Microsoft’s lock screen cards for Windows 11 are about to arrive – and a much-needed addition will follow

Microsoft recently tested a new feature for the lock screen in the form of info cards in both Windows 11 and Windows 10, which are now imminent, but this functionality is missing an important piece of the puzzle – something the software giant is going to remedy, thankfully.

The widget-style lock screen cards give you a snapshot of the current weather, or stocks (finance), local traffic, and so on, but the problem was you could either switch them all on, or all off – with no fine-tuned control.

So, if you wanted weather and sports scores, but not traffic updates and stocks, you were stuck with the latter two.

However, according to a report from Windows Latest, Microsoft has told the tech site that you’ll be able to customize which cards appear on the lock screen in the future. However, no timeframe was mentioned for when this might happen.

Analysis: Get on with it (please)

Do this already, Microsoft. We made the observation before that it seemed pretty odd to introduce lock screen cards as an all-or-nothing affair, because many folks won’t want a load of these – and will regard that as clutter – but might be happy with one or two tucked away on the lock screen.

So, this was an obvious – and very necessary – move in our books. And hopefully, it won’t take long to usher in this change, as we can’t see that it’ll be all that complex to implement a choice here. Maybe the feature will arrive with the 24H2 update, at the latest we’d hope.

Meantime, all Windows 11 users will get the new lock screen cards later today in the cumulative update for April, or they almost certainly will, unless Microsoft delays the rollout if any problems were encountered in the March preview update (we haven’t heard about any issues in testing). And the same is presumably true for the Windows 10 update also coming today.

Speaking of the Windows 10 incarnation of these lock screen cards, something else we’d like to see is Microsoft working on the layout and presentation here, so it looks neater like the Windows 11 design. The reality may be that Windows 10 is not that high a priority any longer, though (when you consider that for a time, Microsoft froze all feature development on the older OS, before having a rethink).

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The Meta Quest 3 will get a much-needed body-tracking update soon

If you’ve ever found yourself pulled out of a VR experience because your virtual arms and upper body don’t match up well with your real body, Meta has some good news: the Meta Quest 3 will soon have proper body tracking thanks to an incoming update.

Currently, a lot of guesswork goes into VR avatars. Unless you’re wearing some kind of tracking suit, the headset has to guess where your arms and body should be based on your head and hand movements, as well as any height data you provide. Sometimes it's okay, but generally this system is a little off, and rather than helping with immersion it can serve as a constant reminder that the virtual world is just that.

The Meta Quest 3 has an answer – or at least it will come December, when Meta rolls out an update (via UploadVR). The new VR headset’s downward-facing side cameras are able to see and track your torso, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and using these data points, and some new algorithms, VR experiences can create avatars that more closely mimic your actual movements through a system called inside-out upper-body tracking.

In a demo video Meta, has shown how this system can not only more accurately copy your movements, but translate body movements that Quest hardware couldn’t follow well before – such as elbow strikes, and bending forward or to the side (movements which could be great for guided workouts in VR, for example).

Unfortunately, not every app will support inside-out upper-body tracking right away. A few, like Supernatural and Drunken Bar Fight, will, but you’ll have to wait for developers of other VR experiences to implement the SDK update into their software before you can enjoy the improved avatars.

Legs at last 

This SDK update will also bring some improvements to VR legs.

VR legs have been a sore spot for Meta. It received some ridicule during Meta Connect 2022 when one of its biggest announcements was that Meta’s avatars would soon get legs – ridicule that was amplified when it was discovered that the demo it showed off was staged using motion-captured animation.

Virtual legs did actually start rolling out in September, but only for VR beta testers, and only in the Quest home app. It appears that this upcoming Meta Quest 3 update will bring the appendages to more users and a wider variety of apps – that is, if developers enable it.

A VR Mark Zuckerberg jumping with his legs tucked during a staged demo at Meta Connect 2022

(Image credit: Meta)

It’s worth noting, however, that your VR legs will be AI-generated rather than actually being tracked. Based on demo videos, the AI seems to get the leg movements mostly correct – it knows when you’re squatting, jumping, or doing a movement like a boxer bounce – but it won’t know when, say, you lift up a knee. So copying the jump-knee tuck movement Zuckerberg showed off during the Meta Connect 2022 demo won’t be possible in VR yet.

With the advancements Meta is making in tracking and AI it’s possible its legs will evolve in the coming year but for now, we’ll have to make do with what we have.

Want to know more about the new VR headset? Check out our hands-on Meta Quest 3 review.

You might also like:

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 Subsystem for Android is finally getting a much-needed update

Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), which has been around since 2022, will finally be able to access Windows 11 folders like Documents and Pictures in an upcoming update.

The concept behind WSA is that you can run Android apps in Windows natively but, in practice, it’s rather counterintuitive thanks to the fact that you can’t easily download picture or video files from the PC to an Android social media app, or vice versa. But now, thanks to a new update coming first to the Windows Insider preview program, before rolling out to all users in a future Windows 11 update, WSA will be able to access Documents and Pictures through file sharing with the OS.

