Google Wallet just got a lot more useful thanks to a sizable update that focuses on meeting users’ everyday needs.
The update comes alongside Google's big June feature drop and adds three new features to the ID, credit card, and ticket-management app. Chief among them is the official launch of state ID and driver’s license support for people living in Maryland. We first saw the ID support late last year when the beta rolled out. From the looks of it, the requirements are still the same: you need to have a “phone running Android 8.0 or later,” plus the device lock must be enabled.
Those digital ID cards can also be used at TSA PreCheck lines at certain airports to speed up the screening process. The full list can be found on the official TSA website. In the coming months, digital ID support should be rolling out to residents of Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia.
Moving down the list, users will be able to digitize passes that contain either “a barcode or QR code” simply by taking a photo of it. You’ll be able to upload things like gym membership cards, transit tickets sporting a QR code, and parking passes. Additionally, Google Messages will now be able to directly upload a received boarding pass or train ticket to Wallet. However, RCS (Rich Communication Services) must be enabled first. The newfound Messages support is seeing a limited rollout as it’ll only work with “Vietnam Airlines and Renfe, Spain’s leading train operator.” No word on whether or not the feature will expand to work with other travel businesses.
The work isn’t over yet as Google plans on growing the Wallet app even further. The company states it’s currently working with American health insurance company Humana on “developing a digital version of [the latter’s] insurance card”. Because it would contain sensitive information, this type of pass will require card owners to verify themselves before adding or using the data. People can use either biometrics, a PIN, “or other methods.” For UK users, there are plans to allow residents a way to “save their National Insurance Number” onto Wallet via the HMRC app.
Later this year, the tech giant states it’ll introduce support for “corporate badges… giving employees convenient and secure access to buildings” at their workplace. Speaking of access, Google Wallet is slated to release to more countries “in the next few weeks” although it’s unknown where exactly. We reached out to Google for clarification on launch windows for other regions and future updates. This story will be updated if we hear back.
WhatsApp is saving you from those awkward spelling mistakes and missing commas by giving you the power to edit messages – within limits.
We first saw inklings of this update in a late March beta. The feature didn’t work at the time, but there were some clues hinting at how it would function. From the looks of things, not much has changed since then.
To fix a text, Meta states you need to first long-press a sent message and then select Edit from the menu that appears. Users have 15 minutes to make their corrections. Texts cannot be changed past the time limit, forcing you to live with the typos you made (or you can just send a new text).
Messages that have been altered will display ‘Edited’ right next to them, making it clear to others in a chat that some corrections have been made. It all works similarly to iMessage editing on iOS 16. WhatsApp, however, will not save any sort of edit history, meaning others won’t be able to see previous versions of texts.
Editable messages are currently “rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks” so keep an eye out for the new patch. We asked Meta if there are any other restrictions. For example, on iOS 16 users can only make up to five edits to a text within a 15-minute window. This story will be updated at a later time.
A very busy month
WhatsApp has had quite a busy month as the platform has seen multiple updates in a short amount of time. Just last week, the app gained a Chat Lock tool, ensuring your private conversation stays private which can be useful if you’re using a shared phone. Before that, we saw the introduction of single-vote polls “to stop people from skewing [results] with multiple votes.”
As for the near future, it appears Meta will soon launch a “password reminder feature for end-to-end encrypted backups”, according to a recent post from WABetaInfo. The app will ask you to verify the password so you’ll always have access to the backup in the event you forget your login credentials. This particular update will be rolling out to both Android and iOS “over the coming weeks.”
Adobe’s latest update to Premiere Pro promises to be an absolute game-changer for video editors with the arrival of text-based video editing.
According to the company, the feature, first trailed in April 2023, is “an entirely new way of creating rough cuts that are as simple as copying and pasting text.” That means it doesn’t change how videos are produced – it alters who can edit videos.
Text-based editing isn’t the only new feature now available in one of the best video editing software tools on the market. In a bid to maximize workflows, Adobe has unveiled Background Auto Save, smoother scrolling, and improved language support, too.
Ctrl + V(ideo)
Editing videos through text is all about streamlining and simplicity. This is, after all, about making it easier to stitch together rough cuts before fine-tuning.
Once source footage is transcribed, users can quickly highlight the required text from the transcript and insert it into the timeline. Using the sequence transcript, editors can then copy and paste text to move clips, or delete it to bin them, before refining the cut using Premiere Pro’s trimming tools.
It’s not the first time Adobe has toyed with text-based video editing. Last year, the company unveiled its Project Blink beta, an AI-powered video editor for browsers, that works in a suspiciously similar manner.
