Google has fixed an annoying Gemini voice assistant problem – and more upgrades are coming soon

Last week, Google rebranded its Bard AI bot as Gemini (matching the name of the model it runs on), and pushed out an Android app in the US; and while the new app has brought a few frustrations with it, Google is now busy trying to fix the major ones.

You can, if you want, use Google Gemini as a replacement for Google Assistant on your Android phone – and Google has made this possible even though Gemini lacks a lot of the basic digital assistant features that users have come to rely on.

One problem has now been fixed: originally, when chatting to Gemini using your voice, you had to manually tap on the 'send' arrow to submit your command or question – when you're trying to keep up a conversation with your phone, that really slows everything down.

As per 9to5Google, that's no longer the case, and Google Gemini will now realize that you've stopped talking (and respond accordingly) in the same way that Google Assistant always has. It makes the app a lot more intuitive to use.

Updates on the way

See more

What's more, Google Gemini team member Jack Krawczyk has posted a list of features that engineers are currently working on – including some pretty basic functionality, including the ability to interact with your Google Calendar and reminders.

A coding interpreter is apparently also on the roadmap, which means Gemini would not just be able to produce programming code, but also to emulate how it would run – all within the same app. Additionally, the Google Gemini team is working to remove some of the “preachy guardrails” that the AI bot currently has.

The “top priority” is apparently refusals, which means Gemini declines to complete a task or answer a question. We've seen Reddit posts that suggest the AI bot will sometimes apologetically report that it can't help with a particular prompt – something that's clearly on Google's radar in terms of rolling fixes out.

Krawczyk says the Android app is coming to more countries in the coming days and weeks, and will be available in Europe “ASAP” – and he's also encouraging users to keep the feedback to the Google team coming.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

YouTube TV could soon get some big upgrades for sports fans

Improvements are being made to YouTube TV ensuring sports fans can watch multiple games with little to no interruptions.

The annoying thing about watching sports online is there can sometimes be broadcast delays. This results in laggy streams and it's awful. Back in December 2023, YouTube introduced a way to temporarily reduce latency for up to 48 hours at a time. It ensures interference or fluctuating internet speeds don’t cause streams to freeze. But now, according to CordCuttersNews, the latency reduction option can be enabled permanently. 

Images on a 9To5Google report reveal text mentioning the 48-hour time limit is no longer present on Decreased Delay. What's more, it applies to all channels on the service. The publication states enabling the tool will only go into effect after closing and then reopening the app on Android TV. What’s interesting is that Decreased Delay is still labeled as an experimental feature so there could be some performance issues. It’s possible YouTube will patch Decreased Delay at a later time. Nothing's confirmed, right now.

Activating Decreased Delay is simple. On the YouTube TV app, select the three-dot menu then go to Broadcast Delay. The “Decrease” and “Default” options will be underneath that setting. The official YouTube TV Help page explains the former is best for minimizing playback interruptions while the latter is more for reducing “live spoilers.” 

Build your own stream

The second improvement is an update for Multiview. This feature was first released back in March 2023, giving users a way to stream up to four sports games at the same time. Back then, people were forced to pick from preset options. However, thanks to the new Build a Multiview tool, you can choose the four games you want to watch. 

Build a Multiview was initially discovered by a Reddit user who stumbled across the option one day on YouTube TV. They claim they were able to pick out a group from all of the games that were on at the time; not just from a specific sport. 

There is a catch: Build a Multiview is only seeing a limited release. Google told CordCuttersNews they’re currently testing the feature, so only a select few have access. But there are plans for a wider release. It’ll be available on “all devices that support multiview.” A full list of these devices can be found on the YouTube Help website. They include video game consoles, recent smart TVs, and streaming dongles like the third-generation Fire TV Stick.

Super Bowl 2024 kicks off on Sunday, February 11 and these updates could not have come at a better time. If you’re looking for a new TV to watch the big game, check out TechRadar’s list of the best smart TVs for 2024

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The Discord mobile app has 4 new upgrades we’ve all been waiting for

Today Discord is rolling out some much-needed updates to its mobile app which might finally make it feel like a proper alternative to the desktop version.

