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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Google will bring its Assistant to Android Messages

It’s only been a few weeks since Google brought the Assistant to Google Maps to help you reply to messages, play music and more. This feature first launched in English and will soon start rolling out to all Assistant phone languages. In addition, Google also today announced that the Assistant will come to Android Messages, the standard text messaging app on Google’s mobile operating system, in the coming months.

If you remember Allo, Google’s last failed messaging app, then a lot of this will sound familiar. For Allo, after all, Assistant support was one of the marquee features. The different, though, is that for the time being, Google is mostly using the Assistant as an additional layer of smarts in Messages while in Allo, you could have full conversations with a special Assistant bot.

In Messages, the Assistant will automatically pop up suggestion chips when you are having conversations with somebody about movies, restaurants and the weather. That’s a pretty limited feature set for now, though Google tells us that it plans to expand it over time.

What’s important here is that the suggestions are generated on your phone (and that may be why the machine learning model is limited, too, since it has to run locally). Google is clearly aware that people don’t want the company to get any information about their private text chats. Once you tap on one of the Assistant suggestions, though, Google obviously knows that you were talking about a specific topic, even though the content of the conversation itself is never sent to Google’s servers. The person you are chatting with will only see the additional information when you push it to them.


Source: TechCrunch

Google Assistant gets expanded language and device support

At MWC Barcelona, Google today made a few announcements around its Assistant. A lot of these center around support for KaiOS, the operating system for low-end feature phones that Google invested in last year, and additional language support.

While KaiOS, which was born out of Mozilla’s failed FirefoxOS project, may be for the very low end of low-end phones, Google argues that it’s exactly these devices that can profit from have access to a voice-driven assistant, given that they often have smaller screens, too, that make typing a hassle. Google is now bringing the Assistant to these KaiOS devices for users in India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil. In addition, it’s also bringing Voice Typing to KaiOS to help user enter text using their voice. With this, KaiOS users can simply speak their queries and use the Assistant as a way to input all kinds of information.

“If you look at the emerging markets, we’ve seen that the number of Assistant users has multiplied by seven,” Google’s Behshad Behzadi said. “The main reason for this is that for the new users which are coming to this technology for the first time, voice is really the easiest and most natural way for them to use their phones. It’s removing a technology barrier for these users.”

With today’s launch, Google is also bringing support for its bilingual Assistant to more languages. This allows you to seamlessly switch between two languages. Until now, this only worked for English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Italian. Today, the company is adding Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch to this lineup.

In addition, the Assistant now speaks eight new Indic languages: Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu.

Besides the new languages, Google is also bringing Actions — Google’s version of what Amazon calls skills in the Alex ecosystem — to Android Go and KaiOS. Developers can build these actions in 19 languages across 29 locales now.

Google also quietly launched a few other new Assistant features today. You can now check in to your Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian Air flights within Europe using your voice, for example. The Assistant on your phone can now also control the Digital Wellbeing settings like your wind-down time and ‘do not disturb’ mode (in English, German and French). And if you speak German or French, then multiple actions — which allow you to tell the Assistant to perform more than one action at a time (“What’s the weather like in Munich and Bordeaux?”) — are now available to you, too. Until now, this feature was only available in English.


Source: TechCrunch

HTC jumps into 5G at MWC 2019 — but with a hotspot, not a phone – CNET

The hotspot will run on Sprint in the US and is capable of connecting 20 devices to the super-fast network
Source: CNET

Sony's Xperia 1 packs a big screen, but little else – CNET

The Xperia 10 and 10 Plus don’t rev my engines much either.
Source: CNET

Sony's new flagship needed to be so much more – CNET

Sony’s Xperia 1 has some good points, but it does little to stand out above any of its rivals.
Source: CNET

Sony goes ultra-wide for its new handsets

Two years ago, aspect ratios were all the rage. These days, it’s 5G and foldable all the way down, making the Xperia 1 a bit of a throwback. These days, the company’s getting even longer, with a 21:9 display on Sony’s new flagship.