When we reviewed the web-based video editing app, we were impressed by its overall accessibility. Anyone who’s ever used Microsoft Word or similar will find themselves in somewhat familiar territory. At the time, we said, “it’s fair to say you lack the omniscient control that you’d find in other video editors, and this isn’t exactly an Adobe Premiere Pro alternative. But what would usually take hours in a fully-fledged video editor, Adobe's Project Blink can accomplish in minutes.”
Adding text-based video editing in Premiere Pro takes that to another level. It not only gives just about everyone the ability to build a rough cut, but makes it an integral part of the workflow for experienced and professional video editors.
And, like the proliferation of machine-learning neural filters and the ability to remove objects from an image in one click Photoshop, it’s another example of Adobe simplifying creative processes. We’re all content creators now.
When Microsoft first introduced Bing’s new feature, which is based on the popular ChatGPT chatbot, there was a lot of initial excitement… but then Bing started behaving strangely. People noticed that Bing’s AI chatbot would start acting increasingly bizarrely the longer their conversations with it went on.
It worked, but it came at a cost, as Bing suddenly became a lot more boring.
Fixing the chat
The last thing Microsoft wants is for Bing to be considered boring again, so it’s been understandably keen to increase the chat limit once the bugs have been ironed out, so the news that it is offering a big increase to 120, which follows an increase from 60 to 100, is certainly welcome.
Also, Microsoft’s initial limit to just five replies was seen by many to be too drastic – it certainly limited the usefulness of Bing by cutting chats short – and it took the fun out of it as well.
As MSPoweruser reports, Microsoft’s head of advertising and web services, Mikhail Parakhin, explained on Twitter that, in addition to the increased chat limit, users will now be able to have a conversation depth of eight – the limit was briefly increased from five to eight, before it was dropped back to six.
Since multiple people reached out: yesterday’s Bing Chat limit switching to 6 was a regression. We should be mostly back to the normal depth 8, total 120/day. Sorry about that! Seems to be holding up fine, hope to increase again soon.March 7, 2023
Initial reports, as mentioned by Parakhin, suggest Bing is holding up well following this increase, and Microsoft’s softly-softly approach to expanding Bing’s AI chat capabilities is certainly sensible.
This whole saga does show the risks of rolling out AI features, however. Microsoft was too cavalier when it first introduced the new Bing chatbot, and then too conservative in response to the embarrassing issues that emerged. I think it should have started lower, and slowly built up Bing’s responses.
However, Microsoft clearly doesn’t want to move too slowly, for fear that people will lose interest in Bing – something the company has had to struggle with in the past, with most people using its chief competitor Google instead.
But going too fast too soon also brings risks. If Microsoft hasn’t properly fixed the underlying issues, we may see a return of Bing’s stranger side, and as entertaining as that can be, it could lead to a real PR headache for Microsoft.
The latest update to popular photo editor Pixelmator Pro gives macOS users another reason to avoid defaulting to Photoshop.
Codenamed Mosaic, version 3.3 of the photo editing app for Mac has introduced a raft of new features – with the Remove Color adjustment taking center-stage. The tool lets users strip out solid colors from images and videos just by selecting the color with an eyedropper tool.
According to the developer, users can adjust how much of a selected color is taken out using three controls: Color Range, Luminance Range, and Intensity sliders. Showcasing its use in a YouTube demonstration, the developer detailed how creatives can use the latest addition to remove a green screen in videos.
What’s new in Pixelmator Pro 3.3?
Remove Color, which apparently deploys “a state-of-the-art texture-aware algorithm”, isn’t the only update to make its way into version 3.3.
The Clarity, Selective Clarity, and Texture adjustments first made their way into the company's mobile photo editing app Pixelmator Photo, and now they are set to join the Photoshop alternative; while Shadows, Highlights, Exposure, and Brightness adjustments have also seen enhancements for creating more natural-looking edited images.
For illustrators and artists, the drawing software sees a significant bump in stroke styles and options for customizing them. Sidecar file support has also been introduced: by attaching a Pixelmator Pro document to images, users can open, edit, and save images in the original file format, while saving any non-destructive edits and layers to Mac or iCloud.
“Images with sidecar edits look and behave just like regular images. For example, you can easily share such images online or open them in other apps without having to export them first,” the firm explained.
Elsewhere, the graphic design software, which includes logo maker tools and a RAW image editor, received a new Pattern fill style and the ability to use shortcuts when applying LUTs, color adjustments, effects, and auto-color adjustments to videos.
