Daily updated technology news

Google Pay wants to be your bank, too 19 Nov 2020, 4:32 pm

Google Pay wants to be your bank, too

Electronic payment apps and NFC shopping has been available on both major mobile platforms for a while now. Apple wasn't happy with just offering an app for payments but also introduced a credit card to replace the one you already have.

Google isn't far behind, and now wants to replace some of your bank's functions too. Improved Google Pay "helps you save money and gives you insights into your spending." In 2021, you'll be able to apply for a new digital bank account.

Spending is divided into three sets of conversation-like dialogs: people, groups, and businesses. It will make it easier to keep up with the IOUs, deal with splitting the bill, and paying for services. There's also support for coupons and promo codes.

Connecting your bank account and cards to Google Pay will give you detailed summaries as well as insights and trends of your finances. You can easily search – it's Google after all – your transactions with simple word searches.

Coming soon is the digital bank account that will be offered by "trusted financial institutions" and is called Plex. Banks and credit unions offer these Google Pay integrated bank account that will give access to checking and savings accounts without monthly fees.

Google is currently working with 11 financial institutions among which Citibank is the largest. Plex will be available some time next year.

Permalink | Comments


Google to remove free unlimited Google Photos 12 Nov 2020, 10:12 pm

Google to remove free unlimited Google Photos

Google's cloud storage service for photos is undoubtedly one of the better photo storing options, especially for Google phones. In fact it's such a good service, they've often used it against iPhones in ads.

One of the better aspects of the service is that you don't even have to own a Pixel phone to get unlimited storage space. You just need to set the quality to "good" instead of "original", and you are free to backup unlimited amount of photos and videos.

Even better, there isn't even any compression if they are at most 16 MP images or Full HD video. The free 15 gigabyte storage would almost never end then, although it is shared with your Gmail and Drive.

However, now it seems that people aren't buying Google's new subscription-based cloud service Google One, since Google is removing the free unlimited storage next year.

Starting on June 1, 2021, Google will start counting all the megabytes and gigabytes of even those "good quality" photos you upload. This means that you'll likely start running out of cloud storage pretty fast, depending on your rate of upload.

It is worth noting, though, that pictures and videos uploaded prior to June 1 aren't counted, so if you have to digitize your childhood photo albums, you might want to do it before the change.

In case you are wondering how long the amount of storage you've got available will last with your current uploading pace, Google has you covered. You can head here to see how many months or years you have potentially left of the free service.

Also, worry not if you're running out of space, additional 100 gigabytes on top of the free 15 GB is going to cost only $1.99/mo. For 200 GB you'll have to pay $2.99 and 2 TB is $9.99.

If you own a Pixel phone none of this applies to you, you'll get to enjoy the freedom of uploading as much as your heart desires even after June 2021.

Permalink | Comments


YouTube Premium subs now get free Stadia 12 Nov 2020, 7:21 pm

YouTube Premium subs now get free Stadia

Google's struggles in the subscription video business are well known. The company own the largest video platform in the world but hasn't really been able to transition from ads to more lucrative subscription model.

Obviously things like YouTube Premium, with all its predecessors, and YouTube TV are around but people seem to enjoy free YouTube a little too much.

Now Google is trying to lure you in with a bundle that combines YouTube Premium and cloud gaming platform Stadia. The deal was initially available only in the UK, but has now expanded to include the US and Canada. According to XDA, it will be available in other European countries soon too.

If you have YouTube Premium subscription and would like a free Stadia Premium package, you might have already spotted the offer on your phone's YouTube app. If not, worry not, you might be able to acquire it by visiting this link.

The deal seems to last until December 31, so you should have plenty of time to collect your reward.

It is noteworthy that according to reports, you will need to have had a YouTube Premium membership before November 7th to qualify for the deal.

Permalink | Comments


Apple refreshed the Mac mini with new M1 chip 11 Nov 2020, 9:04 pm

Apple refreshed the Mac mini with new M1 chip

If there's one device in Apple's Mac lineup that isn't a laptop and would benefit the most from the new M1 chip it's certainly the Mac mini.

