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Google Launches New Safety Feature Alerting Android Users about Nearby Unknown Bluetooth Trackers

Ryan Lenett

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Google has begun rolling out a fresh safety measure, a development first announced at its developer event Google I/O in spring. Known as the “unknown tracker alerts,” this feature enables Android users to be notified automatically if an unfamiliar Bluetooth device travels with them. This warning could suggest someone potentially stalking them via an Apple AirTag or a different Bluetooth tracking device. The feature also includes the capability for users to manually scan for trackers using their Android devices and get advice on the following steps if a tracking device is discovered.

The Genesis of Unknown Tracker Alerts

The tracker issue reached a critical point when various reports surfaced about people using AirTags for stalking and illegal activities like tracking vehicles for future thefts. Responding to the problem in February 2022, Apple pledged to rectify the issues brought about by the new devices by introducing new privacy warnings and alerts. The tech giant further warned potential stalkers that it was collaborating actively with law enforcement on the AirTag-related requests received.

However, Android users did not benefit from Apple’s changes to AirTag at the time. Subsequently, in May, Apple and Google declared their collective intention to establish an industry-wide specification geared towards alerting users to unwanted tracking from Bluetooth devices. This spec is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

Google’s Stand and Efforts Towards User Safety

Following the commitment to user safety, Google announced in May at I/O that it would launch several improvements to its Find My Device network, as well as preemptive alerts about trackers traveling with you. These changes were to include support for Apple’s AirTag and other devices, aiming to protect Android users ahead of the joint spec’s finalization. Meanwhile, Apple chose to wait for the joint spec implementation and opted not to roll out its custom implementation.

As this novel alerts feature rolls out, Android users will receive a device notification if an unfamiliar tracker separates from its owner and is determined to be with you. Users can tap on the notification to view a map where the tracker was seen traveling with them. Furthermore, the “Play Sound” option lets the tracker make a noise, enabling users to locate the device.

Dealing with Found Trackers and Manual Scanning

Upon locating the device, users can bring it close to the back of their phone to access more information. Some devices will share their serial number or the owner’s additional details, like the last four digits of their phone number when held near the phone. Users will also receive guidance on how to disable the Bluetooth device entirely, preventing the owner from tracking them and receiving updates from the tracker.

Another feature lets users manually scan their surroundings if they suspect a Bluetooth tracker’s presence. This manual scan can be initiated by navigating to Android’s Settings, then to “Safety & Emergency,” choosing “Unknown tracker alerts” and clicking on the “Scan Now” button. The device will take roughly 10 seconds to complete the manual scan and will provide advice on the next steps if a tracker is detected.

Plans for the Find My Device Network

Google had also announced plans at I/O 2023 to update its Find My Device network to help users find other missing belongings. The list included headphones, phones, and everyday items like luggage and keys, which could be found via third-party Bluetooth tracker tags. This way, users could locate devices by ringing them or viewing their location on a map, even offline. The supported trackers were to include those from Tile, Chipolo, and Pebblebee, as well as audio devices like Pixel Buds and headphones from Sony and JBL.

However, Google revealed that this update was put on hold due to their partnership with Apple to finalize the joint unwanted tracker alert specification by year-end. “At this time we’ve made the decision to hold the rollout of the Find My Device network until Apple has implemented protections for iOS,” Google stated.

The Future of Bluetooth Trackers

While Google’s new feature currently supports only AirTags from Apple, the company is working towards adding support for other trackers like those from Tile. It’s noteworthy that Android devices will now be able to spot nearby AirTags without Android users having to seek out an app.

The joint venture between Google and Apple seeks to reduce the misuse of Bluetooth item trackers for stalking. The initiative will ensure both Android and iOS devices detect nearby Bluetooth devices and send unwanted tracking alerts for third-party item trackers. As part of this specification, Google plans to add native support for tracking third-party Bluetooth tracking accessories from companies like Tile and Chipolo on Android devices.

Companies such as Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, Eufy, and Pebblebee, which manufacture Bluetooth-based tracking devices, have expressed their support for the joint specification and plan to back it. The production implementation of the specification for unwanted tracking alerts will be introduced by the end of 2023 and incorporated into future versions of iOS and Android. For more details on this update, visit Android’s official site.

Ryan is a car enthusiast and an accomplished team builder passionate about crafting captivating narratives. Known for his ability to transport readers to other worlds, his writing has garnered attention and a dedicated following. With a keen eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, Ryan continues to weave literary magic in every word he writes.

Technology

Google Adds Gemini AI Features to Gmail and Workspace Apps

Jonas Muthoni

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Google has updated its Workspace apps, such as Gmail, with new AI based features from the Gemini brand. These adjustments aim to make managing emails, documents and data more effective using sophisticated AI models like Gemini 1.5 Pro.

