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Tech News
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Amazon’s voice-based assistant ‘Alexa’ is getting a male counterpart for the first time since its launch in 2014.

Amazon Echo speakers will now offer a new masculine voice option called ‘Ziggy.’ Many are guessing that the name is chosen to fit Amazon’s “A to Z" branding style. There are two ways to change the voice of Alexa on Echo devices, one is through the device itself and another can be done via the Alexa mobile app. Users can activate the virtual assistant by a new ‘Ziggy’ wake-up command instead of existing ‘Alexa’, ‘Computer’, ‘Echo’, and ‘Amazon’.

The feature is currently available in selective regions. Though Amazon has not officially declared when the development will release globally. 

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Social audio app Clubhouse rolled out a direct messaging feature 'Backchannel' to allow users interact one-to-one and in groups.

The idea is to help users coordinate with the co-host, plan next set of questions, discuss who to pull up and organise the whole scene in advance. Listener panel can also chat with each other at any time in a room. To start a conversation tap on the air plane icon at the bottom right or swipe left to access the chat thread.

It also has a second inbox for message requests from people whom users have not added to their account.

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While Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are currently in full swing, the world is encountering with what a global sporting event like the Olympics could be without a live audience.

To make the most out of the 2020 Olympics, popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp along with Snapchat have come forward .

Facebook has a dedicated Tokyo 2020 Olympics hub to allow users keep track of all the live events and developments at the Olympics. Photo sharing platform, Instagram has introduced Augmented Reality [AR] effects for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. WhatsApp has a dedicated Olympics chatbot which will help the users to get the latest news on the Olympic Games. Snapchat users will receive the latest updates from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a daily “Olympics Highlights” update.

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WhatsApp has upgraded its group call functionality as well as updated the call interface. 

Earlier if someone have missed a WhatsApp group call, there was no option available for them to join the ongoing call without seeking help from someone in the group. With the upgraded group call feature, users will be able to view and join an ongoing group call that they might have missed from the ‘Calls’ tab.

One can also find out who have already joined the call and who are yet to join before entering the call. The new feature has been rolled out for both the voice and video calls.

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Windows 11 is likely to introduce several visual enhancements to the interface such as a new Action Center, Start Menu and a new redesigned Taskbar.

Microsoft is going to redesign core Windows apps like the Microsoft Photos app, Microsoft Paint, and the classic Notepad as well. The objective is to offer cleaner interface to its users. The Windows Calculator and PowerToys will also observe some major changes in appearance.

Along with it, the company is updating some of its system apps on Windows 11 to better integrate with the new design. Windows 11 is expected to hit the market later this year.

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Facebook is adding sound with the emojis aka “Soundmojis” to Facebook Messenger.

Users can access Soundmojis by tapping the emoji button in a Messenger conversation. From there, they can select the loudspeaker icon to preview and send their preferred Soundmojis. The feature includes sound clips such as clapping, crickets, drum roll, evil laughter and many more. It will also allow users to include audio clips from different artists, TV shows and movies.

Make sure to keep checking the list of emoji as time goes on. Facebook mentions it will be updated “regularly” with new sounds.

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Netflix intends to expand its horizons by entering the video game market possibly by next year. The games might debut as a new programming genre, similar to its documentary and stand-up specials. 

The streaming giant has hired Former Electronic Arts and Facebook Executive Mike Verdu, as its Vice President of Game Development. The gaming feature will be offered at no extra charge initially. Netflix currently only offers movies and TV shows on its platform.

Separately, to make the platform more kid-friendly, Netflix has decided to introduce ‘Kids Recap Email’ and ‘Kids Top 10 Row’.

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Japan has set the World Record for the fastest internet speed by achieving a data transmission rate of 319 Terabits per second (Tbps).

Researchers at the National Institute of Information And Communications Technology successfully completed the first S, C and L bands transmission over 3,001 kilometres, through a four-core optical fibre in the standard diameter of 0.125mm. The research team mentioned that the new achievement was made possible by the use of erbium and thulium-doped fibre amplifiers along with Raman amplification.

Previously the record was held by researchers from the University College of London at 178 Tbps.

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Google is all set to replace Backup and Sync for individuals with its unified Drive for the desktop app. Starting July 19, Google will begin transitioning to the new Drive app for Windows and macOS users.

With Drive for desktop, users can access files directly from the cloud on their Mac or PC, which will free up disk space and save network bandwidth.

The Backup and Sync will receive in-app notifications guiding users to transition into the new Drive app from August 18. Google seeks to complete the transition by September and also set to shut down the Backup and Sync apps by early October this year.

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After Singapore to have BHIM-UPI acceptance at merchant location, Bhutan has decided to adopt India’s Unified Payment Interface (UPI) standards for its quick response (QR) code.

India’s retail payment channels have come a long way since the growth in the payment channels have increased the access of formal financial services to a wider section of the population, covering areas where banks generally find it tough to operate.

NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) and Bhutan's Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) announced their partnership for enabling and implementing BHIM UPI QR-based payments in Bhutan on July 13th.