Google rolling out Google Plus replacement Currents to G Suite users in July

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google will be making Currents, its Google Plus replacement, generally available to G Suite users beginning July 6th, the company announced in an email to G Suite administrators on Friday. Google describes Currents as a tool that will allow companies to engage employees and have meaningful discussions.
Google shut down Google Plus as a social network in 2019 due to low usage, but an enterprise version for G Suite customers was still available. Any lingering Google Plus enterprise users will be transitioned to Currents next month, and Plus links will redirect to Currents URLs.
The interface for Currents includes a home stream, which can either be ordered chronologically or by relevance, and allows sharing of links, images, text, polls,…
Continue reading…

The pandemic has made it harder to buy a new laptop

Laptops, laptops, laptops. | Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge The new 13-inch MacBook Pro hit shelves on May 4th. Kate Kozuch, a journalist, ordered one to replace her old, broken 2015 model. She was confused by the different add-ons and configuration options — “The numbers hurt my brain,” she told The Verge. But after much research, she finally settled on one.
When it came time to check out, however, Kozuch realized she might have to wait much longer than she’d hoped. Apple estimated that her unit would arrive between May 26th and June 2nd. It didn’t take quite that long, but it still took longer than anticipated. Kozuch got her MacBook on May 18th — two weeks after placing the order.
Robin Gloss, a college student, also ordered the new MacBook on May 26th. She hasn’t received it yet, but it’s…
Continue reading…

BBC releases its own ‘Beeb’ voice assistant in beta

Image: BBC The BBC’s in-house voice assistant, ‘Beeb,’ has been released in beta, allowing Windows Insiders in the UK to test the software on Windows 10, the UK broadcaster announced today. The corporation boasts that Beeb is “the first public service voice assistant.” If you’re signed up as a Windows beta tester, you can download and install the software from the Microsoft Store.
Beeb’s is an attempt by the BBC to have more control over user experience and user data, rather than ceding it all to large tech firms like Amazon and Google, whose Alexa and Google Assistant command the vast majority of the voice assistant market. The Guardian notes that there’s a fear within the broadcaster that it risks being left behind as listening and viewing habits…
Continue reading…

HBO Max won’t hit AT&T data caps, but Netflix and Disney Plus will

HBO Max, AT&T’s big bet on the future of streaming, will be excused from AT&T’s mobile data caps, while competing services like Netflix and Disney Plus will use up your data.
That’s the follow-up from a Vergecast conversation with Tony Goncalves, the AT&T executive in charge of HBO Max. Asked whether HBO Max would hit the cap, Goncalves said his team “had the conversation” but didn’t have the answer. AT&T later confirmed to The Verge that HBO Max will be excused from the company’s traditional data caps and the soft data caps on unlimited plans.
According to an AT&T executive familiar with the matter, HBO Max is using AT&T’s “sponsored data” system, which technically allows any company to pay to excuse its services from data caps. But…
Continue reading…

Vivo announces X50 flagship series with gimbal-style camera

Vivo has officially announced its first flagship phones of 2020, the X50 series. As previously teased, the key feature is the primary camera’s heavy-duty stabilization system, which Vivo variously compares to professional gimbals and chameleons’ eyes. It previously showed up on Vivo’s Apex 2020 concept phone, but the company wasn’t able to show it off in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic; now it’ll be shipping on commercial devices.
The highest-end model is the X50 Pro+, which uses Samsung’s new 50-megapixel 1/1.3-inch ISOCELL GN1 sensor for the primary camera. The gimbal system makes use of an on-screen “radar” that depicts the lens’ movement and indicates when a shot will be stable. The X50 Pro+ and X50 Pro also include periscope…
Continue reading…

Watch NASA astronauts fly SpaceX’s Crew Dragon using touchscreens

Nearly two hours after NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first astronauts launched to space on a privately-owned rocket, they also became the first to pilot a spaceship using only touchscreen controls.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon eschews the famous maze of manual controls and switches found on retired spacecraft like the Space Shuttle or the Apollo command modules. Instead, Crew Dragon pilots have just three large touchscreen panels in front of them and a few spare buttons below. So during the few times that they have to manually control the spacecraft, they do so using a video game-style interface on those screens.
Behnken and Hurley got to take that interface for a brief test ride Saturday afternoon when SpaceX had them…
Continue reading…