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Android to Introduce Theft Detection Lock: Detecting When Your Phone is Snatched

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In its ongoing efforts to enhance user security, Google has unveiled a suite of new features with the release of the second Android 15 beta. Among these updates is the introduction of Theft Detection Lock, a feature aimed at curbing smartphone snatch-and-grab incidents. While some of these security enhancements will be bundled with the upcoming Android 15 release slated for this fall, others, including theft detection, will be made available to devices running older OS versions, extending their reach to a broader user base.

Picture this: You’re leisurely seated on a park bench, engrossed in your phone. Suddenly, it’s snatched from your grasp, and the perpetrator disappears into the crowd. While both Android and iOS already offer some level of security measures, there’s a crucial gap during those initial moments when the device remains unlocked. Can you act swiftly to remotely safeguard your data?

Recognizing the urgency of this scenario, Google unveiled Theft Detection Lock during its Google I/O 2024 developer conference. This AI-powered feature acts as a proactive defense mechanism, automatically locking the device upon detecting suspicious activity associated with theft. For instance, if the device experiences a sudden, rapid movement in the opposite direction, indicative of theft, the screen promptly locks, thwarting unauthorized access to sensitive data.

In addition to Theft Detection Lock, Google introduces Offline Device Lock, a safeguard against intentional disconnection from the network. Triggered by actions such as repeated authentication failures, this feature reinforces device security even in scenarios where connectivity is compromised.

Furthermore, Google addresses the issue of remote device reset by implementing measures to render stolen devices unusable. With the upcoming update, attempting to factory reset a stolen device becomes futile, as reactivation requires knowledge of the original owner’s device or Google account credentials. This deterrent significantly diminishes the incentive for phone theft, making stolen devices effectively unsellable on the black market.

To bolster security further, biometric authentication becomes mandatory for altering sensitive information when logged in from an insecure location. This additional layer of protection ensures that only authorized users can modify crucial device settings, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access.

In unveiling these security enhancements, Google reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding user data and combating smartphone theft. By integrating advanced features like Theft Detection Lock into its ecosystem, Android continues to empower users with tools to protect their digital assets in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Google’s Gemini Now Capable of Controlling YouTube Music on PC and Android

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Google has significantly enhanced its Gemini AI chatbot by rolling out a new extension that integrates YouTube Music. This update, available on both desktop and Android platforms, allows users to find, play, and control music directly from YouTube Music through Gemini.

Previously, Google Assistant held a distinct advantage over Gemini due to its music control capabilities. However, with this new extension, Gemini has closed the gap, providing similar functionalities. First reported by 9to5Google, the extension is now accessible to all Gemini users, although it is disabled by default and must be activated manually.

Activating the Extension

To enable the YouTube Music extension, users need to visit https://gemini.google.com/extensions on either their PC or Android phone. Once activated, the extension can be utilized through the Gemini website or the Android mobile app by entering prompts in English.

Using the Extension

With the extension enabled, users can ask Gemini to “show, find, or play music from YouTube Music.” Specific commands such as “Find [song name] by [artist]” allow the chatbot to locate and play desired tracks. Additionally, Gemini supports various playback controls, including: Pause, Resume or play, Stop, Skip or next, Previous, Restart or go back.

Google has noted that background play on Android devices is limited to YouTube Music Premium members.

Current Limitations

Despite the wide rollout, the extension’s functionality on PC is not fully operational yet. Currently, users attempting to play music on a PC will receive a message stating, “I can’t assist you with playing media yet, but I can provide you with a link to the song on YouTube Music.”

This YouTube Music extension for Gemini, which was first identified earlier this month, represents a significant enhancement to the chatbot’s capabilities. While it would have been advantageous to have this functionality from the start, its introduction now offers a more robust user experience for Gemini users across multiple platforms.

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Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra Design Leaks

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Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra has been the subject of much speculation, and recent leaks have provided a glimpse into its unconventional design. The renders, shared by reliable sources OnLeaks and Smartprix, suggest that Samsung has taken an unusual approach to the watch’s dial, seemingly unable to decide between a round or square shape and opting for a blend of both.

Bold New Design

The most striking aspect of the leaked Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra is its dial. Unlike traditional designs, the Watch 7 Ultra features a unique combination of a round dial within a squarish frame. This hybrid design, which some might describe as a circle embedded in a squircle, marks a significant departure from Samsung’s previous smartwatch aesthetics. The round section of the dial protrudes slightly from the square base, creating a bold and distinctive look.

Rotating Bezel and Mysterious Third Button

For the first time, Samsung is incorporating a rotating bezel into the Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra, with grooves replacing the usual numerical markers. This design choice retains the familiar functionality for users upgrading from older models. Additionally, the watch includes a new, third button situated on the right side of the device. While its function remains unclear, speculation suggests it could serve a purpose similar to the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Enhanced Health Features

The back of the Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra reveals an array of health sensors, including a newly positioned temperature sensor located centrally and upwards. This configuration aims to enhance the watch’s health monitoring capabilities, providing more accurate and comprehensive data.

Display and Dimensions

The leaked information indicates that the Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra will feature a 1.5-inch display, consistent with the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. However, the Ultra’s dimensions—47 x 47.4 x 16.4 mm—are slightly larger due to the added squircle base. This increase in size is accompanied by a reworked watch band design and larger speaker grilles, potentially improving the device’s functionality and user experience.

Anticipated Launch

Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra at its upcoming Unpacked event, rumored to take place on July 10. Until then, these leaks provide a tantalizing preview of what Samsung may have in store, promising a unique addition to the wearable tech market.

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Honor Announces Magic OS 8.0 Update for Honor 90 and Magic V2

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Honor has confirmed that the Honor 90 and Honor Magic V2 will receive the Magic OS 8.0 update this month. This announcement was made by CEO George Zhao at the VivaTech event, where he also introduced the Honor 200 launch date and the company’s new 4-layer AI architecture.

The global rollout of Magic OS 8.0 has already begun, with the Honor 90 and Magic V2 being the latest models to receive the update. This move aligns with Honor’s strategy to empower more users to experience the transformative power of AI. The Magic OS 8.0 update, which is based on Android 14, is also set to be pre-installed on the upcoming Honor 200 series, launching in China on May 27 and in Paris on June 12.

The update is substantial, weighing in at 3GB, and introduces significant changes across seven key areas. According to Honor, Magic OS 8.0 aims to make the system smoother, safer, easier to use, and more power-efficient. Enhancements include improvements in animations, home screen icon functions, folder sizes, card stacking, and new button functions, alongside new security features.

Among the notable features in Magic OS 8.0 is the Magic Capsule, reminiscent of the iPhone’s Dynamic Island, which provides a quick view of notifications and actions. Another key feature is Magic Portal, which analyzes user behavior to guide users to the next relevant app for sharing selected texts and images.

In terms of power management, the update introduces “Ultra Power Saving,” offering a more extreme option for conserving battery life. Security has also been enhanced, with new capabilities to blur images and hide videos, photos, and even apps, ensuring better privacy and protection for users.

The Magic OS 8.0 update reflects Honor’s commitment to integrating advanced AI capabilities into their devices, significantly enhancing the user experience through innovative software improvements. With less than ten days remaining in the month, users of the Honor 90 and Magic V2 can expect the updates to begin rolling out imminently.

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