Google’s Gemini AI app could soon let you sync and control your favorite music streaming service

Google's latest AI experiment, Gemini, is about to get a whole lot more useful thanks to support for third-party music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. This new development was apparently found in Gemini’s settings, and users will be able to pick their preferred streaming service to use within Gemini.

Gemini has been running shifts all around different Google products, particularly as a digital assistant sometimes in place of and sometimes in tandem with Google Assistant

It’s still somewhat limited compared to Assistant and is not at the stage where it can fully replace the Google staple. One of these limitations is that it can’t enlist a streaming service of a user’s choice to play a song or other audio recording like many popular digital assistants (including Google Assistant) can. This might not be the case for long, however. 

The tech blog PiunikaWeb and X user @AssembleDebug claim that Gemini is getting the feature, and they have screenshots to back up their claim. 

Screenshots from PiunikaWeb’s tipster show that the Gemini app’s settings now have a new “Music” option, with text reading “Select preferred services used to play music” underneath. This will presumably allow users to choose from whatever streaming services Google deems compatible.

Once you choose a streaming service, Gemini will hopefully work seamlessly with that service and enable you to control it using voice commands. PiunikaWeb suggests that users will be able to use Gemini for song identification, possibly by letting Gemini listen to the song, and then interact with a streaming app to try and find the song that’s playing in their surroundings, similar to the way Shazam works. If that’s the case, that’s one fewer separate app you’ll need.

What we don't know yet, but hope to soon

Woman listening music on her headphones while resting on couch and holding her phone and looking out in the distance

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Dean Drobot)

This is all very exciting and from the screenshots, it looks like the feature is a good amount into development. 

It’s not clear if PiunikaWeb’s tipster could get the feature to actually work or which streaming services will work in sync with Gemini, and we don’t know when Google will roll this feature out. 

Still, it’s highly requested and a must if Google has plans for Gemini to take Assistant’s place, so it’ll probably be rolled out in a future Gemini update. It’s also indicative to me that Google seems pretty committed to expanding Gemini’s repertoire so that it joins Google’s other popular products and services. 


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Microsoft reveals new Copilot Pro subscription service that turbo-charges the AI assistant in Windows 11 for $20 a month

Microsoft is taking Windows Copilot to the next level with Windows Copilot Pro and bringing Microsoft 365 Copilot to businesses of all sizes. 

Windows Copilot and 365 Copilot are Microsoft’s newest AI digital assistants to help users with all kinds of tasks and projects that we were introduced to last year, and they’re getting a major boost with higher-tier AI functionality. 

Microsoft is officially debuting Copilot Pro, available for individual users to subscribe to for $ 20 per month (per user) starting today January 16. 

This version of Copilot will allow individuals to upgrade their productivity and user experience with the best Copilot has to offer in terms of AI features, capability, performance speed and being able to access Copilot at peak times. 

This will also grant users with a Personal or Home subscription access to Copilot Pro in Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, OneNote, and available for PowerPoint on PC, Mac and iPad. This is similar to the existing Microsoft 365 Copilot made for enterprise customers, which requires an enterprise subscription, but now these Copilot AI capabilities will be available to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers as well. 

The crème de la Copilot on offer

If you choose to sign up for Copilot Pro, it will grant you priority access to the latest OpenAI models, like the state-of-the-art GPT-4 Turbo from OpenAI, and enable you to build and tailor your own Copilot GPT bot to a topic of your choosing. 

Copilot Pro will give users greater agency in how and what they Copilot Pro by allowing them to toggle between models and try out different options to optimize their experience. 

Users will be able to build and mold these personalized Copilot GPTs in a brand new Copilot GPT Builder (similar to the commercial version launched last year) by answering some straightforward prompts, and Microsoft assures us it’s coming soon. 

You can also look forward to an upgrade to the AI image generation from Microsoft with Image Creator from Designer (formerly known as Bing Image Creator). With Copilot Pro, you’ll get one hundred boosts (accelerated image generation processes), greater image detail and quality, and the landscape image format.

Along with the introduction of Copilot Pro for individual use, Copilot for Microsoft 365 will be available to more types of commercial customers, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses. From now on, there’s no employee minimum, lower prerequisites, and more availability of Copilot subscriptions through Microsoft partners.

New upgrades to Copilot and a new Copilot app

Copilot imagery from Microsoft

(Image credit: Microsoft)

For those users that want to continue experimenting with Copilot for free, there’s something to watch out for as well. The free version of Copilot is getting Copilot GPTs that allow you to customize and tailor a Copilot that you can discuss a particular topic of your choosing. Today you should be able to see some of the topics already available, such as fitness, travel, cooking and more.

Along with these developments, Copilot is getting an iOS app and an Android app, and Copilot is coming to the Microsoft 365 mobile app. With these new apps, you’ll be able to have a single AI run across your devices, able to analyze information from your web usage, your PC use, and the apps you use to make its help more context-specific.  

The Copilot app is equipped with the same powerful tools that the PC version benefits from, such as GPT-4, Dall-E 3’s image creation capabilities, and the ability to input your own images into Copilot and have it respond to them

Copilot will be added to the Microsoft 365 app on both iOS and Android devices over the course of the next month for users who have a Microsoft account, and these users will be able to export the content that they generate as a Word or PDF document. Microsoft’s vision for this is that you’ll be able to summon Copilot almost instantly, as soon as you need it, and no matter what device you're currently using.

