Google News website gets redesigned, now looks like something from this decade

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-28 11:30:01 Source: arstechnica

Google is launching a major redesign for Google News, bringing the site more in line with Google's company-wide "Material Design" guidelines. A gray background and white cards around each story bring the site more in line with what Google has been doing on Android and makes it look a lot like Google Now. Everything is a lot more spaced out, so you'll see less information on a single page. Google says the airier design is "designed for readability" and will make it easier to scan stories.

The site remains recognizable as Google News. There's still a vertical column of sections on the left side, but now the list is customizable. There's also still a right-side column that houses recent items, the weather, sports scores, and local news. Google is highlighting its "Fact Check"  labeling program with a new block in the right column that will show "the top fact checked articles recently published." One new navigation element is a top bar that lets you jump between top headlines, local news, and "For You"—a suggested content section.

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Google News redesign adds “fact check” block, more white space

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-28 11:15:01 Source: arstechnica

Google is launching a major redesign for Google News, bringing the site more in line with Google's company-wide "Material Design" guidelines. A gray background and white cards around each story bring the site more in line with what Google has been doing on Android and makes it look a lot like Google Now. Everything is a lot more spaced out, so you'll see less information on a single page. Google says the airier design is "designed for readability" and will make it easier to scan stories.

The site remains recognizable as Google News. There's still a vertical column of sections on the left side, but now the list is customizable. There's also still a right-side column that houses recent items, the weather, sports scores, and local news. Google is highlighting its "Fact Check"  labeling program with a new block in the right column that will show "the top fact checked articles recently published." One new navigation element is a top bar that lets you jump between top headlines, local news, and "For You"—a suggested content section.

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Qualcomm, Vivo show off slow but convenient under-display fingerprint sensor

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-28 10:29:57 Source: arstechnica

The next wave of fingerprint readers on smart devices could be more inconspicuous than they are now. Earlier this year, Synaptics announced a new range of fingerprint sensors that can be integrated under polymers, ceramics, and glass, potentially providing more functions to Android soft buttons. Rumor has it that Apple has also been experimenting specifically with under-display fingerprint readers, and that's the area that Qualcomm has been focusing on as well. At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the chip maker showed off its first ultrasonic-based, under-display fingerprint sensors in a prototype of the existing Vivo Xplay6 smartphone.

The technology built into this prototype allows the bottom-third of the smartphone's display to act as the fingerprint reader and unlock the device. As demonstrated in a hands-on by Engadget, you simply press your thumb to the display and the device unlocks within a second or so of reading your fingerprint. It doesn't appear to be a speedy as traditional smartphone fingerprint sensors, but that's not surprising since the technology is still in its infancy and hasn't yet been incorporated into any consumer devices.

According to Vivo, the technology could be built out so the entire display could act as a fingerprint sensor. However, that will up the production costs dramatically. Engadget's report claims Vivo could eventually spread the technology through the bottom half of the display, rather than just a small portion close to the bottom edge.

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Samsung’s fiery Galaxy Note 7 to rise from the ashes as the “Fandom Edition”

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-28 07:14:57 Source: arstechnica

There have been whispers for some time that Samsung is planning to resurrect the fallen Galaxy Note 7, and now the ever-reliable Wall Street Journal has come out with a report detailing Samsung's plan. The existing, non-exploded Note 7 carcasses will be refurbished into the "Galaxy Note 7 FE."

The "FE" stands for "Fandom Edition," and the first batch of 400,000 units is due to hit South Korean shelves on July 7th. Additionally, the report says, a "relatively modest" inventory will be available in other countries, with the exact locations yet to be announced. The latest recall totals from the report say Samsung was forced to recall three million Galaxy Note 7s, so that's still a lot of devices that are unaccounted for.

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Japan’s SNES Classic gets Famicom look and tweaked game selection

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-27 18:15:02 Source: techcrunch

 Everyone’s excited about the SNES Classic Edition, what with its twee 90’s look and fantastic selection of games. But as with its NES predecessor, the Japanese version of the device is significantly different, outside and in — here are the differences between the two.

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Amazon’s latest Prime Exclusive Phones range from $79 to $199

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-27 13:00:00 Source: arstechnica

Amazon's "Prime Exclusive Phones" program takes mid to low-end Android phones loads them with ads and Amazon apps, and cuts around $50 off the price for Prime subscribers. If you can deal with the ads, it's usually a good deal for a budget phone. Today, Amazon is adding five new phones to the Prime Exclusive Phone program, from Nokia, Motorola, and Alcatel.

First up is the freshly announced-for-the-US Nokia 6, which is HMD's first swing at Android-powered Nokia phones. The Prime program gives you $50 off in exchange for ads, bringing the $229.99 price down to $179.99. Besides the fantastic metal body and build quality, the Nokia 6, gives you a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, Android 7.1, a Snapdragon 430, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front camera, and a 3000mAh battery. There's also an SD card slot and dual speakers.