People weren't necessarily expecting Apple to announce a new Mac mini, not because it doesn't make sense – it does, a lot – but it just isn't among Apple's most important products.

However, for those that enjoy a tiny computer, it's really nice to see a refresh after two years of silence. The new Mac mini with M1 has massive improvements in terms of performance while retaining its minimal footprint.

Compared to the previous generation Mac mini, the new one offers three times the CPU performance and up to six times the GPU performance. Machine learning performance gets an even bigger boost thanks to a dedicated Neural Engine.

For years now, the Mac mini RAM hasn't been upgradeable, and that's obviously going to continue with the integrated memory on the M1.

Both RAM and SSD performance have been improved with the addition of M1.

One has to remember that this is compared to a two years old machine, and there's no proper benchmarks yet, only vague comparisons.

In terms of connectivity the new Mac mini has two Thunderbolt/USB4 connectors, one HDMI 2.0, two USB-A connectors, an Ethernet, and a headphone jack.

Prices start at $699 (8/256GB) with options including 16 GB RAM and SSD storage up to 2 TB.

Permalink | Comments


New MacBook Pro with M1: You can't upgrade the RAM 11 Nov 2020, 8:24 pm

New MacBook Pro with M1: You can't upgrade the RAM

Apple's yesterday's press event gave us the first Mac silicon, namely the Apple M1. While announcing the chip was big news, the company also had already some M1-equipped devices to unveil as well. Here's a look at the most powerful of them, the new MacBook Pro.

According to Apple, the new MacBook Pro with M1 is much more powerful than the predecessor and outperforms competing Windows PCs in both processing power and battery life.

Apple likes to throw around numbers like 5x the performance, but at this point there weren't any exact benchmarks or the company didn't disclose exactly to what they were comparing the devices to. Needless to say, however, that according to them, the new devices offer much more performance and especially efficiency than competitors.

This is evident in battery life claims, which are perhaps the only good and accurate measures Apple revealed. MacBook Pro with M1 comes with up to 17 hours of wireless web browsing and an insane 20 hours of video playback.

Perhaps the biggest con of the new MacBooks with M1, especially this one geared towards professionals, is that you cannot change or upgrade the RAM because it is integrated into the SoC. It also means that getting 16GB instead of the default 8GB will cost you a very premium $200.

While the M1 is by far the biggest change on the new MacBook Pro, there are some other slight adjustments too. Mics are said to be studio quality now, and improved camera quality thanks to new ISP, although resolution is still the same HD.

Other specs are largely the same, although there's no four Thunderbolt option, you'll have to an Intel MacBook Pro, which Apple still continues to sell, to get that.

MacBook Pro 13" with M1 (there's no 16" version) starts at $1,299.

Permalink | Comments


Apple's new MacBook Air with M1: Everything is faster and more efficient 11 Nov 2020, 5:42 pm

Apple's new MacBook Air with M1: Everything is faster and more efficient

Apple first M1 product announcement yesterday was the most popular 13-inch laptop in the world, MacBook Air. MacBook Air is the perfect device for Apple's new Mac silicon, thanks to its size.

If you think about the Apple M1 like a amped-up version of the A1 found in iPhones and iPads, which is pretty much is, the first device you'd put it in is the lightest and least power-hungry of the Apple laptops, and that is exactly what Apple did.

According to Apple, the MacBoook Air with M1 offers 3 times the performance of a comparable Windows laptop – whatever that is – and only the top 2 percent of Windows laptops sold in the past year are faster than this ultra light from Apple.

The figures are even more impressive when compared to the previous generation MacBook Air. M1 gives the new one 5x the CPU performance and 3.5x the GPU performance, although all of these performance claims seem worth a very close revisit when the devices and benchmarks are out.

Even the SSD is said to be twice as fast.

All this performance and the new MacBook is completely silent without a single fan.

The battery life is better too. Apple says that it can do 15 hours of wireless internet browsing and up to 18 hours of video playback on a single charge. You can even take video calls for twice as long.

