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WhatsApp Beta Update Brings Profile QR Codes to Let You Add Contacts Easily

WhatsApp Beta Update Brings Profile QR Codes to Let You Add Contacts Easily

The new QR Code feature is currently available on WhatsApp Beta, but there is no word on the official launch yet.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 8:07 PM IST

WhatsApp is all set to introduce a Snapchat-like feature that will now make it easier for users to add new contacts just by scanning a QR code. The QR code feature, which is assumed to have been in development for quite some time, will be rolled out to both iOS and Android devices, and will offer a unique QR code to every user to help add contacts easily.

According to WABetaInfo, the QR Code feature will appear under the Profile settings. Sharing it will allow a user to let anyone add them to their contacts list, without going through the convoluted process that is in place right now. To add contacts, there will also be an option to ‘scan code’, which will allow users to add a contact to WhatsApp directly.

The QR code contact addition feature can be particularly beneficial to WhatsApp Business users, who can quickly share their contacts to receive orders or payments. This can particularly find implementation in shops that use WhatsApp for official purposes, and may also enhance the WhatsApp Pay experience that is set to be rolled out some time in future.

As for the public launch of the QR code feature, there is no word on when might this feature roll out in the stable build. WhatsApp has had an erratic history with beta features, and while some features have made it to the stable builds quite swiftly, others, such as the much hyped Dark Mode, took rather look to come out of beta. Reports further suggest that the QR code scanning feature of WhatsApp may also allude to the multi-device account support that is expected soon, which may also be coming soon.




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Apple iOS 13.5 Brings Faster iPhone Unlock if You Are Wearing a Mask & Gets New Contact Tracing API

The iOS 13.5 update prompt that is reaching all iPhone users now. (Image: News18.com)

The iOS 13.5 update prompt that is reaching all iPhone users now. (Image: News18.com)

Apple has also brought its Exposure Notification API through the iOS 13.5 update, which may be used by smartphone contact tracing apps.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 21, 2020, 12:12 AM IST
  • Edited by: Shouvik Das

iOS 13.5 update for iPhones is here for users across the world, bringing a much needed update that makes it easier for iPhone users to unlock their devices while wearing masks. The update takes into account the prevailing healthcare regulations across the world, which suggests individuals to wear masks at all times in public. Alongside the update to Face ID to accommodate masks on faces, Apple’s iOS 13.5 update also brings the Exposure Notification API, which Apple built in collaboration with Google to enable seamless integration of Covid-19 contact tracing apps by national or regional healthcare departments.

As seen in the iOS 13.5 release note that is rolling out right now, users of iPhones that employ Face ID instead of Touch ID, i.e. iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, will automatically see the numeric passcode field presented to them as soon as they turn on the iPhone display and attempt to unlock the device, when wearing a mask. This small but crucial enhancement can significantly help ease the ordeal for users, who are now stuck at either needing to remove their masks in order to unlock their iPhones, or wait for repeated failed face recognition attempts to register, before the passcode field turns up automatically. The update can be significantly helpful to healthcare professionals, for whom repeatedly removing their face masks or waiting too long to be able to unlock their devices can be a major deterrent.

Furthermore, the iOS 13.5 update also brings to devices the Exposure Notification API, developed jointly with Google in order to enable cross-platform Covid-19 contact tracing. While the update is being rolled out worldwide and has come to India as well, what remains to be seen here is how this update reflects in Aarogya Setu, India’s official Covid-19 contact tracing smartphone application. While the API will be introduced in all iPhones, contact tracing app developers will be required to enable the use of the API by the respective apps, in order for them to come into effect. Apple and Google’s contact tracing API has paid heed to privacy debates around contact tracing, and it now remains to be seen as to how this update reflects upon all the existing contact tracing apps across the world.

Other areas that the iOS 13.5 update is improving include minor fixes to FaceTime group video calls where the current speaker’s video tile will now be responsively highlighted, a black screen issue in some video streaming apps (names of apps unspecified) and a bug in the slide-out menu that appears when you try to share a file from your iPhone. The iOS 13.5 update had hit the ‘golden master’ (pre-release testing) stage only two days ago, and measures 420MB in size for users who keep their devices regularly updated. The update is now available to all iOS users in India.