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Pornhub now supports interactive toys, proving porn paves the way

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-27 11:30:03 Source: techcrunch

 Pornhub, an adult content site, has announced compatibility with interactive sex toys like the Kiiroo Onyx – essentially an articulated sex jar – and the Fleshlight Launch – also essentially an articulated sex jar. Certain pre-coded videos played on Pornhub will send signals to these wireless devices, recreating the action on screen with motors and actuators. The company…

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iPhone at 10: How Apple changed gaming for the better and the worse

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-27 08:44:57 Source: arstechnica

Ten years ago this week—on June 29, 2007—many waited (in line or online) for the first iPhone's formal release. Steve Jobs revealed what he promised would be a game-changing device months earlier, providing plenty of time for the lofty dreams, predictions, and excitement to build. The decade since has largely justified the hype. Apple's now-signature product has made a lasting mark not only on our communications, but on many unexpected walks of life. So this week as the iPhone celebrates its 10th anniversary, we'll be examining its impact and revisiting the device that changed it all.

In the heart of Stockholm, Sweden, mobile games developer King has built its own forest. Alongside Earth-toned carpeting and plywood trees are walls coated in Norwegian lichen. Instead of the harsh glow of a fluorescent strip, there are ambient lights that change hue with the seasons. Instead of chairs there are ceiling-hung wicker baskets and long maple desks with multicoloured stools. Along the floor is an artificial stream that scans the footsteps of employees, allowing them to interact with virtual fish and insects. In the winter, the stream freezes over, lending an audible crunch to each footstep.

Such extravagance is hardly extraordinary for the startups and venture capitalists that have spread across California's so-called Silicon Valley (Airbnb has its own makeshift forest, complete with taxidermied raccoon). But for the companies that build their fortunes on the fickle market of mobile games, success is far from guaranteed. King is one of the lucky ones. It has, in its finer moments, raked in profits of half a billion dollars in a single year. So compelling were its profits that publishing giant Activision Blizzard swallowed it up for $5.9 billion in 2015.

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Arms brings the punch to the Nintendo Switch

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-26 15:45:02 Source: techcrunch

 Arms, a flagship Nintendo Switch title from the same folks who brought us Splatoon, is a fighting game only Nintendo could release. The object of the game, as in many fighting games, is to knock down your opponent. How you do it, obviously, is the trick. In Arms your weapons are, well, your arms. There are 30 different arms for ten characters and the arms spring out and can twist towards enemies.

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The Nokia 6 comes to the US for $229

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-26 11:45:00 Source: arstechnica

If you remember, all the way back in February, HMD's Nokia Android lineup made its international debut at Mobile World Congress. The highest-end device, the Nokia 6, impressed us with its metal body, great build quality, stock Android, and low €229 price tag. Now the phone is finally coming to America, care of Amazon, which will sell the device in "early July" for $229. HMD Global, the company now in charge of producing Nokia phones, announced the move this morning.

Of course the $229 price tag means this isn't a high-end phone, but with the death of the Nexus line and the Lenovo-ization of Motorola, good phones in the mid- to low-end market are exactly what Android is lacking right now. With the Nokia 6, you get a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 430, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front camera, and a 3000mAh battery. There's also an SD card slot and dual speakers.

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Back to the iPhone future: Lessons from a decade of Apple influence in medicine

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-26 09:44:57 Source: arstechnica

Ten years ago this week—on June 29, 2007—many waited (in line or online) for the first iPhone's formal release. Steve Jobs revealed what he promised would be a game-changing device months earlier, providing plenty of time for the lofty dreams, predictions, and excitement to build. The decade since has largely justified the hype. Apple's now signature product has made a lasting mark not only on our communications, but on many unexpected walks of life. So this week as the iPhone turns 10, we'll be examining its impact and revisiting the device that changed it all.

In early 2008—on the brink of the second generation iPhone’s release—emergency medicine doctor Michael Omori unabashedly gushed over the digital upheaval he saw at the medical community’s fingertips: Swipes on slim devices leafed pages of hefty medical books too cumbersome to tote on rounds. Thumb taps quickly summoned archived data into emergency rooms. And light pecks conjured 3D anatomy guides and pill identification tools at the bedside.

In a breathless letter to his colleagues in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock, Omori scrolled through all this potential. The letter ended succinctly: “The future is now! Join the iPhone revolution.”

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Google Home arrives in Canada

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-26 08:59:58 Source: techcrunch

 Google Home is now available to buy in Canada, making it the first of the major virtual assistant speaker devices to land in the country. The expansion follows pre-orders kicking off at Google and other retailers earlier this month, and beats Amazon’s Echo to the punch in America’s northern neighbor. Home’s launch in Canada comes with some caveats: Unlike in the U.S., only…

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The Sony A9 inches the mirrorless camera market forward

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-24 15:00:01 Source: techcrunch

 Having a variety of prime, telephoto, macro, sport and the like, all with distinctive shooting characteristics is what give lenses their charm. However, Sony just took Nikon’s spot as number two in the full-frame camera industry — Canon holds pole position. Currently, only 24 full-frame E-mount lenses exist compared to the dozens that Canon has in each category. Still,…

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Scroogled no more: Gmail won’t scan e-mails for ads personalization

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 15:29:59 Source: arstechnica

Google has announced it will no longer scan e-mail messages for ad personalization. Previously, in the consumer version of Gmail, Google's computers would scan the contents of every e-mail message to determine a relevant ad to show. The scanning "feature" has been turned off for Google Apps for Education and GSuite accounts for some time, but now Google says that "consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change."

