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AI

Google is using AI to update business hours that are out of date on Google Maps

Google has shared how it’s using artificial intelligence, including its restaurant-calling Duplex tech, to try and keep business hours up to date on Google Maps. The company says that if it is confident enough in the AI’s prediction of what a business’s hours should be, it will update the information in Maps.

In a blog post, Google outlines the various factors its AI analyzes to determine whether it should do these updates. First, it looks at when the business profile was last updated, other similar shops’ hours, and Popular Times data to decide how likely it is that the hours are incorrect. For example: if Google sees that a lot of people visit the shop when it’s supposedly closed, that may be a red flag.

Google’s post says that its AI looks at even more data if it determines the hours should be updated. It’ll take into account information from the business’s website and can even scrape street view images (which may show business hours signs) to try and figure out when the business is open. Google says it’ll also check with actual humans, including Google Maps users and business owners, to verify the AI’s predictions — the company says it will even use Duplex in some countries to ask businesses about their hours directly.

Google spokesperson Genevieve Park told The Verge that Google will “only publish business hours when we have a high degree of confidence that they’re accurate.” If the AI thinks the hours may be incorrect but doesn’t have a solid prediction, it adds a notice that the hours may have changed.

Google tries to warn users of potentially inaccurate info, even if it can’t provide the accurate information itself.
Image: Google

Park also said that Google doesn’t explicitly tell users when hours were updated by its AI and explained that AI is used pretty much everywhere else in Google Maps. It seems like Google’s pretty bullish on its AI-driven approach. In its post, the company says it’s “on track to update the hours for over 20 million businesses around the globe in the next six months.”

Google also says it’s piloting another use of AI in Maps to help keep speed limits up to date. In the US, it’ll try to see if its partners have taken images of stretches of road that have speed limit signs and will have AI help its operations team identify the sign and the speed limit posted on it.

While it’s no surprise that Google’s using AI for these problems, it is interesting to see how many interlocking systems are involved. There’s computer vision, pattern recognition in location trends, and analyzing data about similar locations (which, of course, also involves figuring out what the similar locations even are), all to quietly try and keep up with how often businesses change their hours and make sure it knows the speed limit on certain stretches of road.

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Game

Analogue’s big Pocket update is (kinda) here

It’s been a longer wait than we’d hoped, but the first major software update for the Analogue Pocket is finally here. It’s still a beta version so not everything is fully fleshed out, but you’ll at least be able to get a taste of the company’s vision for its fledgling OS. The beta does include a taste of the “reference” Library, much-improved game saves and, most excitingly, a glimpse at how third-party developers can use the Pocket to emulate consoles beyond the ones it already does.

Analogue OS 1.1

“Memories,” as Analogue calls save-states, still aren’t complete, but you can at least save a respectable 128 different game states which is a vast improvement on the minimal offering at launch (one slot for just one game total). You can create saves for any game, be that physical cartridge, or any “.pocket” GB Studio files you have (like Deadeus). The method for making a save is the same as before (Up+Analogue button) and you can recall a list of saves during play with Down+Analogue button. If you prefer to start from the last save point immediately, you can activate that in options also (rather than choosing from a list).

What you can’t do is keep updating the last save as you go along (think “save slots” in most emulators). Every new save will be a separate file and you’ll manage them individually. They show up in a long list which details the platform for the game you were playing (Game Boy, Game Gear etc.) the game’s title and date/time of the save.

Right now you can pull up Memories from the main menu (before loading a game), but choosing a save that corresponds to the cartridge in the slot doesn’t take you directly there (it’s grayed out), you have to load the game first. Analogue says that saves/Memories will soon have a screenshot attached and will be sortable in a variety of ways to make the experience much smoother in the full release this September.

The Analogue Pocket gaming handheld showing the new

James Trew / Engadget

What wasn’t in the OS at launch at all was the “Library” feature. All we knew was that it had the lofty goal of being a complete reference of all gaming history. From within that you’d see artwork for titles along with what company made the game, for what platform, what year and even what region or version you had inserted in the cartridge slot. In today’s beta, the Library is more of a splash screen before the game loads. Analogue says you’ll even be able to add your own image to a game in the Library, but again, expect that in the final release.

All the cartridges I tested had the correct details with a screenshot, but the information is limited (no mention of what year or version of the game I have etc.). Of course we’re excited to see how this scales up once it’s fully integrated, but for now it’s a pleasant stop along the way to playing a game. It’s worth noting that, as is, it only applies to cartridges and not titles launched from the GB Studio section (such as the aforementioned Deadeus which is a full game that Analogue made available for the Pocket at launch).

