Nongamers may never have heard of it, but this in-gaming chat service has gone from 45 million to 130 million users in the past year.
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Last November, AWS announced a new product called Amazon Sumerian, a toolkit and platform for developers to build “mixed reality” apps — that is, using virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D — without needing to have any specialised programming or graphics skills. And today, after running the service in a private beta for the last several months, Sumerian is now generally available.
In addition to being able to build a mixed reality app, you can also deploy it without writing custom code, Amazon says. The web-based editor also integrates with Amazon Lex for natural language and AI, Polly to turn text into speech, AWS Lambda for running code, AWS IoT to connect with Amazon’s IoT platform, and Amazon DynamoDB if you are running a NoSQL database. It supports WebGL and WebVR and Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, iOS and Android ARCore. Support for the new Oculus Go is coming, AWS said.
AWS has made huge strides in building out its cloud business, where developers, startups and much larger and mature organizations use the company’s infrastructure to host apps and other services, in what looks to be on track to be a $20 billion business this year. More recently, Amazon has been looking at ways of expanding its reach (and revenues) with these companies by offering a deeper range of services running within the cloud. Amazon Sumerian is a part of that strategy.
As Kyle Roche, the GM of Amazon Sumerian, described it, the company saw a gap in the market between the rise of new VR, AR and 3D tech, and a huge pool of organizations that might want to use that technology, but either lack the expertise and resources to do so, or would like to test something out before dedicating those resources more seriously.
“We are targeting enterprises who don’t have the talent in-house,” he said. Tackling new tech can sometimes be “too overwhelming, and this is one way of getting inspiration or prototypes going. Sumerian is a stable way to bootstrap ideas and start conversations. There is a huge business opportunity here.”
He said that early users in the closed beta have included a company developing training for medical devices, Mapbox building a framework for geospatial rendering, a business designing a walk-through a hotel lobby, e-sports companies, and some media and entertainment properties.
Adam Schouela, the VP of Fidelity Labs, said that the financial services giant has been working on a range of potential applications, including solutions to train its customer relations teams, ways of visualising financial modelling, and services for its customers to discover and use Fidelity’s services.
“What we try to do is look at emerging tech and rapidly build prototypes for Fidelity and the financial services industry,” he told TechCrunch. We’ve done a lot of work in the voice interfaces and user interfaces with AR and VR. When we saw what Sumerian was providing and potential integration between voice interfaces and VR, we thought this was a great opportunity. With voice interfaces one of the great use cases is when your eyes and hands are otherwise busy. With VR, it’s stuck to face and you can’t see and your hands are busy so voice happens to be a great way of interacting with virtual environments.”
A demo of one of Fidelity’s services is here:
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US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that Israel had acted with "restraint" in its deadly confrontation with Palestinians at the Gaza border, while Kuwait's ambassador urged the UN Security Council to offer protection to unarmed Palestinians.
After ambassadors joined in a moment of silence for the more than 50 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the bloodiest day in Gaza since a 2014 war, divisions among council members quickly re-emerged.
Haley said Israel was facing Hamas extremists who incited people who lobbed flaming objects toward the Israeli side of the border fence and urged protest marchers to breach it.
"Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would," she said. "No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has." Haley also insisted the violence had nothing to do with the opening of a US embassy in contested Jerusalem, saying that Gaza's Hamas rulers have been inciting violence there for years. Palestinians condemned the embassy opening as taking Israel's side in their conflict.
Kuwait's envoy, who requested the meeting, said that Israel was violating international law and that the council needs to offer protection unarmed Palestinians.
"The Palestinian people are looking to the United Nations and the Security Council to activate what this organization has taken upon itself in order to achieve the maintenance of international peace and security," said Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi.
More than 50 Palestinians were killed and over 1,200 wounded by Israeli gunfire amid mass protests Monday. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas militants of trying to attack under the cover of the protest.
No joint statement or action followed a similar meeting after protests in March, and two U.N. diplomats said members couldn't reach unanimous agreement Monday on issuing a proposed statement circulated by Kuwait.
The diplomats insisted on speaking anonymously because the discussions were supposed to be private.
The draft statement, obtained by The Associated Press, would have expressed "outrage and sorrow" at the killings, sought an "independent and transparent investigation," and called on all sides to exercise restraint.
It also would have demanded that all countries comply with a decades-old Security Council resolution that called on them not to have embassies in contested Jerusalem.
The US vetoed a Security Council resolution in December that would have required President Donald Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Earlier, the Palestinian UN envoy urged the United Nations' most powerful body to condemn the killings. Israel, meanwhile, called on the council to condemn Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the coastal strip and led the protests.
Israel isn't a council member, nor are the Palestinians.