In its blog post, Google says, "This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization." Presumably Google means Gmail will now honor the account-wide "Ads personalization" setting, which is available at https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated.

Gmail's scanning has long drawn ire from the tech community. It was the subject of a lawsuit alleging the the feature violated wiretapping and privacy laws, which eventually resulted in Google turning scanning off for students. Google has also been sued by non-Gmail users over the feature. That lawsuit claims that non-users that e-mail Gmail users should not have their e-mails scanned. The feature has also been the subject of Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign.

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Gmail will no longer scan e-mails for ad personalization

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 15:14:59 Source: arstechnica

Google has announced it will no longer scan e-mail messages for ad personalization. Previously, in the consumer version of Gmail, Google's computers would scan the contents of every e-mail message to determine a relevant ad to show. The scanning "feature" has been turned off for Google Apps for Education and GSuite accounts for some time, but now Google says that "consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change."

In its blog post, Google says, "This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization." Presumably Google means Gmail will now honor the account-wide "Ads personalization" setting, which is available at https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated.

Gmail's scanning has long drawn ire from the tech community. It was the subject of a lawsuit alleging the the feature violated wiretapping and privacy laws, which eventually resulted in Google turning scanning off for students. Google has also been sued by non-Gmail users over the feature. That lawsuit claims that non-users that e-mail Gmail users should not have their e-mails scanned. The feature has also been the subject of Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign.

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A month with the Catalyst Fermentation System

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 12:15:02 Source: techcrunch

 I’ve been following the multiple “easy” brewing systems available online for a while now and have never found one that truly spoke to me. Devices like the Minibrew seem great but price and shipping problems have always kept them out of my boozy little hands. So, rather than wait for the perfect automatic system, I decided to look at the Catalyst Fermentation System, a $199…

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YouTube’s “VR180” format cuts down on VR video’s prohibitive requirements

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 12:15:00 Source: arstechnica

VidCon, the largest conference for online video creators, took place this week, and YouTube celebrated by announcing a new VR format.

YouTube has supported VR and 360° video for some time, but the format is really hard to do right. The camera rigs are really expensive, and for any kind of clarity, 4K resolution isn't good enough—you need at least an 8K video feed for each eye, which is really hard to record, store, and stream to viewers. 360 video is great for virtually teleporting someone to a location, but it's not an appropriate format for more traditional, structured content with a stage, lighting, and a place you're supposed to be looking at.

To help pull traditional content creators into the VR space, YouTube is launching a new "VR180" format, which is exactly what it sounds like: stereoscopic video, but only in 180 degrees. This cuts the data requirements in half—4K for each eye looks great—and the format should map a lot easier to the existing content most content creators produce, where they can just set up a camera, aim it at a (slightly wider than normal) staged area, and start filming. The new format even supports live streaming.

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YouTube’s “VR180” format makes VR video more accessible

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 12:00:00 Source: arstechnica

VidCon, the largest conference for online video creators, took place this week, and YouTube celebrated by announcing a new VR format.

YouTube has supported VR and 360° video for some time, but the format is really hard to do right. The camera rigs are really expensive, and for any kind of clarity, 4K resolution isn't good enough—you need at least an 8K video feed for each eye, which is really hard to record, store, and stream to viewers. 360 video is great for virtually teleporting someone to a location, but it's not an appropriate format for more traditional, structured content with a stage, lighting, and a place you're supposed to be looking at.

To help pull traditional content creators into the VR space, YouTube is launching a new "VR180" format, which is exactly what it sounds like: stereoscopic video, but only in 180 degrees. This cuts the data requirements in half—4K for each eye looks great—and the format should map a lot easier to the existing content most content creators produce, where they can just set up a camera, aim it at a (slightly wider than normal) staged area, and start filming. The new format even supports live streaming.

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Watchmaker Stephen Forsey talks about the smartwatch problem

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 11:45:03 Source: techcrunch

 Watchmaker Stephen Forsey, co-founder of Gruebel Forsey, isn’t worried. This plain-spoken creator of some of the most complex and beautiful watches in the world sees the Swiss Watch industry to be in turmoil but not in peril. “They made too many watches,” he said simply. And now they can’t sell them. When asked about the rise of the smartwatch, Forsey laughs. His…

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Logitech’s Slim Combo for iPad Pro really boosts your portable productivity power

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-06-23 09:59:58 Source: techcrunch

 Logitech has a long history of making keyboard accessories for iPad, and it has a new product out in time for the release of the latest iPad Pro 10.5 and 12.9 updates. The Slim Combo, which is available for either size device, includes a back cover case with an integrated Apple Pencil sleeve, and a keyboard that uses the iPad’s Smart Connector. The two piece approach results in a slim…

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