Technology

Weekly Bytes | Google’s accessibility features, Oxford’s ML-powered COVID-19 test, and more

Google’s Chromebook and G Suite for Education accessibility features. | Picture by special arrangement.  

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Google’s Chromebook, G Suite for Education accessibility features

Google has improved accessibility features on Chromebooks and G Suite for Education to help students and teachers with disabilities. These include Select-to-speak; Speech Customisation; magnified cursors with seven colours; enhanced braille support with keyboard shortcuts, faster typing echo and screen reader navigation, live edits in Docs; live captioning in Meet; voice commands in G Suite for navigating, selecting, and editing in Docs; personalised real-time closed captions in Slides. In another update, Google's parent Alphabet has developed a robotic plant buggy to scan crops and generate data to help farmers grow food.

Oxford scientists develop ML-powered quick COVID-19 test

Scientists from Oxford University have developed an extremely rapid test that detects and identifies viruses in less than five minutes using machine learning (ML). It is able to differentiate with high accuracy SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, an Oxford release noted. After labelling of virus particles in a sample, a microscope captures images, which are then processed through the ML software to quickly identify the virus, it added. In another development, YouTube said it would remove videos containing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

SpaceX aims to launch two Starlink missions in a week

SpaceX plans to launch two Starlink missions within a span of three days, the first one on October 18, and the next on October 21, CNET reported. The aerospace company’s Starlink satellite network has over 700 satellites in the low Earth orbit. CEO Elon Musk recently tweeted that the company plans to roll out a fairly wide public beta of the internet service in northern US and southern Canada. Its 13th mission was successfully launched last week after aborting the mission four times due to bad weather.

GitHub for mobile gets new features to improve code review

GitHub has added new features that make code review easier, faster, and more productive on mobile for iOS and Android. The features include an option to turn off line wrapping, always use dark theme, override system font size, change the email associated with a merge, edit the commit description, support for comments on multiple lines of code, new ‘Jump To’ icon to help larger reviews that span multiple files. In another development, Microsoft added instant video calling feature to its Edge browser.

Google Assistant support extends to more smart devices

Google has extended support of the Assistant to various smart devices from different brands. People will now be able to use the Assistant to automate tasks or control devices with voice on devices such as Lenovo’s Smart Clock, Samsung’s latest line-up of Smart TVs, Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 smartwatches, Nest speakers, Mi Smart Speaker and Bose Smart Soundbar 300. This week, Google Assistant also got a new feature that will help you find a song just by humming, whistling or singing a melody.

Microsoft to launch 30 optimised games for next-gen consoles

Microsoft has announced that it will be launching 30 fully optimised games for Xbox Series X and Series S, on day one. Gamers will be able to play games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Gears Tactics, and Tetris Effect: Connected, on their next-gen consoles on November 10. Out of the 30 new games, 20 will be available via Smart Delivery that are upgraded automatically. In another update, Microsoft this week said its AI captions images as accurately as humans do.

Snapchat introduces Sounds on iOS

Snapchat has introduced Sounds feature for iOS users across the globe. User will now be able to add music from a curated library to make their Snaps better. They have an option to add music both before and after capturing their Snaps. Also, people receiving a Snap with Sounds will be able to listen to the entire song on music streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify.

WordPress introduces new feature to share content on Twitter

WordPress has introduced a new feature that allows people to easily publish their blog posts as Twitter threads. The feature automatically inserts all the content including text, images, video, and embeds in a WordPress post, into a thread. It also formats the text to fit the right number of words in a Tweet and lets the rest spill to the next one. Users also have an option to format it manually.

Spotify launches widget for iOS and iPadOS 14

Spotify has launched a widget for devices on iOS and iPadOS 14, enabling Apple users to quickly access the music streaming service from their home screens. It’s available with the latest app update in small and medium sizes. The small widget displays the last music played on the app, while the medium widget displays up to five recently played items.

You can read more at thehindu.com/technology

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 7:37:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/weekly-bytes-googles-accessibility-features-oxfords-ml-powered-covid-19-test-and-more/article32879250.ece

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