The idea is to make things as cinematic as is possible for a 6.5 inch smartphone, keeping the dimensions closer to the way filmmakers shoot. The screen is a 4K HDR OLED that leverages the Master Monitor color reproduction Sony developed for films.

It’s a marked change for Sony, which largely relies on camera innovations to help stand out from the pack. Of course, there’s a bit of that in here too. The handset is capable of shooting video in 4K HDR at 24FPS in the 21:9 formate. Given that it’s not currently a particularly popular aspect ratio for handsets at this point, you can alway switch to something a bit more common.

As for content, Sony says it’s working with a number of providers to customize things, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube on the video side and Gameloft, 10 Cent and Fortnite developer Epic for games.

The handset will be available in late-Spring. Pricing is still TBD.

Sony also took the opportunity to launch a pair of mid-range phones, the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus. Both handset sport the 21:9 aspect ratio on 6.0 and 6.5 inch handsets, respectively. Those devices run $359 and $430. They’ll be arriving in the U.S. March 18.


Source: TechCrunch

With Mate X, Huawei hopes to unfold new reputation as innovator – CNET

It’s trying to change the conversation.
Source: CNET

Galaxy S10 shows that triple-rear camera phones will be everywhere – CNET

And even more cameras are likely on their way.
Source: CNET

Netflix’s ‘Roma’ wins three Oscars, including Best Director (but not Best Picture)

“Roma” took home three Academy Awards tonight — though not Best Picture, which went to “Green Book.”

Alfonso Cuarón did win an Oscar for directing the film. It was his second victory in the category, following his previous award for “Gravity.” And it marks the fifth time in six years that Best Director has gone to one of the “Three Amigos,” a trio of acclaimed Mexican directors that also includes Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Iñárritu.

“Roma” is based on Cuarón’s childhood in Mexico City, as told through the eyes of the family’s maid Cleo. It went into the night with 10 nominations, tying “The Favourite” for the most nods, so it seemed well-positioned to bring home the first Best Picture award for a streaming film (it would also have been the first for a foreign language film).

Despite losing out on the biggest prize, it won the awards for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film and Best Director.

“Being up here doesn’t get old,” Cuarón said as he took the stage for the third time. He went on to thank the Academy for recognizing “a film centered around an indigenous woman — one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights, a character that had been historically relegated to the background in cinema.”

Netflix spent an estimated $25 to $30 million to campaign for “Roma” — a particularly impressive sum since the film cost $15 million to make. The company also dropped its previous insistence on simultaneously releasing films on streaming and in theaters. (Giving theaters just a few weeks of exclusivity still wasn’t enough to win over the major chains.)

While “Roma” was the big streaming success story for the night, Netflix’s “Period. End of Sentence.” won for Best Documentary (Short Subject). The streamer’s “Ballad of Buster Scruggs” also received three nominations, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings took the stage to perform the movie’s Best Song contender “When The Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” though it didn’t win in any category.

Meanwhile, Hulu’s “Minding the Gap” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature, but lost to “Free Solo.”

Beyond the streaming news, “Black Panther” was the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Ultimately, it took home the awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score. Also on the superhero front: “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” won for Best Animated Feature.

And since I’ve written about “First Man” — hey, it won for Best Visual Effects!

The awards were given out at a ceremony without a host, for only the second time in Oscar history. Instead of a monologue, there was a performance by Queen, then a montage highlighting all kinds of movies from the past year, then Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph came out to make a few host-style jokes before presenting the first award.

And how did I feel about the results? Well …


Source: TechCrunch

Oscars 2019 winners: Live updates, highlights, reactions – CNET

Bohemian Rhapsody has four wins so far, Black Panther has three, and Green Book and Roma have two. Here’s a running list of winners, updated as they’re announced.
Source: CNET

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