While I’ve had Discord installed on my phone for years I only ever turn to it as a last resort. It has been sluggish, more than a bit clunky, and was overall a less reliable experience than the version on my PC. Nine times out of ten a different app would be a better option. That might be about to change though, thanks to some improvements the Discord team has been working on with help from the community.

Speaking of which, if you’ve been trying out the experimental build of Discord, you might find some of the updates are familiar – that’s because today’s update is finally rolling the fine-tuned upgrades out to everyone. So now all mobile Discord users can take advantage of the app's new features which should improve load times, extend your phone's battery life, and use your data package more efficiently. 

More to come 

Alongside the updates highlighted below, Discord has a few more mobile app improvements up its sleeve that are set to arrive in the (hopefully near) future. This includes better search filters for finding the exact message or post you’re after, giving you more control over how compact lists and messages appear so that they suit your preferences, and adding a quick access option to see a server’s member list.

But let's get into the features you can take advantage of right now.

Discord icon on phone screen with logo on blurry background, Illustrative Editorial

Update your discord app today to see the improvements (Image credit: Shutterstock / Postmodern Studio)

Faster, more efficient chatting

The best upgrade to the Discord app is that it now opens much more quickly – with the new version reducing app opening times by 43% on iOS and 55% on Android. What’s more, when you hop between servers the mobile app now uses four times less data so you can hop between conversations without eating into as much of your monthly limit.

Android users should also notice the software is more reliable. Over the past year, the team says they’ve cut the crash rate by half for people using Android phones and tablets.

Midnight dark mode is here 

A screenshot of the new black Midnight Mode on Discord Mobile

A proper dark mode is finally here (Image credit: Discord)

Second on my list of Discord upgrades is that the app finally has a proper dark mode. Discord’s old Dark mode just wasn’t dark enough, but thankfully it now has Midnight mode that hits the mark by making menus black – with it not only adding some subjective style but also offering reduced battery drain on phones with an OLED display. 

By tapping on your profile picture, then the Settings cog wheel, you can scroll down to see your app’s Appearance settings. From here, tap Theme and you can now select Midnight (or the other free Dark and Light themes), or perhaps one of the funky color options if you pay for Nitro.

Media sharing simplified 

If you’re looking to share snaps via a DM or in your server’s picture chat, everything should feel a lot more organized.

With this new update, Discord mobile gained the ability to send images and videos as a neatly packed gallery that you could swipe through without having to scroll through a huge trail of images in the main chat. 

This should help to keep your conversations clearer, without losing the ability to share fun snaps or clips.

Cleaner call UI

A screenshot of the new leaner call UI on Discord Mobile

The call UI isn’t massively different, but feels better (Image credit: Discord)

Last but not least, the voice and video call user interface has been redesigned to offer a more intuitive and “cozy” space when you’re on a call while out on the go. It's also now a little more seamless to jump into one of Discord's inbuilt games with other members of the call, based on our experience with the experimental build. 

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft’s Copilot chatbot will get 6 big upgrades soon – including ChatGPT’s new brain

Microsoft has announced that Copilot – the AI chatbot formerly known as Bing Chat – is soon to get half a dozen impressive upgrades.

This batch of improvements should make the Copilot chatbot considerably more powerful in numerous respects (outside of, and inside of Windows 11).

So, first off, let’s break down the upgrades themselves (listed in a Microsoft blog post) before getting into a discussion of what difference they’re likely to make.

Firstly, and most importantly, Copilot is getting a new brain, or we should say an upgraded brain in the form of GPT-4 Turbo. That’s the latest model of GPT from OpenAI which makes various advances in terms of being generally better and more accurate.

Another beefy upgrade is an updated engine for Dall-E 3, the chatbot’s image creation feature, which produces higher quality results that are more closely aligned with what’s requested by the user. This is actually in Copilot right now.

Thirdly, Microsoft promises that Copilot will do better with image searches, returning better results when you sling a picture at the AI in order to learn more about it.

