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Apple and Google's Exposure Notification System now publicly available – MobileSyrup

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Apple and Google announced that its Exposure Notification System will release publicly through software updates starting May 20th.

The companies said that with the updates, public health agencies (PHAs) around the world can start deploying apps that make use of the system. Further, the API released by the companies is the result of feedback received from hundreds of conversations with PHAs, NGOs, academics, government officials and privacy experts from dozens of countries, company representatives said.

For those unfamiliar with the Exposure Notification System and API, Apple and Google began work on the project several weeks ago. The goal was to design an interoperable system that would work across Android and iOS smartphones. The system would be able to log proximity to other people and alert users if one of these ‘exposure’ events was with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The Exposure Notification System uses Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) technology to share random codes with other nearby smartphones. The codes can’t identify users and remain stored on the phone. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they upload their codes through an app provided by their country, province or state’s PHA. Other smartphones can then access those codes and check for matches against the codes stored locally on those devices. The system will notify the user if it confirms a match and provide details about what to do next.

MobileSyrup has extensively covered the details of the Exposure Notification System as Apple and Google have released details about it. You can access prior coverage below, which includes more in-depth explanations of the underlying technology.

Phase one of the system rolling out now

Apple and Google said that as of May 20th, several U.S. states and 22 countries across five continents requested and received access to the API. Both companies expect more to join in the coming weeks.

It’s not clear if Canada was among the countries that requested access.

The first phase of the project will rely on PHAs release apps to take advantage of the API. The Exposure Notification System itself forms the backbone of the platform and should make the data interoperable between PHAs and apps. Further, both companies have provided sample apps to help PHAs develop their solutions.

Apple and Google both stress that the Exposure Notification System is not a ‘silver bullet,’ nor is it meant to replace traditional contact tracing. Instead, the system is meant as another tool for PHAs in combatting COVID-19.

Throughout the process, both companies gathered feedback and released multiple beta versions of the software. Additionally, they posted public documents that include Bluetooth, cryptography and API specifications to help PHAs and developers.

The second phase will build the functionality directly into the operating system of both smartphone platforms. That means users will not need to download a third-party app to participate in the system.

Feedback helped shape the system

Finally, the two companies detailed some of the final adjustments made to the system that came as a response to feedback received from PHAs.

First up, the Exposure Notification API will allow PHAs to define what constitutes an exposure event. It will also allow PHAs to determine the number of exposure events and individual has had. Additionally, the API allows PHAs to factor the transmission risk of positive cases into their definition of an exposure event. Finally, a combination of the API and data that users voluntarily choose to input into the app will allow PHAs to contact exposed users.

Apple and Google said that the goal of conversations with PHAs was to find the best way to meet their needs for technological support while also respecting user privacy, consent and control.

Further, the companies say they will not monetize any data that comes out of the API. On top of that, the API’s use is limited to PHAs.

Apple, Google detail goals behind the system

Apple and Google provided the following statement regarding the Exposure Notification API:

“One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.

“To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance.

“Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app — rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.

“Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts.”

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June Pixel Feature Drop: Hands-on with all the new additions [Video] – 9to5Google

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The June Pixel Feature Drop has now, well, dropped! That means if you do own a Pixel device, a flurry of new features are waiting for you to download and sink your teeth into.

You may remember the previous Pixel Feature Drop, which brought quite a few of the Android 11 Developer Preview programs best additions, meaning that you didn’t have to deal with buggy software to enjoy them. It also means that Android 10 is more like 10.5 at this stage, and the June update pushes that needle even further still.

As before, the latest update comes with the June 2020 security patch, so you’re not having to go out of your way to grab the OTA file. This makes it even easier for all Pixel owners out there to grab the new additions, plus unlike last time, there are no major hardware-specific additions, meaning that all Pixel owners get some neat new tricks to play around with.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the most comprehensive set of features added. They are more quality of life updates that should give you an even better experience with your smartphone.

