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Facebook’s latest app experiment is a ‘private space’ for couples

If you have a special someone but don’t live with them, you’re probably feeling a bit stranded during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Facebook might have a way to help you stay connected beyond the usual phone calls and video chats. Its experiment-oriented NPE Team has released Tuned, an iPhone “private space” (sorry, Android lovebirds) meant solely for couples. It revolves around a scrapbook-like feed where you can share notes, photos, cards and voice clips. You can also send Spotify songs that remind you of your sweetie, or even share your mood if you need a pick-me-up.

You add your partner through their phone number. You won’t have to worry about people intruding on your space, then, although Tuned adheres to Facebook policies that allow using data for ad targeting.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-tuned-couples-messaging-app-183655320.html

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Netflix’s new parental controls include PIN-protected profiles

Netflix’s parental controls have been something of a mess, but they just got considerably better. The streaming service has updated its controls to give you more power over what kids see — or rather, what they don’t. You can now filter out age-inappropriate titles based on country ratings, so your little one won’t see a horror movie or a bloody crime drama. You can block individual titles if there are any that push the limits of their rating. And yes, you can finally PIN-protect an entire profile instead of access to risky material — you don’t have to enter a code every time you want to watch Sabrina.

Likewise, you can expect better tools for managing profiles. You can see what your kids have been watching on their profiles, and turn off auto-play if you don’t want them going on impromptu Paw Patrol marathons. It should also be simple to review each profile’s content filters from within account settings.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/netflix-parental-controls-filters-profile-pins-185600095.html

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‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ is introducing four-player squads

Just as Apex Legends is getting a permanent duos mode to complement the long-standing trios option, Call of Duty: Warzone is stepping in the opposite direction by letting you drop into the map with four players in your squad. The quads option will be available in the battle royale and plunder modes April 8th, when season 3 gets underway in both that game and CoD: Modern Warfare multiplayer.

As you'd probably expect, Warzone will add more weapons and skins when season 3 starts, including silenced and non-silenced versions of every weapon type. Expect to find new guns and blueprints in supply boxes along with more modes and playlists throughout the season that affect what types of loot are available. For instance, you'll be able to hop into games in which sniper rifles and shotguns are your only weapon options. PS Plus subscribers, meanwhile, can snag some extra, exclusive gear for free with the season 3 Combat Pack.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/call-of-duty-warzone-quads-four-players-modern-warfare-season-3-194626509.html

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Snapchat’s new lens helps users donate to the WHO’s COVID-19 relief fund

This isn’t Snapchat’s first COVID-19 filter. In March, it added mental health tools to help ease coronavirus anxiety through the “Here For You” tool. Those include information from the Crisis Text Line, Ad Council, WHO and CDC. A couple weeks later, Snapchat added lenses that encourage social distancing, hand washing and the importance of not touching your face.

Like seemingly all communication platforms, Snapchat has seen an uptick in activity with more people staying home. It reported a 50 percent increase in its calling feature during the last two weeks of March.

Snapchat isn’t alone in supporting the WHO’s COVID-19 relief fund. A 12-hour Stream Aid Charity Marathon on Twitch last month raised 2.8 million for the Solidarity Response Fund. The game studio Ndemic Creations, behind Plague Inc., donated $250,000, and late-night hosts and musicians will come together on April 18th for a virtual benefit concert. Donations will support the WHO’s work to track and understand the virus, ensure patients get the care they need, provide frontline workers with essential supplies and accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests and treatments.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/snapchat-coronavirus-ar-donation-lens-200654620.html

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Sony’s PS5 DualSense controller has a built-in mic and adaptive triggers

The DualSense has a built-in microphone array, so you can chat with your friends without needing a headset. The DualShock share button is no more, with a Create button taking its place. Sony will spell out exactly what you’ll be able to do with that in the coming months. A closer look at the rear, meanwhile, suggests that the DualSense has a USB-C charging port.

The company previously teased some details about the controller, such as its adaptive L2 and R2 triggers and that it’d have haptic feedback. Sony suggests that the DualSense, along with the console’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, “will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.”

