When Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature first rolled out, it was essentially a tool for monitoring which apps you spent all your time using and locking them if you used them for too long. However, since then, Google has expanded on Digital Wellbeing to make it more of a tool to help people have healthier relationships with technology.
With that in mind, Google’s latest Digital Wellbeing tweak makes a lot of sense. The company says its newest smartphones, the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G will turn off face retouching features in the camera by default. Additionally, an update to the Google Camera app will add “value-free, descriptive icons and labels” to the face retouching features.
Google says that over 70 percent of photos taken on Android use the front-facing camera, while the Google Photos app has labelled 24 billion pictures as ‘selfies.’ Clearly, selfies are a big thing for many people. Additionally, Google says it conducted studies and spoke with child and mental health experts from around the world. It found that face retouching and other filters, when applied as the default option, can negatively impact mental wellbeing.
As such, Google developed a framework for building and designing products that support people’s wellbeing. That includes people-centred guidelines around things like face retouching effects in the camera. Those guidelines resulted in the new approach to face retouching Google took with the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G.
By default, face retouching effects will be disabled on the new Pixel phones. Additionally, when enabled, those features should be clearly labelled and controls for the features shouldn’t feature words associated with ‘beauty.’ For example, when you try to enable face retouching on the new Pixel phones, Google describes as adjusting “skin texture, under-eye tone and eye brightness.” It then gives users the option between ‘Off,’ ‘Subtle’ or ‘Smooth.’
It’s worth noting that the ‘value-free’ icons and labels described above won’t be available at launch. Instead, they’ll come to the Google Camera app in an upcoming update.
Sony seeing 'very considerable' PS5 demand ahead of launch – Kitco NEWS
TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp is seeing “very considerable” demand for its PlayStation 5 (PS5) console via pre-orders, its gaming chief said on Wednesday, as users rush to secure the next-generation device ahead of its Nov. 12 launch.
The Japanese tech company pre-sold as many PS5 consoles in the first 12 hours in the United States as in the first 12 weeks for its predecessor PlayStation 4 device, Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in an interview.
“The demand as expressed by the level of pre-order has been has been very, very considerable,” Ryan told Reuters.
Sony, which went on to sell more than 100 million PS4 units, aims to persuade its user base to upgrade to its new device to play titles like “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” with enhanced graphics, sound and feedback via a new controller.
The launch comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has boosted gaming companies’ revenues but also disrupted retail networks, games development and manufacturing supply chains around the world.
“It may well be that not everybody who wants to buy a PS5 on launch day will be able to find one,” said Ryan, adding the company is “working as hard as we ever can” to ensure supply for the year-end shopping season.
Sony has built a network of in-house studios producing exclusive titles, including “Ghost of Tsushima” from Sucker Punch Productions, to fend off rivals including Microsoft’s Xbox and new entrants.
Sony’s will continue to grow its studio capability organically Ryan said, adding that “where we can bolster our in-house capability with selective M&A that might be possible.”
Analysts question how far the expansion in gaming driven by stuck-at-home consumers will continue longer term, with Ryan saying it will be up to Sony to drive that engagement.
“We’re definitely looking upwards and thinking that we can do better than we thought we could,” Ryan said.
Reporting by Sam Nussey and Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by David Holmes
Cyberpunk 2077 Delayed Until December – IGN – IGN
Cyberpunk 2077 will be delayed again by 21 days, with a new release date set for December 10, 2020.CD Projekt Red announced the news in a statement on Twitter citing the immense task of shipping Cyberpunk 2077 across nine consoles and two generations of hardware.
100 New Cyberpunk 2077 Screenshots: Gangs, Characters, and Playstyles Revealed
“The biggest challenge for us right now is shipping the game on current-gen, next-gen, and PC at the same time, which requires us to prepare and test 9 versions of it,” CD Projekt co-founders Adam Badowski and Marcin Iwinski said in a statement.
The launch platforms for Cyberpunk 2077 include Xbox One/X, Xbox Series S/X, PS4/Pro, PS5m PC, and Stadia.
