Google Assistant Now Reads Webpages

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Google Assistant Now Reads Webpages
Number 1065
Broadcast Date MARCH 4, 2020
Episode Length 5:08
Hosts Tom Merritt

Google launches its webpage-reading feature, Twitter tests disappearing posts and Hangouts and Teams offer free upgrades for people working from home.


A feature Google showed at CES that reads webpages aloud is rolling out worldwide. Users tell Google Assistant "Read It" or "Read This Page" and the page will be read aloud and highlight words as they are read. You can tap the screen to move to a particular section as well. You can also adjust the speed of the reading to be slower or faster. The feature also translates between 42 languages.
Google announced it will not host an in-person Google I/O event May 12 out of concern for the COVID-19 virus. Google is looking into an alternative format for the event. Tickets will be refunded by March 13.
Amazon Studios joined Twitter and Facebook in cancelling plans to attend the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas starting March 13. Amazon had planned two screenings, some panels and a marketing event.
Twitter announced it will test a new sharing format called "Fleets" starting in Brazil. Fleets cannot receive likes, public replies or retweets and disappear after 24 hours. Fleets show up in rounded profile icons at the top of the timeline from people who follow each other. Fleets do NOT show up in search or Moments and cannot be embedded on external websites.
Hulu's Live TV service is now available on Sony's PlayStation, joining YouTube TV as options to replace the now closed PlayStation Vue streaming TV service. Hulu's existing PlayStation app will be updated to give access to the Live TV features.
TikTok maker ByteDance has released its first music streaming app, called Resso, in India. Resso has licensing with most major labels and publishers, though not yet Universal. Resso offers social features like sharing lyrics and comments. The free tier includes ads and limits streaming quality to 128kbps. For 99 rupees a month on Android, or 119 rupees a month on iOS, you get no ads and 256kbps streaming as well as the ability to skip tracks. Resso has been test marketed in Indonesia as well.
The Foldit puzzle game which crowd sources research into protein folding in a game format, has added a COVID-19 virus related puzzle. The hope is to develop a protein that binds to COVID-19 to block interaction with human cells and halt infection. Human players are often better than computers at finding certain solutions. However, the [email protected] project is also researching the virus. [email protected] uses spare computer cycles to power a computer model.
Analyst Ming-chi Kuo sent a note to investors saying his sources indicate Apple has six products coming this year and next that will use mini-LEDs: a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, a 27-inch iMac Pro, a 14.1-inch MacBook Pro, a 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, a 10.2-inch iPad, and a 7.9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini. Mini-LEDs are smaller so they can use more backlights, control local dimming better and deliver improved contrast, brightness and black levels.
Google announced it will make advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities available to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until July 1, 2020. The features include larger meetings and live-streaming and the ability to record and save meetings for later viewing.
Microsoft is offering free six-month trials to the premium version of Microsoft Teams. The premium version has more calling and meeting features than the free version. But Microsoft is also updating the free version of Teams to let users schedule meetings for video calling, starting March 10.
The Information's sources say Facebook will offer digital versions of government-backed currencies along with its proposed Libra cryptocurrency in Facebook's Calibra wallet. The Libra currency expected to launch this summer will now be delayed by several months. Bloomberg's sources say Libra itself will be recast as a payments network that could operate with multiple coins.
Social image editing app VSCO is adding a new feature called Montage that lets paying members edit photos and videos together on one canvas to create a collage like image. Montage can be portrait, landscape or square and collaborators can add photos and videos from their camera rolls. The collage can change scenes for up to two minutes and save as a .mov or if still as a .jpg. VSCO's paid membership currently costs $20 a year.
Access to all sites on the Web have been restored in Indian-administered Kashmir, 8 months after connectivity was cut off. However, the restoration only applies to 2G postpaid connections, verified prepaid connections and fixed lines with MAC address binding. The Kashmir chamber of commerce estimates local businesses lost $2.4 billion due to the disconnection.


Preceded by:
"Facebook And Twitter Pull Out Of SXSW"
Google Assistant Now Reads Webpages
Followed by:
"TCL Demos Tri-fold and Rolling Phone Prototypes"