Technology

Weekly Bytes | Battlegrounds Mobile India launches on iOS, YouTube’s new features to improve search, and more


Here’s our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.

Battlegrounds Mobile India launches on iOS

Krafton on Wednesday launched Battlegrounds Mobile India on iOS. The game, which is a version of the now-banned online multiplayer game PUBG, was developed exclusively for gaming enthusiasts and fans in India. The battle royale game is now available for download on the App Store. The minimum requirements to play the iOS version are: iPhone 6s or above with iOS 9 or higher, according to Krafton. After opening the pre-registrations on Google Play in May, the game was launched in July. It has now surpassed the 50 million downloads mark on Google’s app store, according to the company. Last month, Krafton had also announced the Battlegrounds Mobile India series, which received over five lakh registrations. In a separate development, Epic Games on Thursday unsealed details about contracts it alleges Google signed with phone makers and other top video game firms to avoid losing $1.1 billion in annual app store profit.

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YouTube’s new features to improve search

Google’s video-sharing platform, YouTube, has a large library of content. The company is introducing new features to help people more easily search and find content on the platform. Soon, users will be able to see the chapters of a video on the search page. It will give the users more information about the video and allow them to jump straight to the part most relevant to their specific interest. Additionally, the desktop feature, which allows users to preview a video by scrolling over it, will be available to mobile users as well. Furthermore, YouTube will show search results from other languages with automatically translated captions, titles and descriptions when relevant content in the local language isn’t available, it said in a blog post. It will start with English videos and plans to expand to more languages. This week, YouTube also said it has a long-held policy of not allowing accounts believed to be operated by the Taliban on its site.

WhatsApp developing 90 days option for Disappearing Messages

WhatsApp is working on a new option that could allow users to set, a period of 90 days after which new messages from a chat will disappear, according to a report by WABetaInfo. The feature, which is under development, was spotted in WhatsApp’s new beta build for Android (2.21.17.16). The Facebook-owned firm is also said to be developing a 24 hours option for Disappearing Messages. Both the options could be made available through an update in the future. Disappearing Messages feature was introduced last year, and currently offers only one option (default) of seven days. Recently, WhatsApp extended the ‘disappearing’ feature for sharing media on the messaging platform, allowing users to share ‘view once’ photos and videos that will disappear from the chat after they have been opened. In another development, FTC refreshed its antitrust case against Facebook Thursday, adding more detail on the accusation the social media company crushed or bought rivals and once again asking a judge to force the social media giant to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

Blue Origin to test NASA lunar landing technologies

Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-17) will test a suite of NASA lunar landing technologies, and fly 18 commercial payloads inside the crew capsule, 11 of which are NASA-supported, and an art installation on the exterior of the capsule. The mission will demonstrate NASA’s Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor, designed for future missions to the Moon. This will be the second flight for this experiment. Knowledge gained from the first flight in October last year informed a series of critical improvements to advance the capabilities of the Navigation Doppler Lidar and the Descent Landing Computer. The payload will fly mounted on the exterior of the booster. It will be the 8th flight for this particular vehicle, which is dedicated to flying scientific and research payloads to space and back. Lift-off is currently targeted for Wednesday, August 25, from Texas. In another update, NASA agreed to temporarily halt work on a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX after rival billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin sued the U.S government.

BMW reveals its iX5 Hydrogen car

BMW has revealed its iX5 Hydrogen car ahead of the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. Two years after unveiling the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT concept car, the German automaker will present the iX5 Hydrogen, a Sports Activity Vehicle, developed based on the BMW X5. It combines fuel cell technology with a fifth-generation BMW eDrive. The drive system uses hydrogen as fuel by converting it into electricity in a fuel cell, delivering an electrical output of up to 125 kW/170 hp, with water vapour as the only emission. A small series of the iX5 Hydrogen will be used for demonstration and testing purposes from the end of next year. In the future, the BMW i brand could offer vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell drive trains, in addition to battery-electric models. In the transport sector, hydrogen can become an additional technology option, alongside battery-electric mobility, for shaping sustainable individual mobility in the long term. In a separate development, Jaguar Land Rover had recently announced it is developing a hydrogen-powered concept car based on the new Land Rover Defender SUV, with testing slated to begin later this year.

Samsung launches Galaxy A03s in India

Samsung on Wednesday launched Galaxy A03s in India, extending its popular A-series line-up. The device features a 6.5-inch Infinity-V display, 13MP triple rear camera, massive 5000mAh battery, and Octa-core MediaTek P35 processor with a side fingerprint sensor. It has a 5MP front camera that comes with live focus, built-in filters and different camera modes for selfies. The new device supports Android 11 and One UI 3.1 Core that offers separate viewing and interaction along with the Night Mode. Galaxy A03s will be available in three colours – Black, Blue and White with a haze and matt textured body. It will be available across retail stores, Samsung.com and leading online portals, in two variants – 3GB and 32GB, for ₹11499 and 4GB and 64GB, priced at ₹12499. This week, Samsung also introduced a skilling programme in India that aims to train 50,000 youth and make them job-ready for the electronics retail sector in the next few years.

You can read more at thehindu.com/technology

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