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Google releases location data to show if coronavirus lockdowns are working – VentureBeat

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(Reuters) — Alphabet’s Google on Thursday published reports for 131 countries showing whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, when many governments issued stay-at-home orders to rein the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Google’s analysis of location data from billions of users’ phones is the largest public dataset available to help health authorities assess if people are abiding with shelter-in-place and similar orders issued across the world.

Its reports show charts that compare visits in recent weeks to subway, train and bus stations, grocery stores and other broad categories of places with a five-week period earlier this year. For some countries, Google charts regional data, such as at the county-level within the United States.

Facebook, which like Google has billions of users, has shared location data with non-governmental researchers that are producing similar reports for authorities in several countries. But the social media giant has not published any findings.

The coronavirus has infected more than 1 million people globally, and COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes, has killed 52,000, according to a Reuters tally.

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Infectious disease specialists have said analyzing travel across groups by age, income and other demographics could help shape public service announcements.

Google, which infers demographics from users’ internet use as well as some data given when signing up to Google services, said it was not reporting demographic information. The company said, though, it was open to including additional information and countries in follow-up reports.

“These reports have been developed to be helpful while adhering to our stringent privacy protocols and policies,” Dr. Karen DeSalvo, chief health officer for Google Health and Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president for Google Geo, wrote in a blog post.

Google said it published the reports to avoid any confusion about what it was providing to authorities, given the global debate that has emerged about balancing privacy-invasive tracking with the need to prevent further outbreaks.

China, Singapore, South Korea and other countries have asked residents to use apps and other technology to track their compliance with quarantines, but privacy activists argue such measures can compromise individual liberties.

Data in Google’s reports come from users who enabled Google’s “Location History” feature on their devices. The company said it adopted technical measures to ensure that no individual could be identified through the new reports.

Consultations with officials in California, Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization helped inform data shared, Google said.

The company declined to comment on whether it has received any legal requests to share more detailed data to help with efforts to tackle the pandemic.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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New Galaxy Note 20 photos match up with Samsung's previous leak – Engadget

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Twitter user “Jimmy is Promo”

An unhealthy dose of skepticism is required for today’s offering from the deities that oversee the world of technology leaks. A Twitter account by the name of Jimmy Is Promo purports to have images of Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra out in the wild. We can’t be sure why this particular account would have scored such a unit, but the hardware does seem to look a lot like the earlier leak from Samsung’s own website.

If — and it’s a big if — these images are genuine, it looks as if Samsung has made a couple of aesthetic tweaks compared to its predecessor. In a tweet, “Jimmy Is Promo” claimed that the S-Pen housing is now left of the charging port, compared to its usual bottom-right-corner placement. It also looks as if the volume rocker and sleep/wake button, which were on the left side before, has been switched over to the right.

These days, Samsung likes to launch new Note devices in the middle of August and we were expecting that to be the case this year. The only wrinkle is that the company has also promised a “virtual” event to coincide with IFA, the last big event in the annual tech calendar. That will happen in early September, which is likely too late to launch the new Note(s) unless COVID-19 has really forced Samsung into a delay. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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OnePlus Nord will launch on July 21 through an AR launch event – XDA Developers

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The OnePlus Nord is the next smartphone from OnePlus, coming in to resuscitate the brand’s presence in the more affordable segments of the smartphone market in Europe and India. It has been five years since the launch of the OnePlus X, the company’s first phone outside of the flagship space and the Nord is expected to come in and provide more options to consumers looking to buy a new smartphone. Now, OnePlus has officially announced that they will be launching the OnePlus Nord on July 21 through the world’s first AR smartphone launch.

OnePlus Nord XDA Forums

Spicing up online launches is not entirely new to OnePlus, as we have seen the company hold a virtual, VR launch for the OnePlus 2 back in 2015. With the Nord, OnePlus will pivot to AR for the launch and provide users a different kind of hands-on experience with the device.

OnePlus Nord represents a new beginning for OnePlus, giving us an opportunity to share our technology with more people around the world. For this launch, we want everyone to sit back, relax, and experience our new phone for the first time right in the comfort of their living room. We feel that introducing this phone in a more personal and intimate way perfectly reflects our ambition to make the OnePlus experience more accessible to users.

Paul Yu, Head of OnePlus Nord

To experience the launch, download the OnePlus Nord AR App from the Play Store or the App Store. Install and launch the app to grant it requisite permissions for the AR experience and to complete the avatar setup. On launch day, i.e. on July 21 at 10 AM EDT/7.30 PM IST, launch the app and follow the on-screen instructions to start the immersive AR experience.

OnePlus has also created a physical AR invitation that will give users a unique hands-on experience of the OnePlus Nord. OnePlus has not yet shared how to receive the physical invitation, but you would need to scan the QR code on the physical invitation to begin the AR hands-on experience. We reckon that the experience would open up to other users too, perhaps at a later date.

The OnePlus Nord has been confirmed to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. The camera setup on the phone will have OIS. Further details have not yet been confirmed, but we expect more to be revealed in the coming days.


Nord LaunchNord Launch
Nord LaunchNord Launch
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OnePlus’ sub-$500 smartphone launches July 21 – Ars Technica

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OnePlus appears to have picked a date for the launch of its midrange smartphone: July 21. Invites for the event were posted early to Amazon India (a major launch country for the device) and first spotted by leaker Ishan Agarwal (the actual tweet has been deleted, but XDA has a backup). Amazon pulled the page down, too, but a Google cache copy still exists.

OnePlus has been slowly dripping out information on its next smartphone, which will see a return to a cheaper price tag. Early rumors called the phone the “OnePlus 8 Lite” or “OnePlus Z,” but the company confirmed the phone will go with the odd moniker of “OnePlus Nord,” a word that means “north” in several languages. We might not know all the specs, but OnePlus has already confirmed the price will be “under $500.”

OnePlus says the phone will come with a Snapdragon 765G and will sport a “flagship camera.” Sadly, North America does not seem to be in the first wave of countries for this release, with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau saying, “we are going to start relatively small with this new product line by first introducing it in Europe and India. But don’t worry, we’re also looking to bring more affordable smartphones to North America in the near future as well.”

Other than that, things about the Nord are murky. Before OnePlus started letting official info trickle out, there were consistently rumors about a midrange OnePlus device with a MediaTek 1000 SoC and a 90Hz display, which now we know weren’t accurate. In a documentary on the development of the Nord, OnePlus says the phone was whipped up in only six months, which would mean development started after the release of these renders from December 2019. So maybe all previous rumors were for a canceled product. Android Central says the phone will have two selfie cameras in an oval-shaped hole punch, just like a Galaxy S10+, which is another strike against the renders.

We can’t go without mentioning that OnePlus’ social media teasing of this phone even extends to hyping up the box that it ships in, which the company says has a “sleek, new design” (it’s box-shaped) and is “incredibly sturdy.” Apparently, two people can stand on the box without crushing it. Our local recycling center will be thrilled.

Listing image by OnePlus

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