Another addition is Deep Search which uses GPT-4 to “deliver optimized search results for complex topics” as Microsoft puts it. What this means is that if you have a query for Copilot, it can produce a more in-depth search request to produce better results. Furthermore, if the terms of your query are vague and could potentially relate to multiple topics, Deep Search will follow up on what those topics might be and offer suggestions to allow you to refine the query.

The fifth upgrade Microsoft has planned is Code Interpreter, which as the name suggests will help perform complex tasks including coding, data analysis and so forth. That’s not something the average user will benefit from, but there are those who will, of course.

Finally, Copilot in Microsoft’s Edge browser has a rewrite feature (for inline text composition) coming soon. This allows you to select text on a website and get the AI to rewrite it for you.


Analysis: Something for Google to worry about

Dall-E 3

(Image credit: Future)

There are some really useful changes inbound here. Getting GPT-4 Turbo is an upgrade (from GPT-4) that a lot of Copilot users have been clamoring for, and Microsoft tells us that it’s now being tested with select users. (We previously heard it still had a few kinks to iron out, so presumably that’s what’s currently going on).

GPT-4 Turbo will be rolling out in the “coming weeks” so it should be here soon enough, with any luck, and you’ll be able to see the difference it makes for you in terms of a greater level of accuracy for the chatbot when responding to your queries.

It’s great to see Dall-E 3 getting an upgrade, too, as it’s already an excellent image creation engine, frankly. (Recall the rush to use the feature when it was first launched, due to the impressive results being shared online).

The search query improvements, both the Deep Search capabilities and refined image searching, will also combine with the above upgrades to make Copilot a whole lot better across multiple fronts. (Although we do worry somewhat about the potential for abuse with that inline rewrite feature for Edge).

All of this forward momentum for Copilot comes as we just heard news of Google delaying its advances on the AI front, pushing some major launches back to the start of 2024. Microsoft isn’t hanging around when it comes to Copilot, that’s for sure, and Google has to balance keeping up, without pushing so hard that mistakes are made.

You might also like …

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The latest Meta Quest 3 update brings 4 useful upgrades, and takes away a feature

‘Tis season for a Meta Quest update, with new features, and even a performance boost, coming to your Oculus Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, and Meta Quest Pro VR headsets via update v60. Unfortunately, the update also means the removal of a feature – so long, phone notifications.

Per the announcement on Meta's blog, which change is the most impactful is a toss-up depending on which headset you own. For Meta Quest Pro users it’s likely going to be the mixed-reality performance boost that’s coming exclusively to your headset. Meta is enabling higher clock speeds for the Pro’s CPU and GPU that it says will result in a 34% and 19% increase in performance for these components respectively.

This boost won’t improve the passthrough video quality, just the rendering and responsiveness of the virtual objects in your MR space though – so it might not be enough to convince you to try more MR apps if you haven't already. 

If you don’t own a Quest Pro, the best upgrade coming in v60 is to the number of rooms your Quest device can remember. If you opt in to share your point cloud data, your VR headset will gain the ability to store information for more than one play space at a time – meaning you should be able to move your play space between rooms more easily, without having to redraw the boundaries every time.

Hamish interacting with objects in VR while wearing a Meta Quest 3. They stand in front of a plant while someone watches on.

You can now enjoy your Quest 3 in multiple rooms more easily (Image credit: Meta)

As we mentioned above, however, users are losing access to one feature – phone notifications will no longer show on your headset.

It’s not clear exactly why this tool is being taken away – our guess is that it has something to do with the feature not being popular enough – but those who do rely on it will notice a downgrade. You’ll now need to remove your headset every time you want to check why your phone has pinged, unless you have a Meta Quest 3; as we noted in our Meta Quest 3 review, this headset’s mixed-reality passthrough is a major leap forward, and it’s good enough for you to be able to make out what’s on a real-world screen. 

A new Horizon (Home)

A few other changes coming in v60 include new Meta Horizon Home environments – the Blue Hill Gold Mine, Storybook, and Lakeside Peak (which you can see in the GIF below). These visually distinct spaces will not only give you a nice space to load into when you boot up your headset, but a more personalized space that you can invite your VR friends to, to hang out and watch Meta Quest TV content together before jumping into a multiplayer experience.