On a more practical note, Analogue has added support for more third-party controllers for when playing through the TV via the dock. To be fair, even though the officially supported list at launch was short (three 8Bitdo models plus the PS4 and Switch controllers), many more did still work. As of this release the number of 8Bitdo controllers supported jumps to 15 and PS5 owners can now use their DualSense, too, if they wish.

OpenFPGA

One of the more interesting features of the Pocket at launch was the presence of a spare FPGA chip. Analogue’s hardware doesn’t use software emulation, instead it uses a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) to emulate consoles at the hardware level with cores — instructions for the FPGA that configure it to mimic a specific system. Analogue pledged that others would be able to develop cores for the Pocket, and today we see the first example of that.

The Analogue Pocket gaming handheld shown with the first third party-developed core. This core allows Pocket owners to play one of the first every videogames - Spacewar!

James Trew / Engadget

A core for the PDP-1 has been created for the Pocket allowing you to play one of the very first videogames — Spacewar! — from 1962. As you can imagine, the game is very simple and doesn’t really tax the Pocket, but it’s a fitting first example for a console that wants to celebrate the history of gaming. And this should really just be the start of something more exciting as other developers – which can be anyone – get onboard.

What’s more of a surprise is that the entirety of the Pocket’s hardware appears to be open to developers. Initially, it was thought that the Pocket’s main FPGA would be kept for Analogue and the less powerful second FPGA was there to be tinkered with. But the company’s founder, Christopher Taber, confirmed to Engadget that “developers will be capable of implementing totally decentralized cores as far as they can push Pocket’s hardware … roughly up to the 32-bit generation.”

Best of all, we might not even have to wait very long to see what comes along. “Many third-party developers have had their hands on openFPGA for some time now and you can expect a plethora of new amazing things being publicly released by them shortly on/after July 29th”, Taber told Engadget, before concluding: “We are not f***ing around with this.”

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Computing

The latest Windows update is causing major printer problems

Microsoft is now offering Windows 10 users a workaround for an issue that has come along with a mid-July update.

The KB5015807 update, which rolled out on July 12 and includes OS Builds 19042.1826, 19043.1826, and 19044.1826 all have a glitch that affects printers connected to computers running Windows 10. After the update is installed, you might see multiple printer listings available when you only have one product.

OnMSFT noted that duplicate printer listings are showing up on computers either as several options of the same printer names or options, such as “Copy1,” making it challenging to know which printer is correct.

Microsoft’s changelogs associated with this update detail that the “normal printer usage might be interrupted, resulting in failure of printing operations.”

The issue has also affected the Windows 10 KB5014666 preview update, which was released on June 28 and includes OS Builds 19042.1806, 19043.1806, and 19044.1806.

Microsoft says it is currently working on finding the root cause of this glitch and will soon provide a remedy update. Meanwhile, the workaround option for this glitch is essentially to have you manually find the rogue printers that were duplicated due to the update. OnMSFT said Microsoft didn’t give too many specifics on how to do this but did explain that you can find the printers in the Bluetooth and devices section in the Settings app.

The publication did however develop a trick for disabling the excess printers. Once in the Bluetooth and devices section, you can see if there are multiple printers and test each one by attempting to print something through the control panel.

Part of the glitch is that defective duplicate printers might be unable to print through printer apps in Windows 10, so printing tester pages within the control panel can help you identify and delete the non-functioning printers and hopefully find the correct printer. You can use the steps below to complete this workaround.

  • Open Control Panel by searching for it from the Start Menu
  • Change the view so you’re viewing by category
  • Under hardware and sound, choose view devices and printers
  • Right-click on your printers, and choose printer properties
  • Under the general tab of the printer, choose Print Test Page

Other potential workarounds include updating your printer drivers or uninstalling your printer. OnMSFT also suggests pausing Windows Update or uninstalling the update that caused the glitch.

Hopefully, Microsoft does make good on its promise to address this issue. The brand’s June security update was forced to address a serious zero-day vulnerability called Follina (CVE-2022-30190), which was not taken seriously at first and only given workaround suggestions when it first surfaced.

The security flaw originated within the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT), which is associated with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Word. It was exploited several by hackers that targeted the Tibetan diaspora and U.S. and E.U. government agencies before Microsoft stepped in with a solid fix.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

No Man’s Sky Endurance update focuses on freighters and fleets

Hello Games shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to . The studio just released the 20th major update, which is called Endurance. The previous big update, titled Outlaws, . The focus this time is on fleets and freighters.