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Farooq Devadiwala, allegedly the recruiter of a terror suspect arrested in Mumbai last week, has been detained by the law enforcement agencies in the United Arab Emirates, a senior police official said here today.
Faizal Hassan Mirza, a distant relative of Devadiwala, was arrested on May 11 for allegedly plotting attacks in Mumbai, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The action against Devadiwala followed Mirza's arrest, the official said.
When asked if Devadiwala would be deported to India, the official said it was a "distinct possibility".
UAE officials are questioning Devadiwala about his alleged role in recruiting people and sending them to terror training camps in Pakistan, he said.
Devadiwala is suspected to have links with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim's close aide Chhota Shakil, and is wanted in terror-related cases in Mumbai, the official added.
Devadiwala allegedly recruited Mirza to work for an outfit backed by the Islamic State group and carry out terror activities in Mumbai, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, he said.
Mirza allegedly planned to assassinate prominent people and target crowded places by carrying out suicide bombings, the official said.
Devadiwala arranged tickets for Mirza to visit Sharjah and arranged his travel further on a Dubai-Nairobi flight, which had a transit halt at Karachi in Pakistan, the official said.
Mirza was asked to deplane at the Karachi airport, from where he was sent to a terror training camp, the official said.
He was arrested on Friday by the Maharashtra ATS in a joint operation with Kolkata Police's Special Task Force and Mumbai Police.
After returning to Mumbai, Mirza was awaiting orders from his handlers to carry out attacks, police had said.
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I/O may have ended, but Google’s still trickling out news at a steady rate. The latest update comes from one of the more unexpected corners of the Googleverse. Pixel Buds, the company’s hotly anticipated and lukewarmly received bluetooth headphones are getting a nice software update.
In a blog post today, the company highlighted some new features that should help make the earbuds a bit more well-rounded.
At the top of the list is improved bluetooth pairing. It’s not a hardware upgrade, so users may still run into some of the issues the product got dinged for early on, but not it’s a lot easier to switch between synced hardware. Choosing Pixel Buds from the drop down menu on a connected computer will swap the connection from the current to new device.
The headphones are also getting a couple new touch gestures. Triple tapping the right earbud will turn the headphones on and off, while double tapping will skip a song to the next track. Though that second gesture requires going into the Pixel Buds settings inside the Google Assistant app to enable.
All of those updates are rolling out to users starting today. None are earth shattering, exactly, but they should make the Pixel Buds experience a bit better for those who’ve already plunked down the $160 for Google’s wireless headphones.
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Blogger, the blogging platform Google acquired back in 2003, is somehow still alive and kicking, even though few people remember it still exists. But alive it is — and it’s even getting some updates to its Google+ integration that will see all those 20 people still on Google+ rejoice.
After a year of inactivity, Blogger’s own news blog sprung to live this morning with a brief update that lays out the changes. Google calls this a ‘spring cleaning,’ and we all know what that means: shutting down features.
You probably don’t care, but gone from Blogger are support for third-party gadgets, the Next Blog feature, and the polling widget. Soon, OpenID support will be gone as well and Textcube.com is also shutting down. What is Textcube.com, you ask? It’s a Korean blogging service Google acquired back in 2008.
But there are also new features, which I’m guessing the sole two engineers still working on this project slaved over for the last year.
Blogger’s Google+ widget integration (yes, try not to laugh) will be transformed into HTML widgets to “give you more flexibility in how you share and see your followers.” Fifteen years after acquiring the service, Blogger now also supports logging in with multiple accounts. Google also today noted that the Blogger infrastructure has moved to Cloud Spanner, Google’s newest database service.
In the near future, you can expect a new video management feature, too. Exciting stuff.
It’s surprising that Blogger is still around. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Blogger site in my searches and it sure doesn’t have a lot of mindshare. Google also has let the platform linger and hasn’t integrated it with any of its newer services. The same thing could be said for Google+, too, of course. Some services, Google cuts because they have no users and no traction. That could surely be said for Blogger and Google+, but here they are, still getting periodic updates. I think the writing is on the wall, though, and I wouldn’t expect them to survive the next major Google spring cleaning.
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The holy month of Ramadan, or Ramzan as we call it in India, will begin on Thursday May 16 or May 17 depending on the moon sighting. During this month, Muslims fast from dawn-to-dusk. This fast is called Roza. Roza is observed to attain purity and piousness in the month of Ramadan. This is a way to get closer to Allah.
Before the fast Muslims consume Sehri. It's a meal eaten before the fast begins. The fast is broken with Iftar, an evening meal consumed after the sunset.
Here's the timetable for Sehri and Iftar in India's big cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and so on.
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