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Spotify introducing a new version of their app called Spotify Lite which will help Low-End Android Smartphones

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Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming apps around the world with over 100 million paid subscribers. They are now introducing a new version of their app called Spotify Lite which will help them reach more users, especially those in developing countries.

Spotify has been doing really well in western countries, but for the more developing markets, the app experience was less than ideal. Users wouldn’t always have a stable internet connection or network, their phones would not be able to run heavy apps and storage space can also be an issue on the low-end phones they use. Lite apps are usually targeted for such users, where they can continue to enjoy the same core benefits of an app, with a few omissions.

Spotify Lite is a simple and fast version of the same music experience, and is very similar to the original app with a few tweaks made to improve the app experience on older devices or operating systems.

All features such as searching for music and artists, sharing them, discovering new tracks and creating playlists are retained. Even with all that functionality, the app is just 10 MB, making it easier to install and run on weaker devices. Data limits can also be set, and users can also set a notification if a certain threshold of data consumption is reached. To keep the storage space in check, the cache can also be cleared in one tap.

“Spotify Lite was built from the ground up based on user feedback from around the world, allowing millions more to enjoy the world’s best music experience — especially in areas with limited bandwidth and phone storage” said Kalle Persson, the Senior Product Manager at Spotify.

In this wave of rollout, Spotify Lite was made available in 36 more countries in Asia, South America, Middle East and Africa, and will roll out to even more markets soon.

Sony’s New Model WH-1000XM3 Wireless Earphones Will Kill The Noise Around You

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Sony’s ruffled some feathers in the world of noise cancelling headphones with its latest top model, the WH-1000XM3, and now the company has shrunk the same tech to create a pair of wireless earbuds called the WF-1000XM3.

Barring the inexplicably similar name, the new buds are very different from the WH-1000XM3, which are classic over-the-ear cans. The WF-1000XM3 are smallish earbuds which are truly wireless and come with an AirPods-style charging case.

But the two models share a very important feature: They both have Sony’s QN1e HD noise cancelling chip, which has shown to be very good at blocking outside noise. It works together with two built-in microphones, which catch the ambient sounds around you, which the processor then cancels out with an inverted sound wave.

With noise cancelling and Bluetooth turned on, the WF-1000XM3 earbuds offer six hours of battery life, but that can be extended to 24 hours thanks to the extra three charges from the battery case.

Six hours of battery life becomes 24 thanks to the battery case.
Six hours of battery life becomes 24 thanks to the battery case.

Image: Sony

The buds also have a proximity sensor that will automatically stop playback once you remove one bud from your ear, as well as touch controls for noise-cancelling and playback.

Hit play or block it all out with a tap in the ear.
Hit play or block it all out with a tap in the ear.

Image: SONY

Sony says the WF-1000XM3s will arrive this August for approximately Rs. 19,000( $230). They will be available in silver and black.

Upcoming What’sapp new feature will helpful us to identifying viral content

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Image – Tecground

WhatsApp has been one of the most disruptive instant messaging apps of all time with over 1.5 billion users around the world. With a platform that expansive, it is bound to be used for ulterior purposes. An upcoming feature update could help that, by showing information around how many times a message has been forwarded, before it reaches you.

WhatsApp has long been under the radar by authorities around the world, especially in India. During India’s elections earlier this year, the government forced WhatsApp to incorporate changes that would help curb the rampant spread of false information and fake news, as the effects would ripple on and affect the outcome of the election.

Recently, a new feature was spotted by a user in a beta build of WhatsApp which shows additional forwarding information. When a user selects a message and clicks on the (i) symbol on the top, this new feature will now also show how many times the message has been forwarded, along with the read receipts.

With this, WhatsApp believes that users will be better able to gauge the authenticity of a message or piece of information and hopefully discourage ignorant or blind forwarding, but importantly, it will try to make the user, a little more cautious about the source and authenticity of a message.

This feature is not yet available in the public build of WhatsApp that we find on the PlayStore. It’s unclear if the source was on the beta build or was on an early stage of testing. The closest option to this has been the “frequently forwarded” tag on certain messages.