With Endurance, Hello Games has overhauled freighters. There’s a new bridge with a quick-access teleporter that will take players to and from the new-look hangar in a jiffy. There’s the option to teleport between the capital ship and a fleet to carry out repairs on frigates too.

You’ll be able to quickly put together a space base with new parts and customizable themed rooms. Cultivate crops in a dedicated chamber, or add a catwalk, observation deck or glass corridor to gaze out at the cosmos. Using the Planetary Probe freighter module, you can remotely discover all celestial bodies in a given solar system.

Players can hire captains and pilots, and they may see engineers, biologists and technicians walking around their freighter. Hello Games upgraded freighters’ exterior visuals as well. Additionally, there are new effects for black holes and visual enhancements for nebulae — a perfectly timed update after NASA released the from James Webb Space Telescope last week.

Asteroids have been improved too. They’re more varied in shape and size and you may see thousands of them on screen simultaneously. Some may even nest creatures. Also new are procedurally generated organic frigates, which you can add to your fleet and deploy on missions. The game , which can now leech energy from enemy vessels.

Organic frigates in No Man's Sky

Hello Games

Elsewhere, a new expedition called Polestar will start soon. You’ll be tasked with taking your capital ship across the galaxy on a cruise. Rewards include new base parts (such as a flaming barrel), a jellyfish companion and a unique cape design. The update introduces new multiplayer missions too.

In the coming months, No Man’s Sky will arrive on yet more platforms. It’s coming to Nintendo Switch and macOS . A version is in the works as well.

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Game

‘Genshin Impact’ Summer Fantasia update arrives on July 13th

Hoyoverse will release Genshin Impact’s next major content update on July 13th, the studio . Dubbed “Summer Fantasia,” version 2.8 will reintroduce the Golden Apple Archipelago, a zone Hoyoverse has redesigned to add new plotlines and challenges for players to complete. By finishing the included quests, you’ll have the chance to recruit Fischl, a four-star playable character, to your party for free.

Moreover, as part of the game’s upcoming Resonating Visions event, you’ll have a chance to collect conch shells you can later trade for an outfit for Fischl. The shells will also reveal more of the game’s story. Separately, the update adds sailing challenges you can complete with your friends, and a new playable character named Shikanoin Heizou. Hoyoverse describes him as Genshin’s first melee catalyst user. Shikanoin can deal extra damage to enemies affected by elemental attacks.

Additional content for Genshin Impact is one of a few projects Hoyoverse is working on at the moment. In recent weeks, the studio announced it was developing two new games,  and . Neither title has a release date yet, but you can sign up to beta test the former on PC and iOS.

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Computing

Microsoft Teams update could finally solve chat woes

Microsoft has plans to bring several new features to its Teams app in the coming weeks, including a translation-focused update and a new pop-out feature for shared meeting content.

The brand added these features to its Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, stating that they are on track for an August update for Teams; however, the roadmap is more like a list of ideas Microsoft is currently developing rather than guaranteed updates.

Microsoft is working on an Intelligent translation feature that will allow you to more intuitively translate languages while text chatting in Teams. Neowin suggests that the feature will likely work in tandem with the inline chat translation that is already available on Teams for Android and iOS. With this update, Teams will be able to detect messages that are not your native language and suggest you translate them to your language, in their entirety. The update will be available only for Android and iOS users.

The other feature that might come to Teams in August is one that allows you to separate shared content into a pop-out window while in a meeting. Neowin also expects this feature might work similarly to how you can pop out standard chats in Teams into their own windows. This would likely help keep content from getting lost as it scrolls by in a chat, so you can refer back to it later. The feature will be available for web, desktop, and Mac users.

While these features might not be certain for Teams, Microsoft did introduce several A.I.- and machine learning-based features in June. The voice-focused features include echo cancellation, dereverberation, interruptibility, and background noise suppression.

Microsoft has been putting a considerable amount of effort into building out Teams in 2022, especially since it added the app to its Microsoft Store as a downloadable application in mid-May after the program spent five years as a manual download.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Chrome password manager update will let you manually add credentials

Google is updating its built-in password manager for Chrome and Android as it attempts to position it as an alternative to standalone services offered by 1Password and Bitwarden, the company announced today. Most significant is the ability to manually add passwords to the service, rather than simply relying on Chrome’s offer to save credentials when you use them. There had previously been signs of this feature on Chrome on desktop, but now Google says it’s making it available across “all platforms.”