Pixelmator Pro 3.3 is free to all existing users. New users can download it from the App Store by clicking here.
Collaborating with others in Google Docs is about to look a whole lot different especially when it comes to giving and receiving feedback.
While Google’s office software already allows users to highlight sentences and paragraphs to leave comments, the search giant will soon be rolling out reactions to provide a less formal alternative to comments.
According to a new post in the Google Workspace blog, Google is adding emoji reactions to Docs. In practice, this new feature will look and feel similar to how users can react to messages in a group chat, for better or worse.
Whether you like it or not, this feature will be on by default and can not be disabled by users according to Google.
To access reactions in Docs, users simply need to select a sentence or even a paragraph they want to react to and they’ll be able to add an emoji reaction from the pop-up menu on the right side of the screen just like adding comments to a document.
If you’re a fan of emojis and use them frequently, you’ll be happy to know that any preferences set in Google Docs will also be shared with Google Chat. These include emoji skin tone and gender preferences and Google has also added gender-neutral options for gender-modifiable emojis.
Emoji reactions are rolling out now to Rapid Release domains and will roll out to Scheduled Release domains beginning on April 20. All Google Workspace users as well as users with personal Google Accounts will be able to use this feature once it goes live.
While emoji reactions could potentially make using Google’s online collaboration tools more fun, the ability to disable the feature altogether would be a nice touch for more serious organizations and users.
When version 100 of Google's Chrome browser is available to download, it will be without the Lite mode that enables less mobile data to be used on Android devices when browsing the web, and I couldn't be happier.
In a blog post, the company explained that it doesn't see the need for a feature to minimize data used in its web browser, when the amount of cellular data has increased, while the cost has stayed the same.
The feature arrived back in 2014 as a way to load webpages with less data being used, which could be useful for those on a small data plan for their smartphone.
Having sold phones and data plans to customers in a previous career, the end of this feature is only good news for me, but mainly for the customer who reads their content from Chrome on a mobile device every day.
This will apply to all versions of Chrome – from its mobile versions to the desktop on PC, Mac and Chromebook.
But with the Data Saver feature only on Android versions, it's not going to be something that's missed by many users, especially as there's data saving features built into Android 12 for all apps anyway, by going to Settings > Cellular Data.
Having worked at a phone store for years before switching careers to be a writer, helping customers with their phones and the data they would use, would be a common task for me. Some would come in, asking me why they had received a text stating they were at 80% of their monthly data usage.
Looking at how much data apps would be used, a web browser would usually reign supreme at the top of this list. But this was in a time where 2GB of data a month would be normal to see, not the 150GB a month or unlimited plans we all see advertised.
But when a 'lite' mode would appear on a browser or a social media app like Facebook, it would degrade the experience. I remember pixelated images loading instead, or certain content removed so the text would be all over the place.
However, it's finally time to see the back of these features – they only hinder, not help the experience if you're trying to search for something or read the latest news in Chrome on your Samsung S22.
As Google Chrome hits a century of a version number, it's great to see this disappear, and instead, enrich the content that's available for your interests across the spectrum of the web.
However, Firefox is also approaching version 100, so there's a chance that we may see a landmark feature arrive from Mozilla as well. March is looking to be an eventful time for web browsers on many devices, and I'm here for it.
Creating a WordPress website requires the technicality of finding a reliable web hosting provider, choosing a compatible domain name, and picking a powerful website builder.
There is a steep learning curve for newbies and a tedious workflow even for veterans. Beyond the sheer technical challenge of getting started with a WordPress site, there are a number of financial factors that add a layer to this already complex process.
With Elementor Cloud Website, Web Creators can use the all-in-one website builder tool to create websites faster and more efficiently using a single end-to-end solution that includes a code-free builder, first-class hosting, and the ability to connect domain names at no extra cost.
Building something online isn’t all that different from the real world — to get started you need a plot of land, an address, and finally a house. Similarly, the virtual world requires a hosting provider, a domain name, and a website. Each of these parts can be purchased either individually or collectively.
Website building challenges
1. Choosing a WordPress hosting plan can be even more challenging to navigate with hidden costs, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) requirements (essential when conducting online transactions), storage limits, and other limitations. Not to mention deciding between managed hosting, shared hosting, and cloud hosting.
2. Registering a domain name is one of the hidden costs of website building. The cost fluctuates depending on the domain name's potential popularity. This is a vital part of any website set up as a name can affect branding, SEO, and how easily audiences can search and find you. It is important to note that some hosting providers even charge extra for connecting a custom domain name.