There are some disadvantages that come with the M1, for example lack of upgradeability. However, even previous MacBook Air models have had soldered-in RAM, so upgradeability shouldn't be a huge issue for customers looking at this specific model, unlike perhaps with the new MacBook Pro.

Prices start at the same $999 with the 8/256 GB model. Options include 16 GB RAM and up to 2 TB SSD.

Permalink | Comments


Mac Silicon is now official: Here's Apple M1 11 Nov 2020, 4:50 pm

Mac Silicon is now official: Here's Apple M1

Apple had revealed earlier this year already that is going to start transitioning the Mac lineup from Intel chips to their own silicon. Now it is official as Apple announces their first chip, Apple M1.

Yesterday's official launch marks the introduction of Apple silicon into Mac computers. The company's first take at it is a ARM-based SoC (system-on-chip) that hosts many of the more important components underneath one cover.

It is basically a bigger and better version of smartphone SoC's like the Apple A chips found on iPhones and iPads.

The company said that M1 includes the world's fastest CPU and GPU, and ones that are far less power hungry than the Intel (and AMD) chips used in competing PCs.

In terms of spec you are looking at eight CPU cores, four of which are high performance and four low power cores, with 16 billion transistors. GPU is also an octa-core chip.

The chip was manufactured with a 5nm process, which gives it very good power-efficiency. According to Apple, the lower power cores only use one tenth of the power of the high performance cores.

In addition to the CPU and GPU the chip includes a 16 core Neural Engine, a separate Security Enclave for better in-device security, image signal processing chip, and integrated DRAM chips.

As Apple suggested, the first generation of Apple silicon will find its way to portable and small devices, but expect Apple to later on announce follow-ups for desktop computing.

Permalink | Comments


A world first for Netflix, bundle with an ISP 10 Nov 2020, 5:13 pm

A world first for Netflix, bundle with an ISP

Netflix has ventured into a new business model where they partner up with and ISP for a bundled service. The first package like this comes from Finland where Netflix and one of the countries largest ISPs DNA have started offering a combined service.

This is indeed the first time Netflix has offered their service bundled into a internet service under the same invoice. With the deal in question you'll be offered a broadband connection and 4K Netflix subscription.

The bundled service, DNA Netti + Netflix Perhe (DNA Internet + Netflix Family), starts at 37.89 euros a month (saving you a few euros a month compared to non-bundled prices) for the first two years and offers a 200 MP connection and a four-device Family subscription of Netflix.

As the competition starts to really heat up around Netflix, thanks to fairly recent additions like Disney+, the company has more pressure to diversify and add options. Recent reports about the first linear content on Netflix (read: traditional TV channel) could also in the mix for Netflix.

Permalink | Comments


FT: Apple prepping a search engine to replace Google 28 Oct 2020, 6:18 pm

FT: Apple prepping a search engine to replace Google

As you might have noticed in the years that have passed, Apple is trying to create an all-encompassing ecosystem of both hardware and software.

One of the major milestones for the hardware have been getting chip production in-house, which means less dependency on companies like Intel. In terms of software, the latest expansions include Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade among others.

Now, according to Financial Times, Apple is developing a search engine to replace Google. This seems like an odd choice for a company like Apple, but it turns out it's more about necessity than what they'd like to do.

See, The US Department of Justice might soon make it impossible for Apple to sell their default search engine spot to Google. The deal is an important part of Apple's service structure and nets the company each year as much as $12 billion.

Now that the contract might become void, Apple is speeding up the development of some sort of a replacement for Google.

At this point it's unclear what type of solution Apple is looking at. Although Applebot has been roaming the web for years collecting website data, it's unlikely that Apple will take Google's approach.

Google obviously makes most of its money from ads on its search engine. That is something quite opposite to Apple values of privacy. Neither Apple, nor the customers, would accept selling of data to advertisers, one would imagine.

It remains to be seen whether Apple has some type of search engine to offer as soon as it cannot sell the spot, and perhaps more important what will it look like.

Permalink | Comments


Microsoft finally getting rid of Flash, new update 28 Oct 2020, 4:37 pm

Microsoft finally getting rid of Flash, new update

Microsoft has released a new voluntary update for Windows 10 which removes the official bundled Flash exntension from Windows 10. For years now, Adobe Flash has predominantly been just a nuisance or a security vulnerability, but fortunately all participants are finally ready to move on.