Microsoft is just getting started

It also looks like there are plenty more Copilot Pro features in the pipeline – similar to how we’ve seen multiple improvements to the standard version of Copilot in Windows 11. Divya Kumar relayed this while speaking to The Verge, referring to Microsoft’s recent release schedule as a “rolling thunder.” 

With Copilot Pro, Microsoft is aiming to catch the attention of “power users like creators, researchers, programmers and others” that might be interested in the latest innovations that it, with its collaborator OpenAI, has to offer. 

Microsoft has recently overtaken Apple as the most valuable company in the world, and it’s not showing signs of losing steam. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, claims that Copilot empowers “every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” If there’s a reason that you might want or even need assistance or advice digitally, it’s clear how eager Microsoft is to be there to meet it.

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Yahoo closes email service in China as it lowers curtain on the country

Yahoo has completely ceased its operations in China now that web services company has ended support for its email service in the country.

In a recent email sent out to customers, the company explained that it would soon close Yahoo Mail in China while advising them to switch to an alternative email service as soon as possible. Yahoo also recommended that users download their contacts, schedules and other important data before its email service closed for good in the country.

In an FAQ page on its site, Yahoo explained why it decided to end support for Yahoo Mail in China citing the country's new privacy regulations as the main reason, saying:

“In recognition of the increasingly challenging business and legal environment in China, including new privacy regulations, Yahoo services will no longer be accessible from mainland China. In all other regions, Yahoo features will continue to function as expected and there will be no changes to Yahoo Mail account, emails, photos or other inbox content for users globally.”

Leaving China

With the shuttering of Yahoo Mail, the company is now no longer operating at any capacity in China. This is because it ended support for its other services in the country back in November of last year at the same time China's Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) came into effect.

Under PIPL, global businesses are required to regulate the storage and privacy of their data in a way that meets the demands of the Chinese government. However, the new law is both precise and vague at the same time which has made operating in the country much more difficult for global businesses.

While Yahoo's search engine hasn't been available in China for years, the company closed its original email service back in 2013. The year before though, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba bought a 20 percent stake in the firm and was responsible for managing the Chinese mail migration while still using the Yahoo brand under a tech and IP cross-licensing deal.

Yahoo isn't the only big company leaving the country though as Microsoft shut down LinkedIn in China back in October citing similar reasons.

Via The Register

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Zoom is getting into the customer service business

Zoom has announced an expansion into customer service with a new expansion on its Zoom Video Engagement Center offering. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Zoom Contact Center is still built around video conferencing calls, letting companies quickly interact with customers but it's not limited to it. 

The goal is to streamline everything that goes into customer service into one tool, easily accessible and usable by operators and mangers alike, with customers able to integrate Contact Center directly into their current workflows. 

Zoom Contact Center

At launch, Contact Center will have over 100 features for every involved, including agents, supervisors, and administrators. Zoom is also planning a bevvy of future updates, including deeper support for CRM tools. 

Zoom Contact Center is launching in the US and Canada first with unspecified international markets to follow later in 2022. 

“Previously, contact center infrastructure was complex to deploy, expensive to operate, and time-intensive to upgrade. Zoom Contact Center was carefully designed to meet the needs of the modern agent and end customer, both of which expect a personalized, digital, and effective contact center experience,” said Zoom's Oded Gal.

Zoom was a clear winner from the pandemic, which forced workforces across the globe into working from home. 

The company's stock started 2020 at around $ 73 before reaching a record high of $ 559 on October 12. Now, Zoom trades at around $ 126, far below its record high, as people return to offices. 

Zoom has also been under intense pressure from Microsoft, which moved quickly to expand Teams to companies across the globe, many (or maybe all) of which have a pre-existing relationship with Microsoft. 

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One of the biggest proxy service providers just launched a VPN

The web data platform and proxy service Bright Data (formerly Luminati) has announced the release of its new completely free VPN service.

BrightVPN aims to disrupt the traditional VPN market by offering the same features as paid, subscription-based VPNs while remaining 100 percent free to its users.

Also, unlike traditional VPN services, no email or account is needed to use BrightVPN which means its users retain complete anonymity.


In addition to being completely free to use, BrightVPN requires zero technical skills and its VPN client can be downloaded, installed and used to further protect your privacy online in just 40 seconds.

The new VPN service stays true to Bright Data's mission to make the web more transparent to all by enabling users to reach any website, in any country while avoiding both regional and other reasons for site blockages. BrightVPN is powered by the company's extensive infrastructure which is currently used by more than 10,000 customers including several Fortune 500 firms.

By installing and using Bright Data's VPN, users become part of a larger crowdsourcing network that allows researchers and companies to easily access public web data for multiple purposes. However, as part of the company's commitment to transparency, BrightVPN allows users to see and control which sites are accessed by Bright Data with settings that allow them to control when they allow their IP address to be used and even grant or deny access to specific sites.

Users looking for an alternative to costly premium VPNs or less reputable free VPN services, can download BrightVPN here to remain anonymous online and protect their IP address from being tracked for commercial reasons.

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