Apps

You can take a selfie with Baby Yoda on Google Search

Just search “Baby Yoda” on Google

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Since his debut last year, Baby Yoda has turned into one of the most iconic characters of 2020’s streaming generation. The adorable Yoda lookalike has since spawned several merchandise — or, more accurately, ways to finally pet Baby Yoda in real life. If you don’t have any of the more expensive Baby Yoda animatronics, Google has a free, AR-based alternative for you.

If you search for “Baby Yoda,” “The Child,” or “Grogu” (no spoilers!) on Google Search, the search engine will present you an option to “see the Child in your space.” The new feature will create a fully animated, AR-based model of the character. Using your phone camera, you can cast The Child on an open surface anywhere you want. Though you can’t interact with him directly, you can pose him in any way or with any accessories you want.

If Star Wars isn’t your thing, Google has also introduced animals, dinosaurs, insects, and parts of the human anatomy in its AR object database. Though Google did not name every single object, you can discover some options for yourself. For example, try searching “kitten” or “milk cow.”

For sure, AR-based technology has progress far beyond mere knick-knacks. The technology has created advancements in the medical and education field. But for now, I’m pretty content with cuddling virtual cats in my apartment.

SEE ALSO: Google is testing dark mode for Search on desktop

Apps

Spotify will now let you download music on your desktop

You can finally play songs while working offline

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One of the biggest updates to arrives for premium members on Spotify is the ability to download music on your laptop or computer. While this has always been a must-have feature on mobile phones, it wasn’t extended to a full-fledged PC.

Music streaming has taken over the world, and Spotify is leading the market. Streaming lets you listen to anything within a tap, so you never have to download songs via pirated sites or torrents. But the biggest problem with Spotify was — you can’t download songs for offline playback on your computer.

The hurdle is now gone, and you’ll never have to think of piracy or a legal alternative anytime soon. Just fire up Spotify’s free desktop app, and you’re good to go. Similar to the mobile UI, you can choose to keep an album or playlist offline. It’ll download all the tracks and be ready for you whenever you need them.

While this may seem like a minor addition that should’ve been implemented long ago, it technically isn’t. Only the desktop app supports it, and you can’t access it via the website player.

Spotify redesign

Spotify is also rolling out a redesign for the web and desktop app that looks similar to the mobile app. The move was aimed to improve the app’s navigation, add new features, and make the experience uniform across platforms or devices.

The old search bar is now relocated and toned down visually and sits in the left menu section. The “Made For You,” “Daily Mix,” and more playlists now sit within your library section. The Recently Played tab showed playback history up to three months ago.

If you’re a playlist fanatic, there’s now an option to add a description, upload your own images, and drag-drop apps within existing playlists. The new update is aimed at improving your discoverability, in turn offering more opportunities to curators. The hybrid manul-AI setup gets perfectly tuned to understand your taste and offer the most relevant curations.

Read Also: Spotify launches Car Thing, a voice-controlled music player for cars

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Amazon Music gets a Car Mode, but don’t use it while driving

Oh the irony!

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Amazon Music
Image by Why Kei

Amazon Music has received a new feature called the Car Mode, and it tweaks the interface with larger buttons, text, and quicker access to Alexa assistant. It’ll automatically get triggered when your phone is connected to the car’s Bluetooth.

You can also customize the actions that should be displayed on the app’s screen in Car Mode. To disable Car Mode, you can tap on the icon on the top-left corner of the screen. If you have an older car without Bluetooth, Car Mode can also be enabled in settings within the Amazon Music mobile app. Amazon said that it also features convenient swipe functionality to skip tracks and return to the presets.

Ironically, the web page describing the new feature says that users shouldn’t operate the phone while driving. So, what’s the use of a dedicated vehicle mode if you’re not supposed to use it while driving?

If that wasn’t enough, there’s another tip from Amazon — “Interacting with the Amazon Music app while driving is dangerous and may result in serious injury, death, or property damage.”

The new addition aims to make it easier for a user to navigate the UI while driving. A locked phone without any dedicated driving-centric features makes it difficult for the driver even to skip a song. Amazon’s Car Mode aims to bridge this gap. Don’t start texting while driving, but go through your playlist seamlessly.

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Singpass app now available on Huawei AppGallery

Easier access for Huawei users

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Singpass

Huawei continues to beef up the AppGallery’s library of apps. One of the latest additions is Singpass.

Singpass is an app that gives Singapore residents easy access to over 1,400 everyday services from more than 340 government agencies and private organizations. These include viewing their Central Provident Fund (CPF), filing taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), accessing bank accounts and renewing insurance policies — with a quick scan and tap on their smartphones. Users do not have to
enter their passwords.

Singpass was developed by the Government Technology Agency or GovTech. It was launched in 2003 to facilitate convenient digital transactions with Singapore government agencies.

Since then, the service has been further enhanced to include an improved user interface, mobile features and stronger security capabilities. Its latest features include Singpass Face Verification, Digital IC and digital signing.

The launch of the Singpass app on AppGallery offers local users of Huawei devices a third 2FA method when accessing services, in addition to the SMS One-Time Password (OTP) and Singpass Face Verification 2FA modes. As of March 2021, the Singpass app has garnered over 2.5 million users, with over 70 percent of all Singpass transactions conducted through the app.

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