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Google Duo Will Soon Let You Make Group Calls In Chrome.

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Google’s Duo video chat app will soon let you make group video calls on the web, the search company announced. That could be a handy way to catch up with your friends and family while social distancing during the COV!D-19 pandemic, though group call participants will need a Google account to join, Google says. The feature is rolling out as a preview in Chrome in the coming weeks.

There’s also a new “family mode” in Duo, which lets you draw on the screen in real time and apply Snapchat-like masks and effects on yourself. Duo will hide the buttons to mute and hang up while you’re in family mode so that you can doodle and play around without needing to worry about accidentally dropping the call, Google says. Family mode is available if you’re using Duo while signed in with your Google account. Here’s an image of what it looks like:

The Snapchat-like masks and effects will also be available in one-on-one calls you make on Android and iOS, Google says. The first ones are launching this week, including this terrifying mask that turns you into a flower in celebration of Mother’s Day:

Last month, Google said it would be rolling out the AV1 video codec to Duo calls to improve video call quality, introducing a side-by-side photo mode, and upping the Duo group call size from eight to 12. You can see a lot of Google Duo’s features in action in this promotional video:

Duo now falls under the purview of Javier Soltero, who is the VP and general manager of G Suite, Google announced yesterday. That means he now oversees Duo and Google Meet, Google’s other video calling service, but Soltero doesn’t have any immediate plans to change or integrate any of Google’s messaging and communications apps, he told my colleague Dieter Bohn yesterday. Meet has historically been a business-focused app, but Google made it free for everyone last week.

Tech & Innovation

Microsoft ‘To Replace Journalists With Robots’.

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Microsoft is to replace dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website and use automated systems to select news stories, US and UK media report.

The curating of stories from news organisations and selection of headlines and pictures for the MSN site is currently done by journalists.

Artificial intelligence will perform these news production tasks, sources told the Seattle Times.

Microsoft said it was part of an evaluation of its business.

The US tech giant said in a statement: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.”

Microsoft, like some other tech companies, pays news organisations to use their content on its website.

But it employs journalists to decide which stories to display and how they are presented.

Around 50 contract news producers will lose their jobs at the end of June, the Seattle Times reports, but a team of full-time journalists will remain.

Google funds automated news project
“It’s demoralising to think machines can replace us but there you go,” one of those facing redundancy told the paper.

Some sacked journalists warned that artificial intelligence may not be fully familiar with strict editorial guidelines, and could end up letting through inappropriate stories.

Twenty-seven of those losing their jobs are employed by the UK’s PA Media, the Guardian reports.

One journalist quoted in the paper said: “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs – now it’s taken mine.”

Microsoft is one of many tech companies experimenting with forms of so-called robot journalism to cut costs. Google is also investing in projects to understand how it might work.

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Tech & Innovation

Google Delays Android 11 Launch

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Google has delayed the launch of the latest version of its Android operating system, which had been due to take place on Wednesday, 3 June.

The release of Android 11 for testers has also been delayed.

In a statement on the Android Developer website, it said: “Now is not the time to celebrate,” and more details would be shared “soon”.

It comes as dozens of cities in the US deal with large-scale civil unrest over the killing of a man in police custody.

Google did not, however, specify whether this was the reason for the delay.

The company revealed some details about Android 11 in a preview blog aimed at developers.

“For developers, Android 11 has a tonne of new capabilities for your apps, like enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs [application program interfaces], new media and camera capabilities, machine learning, and more,” it wrote.

PS5 games
Sony, meanwhile, is still scheduled to unveil the launch games for the new PlayStation 5, at a streamed event on Thursday, 4 June.

Piers Harding-Rolls, from Ampere Analysis, said it would be an important first showcase for the games that would be available with the device, which has not yet been released.

“If the PS5 event goes ahead without a delay, and clearly the ongoing protests in the US means that a delay is possible, I’m expecting a strong showing from Sony,” he said.

“The company is pressing ahead with a global launch and while there will have been some disruption to games production due to Cov!d-19, with months to go before release it is easier to rectify the development schedules to catch up.”

Source: BBC

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Business

Video Streaming Could Shatter The Cable TV Industry For Good

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Stay at-home measures have given people endless time to consume and enjoy media from all platforms, but there is one clear winner: online streaming. Quarantine accelerated trends we were seeing before lockdown– that consumers were cutting the cord from cable and moving to online streaming. In the first quarter of 2020, Netflix gained 15.7 million subscribers, and Disney+ gained 54.5 subscribers in five months. Experts don’t know if television subscriber numbers will recover from these losses.

– Forbes Africa

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Huawei Unleashes “P40 Pro” Model With Nasty C And SA Biggest Celebs

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JOBURG – Friday, May 29, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Huawei welcomed its new HUAWEI P40 series ambassadors to the Huawei family. These include rapper Nasty C, TV personality Thando Thabethe, actor and entrepreneur Nay Maps, former Miss South Africa Tamryn Green as well as fashion designer David Tlale. They joined forces with Huawei, handing out over R500 000 worth of prizes to viewers, including P40 devices and shopping vouchers.

Huawei on Friday unleashed its HUAWEI P40 series to South Africa through a live streaming event hosted by TV host and actress Minnie Dlamini.

The HUAWEI P40 Series is a comprehensive upgrade from the previous generation and is equipped with Huawei’s most sophisticated camera system to date, capable of producing breath-taking imagery with a lightweight chassis.

One of the impressive features is the Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera. The camera works as a highly unified system, making users shoot captivating pictures at any time of day or night, whether the subject is up close or at a distance.

It also has 45% better colour precision and is capable of accurate analysis and segmentation of environments and people. With pixel level enhancement, it restores the original look with great lighting, natural colour and sharp details

“These devices are testament to the fact that Huawei is unafraid to break the rules and to exceed expectations, and it does all of that in style,” said Huawei in a statement on Friday. 

The Huawei P40 Pro is priced at R20 999 and the HUAWEI P40 retails at just R16 999. They are available from 1 June from all mobile operators and www.huaweistore.co.za

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