Weekly Bytes | YouTube’s $100 million fund for creators, Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand, and more
Here's our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.
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$100 million YouTube Shorts Fund for creators
YouTube on Tuesday said it is introducing a $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund, which will be distributed from 2021 through 2022. Each month, the Google-owned firm will reach out to several creators whose Shorts received the most engagement and views to reward them for their contributions from the fund, it explained. “The Shorts Fund is the first step in our journey to build a monetisation model for Shorts on YouTube,” the video platform noted in a blog post. The fund is not limited to just creators in the YouTube Partner Program. “Creators will be eligible to participate if they create original content for Shorts and adhere to our Community Guidelines,” it further added. YouTube had introduced the TikTok-like short-form video format in India last year and later expanded it to the U.S. YouTube said it will share additional details closer to the launch of the fund in the coming months. This week, Google said it is testing a new feature in Maps that will allow users to ask and share information on availability of beds and medical oxygen supplies.
Harley-Davidson launches electric motorcycle brand
Harley-Davidson, the premium motorcycle maker launched its all-electric motorcycle brand, LiveWire, on Monday. The first LiveWire branded motorcycle is scheduled to launch on July 8, 2021. “With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond,” Harley-Davidson Chairman, President and CEO Jochen Zeitz, said in a statement. “LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.” Moreover, LiveWire expects to benefit from Harley-Davidson's engineering expertise, manufacturing footprint, supply chain infrastructure, and global logistics capabilities. Last year, Harley-Davidson had launched its eBicycle brand and revealed its first fleet of Serial 1 eBicycles. In another EV update, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s claim to deliver fully autonomous Tesla car by the end of 2021, does not match reality, according to a report.
Apple awards $45 million funding to Corning
Apple on Monday said it is awarding $45 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund (AMF) to Gorilla Glass maker, Corning. The funding will expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life, it added. Corning has already received $450 million from Apple’s $5 billion AMF over the last four years. The investment has helped facilitate research and development into state-of-the-art glass processes, which led to the creation of Ceramic Shield. “From the very first iPhone glass, to the revolutionary Ceramic Shield on the iPhone 12 line-up, our collaboration has changed the landscape of smartphone cover design and durability,” Apple CFO Jeff Williams, said in a statement. Apple established its AMF in 2017 to support world-class innovation and high-skilled manufacturing jobs across the US. In another development, production of the Apple iPhone 12 at a Foxconn factory in India has slumped by more than 50% amid COVID-19 surge.
Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids
Bose on Tuesday introduced SoundControl Hearing Aids, the first FDA-cleared, direct-to-consumer hearing aid developed for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. When paired with the Bose Hear app, users can fit, programme, and control the hearing aids that are said to deliver clinically proven, audiologist-quality results — without a doctor visit, hearing test, or prescription, the company said in a statement. Bose CustomTune technology, integrated into the app, allows users to personalise their settings in about 30 minutes. Also, a Focus feature helps users with communication or specific surroundings. The hearing aids feature a behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal design and are water-resistant to survive light exposure to rain or water, and compatible with iOS and Android devices. SoundControl Hearing Aids are priced at $849.95 (about ₹62,340), and will be initially available in some U.S. states, Bose noted. This week, we reviewed Samsung Galaxy A52 and Asus ROG Phone 5.
Spotify’s new music, podcast sharing features
Popular music streaming platform, Spotify, has introduced new features for users to share their favourite music or podcast episodes through their social media channels. Spotify users will be able to use the new podcast timestamp sharing feature, to share their podcast episodes starting at a specific time, so the receiver can just tune in at that precise moment. Next, Spotify’s Canvas feature, which turns static song pages into video-art showcases, can now be used to share tracks via Snapchat, in addition to Instagram. Lastly, Spotify is bringing an updated sharing menu on mobile with a clearer layout, a way for users to preview what they are sharing, and an improved destination list. The Canvas preview feature will enable users to visualise how it will be presented on their social channel. Spotify said, about 40% of music discovery is attributed to social channels, according to a survey of its users. In a separate development, a little over a year after making its debut in iOS, audio-chatting app Clubhouse is now opening its account in Android.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sets reusability milestone
A SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster flew for a record tenth time, setting a new reusability record for an orbital-class reusable rocket. The aerospace company used the Falcon 9 to launch a batch of 60 Starlink satellites on May 9 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, U.S., and landed on SpaceX’s ‘Just Read the Instructions’ drone ship. The SpaceX rocket had previously supported the launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7 satellite, and now seven Starlink missions, the firm said. SpaceX believes a fully and rapidly reusable rocket is the pivotal breakthrough needed to substantially reduce the cost of space access. The Sunday launch was the third Starlink mission in under two weeks as the company expands its network of internet-providing satellites, which has now crossed the 1550 satellites mark. In another update, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” next year, with SpaceX accepting the meme-inspired cryptocurrency dogecoin as payment. This week, Musk also said Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin for car purchases.
Facebook users to get prompts before sharing unread articles
Facebook on Monday announced a new approach “to promote more informed sharing of news articles,” similar to what Twitter does on its platform. Now, the social network’s users will get prompts when sharing unread articles. “If you go to share a news article link you haven’t opened, we’ll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others,” Facebook said in a Tweet. When these prompts appear, Facebook users can either choose to open the article or continue sharing it without reading. Last year, microblogging platform, Twitter, had introduced its 'retweet prompts,' to encourage users to read an article before retweeting it. These features are aimed at curbing the spread of fake, harmful content on the social media platforms. In another development, Facebook users raised over $15 million for COVID-19 relief in India.
Xbox updates for improved user experience
Xbox has introduced new updates to improve the experience of its users. The Quick Resume feature on Xbox Series X and Series S, which allows gamers to effortlessly switch between multiple games and resume gameplay instantly right from where they last left off, now offers improved reliability and faster load times. Next, using the passthrough audio feature for media streaming apps like Disney+, and the Apple TV app, users will be able to get the “best possible listening experience” with their external sound system, as the audio will bypass the console. Finally, parents can approve multiplayer games for their kids by specific title, directly from the console or when using the Xbox Family Settings app on iOS and Android, Xbox noted in a blog post. This week, Microsoft and autonomous cybersecurity AI company Darktrace, announced their partnership to counter cyber threats.
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