Badowski and Iwinski also confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 was “almost a next-gen title” during development and so releasing the RPG across different generations requires effort for “every version” to run smoothly.
“We’re aware it might seem unrealistic when someone says that 21 days can make any difference in such a massive and complex game, but they really do,” the founders say.
We have important news to share with you pic.twitter.com/qZUaD6IwmM
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) October 27, 2020
CD Projekt Red also addressed the news that Cyberpunk 2077 reached gold master a few weeks ago, but explained that “going gold” is not the end of development. “On the contrary, this is the time where many improvements are being made which will then be distributed via a Day 0 patch. This is the time period we undercalculated.”
The 21-day delay and additional development time will likely further raise questions about crunch culture at CD Projekt Red. In September it was reported that developers were required to work mandatory overtime to meet its November release date, and Badowski confirmed that employees would be “well compensated” for their time.
In the meantime, check out IGN’s Cyberpunk 2077 hands-on preview.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.
Upcoming Samsung Galaxy 21 won't come with a charger: report – MobileSyrup
Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would stop including earbuds and chargers in the box with its iPhone smartphones. Several Android manufacturers raced to mock Apple’s decision on social media, which will look awful when they likely follow suit and remove in-box chargers next year.
Samsung was one such manufacturer, with some of its social media accounts quickly posting about how Galaxy phones include a charging brick.
However, SamMobile spotted reports from Korean media that indicate Samsung could remove the charger from the box of its future phones, such as the recently leaked Galaxy S21 (or perhaps S30, depending on how you think Samsung plans to handle the naming scheme this year). Further, the company will likely continue to not include earbuds in the box, similar to how it did with the Note 20 Ultra this year.
If the rumour proves true, Samsung’s social media trolling may look rather foolish. Still, Samsung arguably handled the removal of earbuds from the Note 20 packaging better than Apple did. Customers could request a pair of earbuds from Samsung if they needed them. It’s not clear if this option was available in Canada, but we’ll update this post once we learn more.
Still, if Samsung does remove the charging brick and chooses not to offer free bricks to those who request them, the company’s approach will likely be easier to stomach than Apple’s. This is mostly because almost every major Android phone has a USB-C port, and on top of that, most offer Qi wireless charging. In other words, most people likely have some form of charger that will work fine with whatever phone they choose to get next, something that isn’t quite true with the iPhone and its proprietary Lightning cable.
Removing chargers to help the environment is the bare minimum these companies can do
Regardless of how it plays out, it’s hard to say what benefits, if any, removing chargers will actually bring.
Apple claimed that doing so would help the environment by reducing waste and environmental impact. For example, no longer including the charger in the box means Apple wouldn’t need to make as many chargers and would use up less natural resources. Another argument the company made was that removing these items allowed it to shrink the packaging, allowing it to ship more iPhones on a pallet, reducing the total number of shipments needed and its carbon footprint.
Most of these claims are easily debunked. For example, Apple still includes a cable in the box, but it’s Lightning to USB-C, which won’t work with most people’s existing iPhone chargers that feature USB-A ports, requiring them to buy new chargers anyway. That’s not to say that Apple’s efforts to help the environment by cutting down on waste are bad. Instead, the effort is misplaced, and there are many other ways the company could actually benefit the environment. Switching the iPhone to USB-C instead of Lightning is one method.
With Android phones, there may be more of an environmental argument since the USB-C charger you currently have will likely work with the USB-C phone you get — in other words, most people legitimately don’t need a new charger.
At the end of the day, there will be people who don’t mind the change — I’m firmly in this camp as, thanks to my job, I have more USB-C chargers than I know what to do with. Others will undoubtedly feel frustrated or ripped off by the lack of charging peripherals in the box. And either way, removing the charger from the box is about the bare minimum any of these companies can do to actually help the environment. It’s a start, but there’s a lot more manufacturers can do to make smartphones more sustainable.
Sony seeing 'very considerable' PS5 demand ahead of launch – Kitco NEWS
Stuck in a food rut? Why you need break out of it – The Globe and Mail
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