These features are gentle reminders of how consumers should not trust every bit of information found on the internet, and use their own discretion before being a part of the herd.

SpaceX is aiming towards its first commercial mission: launching starship in 2021.

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Recently, Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX successfully launched one of its most powerful rockets ever, the Falcon Heavy. And now, the company is aiming towards its first commercial mission: launching starship in 2021.

According to Jonathan Hofeller, VP of commercial sales, SpaceX, who spoke at an APSAT conference in Indonesia, SpaceX is currently under discussion with three different customers (the telecom companies) to decide their first mission on the spacecraft, as reported by SpaceNews.

SpaceX is currently developing two different builds of the launch system, the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) (later named Starship), where its rocket booster was also renamed to Super Heavy Booster. The launch system would be loaded with 9-meter-payload fairing where it would deliver crew and resources to the Moon and Mars, in addition, to sending satellites into the orbit across Earth and the planetary system, in general. Both the vehicles (Starship and super heavy booster) are being designed in a way so that they can launch up to 20 metric tons to geostationary orbit and over 100 metric tons to low earth orbit.

Moreover, SpaceX is also testing out its test rocket version, named, Starhopper, which is just made to “hop” off the ground a few centimeters to analyze the overall usability and reliability of the vehicle. However, the company does intend to test the vehicle at higher altitudes too.

“We have future hops coming up later this year. The goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021”, mentioned Hofeller.

As of now, the Starship has been set under development at separate SpaceX facilities in Florida and Texas to analyze which facility comes up with a faster and much better solution. Also, it’s very likely that the solutions from both the team might be combined to offer the best solution for Starship.

According to a new report, Google’s Texting App Could Soon Be More Like Snapchat

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Google’s iMessage competitor may soon be getting an upgrade.

The company is testing Snapchat-like augmented reality effects in its Android Messages texting app, according to a new report.

The folks at XDA Developers uncovered five unreleased AR effects in the messages app, and they’re actually pretty cool. You can see them all in the video below, but they include a fireworks effects, an angel (complete with a halo, of course), confetti, balloons, and a clever airplane animation.

At this point, it’s not clear if this is anything more than a test or when these might be more widely available. Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the feature.

Augmented reality effects are becoming a somewhat expected feature in messaging apps, so it’s not surprising that Google would e experimenting with this. One thing that is notable: these effects seem to be pretty polished for test features. As the video points out, the 3D animations are able to track head movements accurately (best viewed with the angel and halo effect). And even the more simple animations, like the balloons and confetti, are impressively rendered.

Overall, it would be a nice addition to Android Messages, which Google has been trying to position as something of an iMessage competitor for Android users (that ambition has so far been slow-going, due to a variety of complications). But new features like these AR effects could make Android Messages a more appealing alternative than other texting apps.

So while Android may never have a true iMessage competitor, the existing options are, at least, getting a whole lot better.

Starting today, Google Maps Will Now Tell You How Crowded Your Bus Or Train Will Be

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When it comes to navigation apps, Google is on the top of its game. Google Maps has maintained its utility by introducing many useful features in the previous months like the incognito mode, real-time speeds, parking locations and traffic jam notifications.

The tech giant has now announced an update for both Android and iOS which will allow users to see how occupied your train or bus is going to be before you hop on your ride.

The app has been banking details from its users on their past trips for a while. You may have come across notifications on your phone on how crowded it was on your commute, during peak hours in the last few months. Riders were given four options to classify in: many empty seats, few empty seats, standing room only, or cramped standing room only.

The tech giant has now created a pool of this data to start offering predictions to the users who look up Google Maps to go about their daily commute. Anyone who has Google Maps installed on their phone will now be able to see transit delays, how long the delay will be, and reschedules based on the live conditions in any event.

Google first started pushing in predictions about real-time traffic delayed routes in 2017. This data however was not available in all cities. Hence, Google Maps is also bringing live traffic delays for buses in places where the service wasn’t covered initially. Users will be guided upon where the delays are marked on the map itself.

The update is now available for download in 200 cities worldwide, starting today.

