their account security settings. Zoom recommended apps for setting up 2FA include Google Authenticator, and Microsoft Authenticator. In another update, Zoom was the second most installed non-gaming app globally in August.

SpaceX postpones launch of 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX postponed the launch of its 13th Starlink mission due to severe weather in the recovery area, the company confirmed via Twitter. The mission was scheduled for Friday, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT (11:27 p.m. IST). The latest Starlink mission would have carried 60 satellites, to join over 700 already in the orbit. The satellites are part of SpaceX’s Starlink internet service. SpaceX was in news recently after confirming Starlink internet private beta testing speeds over 100 Mbps, during the 12th Starlink mission launch.

Minecraft Dungeons gets optimised for cloud gaming

Minecraft Dungeons with touch controls.

Minecraft Dungeons with touch controls.   | Photo Credit: Xbox


Minecraft Dungeons was released with fully-optimised, native touch controls for cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The game’s UI was also redesigned for easy navigation on smaller screens. Gamers now have an option of touch controls, in addition to attaching an external controller, while they experience cloud gaming using their Android phones or tablets. This week, Microsoft launched cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offering over 150 games.

Waze announces new features for improved navigation

Waze trip suggestions.

Waze trip suggestions.   | Photo Credit: Waze


Google-owned navigation platform – Waze, announced new features such as lane guidance, trip suggestions and notifications, and improved ETA. The lane guidance offers on screen information and instructions while driving. The trip suggestions feature presents information from past trips and locations, including details like travel time and traffic delays. The traffic notifications will provide information about traffic build-ups for favourite and frequent destinations. In another development, Google said it will scrap autocomplete suggestions for voting.

WhatsApp working on fingerprint login for web sessions

WhatsApp has submitted a new beta build for Android ( which reveals that the Facebook-owned company is working on a feature, that will allow people to authenticate their WhatsApp web sessions with fingerprint, TheNextWeb reported. The present authentication method involves scanning a QR code using the mobile app, to start a fresh WhatsApp Web or desktop app session.

Amazon Music now offers podcasts; Smart Plug in India

Amazon Music has started offering podcasts which include popular shows as well as original shows hosted by creators including DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, and Dan Patrick. The podcasts can be accessed via Amazon Music’s web platform, iOS and Android apps, and on Amazon Echo devices. The podcasts will be available across the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan. In another update, Amazon launched its Alexa-powered smart plug in India this week. It will allow users to control an array of household devices such as lamps, table fans, televisions, mobile chargers, and air-purifiers. The smart plug has a 3-pin design, 6A power rating, and is priced at ₹1999.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 10:36:18 AM |

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