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tech geek today

  • It’s about as good a timing as any for Lyft to capitalize on the tidal wave of negative publicity that Uber is facing right now, and it looks like it might end up with a significant investment from Alphabet in the middle of that train wreck, according to a report by Axios. That’s not to say that this is directly related to Uber, which has a new CEO and is trying to move on from the disaster of the past few months. Still, Alphabet appears to be discussing a $1 billion investment in Lyft in an effort led by CEO Larry Page, according to the report. Lyft last raised $600 million at a $7.5 billion valuation in April. This would be an interesting move for Google, which invested in Uber early in its life through its investment arm GV. We’d heard some murmurs of something brewing between Alphabet and Lyft for a few weeks, but it was unclear what the outcome would be. Bloomberg also reported the news this afternoon. In the end, it appears that Lyft may get a big infusion of cash to fuel its efforts to pick away at Uber — especially as it appears primed to begin its move internationally, according to a report from The Information. Techcrunch I would like to see this happen as Uber is dominating the market and I would like to see some competition in the space.
  • The iPhone X is going to get some competition from Google this fall. The search giant on Thursday announced it will host a hardware event on Oct. 4, where it’s expected to reveal its next-generation smartphone, the Pixel 2. The tech titan posted a cryptic video on its YouTube site that featured a Google search box with multiple queries being typed in. “What’s wrong with my phone’s battery?” one asked. Another wanted to know “Why doesn’t my phone understand me?” The video suggests, among other things, that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s new smartphone may be equipped with an improved version of its voice-activated Google Assistant. The Oct. 4 date falls on the one-year anniversary of the launch of Google’s first Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, which were tagged by reviewers as one of the best smartphones on the market that use Google’s Android mobile operating system. NYPost It’s a pretty safe bet this is the time of year Apple and Google roll stuff out for the holiday season.
  • Each generation of iPhone brings with it a custom system-on-chip (SoC) with an impressive amount of power, and Apple is keeping that tradition with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10). Each of those handsets sports a custom A11 Bionic processor with six cores of computing muscle—four high performance cores and two power efficiency cores. If early leaked benchmarks are any indication, the A11 Bionic is going to set some records. The A11 Bionic is reportedly built on a 10-nanometer FinFET process. We suspect the two power efficiency cores will perform the bulk medial chores to maintain battery life, which Apple says will be 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7. But for heavy lifting, the chip is capable of not only firing up its four high performance cores, it can tap all six cores simultaneously. Combined with a burly GPU, the A11 Bionic looks like a fierce chip. HotHardware Looking back I bet Intel upset they turn the deal down to make phone processors for Apple.
  • Google is taking on the irritating trend of auto-playing Web videos with its Chrome browser. Starting in Chrome 64, which is currently earmarked for a January 2018 release, auto-play will only be allowed when the video in question is muted or when a “user has indicated an interest in the media.” The latter applies if the site has been added to the home screen on mobile or if the user has frequently played media on the site on desktop. Google also says auto-play will be allowed if the user has “tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session.” arstechnica I am glad I don’t like the fact that Facebook Autoplays its a security issue I feel.
  • The Apple TV 4K doesn’t arrive until next week, but Apple is already delivering 4K and HDR content to its customers via the iTunes Store. As you may recall, I described Apple’s Apple TV 4K announcements this week to be the only unadulterated win from its iPhone X press event. That is, this device will provide 4K and HDR content to a living room device that is (for Apple) reasonably priced. And better still, Apple’s 4K content will not cost extra. “In the only real surprise at the event, and what I will argue was, in fact, the best news of the day, Apple will not charge extra for purchased 4K/UHD/HDR content,” I wrote. “That is, movies and TV shows in these formats will cost the same as Full HD/1080p videos did before (typically $15 or $20 for a new movie). And better still, if you purchased movies or TV shows from Apple in Full HD before, they will automatically be upgraded to 4K/UHD/HDR as those versions become available. Other service providers charge a lot of money for this kind of thing. For example, Google sells the movie King Kong: Skull Island for $19.99 in Full HD, but the 4K/UHD/HDR version is $29.99. For people who care about home entertainment, Apple’s pricing here is—yes, really—a game changer.” Thurrott Apple is really on the ball with their services that’s why they are on their way to being the first trillion dollar company.
  • Just a few days after Apple killed off its annual London music festival, in steps Spotify with its first live music event for the UK. Who We Be, as it’s called, will take place on November 30th at London’s Alexandra Palace. The lineup consists of Dizzee Rascal, Bugzy Malone, Cardi B, Giggs, J Hus, and Stefflon Don in a celebration of rap and grime. The festival shares its name with the Who We Be playlist curated by Spotify and followed by 140,000 fans. Playlist subscribers will have the first opportunity to buy presale tickets starting tomorrow, before general ticket sales begin on Monday, September 11th from the event’s website. The Verge I am sad to see Apple cancel their music festival. I am happy to see Spotify doing one reminds of Napster fest in early 2000s
  • Last November, YouTube began supporting HDR for those who watch its videos via their TV sets. Today, the company announced it’s expanding the technology to mobile, initially on select Android devices, but not yet on iOS. With support for HDR, videos offer better picture quality, with higher contrast that allows you to see more vibrant colors and make out more of the image in darker scenes. At launch, YouTube mobile HDR is rolling out to Pixel, LG V30, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8, and Sony Experia XZ Premium devices, through the YouTube mobile app. The company says it will continue to work with mobile industry partners to bring HDR playback to more devices over time. TechCrunch YouTube is the most innovative platform for video I truly believe that.
  • The aging Google Drive app for desktop is officially deprecated as of today, Google announced in a blog post. Support will be cut off on December 11th and the app will shut down completely on March 12th, 2018. Users who are still running the Drive app will start seeing notifications in October that it’s “going away,” and the company will steer customers towards one of two replacements depending on whether they’re a consumer or business user. Google Drive the service isn’t going anywhere. You can still access it from the web, smartphone apps, and either of the software options mentioned below. Google now has two fairly new software tools for backing up your data and/or accessing files in the cloud. There’s Backup and Sync, the all-encompassing consumer app that replaces both the standalone Google Drive and Google Photos Uploader apps. It offers essentially the same functionality as Drive and works much the same way. The Verge This is an example of Google really taking on OneDrive and Carbonite.
  • Google has launched Chrome 61 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Additions in this release include JavaScript modules and WebUSB support, among other developer features. You can update to the latest version now using the browser’s built-in silent updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome. Chrome is arguably more than a browser. With over 1 billion users, it’s a major platform that web developers have to consider. In fact, with Chrome’s regular additions and changes, developers have to keep up to ensure they are taking advantage of everything available. VentureBeat Google Chrome supporting all platforms is great shows you how much good wants their browser to dominate.