Google Maps Launches ‘Stay Safer’ Feature For Android Users in our Country

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When it comes to making India more safe for women and people in general, many initiatives have been taken by several companies and the government. For instance, Ola, an Indian ride hailing app released its SOS feature that lets you call emergency services if you’re stuck in a dangerous situation while traveling. Similarly, there’s a slew of other apps that promote safe travel. And now, Google has unveiled an India-first ‘stay safer’ feature in Google Maps that would alert Android users if their driver deviates more than 0.5 km from the route suggested by Google Maps. This is great for people traveling via public transport such as bus and auto-rickshaw.

To avail the feature, you’d have to get the latest version of Google Maps on your Android device by updating the app. Also, to enable the feature, you’d have to select the “Stay Safer” and “get off-route alerts” options after you’re done looking up the direction of your destination on the maps. In case the driver deviates from the suggested direction, the phone would buzz with a notification that the users would be able to tap and see the original route.

“Through our extensive research across India, we found that a lot of people limit their mobility due to safety-related concerns. To address this, we are launching another India-first feature that will deliver a more relevant and reliable experience to our users. Our new ‘Stay Safer’ feature on Google Maps will alert users who are traveling in taxis, auto-rickshaws etc. in case their vehicle goes off route, giving them peace of mind,” said Amanda Bishop, Product Manager, Google Maps.

You’d also be able to share the live status of your trip with family/friends across different apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Slack. No word is out yet as to when the feature would roll out for iOS users but given that Google Maps are used extensively across the world on both Android and iOS devices, we can expect it to arrive soon.

The app, DeepNude, only works on women where it swaps their clothes

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Deepfakes have become all too common in today’s world. What started out as a Reddit thread by a user named ‘deepfakes’ who posted fake and explicit celebrity videos using deep learning has now become a toxic tool to bully and harass other people. And now, some app manufacturers are moving beyond the concept of Deepfakes. One such AI app, called DeepNude, can create nudes of women out of their fully clothed pictures by using neural networks.

The app, DeepNude, only works on women where it swaps their clothes, with intimate parts. What’s even more pathetic is the fact that the app doesn’t work on men, as reported by Vice. Also, the app doesn’t seem to work well for pictures where the person is fully clothed (eg; winter wear) and works best for pictures of women in swimsuits and short dresses. Similarly, if the picture doesn’t have good lighting or angle, or in case it’s animated, the app wouldn’t perform well.

Image result for The app, DeepNude

Creator of DeepNude used pix2pix, an open-source algorithm by the University of California, Berkeley based on General Adversarial Networks (GANs). The algorithm was trained using a large dataset which included nude pictures of over 10,000 women. The algorithm also keeps self-learning to improve itself over time. DeepNude creator further added that he also wants to make the app applicable for male pictures, but since the nude pictures of women are easily available online, he decided to make the female version first. Also, the app is free to download and try, but charges $50 from users who want to remove the watermark that says “FAKE” from the image. The app works both online and offline.

“I also said to myself: the technology is ready (within everyone’s reach). So if someone has bad intentions, having DeepNude doesn’t change much… If I don’t do it, someone else will do it in a year”, the DeepNude creator told Vice. He further added that “I’m not a voyeur, I’m a technology enthusiast. Continuing to improve the algorithm”.

Now although the creator of the app claims to be “improving the AI algorithm”, the very concept of the app screams of misogyny and sparks some major concerns. Firstly, the app promotes the whole idea around “revenge porn” which has long been a bone of contention for companies trying to get the deepfakes situation under control. For instance, DARPA is known to be working on certain AI forensic tools to catch deepfakes.

Secondly, the very fact that the app charges $50 by promoting people to remove the “FAKE” watermark reeks of hypocrisy on the creators part. This is because somewhere he believes that people would be willing to pay the money to make the picture seem real. And thirdly, although he claims to want to “improve the AI algorithm”, he could have come up with other app ideas to test it.

With all the existing hate and controversy surrounding the toxic nature of deepfakes, the app only seems to be exacerbating the use of deepfakes.

LG W10, LG W30 and LG W30 Pro Launched in India: Here’s everything

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LG has been rather missing from the Indian smartphone game in recent years, and even their flagships landed here pretty late. They are now changing that with the launch of a new series of budget smartphones for India which will offer multiple cameras and big batteries.