File Sharing, according to Liliputing, will be enabled by default once the update drops, but you can turn it off via the WSA Settings app. Access to those folders is limited, as apps will need to request permission before accessing folders for security reasons. 

There’s also the fact that the feature doesn’t have full access to every folder in your PC, only the ones tied to a user profile like Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Downloads. That means the new File Sharing feature for WSA doesn’t have access to these files:

  • Windows system folders like Program Files
  • External drives
  • Other users’ folders
  • Hidden files or folders
  • Executable files (like .exe files)

Why use Windows 11 Subsystem for Android? 

Before Windows 11 Subsystem for Android, there was Windows Subsystem for Linux, which became publicly available in November 2022. According to Microsoft, this allowed for developers to use “their favorite laptop for programming to run a GNU/Linux environment without the overheads of a traditional virtual machine or dualboot setup.”

But while it makes sense for there to be a subsystem for one computer operating system to run on a different one, running Android on PC seems a bit pointless. Why would a user want to run an Android app on their Windows PC, when they can simply use the more fleshed-out desktop version instead?

File sharing will probably be the only reason for regular users to actually make use of WSA, as being able to share picture and video files between phone and PC is an incredibly useful feature. Otherwise, there isn’t a real purpose for anyone but developers to need this program.

Maybe more updates like File Sharing will convince me otherwise but for now, WSA feels like a feature with only a narrow focus — for devs to test out Android apps in Windows without having to use an emulator.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google unveils another step in its much-needed privacy boost

Google has announced that its Privacy Sandbox proposal is one step closer to becoming reality as the company is preparing its next stage of trials which will focus on ads relevance and measurement.

For those unfamiliar, the search giant first unveiled its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) plan to replace third-party browser cookies before announcing Google Topics as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative as a replacement following backlash on the move. 

TechRadar needs you!

We’re looking at how our readers use VPNs with different devices so we can improve our content and offer better advice. This survey shouldn’t take more than 60 seconds of your time, and entrants from the UK and US will have the chance to enter a draw for a £100 Amazon gift card (or equivalent in USD). Thank you for taking part.

>> Click here to start the survey in a new window <<

As the name suggests, Google Topics splits the web into different topics and divides users into groupings depending on their interests. Meanwhile, FLEDGE is dedicated to facilitating remarketing or showing ads on websites based on a user’s previous browsing history.

Now though, Google is moving ahead with testing its Privacy Sandbox and developers will be able to begin testing the Topics, FLEDGE and Attribution Reporting APIs in Chrome Canary.

Privacy Sandbox testing

Google plans to begin testing Topics and Fledge with a limited number of Chrome Beta users before making API testing available in the stable version of Chrome once things are working smoothly in Beta according to a new blog post.

The company also plans to begin testing its updated Privacy Sandbox settings and controls that will allow users to see and manage the interests associated with them or turn off the trials altogether.

Product director for Privacy Sandbox, Vinay Goel also provided some sample images of the settings the search giant plans to test in his blog post. In the Privacy Sandbox Beta menu, users will be able to toggle the trials on or off as well as customize their choices for Browser-based ad personalization, Ad measurement and Spam & fraud reduction. Here they’ll be able to remove interests from Topics and edit the list of sites that Privacy Sandbox users to infer their interests.

While Chrome users in the US will be opted in to the latest Privacy Sandbox trials, those in the EU will have to opt in by changing the position of the toggle in settings. This is due to GDPR and other data protection laws that apply to Europeans.

We’ll likely hear more from Google once its initial trials are complete and the company expands them to the stable version of Chrome.

Via TechCrunch

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This Google update will help you free up much-needed space on your Android phone

One of Google's most unsung apps is getting a useful upgrade that could help you clear out unwanted items from your Android phone.

As the name suggests, the Files by Google app governs all the files, apps and other items on your Android device, but can often provide a somewhat cluttered and even confusing experience.

However, an update to the app is adding a number of new search chip filters to help you quickly and easily find items that can be deleted to free up cloud storage space.

Files by Google update

Search chips essentially look to display possible results as a user is typing in the search bar, offering autofill suggestions and other possibilities for what it thinks they could be looking for.

Now, users will see new filters when accessing the “Browse” menu in Files by Google. For example, selecting Apps within this menu will now offer the chance to filter out into certain groups – currently “large apps”, “unused apps” and “Games” – with each list also displaying extra information such as the size of the app and when it was last updated.

The app allows multiple filters to be active at the same time, so you could, for example, quickly spot which games you've installed but have never actually played.

The tool appears to be active now, so users should look to update their Files by Google app as soon as possible to benefit.

The company has also recently introduced chip search filters to a number of its Google Workspace software tools, including Gmail and Google Drive, giving users a faster way to find the exact file they are hunting for.

Going forward, instead of just using keywords such as “marketing plan” or “sales report,” which may return results that are too broad, users can use search chips to surface more relevant results.

The results can be file types, such as a Google Doc, PDF or image, but also related to a specific person, location (such as in a shared drive or folder) or when a file was last modified.

Via AndroidPolice

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More