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Weekly Bytes | Google extends unlimited Meet calls, Instagram's new messaging features and more

Google extends unlimited Meet calls. | Picture by special arrangement.  

Google extends unlimited Meet calls

Google announced that it has extended unlimited Meet calls (up to 24 hours) in the free version till March 31, 2021. It also added an intelligent background noise filter to automatically remove distracting sounds from a mobile’s audio input, on Android and iOS apps of Meet. In another update, iOS users of Docs, Sheets, and Slides can now use dark theme. This week, Google also enhanced Photos app on Android with new editing features, and AI-powered suggestions.

Instagram gets new messaging features

Facebook announced new messaging features for Instagram including cross-app communication with Messenger by using either app for messages and calling; Watch Together, for watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, TV shows, and movies with friends and family; vanish mode, using which messages disappear after they are seen; message controls; message forwarding; replies to specific messages; and enhanced reporting and blocking updates. In another development, a security report revealed critical vulnerability in Instagram.

Microsoft adds Assamese to its Translator

Microsoft added Assamese as the latest Indian language to its Azure-based service, Microsoft Translator, providing real-time translation and transliteration support for the language. Users will also be able to translate speech into Assamese text or to translate Assamese text into another language with speech output. Microsoft now supports 12 Indian languages viz., Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. In another update, Microsoft announced a new technology to predict epidemics.

Apple introduces new App Store marketing tools

Apple has introduced new App Store marketing tools for developers to promote their apps, including short links or embeddable code for an App Store product page. Developers can also display their app icon, a QR code, or an App Store badge. In another development, after Apple’s iOS 14 launch, home screen customisation apps installs have crossed 13 million.

NASA astronauts to vote in space

NASA said four astronauts including Kate Rubins, Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, will be casting their votes from space during the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. “Americans exercise their right to vote from all over the world, and for November’s election, few ballots will have travelled as far as those cast by NASA astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station,” NASA added. In another update, NASA said it is testing autonomous landing system for Moon and Mars.

Malware ‘Joker’ makes multiple appearances

Joker malware has appeared on multiple security reports recently from security firms like Zscaler, and Zimperium, Ars Technica reported. A new batch of the malware has infected 17 apps with a total of around 1.2 lakh downloads. While another report found 64 new variants of Joker. The malware is known for subscribing users to premium services without their knowledge or consent. Google had recently removed Joker malware infected apps with nearly 2 lakh downloads.

YouTube discontinues Community Contributions feature

YouTube announced that its Community Contributions feature is now discontinued. The feature allowed people to contribute translated video titles, descriptions, closed captions and subtitles. These contributions were reviewed and published by creators, or automatically published after receiving enough community reviews. People will still be able to use manual and automatic captions, as well as third party tools and services, YouTube said. In another update, Google introduced a new collection of travel destinations, to its virtual tours.

SpaceX postpones its 13th Starlink mission, again

SpaceX postponed the launch of its 13th Starlink mission due to “an out of family ground system sensor reading,” the company confirmed via Twitter. The mission was scheduled for Thursday, October 1 at 9:17 a.m. EDT (6:47 p.m. IST), and would have carried 60 satellites, to join over 700 already in the orbit. The 13th mission has been postponed on two previous occasions, September 18 and 28, due to weather. 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.

Motorola Razr 5G India launch on October 5

Motorola’s Razr 5G will be launched in India on October 5, and will be available via Flipkart. Razr 5G has retained a lot of design elements from its predecessor, and improved its hardware capabilities. Razr’s 6.2-inch OLED Flex View Display works in sync with the dynamic hinge design, and slides the display when folding, offering what Motorola claims as the only zero gap closure on a foldable device. Motorola had recently unveiled the Razr 5G globally with availability in certain countries.

Call of Duty Mobile’s first anniversary

Call of Duty Mobile’s first anniversary of worldwide launch was marked on October 1. Gamers have spent nearly one billion hours (850 million) playing the game in peak month of its first year. The game also reached the 100 million download milestone across both the App Store and Google Play Store, within 20 days of its launch, significantly faster than other core games, according to app analytics firm App Annie. In another update, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War will be launched on November 13.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 6:02:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/weekly-bytes-google-extends-unlimited-meet-calls-instagram-gets-new-messaging-features-and-more/article32757425.ece

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