3. Finding the best platform to build your website is crucially the most important factor once visitors land on your website. There are many web creation platforms available, with the majority of them operating on their own closed CMS system. A closed CMS system often ties people into one product with accelerating price hikes annually. Leaving these systems usually means starting from scratch. Additionally, a closed system makes it nearly impossible to find enhancements from third parties.
Web creators demand an open-source ecosystem, with a secure and high-performing hosting service, where they can build websites freely. Elementor Cloud Website is exactly that. With secure built-in hosting, Elementor Cloud Website empowers web creators to focus on what matters — creating your perfect website.
An Elementor Cloud Website is 100% WordPress. You get seamless hosting, WordPress pre-installed, a world-class, secure platform, and all the storage you need, plus the choice to connect it to any external domain at no extra cost.
With Elementor Cloud Website, there's no additional installation required. You also have full ownership of your content. There are no hidden fees as the subscription is a fixed price charged annually, making Elementor Cloud Website an all-in-one solution for your web creation needs.
Elementor Cloud Website as a solution
Elementor Cloud Website is for Web Creators who want to focus solely on creating a good website. An all-in-one solution, Elementor Cloud Website-built in features relieve web creators of the need to pursue third-party fundamental WordPress services.
It is a cost-effective choice for anybody constructing websites for customers by revamping and facilitating the handoff process.
Web Creators can get started right away with an Elementor Cloud Website because it comes pre-installed with WordPress CMS, Elementor Pro features, and the Hello Theme. With the technical logistics covered by Elementor, Web Creators can simply add their personal touch and launch when ready.
This allows you to take control of your online presence with the option to connect your own domain at no additional cost, as well as the ability to easily export your website if you ever decide to switch services.
Elementor Cloud Websites have the highest security requirements and certifications available (SSL certification by DigiCert). You also have the option to import your own if you choose. Every Elementor Cloud Website is automatically backed up every 24 hours. Additionally, Elementor gives a unique code that may be used to access your website while it is being updated.
What’s Included in the subscription?
All features that are currently available in the Elementor Pro plugin such as its 100+ widgets, kits, and templates, are included in the Elementor Cloud Website subscription. In addition, you'll get round-the-clock support for everything in one place, whether it's issues with the Editor or technicalities about the Hosting. That means you'll only have to make one phone call to find solutions.
The fact that Elementor Cloud Website comes with built-in hosting from Google Cloud Platform means you enjoy the same top-of-the-line service Google uses. Additionally, utilizing CDN by Cloudflare's global network of secure servers means website visitors are automatically sent to the server that is nearest to them, delivering the best possible experience.
An Elementor Cloud Website may be built and published for US$ 99 per year. Since Elementor Cloud Website is hosted using Google Cloud Platform, it comes with its best-in-class features. It also includes a built-in free SSL from DigiCert and offers a generous 100K monthly visits, 20GB of storage, and a bandwidth of 100GB.
Create WordPress websites even faster
With Elementor Cloud Website, Web Creator's jobs will be streamlined, profitable, and more enjoyable as it will nullify (or at least mitigate) much of the bureaucratic and technical hassles that arise when creating WordPress websites.
Packed with all the power of Elementor Pro features, it offers Web Creators a visual, intuitive website building experience backed by over 100 powerful widgets. The accompanying cloud-based web hosting service will serve the needs of virtually any client as it runs on the universal Google Cloud Platform, including CDN by CloudFlare meaning which automatically optimizes every visitor experience.
Providing built-in SSL from DigiCert, automatic and manual backup, as well as the option to connect to a custom domain at no extra cost, means this is now the most comprehensive web creation platform on WordPress, sans none.
Elementor Cloud Website is set to revolutionize how WordPress website projects are organized. By streamlining their workflow, removing technical setup barriers, and simplifying hand-off to clients, Elementor now offers Web Creators a solution that lets them focus on what they do best: Create websites and design the future.
Elementor Cloud Website FAQs
Who is Elementor Cloud Websites for?
Elementor Cloud Websites are great for Web Creators who want to focus on creating a professional website without the headaches that come with connecting each of its primary components.
This all-in-one solution is incredibly cost-effective and provides everything you need in one spot. It is also an excellent choice for anybody constructing websites for customers because it facilitates the handoff process and makes it simple to maintain.
What’s the difference between the Elementor Cloud Website and the Elementor Plugin?
There are two distinct approaches to building a website with Elementor.