The scene shifts between a pristine storybook world, a wild west saloon at night time, and a stunning mountain view

(Image credit: Meta)

Your profile is also getting a power-up. Now, unless you keep the info private by changing your account preferences, people who look at your profile can see more details about your shared VR interests, including the apps you both use and your mutual friends.

Neither is super-impactful right now, but as the metaverse becomes more social these sorts of minor tweaks will help to make the experience a lot more seamless, so they're certainly appreciated.

As with previous updates, v60 is gradually rolling out now, so if you don’t see the new features yet don’t panic – you shouldn’t have long to wait until the update installs and they unlock.

You Might Also Like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

iCloud gets a makeover with a revamped look and quality-of-life upgrades

Following updates to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, it’s now iCloud’s turn as Apple is redesigning the website as well as introducing a variety of new features.

It’s not a complete overhaul for iCloud mind you, as the quick-glance widgets from last year’s update are still here. The difference this time is users will be able to do more with them. You can now “customize what you see in Tiles”, from choosing a specific folder from the Notes app on your iPhone to picking out your favorite photographs. It’s even possible to have multiple layouts of the same tile displayed on the front page. 

ICloud's new layout

(Image credit: Future)

Quality-of-life changes

Next, Quick Actions are being added, allowing you mark reminders as complete or flag a particular email among other things. You can perform these by hovering over your files on iCloud then selecting the three dots that appear to reveal the menu. Apple states “on a touch device” just swipe left. Also, if you’re a PC user, you’re now able to receive Mail and Calendar notifications for incoming emails or event invitations.

Everything described so far has been for the homepage. You see more once you start delving into each of iCloud’s tools.

Most of the changes are nice quality-of-life upgrades that make your life a bit easier. For iCloud Mail, you’re now able to attach files to messages directly from your storage and you can unsend recently sent emails before they reach the recipient’s inbox. 

The Calendar isn’t changing much, but it is getting Identity Control for hiding the email addresses “others see in event invitations”. Additionally, Apple is letting people use their Custom Email Domain to combine their “Calendar and Mail identities” into one.

New image tools

For Photos, you get two new ways to enjoy your pictures. There’s the Memories tool that’ll go through your images in a full-screen view, similar to what Google Photos has on its platform. And you have Slideshow, which, as the name suggests, lets you view a selection of images in a slideshow format.

Finally, Notes is receiving several changes. The more notable two are Shared Folder for collaborating with others on a specific file of notes and Enhanced Search. The latter lets you narrow search results “against categories like shared notes” or tags.

That’s pretty much it for the major upgrades. The update is currently live. All you have to do is sign in, and iCloud will then take you through a brief tour of the revamped layout.

If you’re looking for another service to save important files, we recommend checking out TechRadar’s list of the best cloud storage for 2023.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Still on Windows 11 21H2? Forced upgrades are coming as Microsoft reminds us it’s on life support

Windows 11 21H2 is about to run out of road for support, so if you’re still on this version of the operating system, then you need to upgrade very soon.

Bleeping Computer highlighted an end-of-servicing announcement Microsoft issued pertaining to Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (and Pro versions, too, including Windows 11 Pro Education).

Microsoft reminded us: “These editions will no longer receive security updates after October 10, 2023.”

What does that mean? Feature updates are one thing – upgrades that add new capabilities and refine the interface of Windows 11 in one way or another – but security updates are the really important bit.

They patch up vulnerabilities that have been discovered in Windows 11, and if not fixed, could be exploited by attackers to compromise your system in some way (usually with dire results).

If you’re still running Windows 11 21H2 – which is the version of the OS from 2021, as the name suggests – then you need to upgrade to 22H2, and do so before October arrives.


Analysis: Get going on that upgrade

Upgrading to Windows 11 22H2 is an easy process. Just head to Windows Update (in Settings), and click the ‘Check for updates’ button, whereupon the upgrade should show up with the option to install it.

