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Here’s everything new on iOS 14

Widgets, Siri Translate, better iMessage

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Apple kicked-off WWDC 2020 by introducing a slew of new features on iOS 14. The running joke while these were being announced is that, if you’re also familiar with Android, none of these will seem new.

For the most part, it’s true. But if you’re an iPhone/Apple lifer, here’s what you can look forward to.

App Library and Widgets

Apple notes how people just kind of forget the rest of the apps you have on your iPhone when they’re beyond your second screen. They’re addressing this by introducing the App Library.

It acts like a drawer for your apps that instantly organizes them in folders. The library will also have a search bar at the top so you can quickly look for and pull up the app you need.

Compact calls, Picture in picture

When you get a call, what typically happens is the call notification just takes over your entire phone. Apple will do away with that on the iOS 14.

Any native Apple app call (plus some third party apps at launch) will now instead appear as a hovering notification at the top of your screen. This way, it’s less in your face and won’t interrupt whatever you were doing on your iPhone. The same treatment is done when using Siri.

You also now get Picture in picture or PiP. This means you can keep a video playing while browsing other apps. You can resize the floating screen of the video and move it wherever you want on the screen.

App Clips

App Clips is like running a specific feature of an app when you need it. The idea is that the iPhone will automatically identify the app and detect the feature you need. This means you won’t need to have the app downloaded just to use one of its specific functions.

Improved iMessage

iMessage is getting a bunch of new features. You’ll be able to pin conversations to the top of your messages list. Managin group chats is made better with in-line replies.

Memoji is also getting a bunch of new customization options including a mask. A great way to remind people that we need to wear them if and when we step out of our homes.

Cycling route, Guides in Maps

Apple Maps continues to add more helpful features. People who ride bicycles will find this update particularly useful. Cycling directions will now be available on Maps. It takes into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route.

Guides, meanwhile, is exactly what you think it is. It gives you recommendations on places to go, restaurants to eat at, and help you locate popular attractions at the place you’re exploring. Truly helpful!

Privacy, Siri Translate

You now have a more robust privacy control on iOS 14. All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. You’ll also know what kind of tracking each app is doing. For instance, if an app has access to your phone’s mic and camera, this information will be displayed right away.

It’s a huge step towards better privacy and security which has been a hot topic in recent years.

Siri Translate is supposed to be your easy access to translating conversations. At launch, it will support 11 languages.

Other features include more granular controls on the Home app, Spatial Audio on the Air Pods Pro, Digital car keys and plenty of improvements to Safari, Health, and Weather apps.

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Yahoo Groups is shutting down this December

Another Yahoo service bites the dust

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For a long time, Yahoo was the behemoth in email and online communication. However, the company is gradually fading to irrelevance with most of its services being shut down in recent years. The latest service to be shattered is Yahoo Groups, which will cease operation come December 15, 2020.

Verizon — Yahoo’s current owner — recently announced the shutdown of the service through a message posted on its website and emails sent to users. The company cited the decline in usage of Yahoo Groups over the recent years as the primary factor in shutting it down.

Actually, the company started phasing out the service last year. The phase-out began last October 2019. On October 21, Verizon effectively removed the user’s ability to create new content on groups. As such, users lost the ability to create new discussions. However, users were still able to create new groups and mass-email conversations with all members despite the initial phase-out.

Fast forward to October 2020, and Yahoo Groups is all but gone. Starting today, users won’t have the ability to create new discussion groups anymore. Mass-email capabilities will remain until December. After that, all of Yahoo Groups will be shut down for good.

Verizon also encourages all users to switch to alternative services to continue any group discussions.

Perhaps, it’s goodbye now for Yahoo Groups, which was once the most popular discussion board site on the Internet. The service first began operating in 2001, lasting for mere 19 years before its shutdown this year. Today, sites like Reddit have provided most of the functionality originally provided by the service.

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Imaging Edge Webcam lets you use Sony cameras for video calls, live streams

Adapting to the new normal

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If you’ve been working from home, chances are you’ve attended more than your fair share of video calls. If you have a Sony camera, you can elevate the quality of your video with the new Imaging Edge Webcam app.

Considering we’re months into being quarantined already, Sony sure took their time in launching this product. That said, it should still be a welcome addition for anyone who might possibly need it.

It currently only supports Windows 10 64bit so you might have to wait a while if you’re using a Mac.

When the feature first launched in August 20, 2020, it only supported Windows 10 64bit. Now, it also supports macOS 10.13-10.15. You may download the desktop app here.

The Sony cameras supported are: Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III,
Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, ZV-1.

There are more cameras supported and we’ll update this article once we have the full list.

Quick note for anyone who will use it: The aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9. It will remain set to 16:9 after using Imaging Edge Webcam, so set it to the previous value if necessary.

SEE ALSO: The Sony A7S III is a low light video beast

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Google Duplex is now letting users book a haircut appointment

Your full-time assistant

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At Google I/O 2018, Google announced a new feature called Duplex. The feature looks straight out of a sci-fi film because Google Assistant can make calls on your behalf and talk to actual humans. So, if you want to book a barber’s appointment, just summon the assistant, tell them your preferences, and it’ll get the job done!

Google Duplex is trying to be your full-time personal assistant and even though it may seem excessive, the assistant can be extremely handy for people who’re low on time and need a helping hand. According to Venture Beat, some users are now actively able to book a salon appointment thanks to Duplex.

The feature was rolled out in 48 US states, UK, Canada, and Australia. You could previously reserve a restaurant table thanks to Duplex. But the hair salon ability wasn’t actively available yet. When Google first announced Duplex, it had shown calling a barber as one of the case studies. However, it never made it to the public all this time.

It’s possible that programming the assistant to take your preferences and talk accordingly was a complicated task and needed time to develop. If you want to try out the feature, just find a place near you and tap the “Request an Appointment” button. It’ll then ask you haircut preferences, date, time, and other formalities.

When Duplex makes the call, it’ll warn that the call is automated and being recorded. If the other person isn’t fine getting recorded, the system will handover the call to an operator and stop recording.

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