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Airtel Brings Long-Term Prepaid Plan For Rs 2,498 Offering 2GB of Daily Data for 365 Days

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

The new Airtel Rs 2,498 prepaid recharge plan is now live on the telco’s website.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 19, 2020, 11:57 AM IST

Airtel has launched a new prepaid plan for consumers looking for long-term validity. Priced at Rs 2,498 the plan offers a bunch of benefits including 2GB of daily data with a validity of 365 days. The plan also offers free Hello tunes and anti-virus protection for your smartphone. You also get free online courses for 28 days via Upskill with Shaw Academy.

Apart from the above benefits, customers get unlimited calls to any network, 100 SMS messages per day along with additional benefits like free Zee5 premium subscription, and Airtel Xstream Premium subscription. Customers also get Wynk Music prepaid subscription; and Rs. 150 cashback on FASTag.

Airtel also offers the Rs. 2,398 long-term validity pack which offers a similar validity of 365 days. This prepaid plan offers 1.5GB daily data, unlimited calls, and 100 SMS messages per day. It also offers similar additional benefits as the Rs. 2,498 prepaid plan including the 28-day free Upskill with Shaw Academy online courses. A similar Rs 1,498 prepaid plan also offers 365 days validity with unlimited calling and additional benefits, however, the data benefit is only 24GB in total, and SMS benefits include 3600 messages.

Reliance Jio offers a similar long term prepaid plan priced at Rs 2,399 offering 2GB of daily data with a validity of 365 days, unlimited calling to Jio numbers, 12,000 minutes of free calling to non-Jio numbers, 100 SMS per day and subscription to Jio apps.

Disclaimer:News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio.




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F1 2020 Gameplay Trailer Brings the Thrill of Racing Amid Lockdown: Watch Here

F1 2020, the season, looks like a bleak possibility right now, as the Covid-19 pandemic shows little signs of going away. In such circumstances, racing enthusiasts and aficionados will be thrilled to find a hot new trailer that dropped yesterday — F1 2020. This year’s edition of the premier racing game looks swankier than ever before, and brings with itself a comprehensive feature that gives you the taste of becoming a team owner, a manager, an engineer and a race driver, all at one go. With these improvements in sight, F1 2020 (the game) looks set to bring you the closest that you can come to all the thrill and action of Formula One racing this year.

Before discussing further, here’s the 1-minute first gameplay trailer that F1 2020 has released:

Starting with the game itself, the big new addition is ‘My Team’. With 10 set teams and drivers already part of the grid, My Team gives you the opportunity to create the 11th team in the pit lane, and start an entire F1 journey on your own. The mode is almost an entire game by itself, since it offers players micro-control over their own F1 team. You can hire your own drivers from a roster that also includes 2019’s Formula 2 racers — as a graceful tribute, the makers of F1 have included Anthoine Hubert, the F2 driver who tragically lost his life in a high speed crash last year. Juan Manuel Correa, who was also part of the crash and suffered severe injuries to his leg, is also included in the list.

With My Team, players will be making their own team crest from scratch, select an engine partner to power their car for the year, find sponsors, design race suits and a racing livery for the car to sport, and essentially control every aspect of an F1 team. Explaining the magnitude of the mode in an interview with IGN, Lee Mather, the F1 2020 game director stated that My Team by itself is “almost a game again”, further calling it “absolutely enormous”.

Think of this as a bit like the legendary ‘Manager Mode’ from FIFA, which lets you almost entirely take over a club and raise it from scratch. With F1 2020, players will get first hand experience of how it feels to run an entire team, and the process will be aided by an AI engine that has presumably been sharpened to account for ancillary club functions. The game also has an entire value and economy system to represent the financial side of things. What now remains to be seen is how much do cut-scenes play a role here, and how cohesive the gaming experience remains.

F1 2020 has always been one of the finest racing games of all times, particularly being favourites of those who love a technical racing experience. Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, F1 2020 is set to release globally on July 10, 2020, and will be available on Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Stadia.



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Moto Razr Android 10 Update Brings New Features For Quick View Display

Moto Razr Android 10 Update Brings New Features For Quick View Display

The new Moto Razr is getting the Android 10 update which brings some new features to the outer display as well as some new camera features.

  • Last Updated: May 12, 2020, 6:34 PM IST

The Moto Razr has been one of the most hyped and exciting smartphones from the company in recent times. Now while the pricing hasn’t been very attractive and there have been questions regarding the build of the handset, it is still an iconic gadget.

Surprisingly, the handset was launched with Android 9 Pie, but the company has finally started rolling Android 10 for the foldable device. Of course, the update is not going to solve the hardware quirks, but it should bring some respite to owners. Apart from bringing all the new features including dark mode, enhanced permissions, gesture navigation options and so on, it also expands some functionality of the device, specifically the outer display.

