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Google Pixel 7 series puts premium on photo, video

Pro version challenges other flagships

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We’ve seen what they look like and now they have officially been launched. The Google Pixel 7 series. featuring the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, is ready to take on other flagships.

‘Most refined design’

Google says the Pixel 7 series has the “most refined design” of any Pixel phone to date. It has a smooth glass back with an aluminium frame. And of course, there’s the signature Camera Bar. The Pixel 7 Pro has a polished aluminium finish while the Pixel 7 is in matte. They are also made with recycled materials.

Both phones have an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. And the displays are scratch resistant with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.

Google Tensor G2, enhanced photo and video

Powering the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro is the Google Tensor G2 chip. It’s custom-built for Pixel and was made to take advantage of Google’s advanced machine learning and speech recognition.

Naturally, it also makes the phones run faster and smoother. It’s also responsible for the Pixel’s vaunted photography capabilities. But Google says it’s now extending to video too. It enables features like next-gen Super Res Zoom, twice faster Night Sight processing, Face Unblur, and Cinematic Blur.

The Pixel wants to remain king in low-light imaging. Its large main sensor lets more light in. Combined with computational photography, the Night Sight feature is promising to be better than ever. The Pixel 7 series can now also shoot 4K60fps videos.

Secure with more features

Equipped on both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro is the Titan M2 security chip. Together with the Tensor G2 chip, it helps the Pixel be built with multiple layers of security. You also get the usual Face and Fingerprint unlocks. It’s also designed for prolonged use as Google promises up to five years of security updates.

Additional features include At a Glance which immediately displays the right information at the right time. Google cites the baggage claim at the airport as an example. But there’s also other appointments and meetings listed on your calendar. There’s also Assistant Voice typing that lets you type with your voice. It now supports Spanish, French, and Italian.

The Pixel 7 series also has the Adaptive Battery Feature. It learns your usage patterns and optimizes the phone to make sure it lasts for about 24 hours. It also supports 30W charging, promising a 50% charge in about 30 minutes.

Price and availability

In the US, the Pixel 7 starts at only US$ 599. And it’s available in Snow, Obsidian, andLemongrass. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro starts at US$ 899. And it’s available in Snow, Obsidian, and Hazel.

In Singapore, the Pixel 7 series is now available for pre-order and will arrive on store shelves on October 13.

The Pixel 7 with 128GB storage retails for SG$ 999 and is available in Snow, Lemongrass, and Obsidian. Meanwhile, the 256GB version is priced at SG$ 1,129 and comes in Obsidian.

The Pixel 7 Pro 128GB is priced at SG$ 1,299 and comes in Snow, Hazel, and Obsidian. The 256GB version is available only in Obsidian and retails for SG$ 1,449.

News

A new iMessage feature alerts you of any government spies

Anyone can use it

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Do you have an irrational fear of government hackers spying on your text messages? If you do, Apple has a new feature to help alleviate your phobia. Starting today, users can opt into the new iMessage Contact Key Verification feature, a security measure designed to prevent any unwanted snooping on your messages.

If it sounds too specific, it’s because Apple designed the feature for those who face “extraordinary digital threats,” like journalists and politicians. Naturally, this subset of the population can benefit from keeping their conversations away from snoopers (which includes, according to Apple, state-sponsored attackers). However, there’s no denying that the feature is also a boon to users who want an extra layer of protection for their messaging needs.

To use the feature, both the sender and the receiver need to have the option turned on while using their device. On a more basic level, the device will alert both users if an unexpected party suddenly crashes and enters the encrypted conversation. A more advanced level even allows iMessage users to compare verification codes, ensuring that both parties are indeed talking to whomever they intend to talk to.

While most users might not find a lot of use for an exorbitant amount of protection against hackers, it’s a step in the right direction for total message encryption. Despite some significant hiccups, Apple remains focused on bringing encryption to its users.

SEE ALSO: Apple is tracking users even with settings turned off

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Gaming

Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

Sued by the FTC

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The year started off with a bang. Microsoft, already a respectable name in the gaming industry by itself, announced the impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for US$ 68.7 billion. Perhaps it’s fitting that the year will end right back where it started. The FTC is officially suing Microsoft to block the monumental purchase from going through.

Announced today, the United States’ FTC (or Federal Trade Commission) has filed a legal claim against Microsoft, stating that the acquisition will allow the company to suppress competition between its rivals in the gaming industry. The commission believes that it has enough to effectively block the purchase. Allowing Microsoft to go through with the purchase will supposedly enable the company to prevent Activision Blizzard’s titles — including the Call of Duty franchise — from coming out easily on other platforms.

Since the announcement of the acquisition, Activision Blizzard has gone through a rocky year. The company had its dirty laundry aired out: a plethora of disagreeable practices from within the company. Exacerbated by the rocky launches of Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, it’s not exactly a stellar year for the company.

In fact, it’s not a good year for monopolistic practices either. Recently, Ticketmaster found itself under the microscope after a massive kerfuffle preventing Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets to the star’s upcoming concert.

While the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still up in the air, it seems company acquisitions aren’t as easy as this year has made them out to be.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces a modular Adaptive Mouse

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Apps

Google is merging Waze with Google Maps

Apps will remain separate

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It’s not a secret. Google owns both Google Maps and Waze. Though both certainly come with their own pros and cons, using either app can boil down to a matter of preference, especially in driving cities. Starting soon, the two might even look more alike. Google is merging the teams of Google Maps and Waze together.

Since acquiring Waze in 2013, Google has kept the app’s development separate from Google Maps. Even knowing this face, it’s hard to draw comparisons between the two. They felt like separate products, and they were.

Now, as announced today (via Wall Street Journal), Google will merge Waze’s team (which consists of over 500 employees) with the larger team that oversees Maps, Earth, and Street View. While there are no plans to lay off any employees, incumbent Waze CEO Neha Parikh is expected to leave the company after the merger.

Though a merger might spell the end for Waze, Google remains committed to keeping its own services separate from each other. However, by merging the teams, the company can reduce a lot of redundant work that the two teams have in common.

From a more generalized standpoint, Google Maps and Waze are incredibly distinct apps. While the latter focuses more of directions for drivers, Google Maps offers a grander sweep of directions for all travelers including those who prefer to walk or take public transportation.

SEE ALSO: Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist

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