Gemini AI Sidebar in Gmail

A new Gemini side panel is being brought by Google on the web that can compress email threads and draft new emails. It offers “proactive prompts,” but it also allows users to ask “free form questions,” as stated in a Google blog post. The AI features are developed using Google’s top quality models.

Main features of Gmail’s Gemini sidebar,

  • Email thread breakup
  • Email thread response suggestions
  • New email drafting help
  • Solving queries about emails from inbox or Google Drive files

Gmail’s mobile apps are also getting these functionalities which allow users to use Gemini for condensing threads. However, access to these features is limited only to paying subscribers, including customers of specific Google Workspace addons and Google One AI Premium subscribers.

Gemini AI in Other Google Workspace Apps

Google extends the use of Gemini features beyond Gmail into other Workspace utilities like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive. The company revealed these updates during its I/O 2024 event. They are now accessible for users.

Functionality across various Workspace utilities,

  • Docs: Gemini can aid with content writing and refining, information summarising, brainstorming and generating content based on other files.
  • Slides: Gemini has capabilities of creating . new slides, custom pictures and condensing presentations.
  • Sheets: In Sheets, he helps in tracking and managing data,
  • Drive: Using Gemini one can get summaries of single or multiple documents, get easy to understand details about a project

To use these features on the web, users can click on the “Ask Gemini” icon that looks like a sparkle next to their profile picture at the top right corner. The click will launch an assistive experience in the same tab offering suggested queries and automatic summaries.

Preemptive and Assistive AI Features

The introduction of the Gemini AI sidebar by Google aims to make Workspace apps easier to use and more efficient. Proactive help in managing data and projects is also included amongst these AI abilities along with drafting and summarization capabilities.

Noteworthy features,

  • Automatic shortening of ongoing work
  • Preemptive prompts for productivity improvement
  • Sophisticated reasoning and extended context window given by Gemini 1.5 Pro

Users are recommended to review AIgenerated content because sometimes inaccurate info may get generated by these advanced systems. Such care is especially needed while writing essential emails or documents.

Pricing Plans and Availability

The rollout of Google’s new side panel called Gemini along with its features will happen across several subscription plans, including,

  • Google One AI Premium
  • Addon for Business and Enterprise by Gemini
  • Gemini Education addon as well as Education Premium addon

All these features will be fully deployed by Google in coming weeks. The aim behind using these AI tools is improving the efficiency of users across varied platforms, both web based as well as mobile.

In summary

The addition of new Gemini AI features represents considerable advancement in terms of integrating state of the art AI functionality into tools that are being used by millions every day. Google strives to offer a more productive and smooth user experience through these enhancements in Gmail and other workspace apps. These powerful tools come with a caution suggesting users to confirm the correctness of the content generated by this AI.

Given AI technology’s continuous advancement, it can be said that the Gemini features offered by Google stand at the cutting edge of AI supported productivity, showing promise to redefine how users interact within their digital workspaces.

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Microsoft Unveils Affordable Copilot+ AI PCs

Ashley Waithira

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June 18, 2024, was a crucial day for Microsoft and Windows 11 users as Microsoft presented its new range ofilot+ AI PCs. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X processors, these computers will bring hightech AI capabilities straight into people’s homes.

Cheapest Copilot+ PC, Surface Laptop 7

The most affordable new Copilot+ AI PC is surprisingly from Microsoft. The Surface Laptop 7 costs $999.99, currently the lowest price for a Copilot+ PC. This modern laptop has a Snapdragon X Plus processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a clear display of 2304 x 1536 resolution at a rate of 120 Hz refresh and brightness as high as 600 nits.

  • Price tag, $999.99
  • CPU, Snapdragon X Plus
  • RAM Size, 16GB
  • Data Storage Size, An adaptable 256GB SSD
  • Screen Details, A crisp display with dimensions of –13.8 inches at resolution levels of –2304 x1536 pixels along with the refresh speed of –120Hz.

The impressive range of features on the Surface Laptop makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to try out new Copilot+ AI abilities. Unlike its counterparts like Surface Pro11 which need an extra buy for the keyboard , this variant has an inbuilt one, increasing its appeal.

Specifications and Efficiency

The new Copilot+ PCs by Microsoft come loaded with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series processors, recognized for their superb AI processing abilities. The advanced features of Copilot+ include ,

  • Cocreator, A tool built into Windows Paint that converts text to imagery.
  • Windows Studio Effects, Tools that improve webcam visuals such as auto framing and background blur of video calls.
  • Live Captions with Translation, Video content can be transcribed and translated in real time.
  • Recall, This feature records all activities on the device (it has been suspended over privacy worries) .