Not sure what version of Windows 11 you have? You can find out simply by typing ‘winver’ into the search box on the taskbar and clicking on ‘Run command’. Winver stands for Windows Version and will pop up a panel telling you if you are currently running Windows 11 21H2 or 22H2 (or whatever flavor of Microsoft’s OS you’ve got for that matter, if it’s another).

Windows 10 users have already seen their 21H2 version pushed out of support, which happened last month – the June cumulative update contained the final round of security patches for that incarnation of the OS. That means Windows 10 users should already have upgraded to 22H2, and indeed Microsoft is forcing the upgrade on folks (to ensure they stay protected).

Microsoft has also been forcing upgrades to Windows 11 22H2 for the same reason over the course of 2023, and as the final October deadline for 21H2 support approaches, more users are going to get an automatic upgrade coming into play, again to ensure their PC continues to receive security fixes.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This Windows 10 version is officially dead – and Microsoft is now forcing upgrades

Windows 10 version 21H2 is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, so those still running that incarnation of the operating system need to act now.

As of yesterday, the last security update was released for Windows 10 21H2, namely the June cumulative update.

That’s the final bunch of fixes for vulnerabilities that’ll be provided to users still on 21H2, hence the need to upgrade in the next few weeks, before July’s round of patching happens (and you miss out if still on 21H2).

In a release health update, Microsoft informed us: “On June 13, 2023, Home, Pro, Pro Education and Pro for Workstations editions of Windows 10, version 21H2 will reach end of servicing. The upcoming June 2023 security update, to be released on June 13, 2023, will be the last update available for this version.”

At this point, PCs still running Windows 10 21H2 will have a forced update initiated before too long.

Microsoft explained: “Windows Update will automatically initiate a feature update for Windows 10 consumer devices and non-managed business devices that are at, or within several months of reaching end of servicing.”


Analysis: Enforced upgrades are a necessary evil

That forced update will push users to Windows 10 version 22H2, but of course, that has to happen. When the rug is pulled for support on an older version of Windows, and security updates are no longer provided, you shouldn’t keep the OS on your PC (unless you’re not going to connect to the internet at all).

Staying online with vulnerabilities present on your system (which is bound to happen in time, as new security flaws are discovered and not patched) is a foolish thing to do.

So, your choice is an upgrade to 22H2, or as Microsoft would prefer, you could make the leap to Windows 11. If, of course, your PC is capable of running Windows 11, which it may not be (if you have an older CPU, or your computer lacks TPM support – there may be ways around these problems, but such hardware upgrades can be fiddly, naturally).

As you may be aware, Windows 10 will not get any new features going forward – Microsoft is only supplying security updates now (and maybe the odd very minor feature tweak here and there, but nothing of any substance). All of this is part of Microsoft’s not-so-subtle pushing to get you to upgrade to Windows 11, an OS which has struggled with its pace of adoption compared to Windows 10.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Wix upgrades website creation with Editor X feature

Website builder Wix has launched a new design tool called Editor X geared towards professional web designers and creators. 

The new service looks to offer designers more flexibility and control over the websites they build, featuring advanced designing tools to help create a professionally designed website catering to their clients’ requirements. 

Editor X will be available within the existing business solutions that Wix offers, with a closed beta open for applications from today.

Empowering

Some of the key features that Editor X offers are:

·        Option to stack and scale media: This helps in a uniform website design regardless of the screen size

·        Docking: This will allow locking the design element on the website in a specific position

·        Sizing control: Modern CSS elements help designers define any element as fluid or fixed

·        Flexible Canvas: This will enable designers to instantly see the web layout as it appears on different screen sizes

·        Drag and Drop: All advanced tools will now have an option to drag and drop

·        Flex layouter: This smart will tool automatically recognize content when the screen is resized

·        Wix Design system: A collection of pre-designed responsive sections which matches the colour palette used on the website

“We understand the evolving needs of designers and their clients, and we innovate to address their sophisticated demands and diverse requirements,” said Wix Co-founder and CEO Avishai Abrahami. 

“Editor X is the solution for these users with more complex design needs.”

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More