Weekly Bytes | Google’s new Workspace, Twitter’s ‘Birdwatch’ tool, and more

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

Updated - October 10, 2020 12:22 pm IST

Published - October 10, 2020 12:09 pm IST

Google introduces Workspace to improve productivity. | Picture by special arrangement.

Google introduces Workspace to improve productivity. | Picture by special arrangement.

(Subscribe to our Today's Cache newsletter for a quick snapshot of top 5 tech stories. Click here to subscribe for free.)

Google introduces Workspace to improve productivity

Google has introduced a new centralised productivity hub called Workspace, which includes all of the productivity apps like Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat. Users will be able to create and collaborate on a document within a room, and see other users in a meeting while they are collaborating, with Meet. Currently, Workspace is available to business customers, Google said. This week, Google also rolled out stories feature on its search app.

Twitter is developing a new tool to check misinformation

Twitter is working on a new tool called ‘Birdwatch’ to curb misinformation by giving its users more context for tweets on its platform, TechCrunch reported. Using the moderation tool, tweets can be flagged, it also allows users to attach notes to tweets. Users will be able to access additional information by clicking on the binoculars icon on a tweet. In another update, Twitter plans to alter its image cropping system to eliminate racial bias.

NVIDIA AI powers Microsoft Editor for Word

NVIDIA on Monday said Microsoft Word for the web can now tap into NVIDIA’s AI technology along with Microsoft Azure AI, to deliver an AI-powered grammar editor at fingertips to millions of people. It will include real-time grammar suggestions, question-answering within documents, and predictive text to help complete sentences. Microsoft Editor’s AI model is expected to handle more than 500 billion queries a year, according to NVIDIA. In another development, Arm announced its partnership with Microsoft to streamline data transfer from sensor chips to cloud.

Instagram adds shopping to IGTV

Instagram on Monday added shopping to IGTV, giving an option to the creators and brands to monetise while the users find and purchase products, they like using its platform. The Facebook-owned company will also be testing shopping on Reels later this year. In another update, Instagram has started labelling state-controlled media posts and profiles. Instagram also turned 10 this week.

Facebook announces mental health resources across its apps

Facebook on Monday said it is collaborating with leading mental health authorities, to make it easier for people to get the support they need for themselves and others who might be struggling, through the resources across its apps. People will be able to use Emotional Health, a centralized resource centre on the Facebook app, the World Health Organization Digital Stress Management Guide on WhatsApp, and new mental well-being guides on Instagram. In another update, Facebook sued two companies for data scraping.

NASA’s research app to help fight fatigue in space

NASA has released a research app to help scientists understand how the body functions when fatigue sets in and prevents people from working safely, and which signs could alert them. The new tool will be important for studying fatigue in aviation and spaceflight professionals, and will also be available for other people doing related research via Apple’s App Store, NASA said. In another development, last week, NASA said it spotted craters on Mars with the help of artificial intelligence for the first time.

Say ‘Hey Google’ to use your Android apps

Google on Thursday announced that it’s extending the convenience of Assistant voice commands to work with more than 30 Android apps. People can just say ‘Hey Google’ to open and search within apps or create custom shortcut phrases for their most common tasks, on all Assistant-enabled Android phones. Voice commands can also be used for playing music, starting a run, posting on social media, ordering food, and hailing a ride. This week, Google also introduced security alert feature and guest mode in Assistant.

Microsoft introduces Surface Laptop Go

Microsoft has introduced Surface Laptop Go with features available in its large Surface Laptops, in a more compact form factor. It features a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, large precision trackpad, a full-size keyboard and is powered by Intel’s 10th Gen i5 Quad-Core processor with up to 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. It will be available in three metal finishes: Ice Blue, Sandstone and Platinum, starting at $549.99, Microsoft said. In another development, Microsoft said it’s exploring holographic storage devices for its cloud.

Zoom adds support for INR on its platform

Zoom announced that it has added support for Indian Rupee (INR) on its platform. Now, Indian users of the video-conferencing platform can purchase their plans and add-on services in local currency after they select India as their billing country. This also allows users to make payments in INR using their credit card. This week, Zoom was also made available on Facebook’s Portal devices.

Surge in Emotet malware activity

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Tuesday released an alert about Emotet - a sophisticated Trojan. The malware resurged in July 2020, after a dormant period that began in February, and there have been roughly 16,000 alerts related to Emotet activity since then, CISA noted. It spreads via phishing email attachments and links. Emotet is difficult to combat because of its “worm-like” features that enable network-wide infections, CISA added.

EA’s FIFA 21 releases on certain devices

EA has released FIFA 21, and it’s now available for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. It will be available on next-gen consoles like PS5 and Xbox Series X in November. The football game can be purchased in three editions – standard, champion and ultimate. EA Play members can try FIFA 21 now for 10 hours before purchasing the game.

You can read more at thehindu.com/technology

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.