Apps

You can now play Pokémon Go in the U.S.

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The wait is over for Americans. After a shaky 24 hours in Australia and New Zealand, where it was first made available, Pokémon Go is now out in the U.S.

Developed by Niantic Labs in partnership with Nintendo, Pokémon Go is a free augmented reality game for Android and iOS phones that lets you live out your dream of catching pokémon in the real world, using your phone’s camera and location sensors.

In way, it’s a very clever fitness app because the game requires you to explore your surroundings and local places of interest to capture Pikachu and more than a hundred different creatures in the wild. It’s also highly addictive, like caffeine, tobacco, and smartphones, judging from what we’ve seen on our Facebook feeds lately.

Obviously, catching pokémon in Go isn’t the end game for the title. You also have to train them, and then (when the update arrives) pit them against other players at landmarks in your area.

You can also trade creatures and hatch them (again, when the update drops). In other words, Go is designed to give you the full pokémon trainer experience.

But that’s not to say it won’t cost you money. Despite the free-to-play tag, the game features a number of microtransactions that you can purchase with real money and will cost you anywhere from $1 to $100.

A watch-like companion device called Pokémon Go Plus alerts you of nearby pokémon, and will ship later this month for $35. And while the hardware isn’t essential to playing Go, it may add to your gaming experience.

As for the rest of the world, Nintendo says Pokémon Go is “also coming soon to Canada, Europe, and South America.” Whether it will come to Asian markets outside of Japan has yet to be determined.

[irp posts=”10698″ name=”Pokémon Generation 2 is out”]

Source: The Verge

Apps

Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok

Snapchat also wanted to get in on it

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Do you remember Dubsmash? Before TikTok’s meteoric rise, Dubsmash dominated the short-form video format. The platform’s lip-syncing format prototyped TikTok’s current mashup trends. It even facilitated the rise of some celebrities like Maine Mendoza. However, TikTok eventually snatched Dubsmash’s seat atop app rankings. However, despite Dubsmash’s decline, the platform has not disappeared just yet. In particular, Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok.

According to The Information’s sources, Facebook and Snap recently expressed interest in buying Dubsmash. Apparently, discussions have already progressed far enough to reach a potential price reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.

Going against The Information’s report, Reuters has reported that Snap had already exited the acquisition talks and dropped all interest. Facebook, however, did not comment.

With TikTok facing tremendous pressure from the American government, the stage is set for a potential upheaval of the short-form video format. On one hand, Microsoft and Twitter are already considering buying out TikTok’s American operations, facilitating TikTok’s continued dominance albeit under new management. In another possibility, Facebook’s Instagram recently launched Instagram Reels, a homegrown alternative to TikTok. Now, Facebook’s interest in Dubsmash expresses a new possibility of reviving a former player to upend TikTok.

Of note, Facebook’s interest coincides with Mark Zuckerberg’s current battle against the government over alleged and proven antitrust practices, including acquiring rival companies to stifle competition.

Regardless, TikTok’s woes has busted the app industry wide open. Who will take over TikTok’s dominance on the boards? Will TikTok even survive?

SEE ALSO: TikTok has collected user information illegally

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Google turns Android into world’s largest earthquake detection system

Using technology to make a difference

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2020 is the epitome of chaos with a pandemic, fear of cyber warfare, and government incapability. Amid all the negativity, Google has some refreshing news. Android, the world’s most widely used mobile operating system, will now leverage its reach to help detect an earthquake.

Pretty much every Android phone today sports an accelerometer, a sensor that can help detect seismographic movement. When this sensor is clubbed along with the user’s GPS data, researchers can use the phone as a live seismometer.

The University of California-Berkeley, along with funding from the state of California has launched a new app called MyShake. The app can use the phone’s onboard sensors to feed data in a massive network of devices that are constantly monitoring seismographic movement across the globe.

Using this same technology, Google is taking a step forward. Instead of relying on an app, it’s incorporating Android Earthquake Alerts System on every phone running on Google Play Services. The system is being touted as “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.”

The company studied historical accelerometer readings during earthquakes and found they could give some users up to a minute of notice. Since the feature is being rolled out via Play Services, the alerting system will be available on all active phones within a few weeks. The user won’t have to depend on the software update roll-out.

“We are on a path to delivering earthquake alerts wherever there are smartphones,” said Richard Allen, director of the University of California-Berkeley’s seismological lab and visiting faculty at Google over the last year.

Proactive alerts shall be limited to California for now. Google added that “over the coming year, you can expect to see the earthquake alerts coming to more states and countries using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection.”

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Google launches virtual visiting profile called People Cards

Time to google yourself!

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Have you ever googled yourself? If not, this new feature on Google search will surely prompt you to give it a shot. The search engine wants to make it easier to find new people and has unveiled a new feature in India called People Cards.

People Cards act like your virtual visiting card. If someone’s looking for you on Google, they’ll usually come across a few social media profile links or any other online content you’re associated with. Thanks to the new card, you can directly control how much information you want to keep up front.

The feature is limited to the mobile app for now. To set up your own card, all you need is an active mobile number and a Google account. It’s also limited to India for the time being and only supports English.

To create your own card, just:

  • Open the Google app on your phone.
  • Search for “add me to Search.”
  • You’ll immediately see a prompt to set up your card and after mobile number authentication, you’re all set.

You can enter brief details about yourself, add a bio, link social media profiles, and even make it easier to connect with you by publishing your email, website, or mobile number.

While the feature makes discovering people easy, it also opens a floodgate of privacy concerns. Spammers can easily collect information from the partially open system. We advise our readers to proceed with caution and ensure they’re not divulging any personal details.

Individuals who have already created their cards can opt-out of the experience anytime. In the case of people who share the same name, Google Search will show multiple modules.

The search giant says it has a number of mechanisms to fight spam and abuse. Only one card can be created by an account and you can flag a card in case of false information or an imposter.

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