Here’s everything you need to know about the LG W10, LG W30 and the LG W30 Pro which launched today in India.

LG W10 price and specs in India

The LG W10 is the cheapest of the trio, with a 6.19-inch HD+ FullVision display and a wide notch, resulting in an aspect ratio of 18.9:9. It is powered by the octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 chipset and is paired with 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of storage that can be further expanded via microSD.

As for cameras, the W10 has a dual camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary camera with PDAF and is assisted by a 5-megapixel sensor. The front camera is an 8-megapixel shooter. Other hardware elements include a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged over micro-USB. It also has a fingerprint scanner on the back and a headphone jack as well.

The LG W10 is priced at INR 8,999 for the 3GB + 32GB variant, and will be available via e-commerce portal Amazon India, starting July 3. Colour variants include Tulip Purple and Smokey Grey.

LG W30 price and specs in India

The LG W30 is the second phone that launched today in India. It has a 6.26-inch HD+ display with a dot notch on the top, resulting in an aspect ratio of 19:9. It is also powered by the same MediaTek P22 SoC and has 3GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of storage that can be expanded via MicroSD.

The W30 has a triple camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera and a third depth sensor. The selfie camera is a 16-megapixel shooter. The battery is rated at 4,000 mAh and charges over Micro-USB. There’s also a headphone jack and a fingerprints scanner in tow.

The LG W30 is priced at INR 9,999 for the 3GB + 32GB variant, and can be purchased from Amazon India, starting July 3. Colour options include Thunder Blue, Platinum Grey, and Aurora Green.

LG W30 Pro price and specifications in India

Lastly, we get the LG W30 Pro, which is the high-end model of the three. It has a 6.21-inch IPS-LCD display with an HD+ resolution. As for performance, it is powered by the Snapdragon 632 chipset with 4GB of RAM, along with 64GB of expandable storage.

As for cameras, there is a triple camera setup on the rear consisting of a 13-megapixel primary camera, paired with a secondary 8-megapixel shooter and a third depth sensor. The selfie camera is a 16-megapixel shooter. The battery is once again rated at 4,000 mAh.

Pricing and availability for the LG W30 Pro were not announced, and should be revealed soon.

The budget segment of India is one of the trickiest markets to navigate through, and LG is trying to enter this market at a very competitive time.

Upcoming WhatsApp new feature, Users Can Soon Share ‘Status’ On Facebook Stories And Other Apps

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Digital stories, whether they’re Instagram, SnapChat, or Facebook have become a new way for people to share glimpses of their life with people on the web. WhatsApp also has its own version of stories called “status”. It’s a quick and easy way to update people about your life or about something that you like. And now it is believed that WhatsApp is testing something new that involves sharing your WhatsApp status to stories on Facebook and other apps.

The feature was first spotted in WhatsApp beta version 2.19.151 (Android) but has not been made visible. It is currently still under the development process but people using WhatsApp’s Beta Program would now be able to test the feature with a “share button” showing up underneath their status. All you’d have to do is click the share button and post your WhatsApp status as stories on other apps. Moreover, you won’t have to link your other app accounts to WhatsApp and both would be two separate events on the system. Regular data-sharing APIs would instead be used for the process. Also, WhatsApp status sharing feature wouldn’t be automatically enabled for users and they’d have to make the choice manually if they actually want to use it.

There have also been other developments in the WhatsApp Beta for Android 2.19.183 as well. WABetaInfo revealed that WhatsApp is also testing the ability to completely hide the muted status updates. However, it’s not available yet and would be released once it is completely bug free and updated.

Recently, WhatsApp also announced that it’s ending support for devices running Android 2.3.7 and iOS 7 by February 2020. Other features that WhatsApp is working on includes PiP or Picture-in-picture mode for all Android users. Basically, the feature allows you to play multiple apps in the background while also using WhatsApp.

Even though the WhatsApp status sharing feature is still under development, we can’t wait to see how helpful it might actually turn out to be!

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Spotify introducing a new version of their app called Spotify Lite...

Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming apps around the world with over 100 million paid subscribers. They are now introducing a...