With the new update, the outer ‘Quick View’ display now supports more apps. The outer display now lets you use Google Maps with navigation, control music on streaming apps like Spotify and YouTube Music, access favorite contacts to make calls and even reply to messages using the new Quick View keyboard or Smart Replies.

The camera also gets some new well-needed features including group selfies and portrait modes when the phone is shut. New gestures like swiping right or twisting your wrist can now quickly fire up the camera app.

Motorola says that the update should start rolling out to all-users by mid-May, so expect the update to arrive any time soon.




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Google Doodle Brings Back Video Game Pac Man Live Today

A screengrab of Friday's Google doodle.

A screengrab of Friday’s Google doodle.

While PAC MAN is controlled using the arrow keys on keyboard or by clicking on the maze; Ms. PAC MAN can be controlled with the WASD keys.

  • Trending Desk
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2020, 11:18 AM IST

In Google’s stay and play at home doodle series, users can play with a memorable video game character, Pac Man. The doodle was first released in 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the character’s birthday. It was also the “playable Google doodle”.

The nostalgic doodle will stay alive for 48 hours, instead of just one day. So people looking forward to reliving the good old days or meet the “pizza-shaped character” that gobbles up dots in a maze for the first time, go to Google Search on any device and click on the doodle.

Users will be redirected to another page of ‘popular Google Doodle games’ where one can play Pac Man by clicking on the ‘insert coin’ button.

“Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece,” wrote Marcin Wichary, senior UX designer and developer.

He also said that there was an Easter egg in the doodle. “If you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else”.

While PAC MAN is controlled using the arrow keys on keyboard or by clicking on the maze; Ms. PAC MAN can be controlled with the WASD keys.

Google has tried to retain the game’s original logic, graphics and sound that was a part of the game in 1980. The colourful ghosts have also been recreated to pay tribute to Toru Iwatani’s masterpiece.

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Google Brings Back 2017 'Hip Hop' Doodle That Will Make You Groove Today

A screen grab of Thursday's Google doodle.

A screen grab of Thursday’s Google doodle.

Thursday’s doodle is part of Google’s ‘Stay and Play at Home with Popular Past Google Doodles’ series.

  • Trending Desk
  • Last Updated: May 7, 2020, 8:45 AM IST

Stay and Play at Home | Google’s latest interactive doodle will make you groove as it has brought back its 2017 illustration on “Hip Hop”, celebrating the birth of Hip Hop music. Thursday’s doodle is part of Google’s “Stay and Play at Home with Popular Past Google Doodles” series.

Google said, “As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, people and families everywhere are spending more time at home. In light of this, we’re launching a throwback Doodle series looking back at some of our popular interactive Google Doodle games!”

When users click on the doodle on the Google homepage, they are redirected to the game that has a feature logo graphic created by famed graffiti artist Cey Adams, interactive turntables on which users can mix samples from legendary tracks, and a serving of Hip Hop history – with an emphasis on its founding pioneers. What’s more, the whole experience is narrated by Hip Hop icon Fab 5 Freddy, former host of “Yo! MTV Raps.”

Google doodle hip hop

On August 11, 1973, an 18-year-old, Jamaican-American DJ who went by the name of Kool Herc threw a back-to-school jam at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York. During his set, he decided to do something different. Instead of playing the songs in full, he played only their instrumental sections, or “breaks” – sections where he noticed the crowd went wild. During these “breaks” his friend Coke La Rock hyped up the crowd with a microphone. And with that, Hip Hop was born.

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Google Meet New Update Brings Zoom-like Gallery View With 16 Participants

Keeping the high demand for video meetings in mind as people work from home, Google has introduced 4 new features in its enterprise conferencing Meet app, including a Zoom-like gallery view. Previously, only four people were seen on-screen at a time, but with an expended tiled layout, you’ll be able to see 16 call participants at once. “More updates are coming for larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across more devices,” informed Smita Hashim, Director of Product Management, Google Meet, Voice and Calendar. Users will now have the option to present a Chrome tab (instead of just presenting their window or entire screen).

“If you need to share high-quality video with audio content in meetings, select this option for the best experience for remote viewers. The ‘present a Chrome tab’ feature is rolling out to general availability as of today,” Hashim said in a statement late Wednesday. Google Meet can now use AI to automatically adjust the video to make you more visible to other participants in sub-optimal lighting conditions. This feature is currently rolling out to mobile users and will be available to web users in the future.