The search giant also says it’s working to unify the design of the password manager between Chrome and Android with “a simplified and unified management experience” and says this includes a feature that will automatically group multiple passwords used on the same site. On Android, Google says a new “Touch-to-Login” feature lets users enter their credentials via an overlay at the bottom of the screen “to make logging in even quicker.”

Google says Touch-to-Login speeds up the process.
Image: Google

Google’s password manager already includes the ability to check for weak and reused passwords (and automatically change them on Android) and autofill saved passwords across apps outside of Chrome on iOS. Google says it’s continuing to invest in its password manager to support emerging technologies like passwordless passkeys (which Apple also intends to bring to Safari).

Despite offering a feature set that’s increasingly comparable to standalone third-party password managers, Google seems reluctant to spin its password manager out into a standalone app. But, as of this month, 9to5Google reports that it’s possible to put a shortcut to Google’s password manager directly on your Android homescreen — a big improvement over having to dig through your Android settings to find it.

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Categories
Game

Microsoft Edge update brings Xbox streaming ‘Clarity Boost’ to everyone

Microsoft is hoping to make Edge the browser of choice for gamers. The company is rolling out a host of gaming-related updates to most users, including perks for game streaming. A new (if long in development) Clarity Boost feature improves the visual quality of console titles when you’re using Xbox Cloud Gaming on a Windows 10 or 11 PC. The spatial upscaling technology won’t make you forget that it’s a stream, but the sample Microsoft offered suggests it will reduce the muddy look that sometimes plagues remote games.

You won’t need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription for the other improvements. Windows 10 and 11 users will also see a toggle in Efficiency mode that automatically reduces Edge’s resource use when you start a PC game. You might not have to close your browser to wring every last drop of performance out of your system.

Regardless of platform, there’s an optional gaming-oriented homepage that points you to news, livestreams, new releases and quick access to the Xbox Cloud Gaming catalog. You can also visit a dedicated games menu that offers free-to-play arcade and casual titles to keep you entertained during uneventful meetings.

This isn’t the first browser built for gamers. Opera GX launched three years ago with similar features, such as lower resource usage and quick access to livestreams. Microsoft features like Clarity Boost might be more appealing in some cases, though, and Edge’s ubiquity on Windows systems gives it better odds of widespread adoption.

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Game

PS5 update adds a TikTok-like editor to its game clips editor

Sony unveiled a new quick editing mode for PS5’s Share Factory Studio today that will allow users to create shortform gameplay videos with pre-set, Tik-Tok-like formats. In a , Sony explained the new editing feature — which it has deemed “Bits”— lets gamers choose a curated Bit style for their gameplay clip, or customize their footage even further with the “Quick Edit” mode. Players can expect new Bits styles to roll out every week. Bits themes will be based on special events, holidays, seasons and trending content.

“Our goal with Bits is to make it super easy and fun for PlayStation gamers to create and share short-form gameplay videos for sharing cool achievements, jokes, stunts, and any other type of eye-catching content,” the company in the official PlayStation blog.

For those who aren’t familiar, is PlayStation’s free editing app that lets players capture and edit gameplay footage right on their consoles and share to social media. The app is packed with advanced video and audio editing features, including support for HDR video and the ability to add animation, stickers, filters and voice effects. But for those who are overwhelmed by Share Factory Studio’s many options, Bits seems to be an easy way to churn out social media-friendly gameplay clips.

For a preview of what Bits looks like, check out the short trailer below.

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Security

Don’t wait to install the June Windows update — it fixes the Follina security flaw

Microsoft has patched a Windows vulnerability that hackers are actively exploiting. If you own a system that uses Windows 7 and up, you’ll want to update your computer as soon as possible (via Bleeping Computer).

The security flaw, called Follina (CVE-2022-30190) by researchers, lets bad actors hijack users’ computers through programs like Microsoft Word. Security researchers have been aware of the threat since late May, but Microsoft reportedly dismissed their initial findings.

In an attack documented by security company Proofpoint, hackers associated with the Chinese government sent malicious Word documents to Tibetan recipients. When opened, these documents use the Follina exploit to take control of the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) to execute commands that could be used to install programs, create new user accounts, and access, delete, or change data stored on a computer. The exploit has also been used in phishing campaigns targeting American and European government agencies.

Microsoft’s original warning about the threat offered workarounds to protect against the threat, but this update (KB5014699 for Windows 10 and KB5014697 for Windows 11) should eliminate the need for that. “Microsoft strongly recommends that customers install the updates to be fully protected from the vulnerability,” Microsoft says. “Customers whose systems are configured to receive automatic updates do not need to take any further action.”



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