Preliminary performance tests have shown pleasing outcomes. Using the Handbrake application, the Surface Laptop 7 with the Snapdragon X Plus processor managed transcoding tasks well outshining some of Intel’s freshest products.

User Feedback and Market Response

This introduction of Copilot+ PC’s has gotten tech enthusiasts talking, they are seen as a huge step for Windows’ ARM platform providing longer battery lives and high tech AI capacities. But not without a few challenges on its way.

  • Compatibility Problems, Issues were faced by certain applications especially those that need specific AI models.
  • A weak spot in Battery Testing , There were inconsistencies during different battery tests , indicating software refinement problems .
  • Inconsistent Geekbench ML Ratings, Mixed results were found when comparing Snapdragon X Elite’s performance in machine learning ratings against Intel’s Hardware.

Apart from these challenges there is positive outlook overall for this product line. Microsoft’s ambitious move into the AI PC sector could have a strong influence on future computer sales.

What the Future Holds

Gazing forward, Microsoft’s aim is to sell over 50 million AI PCs in the next year. This lofty goal is driven by the growing need for AI technology. The market for AI PCs will grow swiftly as more users experience the benefits of AI features on their personal computers .

  • Upcoming Upgrades, Later this year , launches by Intel and AMD of their own AIenabled processors are expected , marking potential competition.
  • New Possibilities with AI Technology , Ongoing enhancements in AI technology will further enrich the array of applications and additional benefits, boosting capabilities of these computers. .
  • Data Privacy, Addressing data confidentiality problems when using AI enabled functions like Recall is vital to retain user confidence.

In Summary

The launch of Copilot+ AI PCs by Microsoft signifies a major innovation in integrating Artificial Intelligence into personal computers. These state of the art devices with competitive pricing and backed by Qualcomm’s high powered processors are set to transform the industry. As technological advancements continue, users can look forward to an even broader range of practical applications to improve their digital experiences.

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PS-5 and Xbox Series X/S Upgrades Better Gaming Experience

Ryan Lenett

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Sony released a new update for the PS 5 that enables users to use Discord voice chats directly from their console. This feature bypasses the need to start a call from a computer or mobile phone. Simplifying things for gamer who chat with friends on Discord while playing.

PS 5’s Straightforward Discord Integration

  • The update will be phased in gradually, starting in Japan/Asia, then Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Middle East, and lastly the Americas.
  • Users should update their PS 5 system software and link both their Play Station Network and Discord accounts to use this feature.
  • To enter a Discord voice chat on PS5 you must approach it via the Control Center’s Game Base just select your preferred voice channel from there.

This upgrade is a notable step forward compared to before where players had to transfer calls to their PS 5 using another device. Sony’s tie up with Discord highlights its focus on refining the social side of gaming.

Other New Features on PS 5

The recent update also introduces more new features apart from integrating Discord,

  • Now child accounts can add links to third party services as well as apps which improves their gaming experience with services like Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
  • New tools give parents control over child account links with third party venues.
  • Better system software performance and stability are assured now.
  • PULSE Elite wireless headset, PULSE Explore wireless earbuds, Play Station Link USB adapter are all updated to improve their connections and usability.

Updates for Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft also launched updates for the Xbox Series X/S. These upgrades focus on animated backgrounds, WiFi connectivity and cloud gaming enhancements.

  • An upgraded dynamic back grounds now let each game’s art engulf the background when users flick over it.
  • Users can hold up to 10 WiFi connections which makes changing locations quicker due to familiar network settings.
  • Managing subscriptions directly from a settings menu is now possible which gives better control over services such as Game Pass.
  • Increased support for mouse and keyboard in cloud gaming as well as simplified cloud save management thanks to new features.

The updates reflect Microsoft‘s dedication to refining the user experience. And making Xbox Series X/S more versatile and user friendly devices.

Gaming Console User Experiences Going Up

Sony and Microsoft‘s updates point to a silent console face off aimed at making gaming more rewarding. Sony’s PS5 upgrade especially with direct Discord access suits gamer who use the communication platform extensively. On the other hand, Xbox users’ feedback on dynamic backgrounds, WiFi connectivity, and cloud gaming drove Microsoft’s upgrades.

Incorporating fresh features alongside polishing existing ones enables both companies to continually refine the gaming experience. This aligns with broader industry trends where players’ experience becomes integral to tech development.

To Conclude

Sony and Microsoft continue updating their PS 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles experimentally adding features like Direct Discord integration, advanced active backdrops, better system performance etc. For gamer this means they can anticipate smoother game play experiences. These rolling updates strengthen both functional aspects as well as social interaction for players enabling them more facility in playing and enjoying their favourite games.

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