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The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will debut its next-generation connected-car platform later this year in the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and redesigned Renault Clio small car. Dubbed the Alliance Intelligent Cloud, the new platform will help drivers navigate and service their cars while providing the automakers troves of data to channel into self-driving car systems. "This will have a huge impact on the customer experience," Kal Mos, global vice president of connected vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, told Automotive News. "And all this will help us design the car better and better meet customer needs." The technology was developed by the auto group and U.S. technology giant Microsoft using Microsoft's Azure platform. The tie-up was announced in September 2016. The rollout is a step toward positioning connectivity as a cornerstone of alliance automotive technology. At Nissan, for instance, it figures into a brand strategy called Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which prioritizes development of connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving. The alliance wants 90 percent of its new vehicles to be connected by 2022. Microsoft is working on connectivity with other automakers, including Volvo and BMW. But Nissan and Renault will be the first to use Microsoft's entire suite of software. Using Microsoft's cloud technology, the software allows automakers to access the vehicle's data to predict maintenance as well as gather driver data for research. In the future, it might also be leveraged to operate Microsoft services such as Office 365 and the virtual assistant Cortana. It will provide real-time and contextual navigation, helping drivers time traffic lights, dodge highway backups, search for the nearest Starbucks or find the nearest, cheapest fuel station. Learn more from OUR FORUM.

A new patent from Microsoft sheds light on improvements for the audio system for devices emulating an augmented reality. First spotted by us, the patent simply titled ‘Audio augmented reality system’ was published by USPTO on March 19, 2019, and filed by Microsoft in 2018. In the patent application, techniques to enhance the performance of audio augmented reality systems have been described. “Techniques for online information search and retrieval for a query including a digital audio waveform. In an aspect, an audio waveform is received and digitized by at least one of a plurality of audio input devices. The digitized audio waveforms are transmitted to a central processing unit, which formulates and submits a query to an online engine,” Microsoft explains. “The formulated query may include at least one digital audio waveform. The online engine retrieves one or more online results relevant to the formulated query. The online results may include one or more relevant visual results, and/or one or more relevant audio results. The retrieved results are served in real-time back to a user, via a device having audio output capability, and/or a device having visual data output capability,” the company adds. The foldable devices are in vogue this year. Companies like Samsung and Huawei have recently unveiled their foldable display mobile devices. Microsoft is also said to be working on its own foldable device and a new version of Windows optimized for such form factors. Follow along on OUR FORUM.

Third-party advertising technology (ad tech) trackers from 112 companies were found on 89% of official government websites of EU member states by Cookiebot, a cookie, and online tracking consent solution, after scanning 184,683 pages. As discovered by Cookiebot, 25 out of 28 of the EU official government websites it checked came with ad tech trackers, with the German, Spanish, and Dutch governmental websites being the only three on which commercial trackers were not detected. EU government websites do not use advertising revenue for funding and are the ones that should provide an example to all other organizations and companies with an online presence on how GDPR's regulations should be upheld. Despite this, ad tech trackers have found their way in, infiltrating with the help of third-party plugins used to provide various features "such as video players, social sharing widgets, web analytics, galleries, and comments sections." Another category of websites that should not contain any type of ad tech tracker is public health service websites which process sensitive information about their visitors' health condition, a "special category data that is carefully protected under Article 9 of the GDPR." In spite of this, on 52% of them, Cookiebot was able to detect ad trackers, with 73% of the Irish health service featuring trackers, while the one from Germany was on the other end of the spectrum with 33% of all their pages coming trackers.Get the bigger picture by visiting OUR FORUM.

In a statement from EA announced that The Sims 4 will no longer be supported on non-Metal Mac OS machines or PC 32-bit operating systems from June 2019 onward. The withdrawal of support on Mac OS systems isn’t without reason. Apple is planning on phasing out support for their current graphics processing technology, OpenGL, and switching over to a new system known as Metal. EA have made the decision to upgrade The Sims 4 to work with Metal instead, thus dropping support for OpenGL. Their reasoning for withdrawing support for 32-bit operating systems is a little less clear, with EA simply stating that in order to ‘continue growing, improving, and optimizing’ the game, they’ve made the decision to retire 32-bit support. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s the end of The Sims 4 for Sims players on those systems. For Mac OS users who can’t upgrade to an OS that supports Metal or for PC players who can’t update to a 64-bit OS, never fear! EA have an alternative in the form of The Sims 4: Legacy Edition. The Sims 4 Legacy Editon is essentially what it says on the tin. It’s a version of The Sims 4 that will work with non-Metal Mac OS systems and 32-bit OS PCs. Unlike the original game, it will not be updated after its release. The Legacy Edition should be available in June 2019, around the same time as the planned drop in support. It will only be available for existing owners of the game and will not be available to new players.We have 2 statements from EA and how you can continue playing posted on OUR FORUM.

 
In the run-up to the Game Developers Conference, Google appears to be full of surprises. From the discovery that Chrome will soon support Nintendo Switch controllers to rumors of a dedicated Google gaming controller, it appears that Google is diving headfirst into the gaming scene. Now there’s a new addition – a website designed specifically to offer help and support to those who develop games for Android. The website describes itself as a ‘hub’ to help people ‘develop amazing mobile games’ for the Android market. The website advertises features and tools such as building games in Unity, creating a seamless Google Play sign-in experience, detecting and diagnosing crashes easily. There are also tools for in-app support, such as determining if your app needs to access sensitive data, and more PR and marketing focused tools such as localizing an app to maximize customer reach. Developers can also make use of the hub’s Launch & Iterate tools, which allow developers to offer things such as pre-registration for games and access player analytics. The hub is a helpful addition and, hopefully, will see the development and launch of Android-based games becoming a lot easier in the long run. Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks. A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users. The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years. “We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.” It is not clear when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on. Facebook was already facing scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. And the Justice Department’s securities fraud unit began investigating it after reports that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, had improperly obtained the Facebook data of 87 million people and used it to build tools that helped President Trump’s election campaign. Get the full story on OUR FORUM.

 

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