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Facebook music feature allows lip-sync of songs

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NEW YORK: Facebook users will be able to lip-sync live to their favorite tunes as the social media behemoth on Tuesday unveiled its first personalized features as part of licensing deals with music labels.

Under the new lip-sync function, Facebook users will be able to select hit songs to share on their live streams. As the music plays, those tuning in will see their friends sing, dance or do whatever else the music inspires them to do.

Users can also post descriptions of their lip-sync performances. The live feed will clearly state the song and the artist and give viewers a chance to click and follow the musician on Facebook.

Dubbed Lip Sync Live, the feature looks set to be a competitor to Musical.ly, the popular karaoke-inspired app that originated in China.

Facebook also said it would allow users to incorporate licensed music to accompany video posts, initially in select markets and eventually around the world.

Announcing the new music projects in a blog post, Facebook – which also owns Instagram – said that it planned more options in the future.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work with the music industry to create new ways for people to connect and express themselves through music across our family of apps,” a Facebook statement said.

The new features come several months after the company sealed licensing agreements with the three major music label conglomerates.

Pieces published earlier:

i) Facebook users to get good safeguards, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that he was rolling out the privacy controls demanded by European regulators to Facebook users worldwide because “everyone cares about privacy”. Speaking at the VivaTech trade fair in Paris a day before new European data protection rules come into force Zuckerberg said Europe’s history had made its citizens particularly wary when it comes to data collection.

“There are specific points about history in Europe. If you’re a German citizen and you grew up here you’re worried about the Stasi (former East German secret police). “That’s more recent in your memory than what we have in the US or other folks around the world.” But “everyone cares about privacy. That’s not only here, that’s a global thing,” Zuckerberg said, confirming he would extend the protections demanded by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation – including on facial recognition – to Facebook’s two billion users worldwide. “We’ve been very clear that we’ll roll out the same controls all around the world,” he said, adding that “good regulation” would increase user trust in how tech giants use their data. (25th May 2018)

 ii) The dreaded Islamic State militant group has made death threats to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a new video which shows their photos riddled with digitally added bullet holes, mocking the social media websites’ attempts to block terrorist content from their platforms. In the 25-minute video, the IS claim they are fighting back against efforts by the social media giants to wipe their platforms of accounts promoting terrorism. The video includes a direct threat to the tech entrepreneurs, branding them allies of the American “Crusader government”. Pictures of Zuckerberg and Dorsey can be seen being blasted with a hail of bullets in the amateur footage which emerged. In a separate slide, they also claim to have hacked more than 10,000 Facebook accounts, 150 Facebook groups, and more than 5,000 Twitter accounts. 

 

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Electric scooter-sharing moves into the fast lane

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WASHINGTON: How fast is the electric scooter-sharing craze growing? Fast enough to be declared a nuisance and kicked off the streets of San Francisco and a handful of others cities to allow local officials to mull regulations.

And fast enough to draw big investments to allow nimble startups to reach billion-dollar valuations. In the US capital Washington, the electric two-wheelers have become a fixture on city bike paths, zipping along at speeds up to 25 kilometers (15 miles) per hour, sometimes veering onto sidewalks despite warnings to the contrary.

The scooters are “dockless,” meaning they can be rented and left at any location, unlocked with a smartphone app which also indicates the location of the vehicles, in a model similar to new-style bike-sharing startups. Most systems charge $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute, so a 10-minute trip would cost $2.50.

“The economics work very well” for both the consumer and the companies, said Sanjay Dastoor, founder and chief executive of Skip Scooters, one of four startups authorized by Washington to deploy up to 400 dockless scooters.

Dastoor offered no specific figures but said riders get inexpensive transportation for short-term trips and companies are able to recoup the costs of the scooter quickly.

Just this year, dockless scooter programs have been launched in a dozen US cities and college campuses. On Friday, California-based Limebike was set to launch scooters in Paris as part of a global expansion plan.

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Delivery robots hit the road in Beijing

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BEIJING: Self-driving delivery robots have emerged in Beijing’s Haidian District delivering packages to their customers.

The service was launched on Monday by China’s leading e-commerce platform JD.com. More than 20 delivery robots have been put on the street to deliver parcels purchased by customers from the platform. Destinations of the initial deliveries cover residential communities nearby JD’s distribution centre in Shangdi and Zhongguancun Software Park.

With a maximum speed of 15 km per hour, each robot can carry up to 30 parcels at a time. Each robot is equipped with radar and sensors to help them recognize traffic lights and their surroundings. Customers will receive a message from JD.com when the robot is about to arrive, and are able to pick up their parcels through face recognition, inputting a code or using a mobile phone app.

“It is very convenient. I believe delivery robot technology will continue to improve. One day, I expect to see them in our buildings, not just waiting outside,” said a JD customer surnamed Cui.

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Google desktop browser support for Android Messages

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ISLAMABAD: Google is set to roll out desktop browser support for Android Messages, allowing users to send, view and receive messages they get on their Android devices to their personal computers (PCs).

The search engine giant plans to roll out the feature that supports text, images and stickers on the web in the coming weeks, The Verge reported. This is reportedly one of the first significant steps in Google’s “push towards chat”, which is the company’s implementation of Rich Communication Services (RCS) inside Android Messages.

“To get started, on the Android Messages website, you scan a quick response (QR) code using the Android Messages mobile app, which creates a link between the two,” the report said. Other improvements to Android Messenger include built-in graphics interchange format (GIF) search, support for smart replies on more carriers, in-line link previews and easy copy/paste for two-factor authentication messages.

According to the report, Google has recommended users to toggle their WiFi network “off and on again” in case they experience problems with the feature. The feature would also function on cellular data.

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