“To help limit interruptions to your meeting, Meet can now intelligently filter out background distractions. Noise cancellation will begin rolling out in the coming weeks to G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers starting with web users and later to mobile users,” informed Hashim. Google said that Meet uses the same protections that Google uses to secure user data and safeguard privacy. “Over the past few weeks, we’ve extended advanced Meet features to all G Suite customers so that they can get the most out of Meet. We’ve also ramped up engineering support for Meet,” said Google.

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Comet 2I/Borisov, Our Second Visitor from Outer Space, Brings Traces of an Alien World

The interstellar comet 2I/Borisov travels through our solar system in an artist's impression obtained by Reuters April 20, 2020. NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello/Handout via REUTERS.

The interstellar comet 2I/Borisov travels through our solar system in an artist’s impression obtained by Reuters April 20, 2020. NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello/Handout via REUTERS.

Scientists initially concluded last year that 2I/Borisov was similar to comets from our solar system, but data from the Hubble Space Telescope revealed its differences.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: April 21, 2020, 3:15 PM IST

Scientists have discovered that a comet called 2I/Borisov – only the second interstellar object ever detected passing through the solar system – is surprisingly different in its composition from comets hailing from our celestial neighborhood. Gas coming off 2I/Borisov contained high amounts of carbon monoxide – far more than comets formed in our solar system – indicating the object had large concentrations of carbon monoxide ice, researchers said on Monday.

Carbon monoxide, poisonous to humans, is common as a gas in space and forms as ice only in the most frigid locations. The presence of so much carbon monoxide, the researchers said, suggests 2I/Borisov formed in a different manner than comets in our solar system – in a very cold outer region of its home star system or around a star cooler than the sun. Comets essentially are dirty snowballs composed of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit stars.

“We like to refer to 2I/Borisov as a snowman from a dark and cold place,” said planetary scientist Dennis Bodewits of Auburn University in Alabama, lead author of one of two 2I/Borisov studies published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“Comets are left-over building blocks from the time of planet formation. For the first time, we have been able to measure the chemical composition of such a building block from another planetary system while it flew through our own solar system,” Bodewits added. The comet, detected in August 2019 by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov and estimated to be about six-tenths of a mile (1-km) wide, has zoomed through interstellar space after being ejected from its original star system. It was born long ago in a rotating disc of gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star in a place that must have been rich in carbon monoxide, Bodewits said. That star may have been what is called an M-dwarf, far smaller and cooler than the sun and the smallest type of star that is known, Bodewits said.

Scientists initially concluded last year that 2I/Borisov was similar to comets from our solar system, but data from the Hubble Space Telescope and an observatory in Chile revealed its differences. The researchers also found an abundance of hydrogen cyanide at levels similar to comets from our solar system. “This shows that 2I/Borisov is not a completely alien object, and confirms some similarity with our ‘normal’ comets, so the processes that shaped it are comparable to the way our own comets formed,” said Martin Cordiner, an astrobiologist working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and lead author of the other study. The only other interstellar visitor discovered in our solar system was a cigar-shaped rocky object called ‘Oumuamua spotted in 2017.

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Get to the Choppa! Fortnite v12.20 Update Brings Helicopters to the Game

To add some improved mobility to the game, Fortnite is bringing a new vehicle to the game. With the latest update having version 12.20, players will now be able to move around the map faster using the all-new ‘Choppas.’ Players had started witnessing helipads within the game’s map and it finally adds up. Fortnite v12.20 update started rolling out on Tuesday, March 17.

Players can find the Choppas on helipads placed around secret bases. From what we know, these helipads started popping up on the map since the beginning of Chapter 2 Season 2 of Fortnite. They are capable of accomodating an entire squad and allow players to hunt enemies from above. These don’t come armed with any weapons, so make sure you load up before flying off.

This is the second time we are seeing an aerial vehicle being added to the game. Epic Games had added the rather controversial airplanes during the first chapter last year. It didn’t receive a positive response from players as it restricted the ability to destroy structures and deal significant damage with the onboard mini-gun. Hence, this time the company has decided not to have any on-board weapons. Fortnite is however late as popular battle royale games like PUBG and Call of Duty: Warzone both offer the use of helicopters, at least in one mode or the other.

Apart from the helicopters, expect some of the usual list of fixes and improvements to gameplay. You can download the update across all available platforms.