Officially, the death of Flash on Windows 10 will have to wait until next year, but at this point you can be a first adopter of sorts. The update removes the bundled Flash, and doesn't allow the reinstallation of it, but it doesn't remove your standalone Flash applications, like browser extensions.

The rest of the removal will happen starting early 2021, as Microsoft will release a Flash removal tool via Windows Update and end the support for Flash on its Edge browser alongside legacy browsers.

Other parts of Flash, like the developer tools, might hang around for a little bit longer but will be terminated later in the year.

Even Adobe themselves have made it clear that there is no future for Flash. Adobe will stop supporting Flash on December 31, 2020.

As early as 2016, Google removed Chrome's ability to play Flash by default.

Permalink | Comments


Forget Retina: Samsung and Stanford developed a 10,000 PPI display 27 Oct 2020, 4:06 pm

Forget Retina: Samsung and Stanford developed a 10,000 PPI display

Six years ago in June Steve Jobs revealed the first Retina display in the form of iPhone 4. It wasn't necessarily anything mind boggling, although the concept they used was new.

According to Apple back then, 330 PPI display of the iPhone 4 was enough to outperform your retina from a standard viewing distance. In the coming years Apple's Retina displays and others have improved upon the pixel density and on some Android phones we're looking at nearly 600 PPI.

However, these are minor changes in technology compared to what Samsung and Stanford University researchers have been working on. Stanford has released a paper about an OLED display that could reach 10,000 PPI.

This would mean that the width of one pixel is 0.001 inches, or around 2540 nanometers, and you could create a Full HD resolution screen that measured just around 0.2 inches wide.

As mentioned, the display is based on OLED technology that Samsung is a pioneer in, but some of the insights came actually from science of nanoscale photonics the researchers were using developing in new type of solar panels.

Obviously creating a smartphone display, much less a PC screen or TV, with this sort of pixel density is currently not convenient. You would need much more processing power to run it at full resolution, but in smaller screens that need to be denser, like in VR, it could be revolutionary.

So, while it might not immediately translate into 50K displays on your Galaxy phones, it could be very important in all sorts of applications.

Permalink | Comments


OnePlus announces two new more affordable smartphones, Nord N10 and Nord N100 26 Oct 2020, 3:34 pm

OnePlus announces two new more affordable smartphones, Nord N10 and Nord N100

OnePlus has today announced that it will be adding two entirely new smartphone models to its catalog. The new Nord N100 and Nord N10 are the company's most affordable models designed based on the OnePlus Nord released earlier this year.

The original Nord didn't arrive to the U.S. but both of these should be available in the States at a later date. First they will be introduced in Europe.

The cheaper one, OnePlus Nord N100, features a Snapdragon 460 chip, a large 6.52 inch HD+ display, 4 GB RAM, and expandable 64 GB storage. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the 5000 milliamp hour battery. There's also a triple camera setup with 13 MP regular shooter, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor.

The Nord N10 on the other hand comes with a mid range Snapdragon 690 chipset with 5G, a 90 hz and 6.49 inch Full HD+ display panel, 6 GB RAM and 128GB microSD expandable storage. The quad camera setup includes a 64 MP main shooter and a 8 MP ultrawide.

At this point there's no U.S. release details. The former will retail for 179 euros and latter 329 euros, so expect similar prices in USD when they likely arrive before the end of the year.

Permalink | Comments


VPN provider wins a court fight: police can't get or use its database 21 Oct 2020, 2:01 pm

VPN provider wins a court fight: police can't get or use its database

Finnish VPN and antivirus provider F-Secure scored a big win in courts this week. It sued Finnish law enforcement authority over a database raid that was conducted in January, 2019.

In the raid, Germany's top law enforcement agency had asked assistance from its Finnish counterpart, National Bureau of Investigation, to get its hands to F-Secure's Freedome VPN user logs. Germany's authorities wanted to get the data to get evidence for a "serious crime case" in Germany.