The PS5 is still on track for a holiday 2020 release date, so it’ll only be six months or so before we find out how true that statement is, as well as whether the DualSense is as comfy as it appears. However, we’ve still no idea what the console itself looks like. Fingers crossed there’ll be more details on that front soon.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/playstation-5-controller-dualsense-photos-202718532.html

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‘Borderlands 3’ rewards you for aiding human gut research

You might just nudge scientific progress forward the next time you play Borderlands 3. Gearbox has introduced a Borderlands Science mini-game that will help scientists map the human gut’s microbiome in return for rewards. It may look like a simple block puzzle, but you’re really helping to map and compare sequenced DNA. You’re effectively helping to correct computer analyses.

Each puzzle has a target score. Completing them will earn in-game currency you can redeem for everything from cosmetics through to limited-time boosters for your stats and experience. And don’t worry if you can’t line up all the tiles — the data isn’t meant to be perfect.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/borderlands-science-210018747.html

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Apple’s Clips video editor on iPad adds mouse and trackpad support

Apple’s Clips video creation app now supports mouse, trackpad and Bluetooth keyboard inputs on iPad, as long as you’re running iPadOS 13.4 or later. Along with a number of other features included in the latest update, that'll greatly expand your options for making killer videos.

You'll be able to create a carbon copy of a clip (including all of the effects) with the Duplicate button, or chop it into parts with the Split tool. Apple also suggests you can "make stickers pop on and off the screen" by applying them to a section of a clip you’ve split

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-clips-ios-update-mouse-trackpad-ipad-214628298.html

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Facebook’s lack of moderators is hurting its fight against misinformation

Facebook has previously warned that it’s been unable to rely on many of its human content moderators, most of whom are contractors and not able to work from home, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the company has been relying heavily on its automated systems, which use artificial intelligence to flag potential violations. 

Several weeks into this new arrangement, though, and it appears that Facebook’s automated tools are coming up short. As CR points out, the ad recommending drinking bleach is especially egregious considering Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, have regularly cited the claim as one that would be barred under Facebook’s rules. 

Other ads called the coronavirus a “hoax” and discouraged social distancing efforts — both of which violate Facebook’s policies prohibiting posts that discourage treatment or “taking appropriate precautions.”

A Facebook spokesperson noted  the company’s automated system can continue to flag ads after they’ve been purchased and after they’ve started running on the service. 

There were other potential “red flags” that Facebook’s system could have used as a signal to give Consumer Reports’ ads extra scrutiny. The posts were linked to a non-existent organization that only created Facebook accounts days before buying the ads — a technique often used by spammers. But if Facebook’s ad approval takes any of these signals into consideration, it didn’t raise any alarms in this instance.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget the company has taken down “millions of ads” that violate its rules.

“While we’ve removed millions of ads and commerce listings for violating our policies related to COVID-19, we’re always working to improve our enforcement systems to prevent harmful misinformation related to this emergency from spreading on our services,” the spokesperson said.

Critics have long claimed that Facebook’s ad policies are often enforced unevenly. The company has been accused of spreading medical misinformation about HIV prevention medication, and a recent paper from New York University concluded the company’s transparency rules — meant to make political ads easier to track  are “easy to evade.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-coronavirus-ads-misinformation-223116212.html

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‘Forza Street’ reaches Android and iOS on May 5th

It won’t be too much longer until you can see how well Forza translates to smartphones. Turn 10 and Microsoft have announced that Forza Street will be available for Android and iOS on May 5th, with pre-registration still limited to Google Play and the Galaxy Store. Anyone who plays within the first month will get a Founders Pack that includes the 2017 Ford GT as well as virtual credits and gold.

As indicated before, Street is a simplified, bite-sized take on Forza — understandable when you probably aren’t about to hold your phone during the length of a realistic race. You can expect familiar-looking cars, but you’ll also see a story-driven mode and races that can last for just a minute.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/forza-street-launches-may-5-231241510.html

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Nuro’s driverless delivery cars are cleared for testing in California

Nuro’s driverless delivery vehicles just got another important approval. California’s DMV has given Nuro a permit to test completely self-driving couriers in specific parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including Silicon Valley mainstays like Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. The company plans to use this for free deliveries to “select” customers in the Mountain View area, with ultimate plans for a full-fledged delivery service that would operate state-wide.

The startup already had permission to test self-driving vehicles on California roads since 2017, but only with a backup driver in place. Truly driver-free deliveries have already taken place in other states, if typically as test programs.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/california-approves-nuro-self-driving-tests-004624914.html

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