Google Wallet’s latest update lets you save more than just your money

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. 

Future plans

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.

With all this talk about traveling, you may be thinking about planning your next vacation. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s guide on the best travel and weather apps for Android if you need some help.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft is changing Windows 11 to help you save money on power bills

Windows 11 has received another preview build in the Dev channel, and it brings in a number of tweaks and additions, including beefing up a feature that should help your PC use a bit less electricity.

That would be Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC), which as of preview build 23424, works not just with laptops on battery power, but when they’re plugged in – and indeed with desktop PCs too.

What CABC does is intelligently dim (or lighten) certain parts of the screen depending on what content is being displayed, the idea being that it can cut back power usage without hampering the ‘visual experience’.

In other words, the tweaking on the dimming front shouldn’t make any noticeable difference to the image you’re looking at on-screen, and it should save you a bit of power (and therefore cash, over time).

The feature can be set to be always on, or it can be disabled, or alternatively you can choose to have CABC kick in only if you’re on battery power (on a laptop of course).

Windows 11 Adaptive Brightness now works with desktop PCs

(Image credit: Microsoft)

What else is new for build 23424? There’s a new widget board which is now bigger, so it’s three columns wide (rather than two) and much roomier (assuming the device’s screen has enough real-estate to cope).

Along with this, there’s the usual gamut of fixes and minor tweaks, all of which are detailed in the usual blog post published with every preview build.

Notable pieces of minor tinkering include improving the speed of running searches within the Settings panel, and a change to produce better performance when playing games with a high polling mouse (a super-precise fancy gaming mouse, basically).

Analysis: Small savings that could add up (we hope)

Bringing adaptive brightness control to a desktop PC might sound a bit daft, considering it’s really more a battery-saving feature for laptops. But if like us, you have your PC turned on for about 60 or 70 hours a week, tiny little power savings will add up across the year – especially with energy pricing being what it is these days (sky-high where we are).

So, this is a useful addition we think, providing that as Microsoft asserts, there’s no noticeable hampering of the quality of the monitor image when the feature is turned on. Of course, you don’t have to switch it on if you don’t want to.

Microsoft’s work with widgets seems to be progressing at a speedy pace, too. The more expansive widget board was previously seen in limited testing in the Canary channel, which is the earliest test channel, just a week ago. Now it’s already in the Dev channel and more widely rolled out.

There are other widget-related changes theoretically in the pipeline that we might see soon, too. That includes Microsoft’s experiments with animated icons for widgets (which we have to say look quite nifty), and the rumored possibility has been floated that users may eventually be allowed to drop widgets onto the desktop. It seems fairly clear that widgets are quite a big thing for Microsoft, so expect to see more of them in Windows 11 down the line.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

DuckDuckGo’s new DuckAssist may give Bing and ChatGPT a run for their money

DuckDuckGo is the latest search engine getting on the generative AI train. It recently launch the beta of its new summarization tool known as DuckAssist, which utilizes “natural language technology” from both OpenAI and AI research company Anthropic.

Though similar to Bing, DuckAssist is not quite like ChatGPT. Instead of utilizing multiple sources to create the summaries, the tool uses primarily just one: Wikipedia. DuckDuckGo specifically chose Wikipedia “because it’s a public resource with a transparent editorial process that cites all the sources used in an article”. The company also points out that since the platform is frequently updated, DuckAssist will always deliver up-to-date information – at most, a few weeks old. Occasionally, the tool will pull from other platforms like Encyclopedia Britannica. However, Wikipedia will be the main one.

Using a single source for information brings with it multiple benefits, according to DuckDuckGo, like being able to generate answers for a vast number of queries quickly. Additionally, only pulling from Wikipedia and its sources reduces the rate of hallucinations – a problem generative AIs have where the tech will just make something up unrelated to the search query.

Work in progress

The way DuckAssist works is pretty simple. All you have to do is ask DuckDuckGo a question, and it’ll immediately write up a summary, complete with the sourced Wikipedia article at the bottom. It’ll even point to the specific section of said article where the original information can be found. 

The announcement post gives some suggestions on how to get the most out of DuckAssist. For example, “phrasing your search query as a question [or] adding the word ‘wiki’” increases the chances the summary will appear.

Since the tool is in beta, it’s not perfect. DuckDuckGo admits DuckAssist will not get it right 100 percent of the time. It may omit key information, give the wrong information, cite the wrong source, or all three at once – especially if it’s a particularly complex question. Also, not every query will be given an answer such as asking about recent global events. 

Because of these issues, DuckDuckGo is asking users to provide suggestions on DuckAssist and how it can improve the tool. Next to the summaries will be an anonymous feedback link where you can send feedback.


The tool is currently available on DuckDuckGo’s mobile apps and browser extensions, although not everyone will get to try it out. For those who can, it’s free and totally private. None of the queries will be used to train any AI models nor will OpenAI, Anthropic, or any third-party have access to that information. DuckAssist will roll out to all users within the coming weeks assuming everything goes well with the beta. 

It’s worth mentioning this is the first of a series of AI-assisted features that DuckDuckGo is working on. Not much else is known beyond that, but It'll be interesting to see what the developers come up with. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, that’s because Brave launched something very similar on its own web browser. Be sure to check out our coverage of Brave’s Summarizer feature

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

How CISOs Follow The Money

The Crown Jewels, Internal Dollars, Funded Adversaries, VC Money, Value At Risk, Business Alignment shared as options of how to follow the money. Also suggested are a few ways to protect the organizat…

Articles RSS Feed

Read More