As per requested, Finnish NBI confiscated F-Secure's Freedome user records and list of IP addresses used by its users - all of them, not just the ones related to the German authorities criminal case.

F-Secure sued and wanted courts to rule the confiscation of its data illegal. Lower courts have previously agreed with F-Secure's argument and ruled the case in favor of F-Secure. Now, Finnish court of appeals ruled in line with the lower court, in favor of F-Secure.

According to the ruling, authorities can't have blanket access to VPN data, as F-Secure acts simply as a "messenger" for the transmitted data. If authorities would need information about specific user, they'd have to obtain a warrant from court first in order to get a (very specific) set of data, only related to the case in question.

Obviously, this is a big win for F-Secure, as it can now rely on this ruling in its own VPN service marketing, too.

Source: MTV Uutiset (in Finnish)

Permalink | Comments


Tesla announces a refreshed Model 3 variants with improved performance and range 16 Oct 2020, 5:44 pm

Tesla announces a refreshed Model 3 variants with improved performance and range

Tesla has announced an update to their Model 3 lineup that wasn't necessarily expected. The company has refreshed the Model 3 with improvements in performance.

It isn't a major rehaul but there are some important improvements under the hood. The price won't be any different, and you won't necessarily even know about the changes unless you take a peak at the specs.

Of the three Model 3 variants the two more expensive ones got improved range as well as slight performance boost in terms of acceleration. The new Model 3 Performance now claims an EPA rating of 319 miles instead of the 299 previously.

As for the Long Range Dual Motor AWD version the upgrade is even greater. It now gets an EPA rating of 353 miles instead of previous 322.

Both also shave off a little bit of the 0-60 times with Performance now at 3.1 seconds (3.2 previously) and Long Range Dual Motor AWD at 4.2 seconds (4.4 previously).

There are also some other minor changed to things like the new matte middle console, new wheel options, and other slight cosmetic changes.

The figures for the cheapest Model 3 are unchanged. As mentioned earlier, the pricing is also unchanged with Model 3 Standard Range Plus starting at $37,990, Long Range Dual Motor AWD starting at $46,990, and the Performance variant starts at $54,990.

Permalink | Comments


Song (without words) stuck in your head? Hum it to Google! 16 Oct 2020, 12:51 pm

Song (without words) stuck in your head? Hum it to Google!

Most of us probably know the annoying feeling when you have a melody of a song stuck in your head, but you can't remember the name of the song or the artist who played it.

Well, luckily, there's a solution to that. Google has added a support for humming to its voice search and knows when you're looking for a song name.

Basically, the AI-powered feature tries to recognize the patterns of your humming and compare those to the database of songs it has stored. And it works, pretty darn well, as we quickly tested the feature.

You can activate the feature by tapping the small microphone symbol in Google's search bar. Then, you simply start humming. After few seconds, Google suggests that you might want be looking for a song:

Option to search for a song based on humming

After moving to the specific song search, continue humming and you'll see an audio wave resembling what you hum to the microphone:

Google listening to your humming

And shortly after, Google will bring up results best matching to your humming:

Google humming song recognize, the search results

Apparently I am not that great at humming, but Google got it right nevertheless: the track I hummed to it was, in deed, Black Sabbath's Iron Man.

Obviously, when you have a song playing loops inside your head with some lyrics, the feature is not needed. Simply enter the lyrics you remember to Google and add the word lyrics to the end of the search query and most likely you'll get the result you were looking for.

In kinda similar situation, but the opposite, is when you're at car and listening to a radio and have no idea of the name of the song currently playing. In such situation, Shazam is your best buddy. Shazam comes pre-installed with iPhone, but can be downloaded for Android too, the app detects songs almost instantly.

Google's AI-based humming feature is nice, but not a new invention: there's a similar "hum and we'll detect the song" service available, called Midomi.

Permalink | Comments


Page processed in 2.543 seconds.

Powered by SimplePie 1.5.4, Build 20191219035618. Run the SimplePie Compatibility Test. SimplePie is © 2004–2020, Ryan Parman and Geoffrey Sneddon, and licensed under the BSD License.