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New Google Clock features

Not strictly part of the June Pixel Feature Drop, but the new Google Clock additions are enhanced and exclusive to Pixel devices at least for now. When you launch the stock clock for the first time after updating, you’ll get a new “Bedtime” tab where you can create a proper wind-down schedule that integrates with Digital Wellbeing.

This gives you access to detailed reports, but the pièce de résistance is that the Pixel Stand’s Sunrise Alarms are now fully integrated into the Google Clock app. This gently brightens your display over the course of 15 minutes, in a red to yellow transition alongside your alarm tone. You don’t even need to have your phone charging to take advantage of this previously Pixel Stand exclusive.

Enhanced Adaptive Battery

One area that some people have issues is with the Pixel battery life, however, Adaptive Battery has been tweaked in the June Pixel Feature Drop to hopefully improve your device lifespan.

june pixel feature drop - adaptive battery

It’s too early to tell if this has made any difference on our own devices just yet, but Adaptive Battery is now capable of better predicting when your battery will run out and further reduce background activity to help prolong lifespan. Google states that this is done by reducing the power consumption of rarely used apps.

Personal Safety comes to all Pixels

june pixel feature drop - Personal safety app

The Personal Safety app should now be available on all Pixel devices with Car Crash detection available on the Pixel 3. This is joined by a new “Safety Check” feature that will automatically send real-time location data to any contacts of your choice if you have not confirmed you are okay after a preset time period. This gives you and your contacts peace of mind, especially during unprecedented times.

Google Recorder enhancements

We’ve talked about just how impressive the Google Recorder is, and how it could be the future of transcription for many around the globe. As part of the June Pixel Feature Drop, the Recorder has now gained integration with your Google Assistant. This means that you can give voice commands and launch into the app, ask for specific recordings, and more on top.

Not only can you now control the Google Recorder with your voice, Google has added the ability to save your transcriptions directly to Google Docs, which we’re sure will be a seriously huge inclusion for many out there. Especially as you won’t need to mess around with .txt files.

What’s your favorite new feature as part of the June Pixel Feature Drop?

Do you have a favorite new addition? What else would you like to see in future Feature Drops? Let us know down in the comments section below.

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Judge tosses ex-basketball players' 'Fortnite' dance lawsuit – larongeNOW

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The judge said the key question is whether plaintiffs have a claim that is “qualitatively different” than the rights protected by the Copyright Act.

“And here Plaintiffs claim is based on Epic Games allegedly ‘capturing and digitally copying’ the Running Man dance to create the Fortnite emote that ‘allows the player’s avatars to execute the Running Man identically to Plaintiffs’ version.’” This is squarely within the rights protected by the Copyright Act,” he wrote.

Brantley, of Springfield, Mass., and Nickens, of Monmouth Junction, N.J., were seeking more than $5 million in damages.

Epic Games spokesman Nick Chester declined to comment Monday on the judge’s ruling.

Celebratory dances in Fortnite are called “emotes.” While the game itself is free to play, players can purchase the “emotes” and other character customizations.

Other artists, including Brooklyn-based rapper 2 Milly and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Alfonso Ribeiro, also have sued Epic Games over other dances depicted in the shooting game. Ribeiro dropped his lawsuit against Epic Games last year after the U.S. Copyright Office denied him a copyright for the “Carlton” dance that his character performed on the 1990s sitcom.

Nickens and Brantley appeared on DeGeneres’ talk show alongside two New Jersey high school students who were posting videos of the dance online before the two University of Maryland basketball players filmed their own version. Brantley told DeGeneres that Nickens first showed him the dance in a video on Instagram.

“We dance every day for our teammates in the locker room,” Brantley said. “We were like, ‘Hey, let’s make a video and make everybody laugh.’”

One of their dance videos has millions of views on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, their lawsuit said.

The judge dismissed their lawsuit’s claims for invasion of privacy, unfair competition and unjust enrichment based on preemption under the Copyright Act. He also threw out their trademark claims and claims accusing the company of unfair competition and “false designation of origin” under the Lanham Act.