1. Elementor Plugin: To take advantage of all of Elementor Pro’s features, you can download and install the Elementor plugin. You will also need to purchase hosting with a WordPress installation separately.
2. Elementor Cloud Website: This is a new way to create a website with an end-to-end solution that includes all of the benefits of Elementor Pro, as well as hosting and WordPress installation. The fast setup is a simpler experience that saves you time while creating a stunning website.
Where can I manage everything related to my website on Elementor?
Everything can be managed from the My Elementor dashboard. You can access your WordPress dashboard from there, as well as connect a custom domain, configure your primary domain, toggle Site Lock on and off, manage backups, restore the website if necessary, and do a variety of other useful tasks.
Where is Elementor Cloud Websites hosted?
Your website is fully hosted on Elementor servers in Belgium. We undertake all the heavy lifting surrounding server maintenance so you can focus on constructing your website.
CDN is a service we provide to ensure that your website is available and performing at its best. As a result, we provide you with a network of servers and data centers that is geographically scattered. The material is served from a CDN rather than the origin server, and if one location becomes unavailable, the content is served from another.
Applications can withstand increased traffic levels when content is dispersed across several sites throughout the world. Website owners should be aware that various nations may have varying information security standards and server location legislation.
Are there any hidden fees?
No, there aren’t any extra charges. The subscription is a one-time fee that is charged annually and covers all of the aforementioned services.
This marks the first time in the history of the internet that users will be able to navigate to websites by entering a string of emoji into the URL bar instead of letters and words.
The addition of emoji in Opera was made possible through a partnership with Yat which allows users to own personalized strings of emoji. EVP of Mobile at Opera, Jorgen Arnesen provided further details on this new partnership in a press release, saying:
“The partnership marks a major paradigm shift in the way the internet works. It's been almost 30 years since the world wide web launched to the public, and there hasn't been much innovation in the weblink space: people still include .com in their URLs. Through the integration with Yat, Opera users are able to ditch .com or even words in their links and use only emojis to be directed to websites. It's new, it's easier and more fun”
Opera emoji integration
Through its new emoji-centric integration, Opera has now made it easier for all Internet users to find and be directed to Yat pages which are unique domains generated when a Yat is created from a personalized string of emoji.
Users can customize their Yat page or have it redirect to anywhere else on the web. For instance, musicians around the world have already set up their own Yat pages including Lil Wayne whose page directs users to his record label or Steve Aoki who has his redirect to his website. Additionally, G-Easy, Kesha, Young Money, 3Lau and Disclosure are also using Yat as well.
Following this new integration, Yat emoji web addresses on Opera no longer need to be followed by “.y.at”. At the same time, strings of emoji embedded on web pages now link to the corresponding Yat page automatically.
As 90 percent of world's 4.6bn internet users worldwide already use emoji to express themselves according to Brandwatch, Opera's integration of Yats unlocks a new way for people to be present on the web. Interested users can find out even more about using emoji in Opera by checking out this blog post.
Windows 11 has a new preview build which extends voice control capabilities to allow typing on the virtual keyboard.
Voice access is a feature which was introduced in testing for Windows 11 in December 2021, allowing for a range of different voice controls including the ability to operate mouse clicks with your voice – so adding the same functionality for the touch keyboard in this new build 22538 makes sense.
The way it works is simple: open the virtual keyboard with a command, and each key has a number on it. To press a key, you simply say “click 27” if you want number 27 (which is the letter ‘s’), for example. You can also easily access numbers, punctuation or emoji.
Microsoft further notes that it's starting to roll out the ability to download Speech Packs (from the Microsoft Store) for “device-based speech recognition that provides a better performance of transcription.”
Also present in this fresh preview release for the Dev Channel is some useful work with Alt-Tabbing and the Task View (the focus rectangle highlighting what’s selected now uses your chosen accent color), and a bunch of other minor changes and bug fixes as ever, all of which are listed in Microsoft’s blog post.
Analysis: Making Dragon a more fiery beast
As we’ve pointed out before, the Windows 11 voice access features are pretty much all drafted across from Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition app (Microsoft bought Nuance last year).
What’s interesting with the on-screen touch keyboard controls brought in with this preview build is that this is a new endeavor not seen in Dragon (at least, not in the version we use – namely Dragon Professional 15, which is the latest release). There are some ways of using your voice to control keys in Dragon 15, but they’re limited (to the likes of function keys, Tab and backspace).
We can expect Microsoft to further build on voice access as Windows 11 matures, and we’re keen to know what comes next. Further honing dictation accuracy – which is already admittedly good – would be great to see.