“Plaintiffs seek to place the same square peg into eight round holes in search of a cause of action against Epic Games for its use of the Running Man dance in its game Fortnite. But Plaintiffs’ claims that Epic Games copied the dance do not support any of their theories,” the judge wrote.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Richard Jaklitsch said his clients may not be able to afford the costs of appealing the judge’s ruling. He said it seems “un-American” for the company to “profit off the backs of” Nickens and Brantley.

“Epic can still step up and do the right thing. Epic can still step up and acknowledge what these kids did,” he said.

Nickens was playing professional basketball in Canada and Brantley was working as a sports agent when they sued last year, according to Jaklitsch.

Michael Kunzelman, The Associated Press

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Google Pixel 3 vs. 3 XL: They've been deeply discounted, so which should you buy? – CNET

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Other than price and size, Google’s flagship phones of 2018, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, are essentially the same device. Currently priced at $397 and $499, respectively, the phones are much cheaper now that the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL are available. But even though they’re two years old, they still have excellent cameras, receive prompt software updates from Google and are equipped with reliable Snapdragon 845 chipsets. So if you’re deciding between the two, read on to see which one is best for you.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Starting at $397, the Pixel 3 is the best route to go if you want to save the most money. Its 5.5-inch display also make it the more pocketable and comfortable phone to hold in your hand. Lastly, it doesn’t have an on-screen notch running at the top of the display, so you can view content on your screen without a distracting tab taking away your attention.

Read our Google Pixel 3 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At about $100 more, the Pixel 3 XL offers a bigger screen and a longer battery life. This is great if you see yourself watching a lot of videos or playing games, but keep in mind, the phone also has a big notch at the top. We don’t think it’s worth the extra $100 (for that money you can get multiple phone cases, a Google Home Mini or wireless earbuds), but if you have room in your budget, then go for it.

Read our Google Pixel 3 XL review.

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Pixel 3 vs. Pixel 3 XL: What’s different

Dimensions and weight: The Pixel 3 XL is bigger and heavier than the Pixel 3, measuring 6.2 by 3 inches to the Pixel 3’s 5.7 by 2.7-inch body. The two phones have the same 0.3-inch (8.2mm) depth. Because of the Pixel 3 XL’s larger size, it’s heavier at 6.5 ounces (184 grams). The Pixel 3 weighs 5.2 ounces (148 grams).

Display: The Pixel 3 features an OLED display with 443 pixels-per-inch density, while the Pixel 3 XL is higher definition, with a pixel density of 522 ppi. Unlike the new Pixel 4 phones, they do not have a 90Hz display.

Battery: The last big difference between the two phones is the battery. The Pixel 3 uses a 2,915-mAh battery, while the Pixel 3 XL has a 3,430-mAh battery. Lab results for continuous video playback on airplane mode yielded an average of 15 hours for the Pixel 3 and 16 hours, 49 minutes for the Pixel 3 XL.

Pixel 3 vs. Pixel 3 XL specs

Google Pixel 3 Google Pixel 3 XL
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch “flexible” OLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels 6.3-inch “flexible” OLED; 2,960×1,440 pixels
Pixel density 443ppi 522 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.7×2.7×0.3 in. 6.2x3x0.03 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 145.6×68.2×7.9 mm 158×76.7×7.9 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.2oz.; 148g 6.5 oz.; 184g
Mobile software Android 9 Pie (upgradeable to Android 10) Android 9 Pie (upgradeable to Android 10)
Camera 12.2-megapixel 12.2-megapixel
Front-facing camera Dual 8-megapixel Dual 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz + 1.6GHz octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz octa-core)
Storage 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB
RAM 4GB 4GB
Expandable storage None None
Battery 2,915 mAh 3,430 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back cover Back cover
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No
Special features Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box

CNET editor Patrick Holland contributed to this report.

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