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    Project Xcloud preview serves as a passable, portable Xbox One / ArsTechnica – 2 days ago - 16:49

Through nearly two decades of Xbox game consoles, Microsoft has never followed Nintendo's and Sony's lead in attempting to create a dedicated portable gaming system. Project Xcloud, which entered a limited public beta test this week, is an interesting end-run attempt at filling in that hole. Instead of downloadable games running locally, you stream games running on powerful remote servers over Wi-Fi. Instead of dedicated hardware, you use the smartphone you probably already own.

After spending a few days playing "portable" Xbox One games at home via Xcloud, we're somewhat warming up to the idea. But there are enough hassles and caveats that we're glad Xcloud isn't serving as a full-on replacement for Microsoft's existing gaming strategy just yet.

Head in the clouds

After getting approved for the preview, setting up our Xcloud test was as simple as logging in to the free Android app with a Microsoft account and connecting the controller via Bluetooth. There were about 60 seconds of loading when first starting up a game, but much less when switching back to an existing game after briefly moving to another app on the phone.

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    La reconnaissance faciale du Google Pixel 4 pose un gros problème de sécurité / JournalDuGeek – 2 days ago - 11:30

Annoncé en grande pompe le 15 octobre dernier, le Google Pixel 4 est impressionnant dans bien des domaines. Ses capacités photo ou encore son système permettant de retranscrire votre voix en temps réel sont bluffantes. Concernant son système de reconnaissance faciale, c’est là aussi très réussi, et Google semble bien avoir réussi à accoucher d’un sérieux concurrent au Face ID d’Apple, sauf qu’il est loin d’être aussi sécurisé à cause du manque d’une option essentielle : la reconnaissance de l’attention de l’utilisateur.

Le Pixel 4 se déverrouille les yeux fermés

Dans nos premiers tests, on a pu se rendre compte de la rapidité du système de reconnaissance faciale de Google, mais aussi qu’il est parfaitement possible de déverrouiller le smartphone sans même avoir à regarder le smartphone. Cela pose un problème de sécurité évident, puisqu’il est tout a fait possible qu’un tiers profite de votre sommeil pour déverrouiller votre Pixel 4 en toute sérénité et aille lire vos messages privés, là où l’iPhone exige d’avoir l’attention de l’utilisateur, et ce même pour lire les notifications sur l’écran verrouillé.

Certes, le système biométrique du Pixel 4 empêchera les petits malandrins de déverrouiller votre smartphone avec un simple image 2D de votre visage, et représente à ce jour le système d’authentification faciale le plus sécurisé avec celui d’Apple. Pour autant, la possibilité de déverrouiller le smartphone lorsque l’utilisateur a les yeux fermés représente un grave problème de sécurité, et ce d’autant plus que le système de reconnaissance faciale de Google est mis à profit pour autoriser les paiements. Reste à savoir si Google pourra corriger le tir de façon logicielle via une future mise à jour.


Prise en Main Google Pixel 4 et Pixel 4 XL – Prix, fiche technique

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    Volvo unveils its first electric car, the XC40 Recharge / TechCrunch – 4 days ago - 18:07

Volvo Cars introduced Wednesday the XC40 Recharge, its first electric car under a new EV-focused brand that kicks off a company-wide shift towards electrification.

“It’s a car of firsts and it’s a car of the future,” CTO Henrik Green said. T

he Volvo XC40 Recharge is the first electric vehicle in the automaker’s portfolio. It’s also the first Volvo to have an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system as well as have the ability to make over-the-air software updates.

This is also the first vehicle under Volvo’s new Recharge brand. Recharge, which was announced this week, will be the overarching name for all chargeable Volvos with a fully electric and plug-in hybrid powertrain, according to the company.

The all-electric vehicle is based off of Volvo’s popular XC40 small SUV. However, this is not a retrofit of a gas-powered vehicle.

The XC40 Recharge is equipped with an all-wheel drive powertrain and a 78 kilowatt-hour battery that can travel more than 400 kilometers (248 miles) on a single charge, in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions, and tends to be more generous than the U.S. EPA estimates. The EPA estimates are not yet available, but it’s likely the XC40 Recharge will hit around the 200-mile range.

That would put the range of the Volvo XC40 Recharge below the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt EV, Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona.

However, Volvo did make a vehicle with impressive horsepower and fast charging capability, which could attract buyers. The vehicle’s electric motors produces the equivalent of 408 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque that allows the vehicle to go from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The battery charges to 80% of its capacity in 40 mins on a fast-charger system.

Volvo XC40 Recharge 1

Android-powered infotainment

The infotainment system in the all-electric Volvo XC40 will be powered by an automotive version of Android OS, and, as a result, bring into the car embedded Google services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store.

This Android-powered infotainment system is the product of a years-long partnership between the automaker and Google. In 2017, Volvo announced plans to incorporate a version of its Android operating system into its car infotainment systems. A year later, the company said it would embed voice-controlled Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services into its next-generation Sensus infotainment system.

The Android-powered infotainment system is fully integrated with Volvo On Call, the company’s digital connected services platform.  Plug-in hybrid drivers using the Volvo on Call will be able to track how much time they spend driving on electric power.

Volvo XC40 infotainment system

The infotainment system in the Polestar 2 , the new vehicle from Volvo’s standalone performance brand, also is powered by Android OS.

Android Automotive OS shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto, which is a secondary interface that lies on top of an operating system. Android Automotive OS is modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. But instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could be used in cars.

Volvo isn’t the only automaker to partner with Google to bring Android OS into its vehicles. GM began shipping vehicles with Google Android Automotive OS in 2017, starting with the Cadillac CTS and expanding to other brands. GM said in September that Google will provide in-vehicle voice, navigation and other apps in its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles starting in 2021.

Over-the-air software updates

The electric XC40 is also the first Volvo that will receive software and operating system updates over the air. Over-the-air, or wireless, software updates were popularized by Tesla, which has used the capability to improve its vehicles over time. Tesla has used the OTAs to fix software bugs, rollout new features in its infotainment system and improve performance.

Volvo intends to use OTAs for the operating system and other software inside the vehicle, Green said. Other automakers, with the exception of Tesla, have slowly inched towards OTAs, but have minimized its use, and limited it to the infotainment system.

“So now the XC40 will stay as fresh as your phone or tablet, and no longer will a car’s best day be the day it leaves the factory,” Green said.

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    Live Caption, Google’s automatic captioning technology, is now available on Pixel 4 / TechCrunch – 4 days ago - 13:38

Live Caption , Google’s automatic captioning system first introduced at its I/O developer conference this May , is now officially available, alongside the launch of the new Pixel 4. But unlike some of the other technologies highlighted at the company’s Pixel hardware event yesterday, Live Caption won’t be limited to Google’s new smartphone alone. After the initial debut on Pixel 4, the automatic captioning technology will roll out to Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL before the year-end, says Google, and will become more broadly available in 2020.

The company has already offered automatic captions on YouTube for a decade, but that same sort of experience isn’t available across the wider web and mobile devices. For example, Google explains, you can’t read captions for things like the audio messages sent by your friends, on trending videos published elsewhere on social media, and on the content you record yourself.

There’s a significant accessibility issue with the lack of captions in all these places, but there’s a convenience issue, as well.

If you’re in a loud environment, like a commuter train, or trying to watch content privately and forgot your headphones, you may need to just use the captions. Or maybe you don’t want to blare the audio, which disturbs others around you. Or perhaps, you want to see the words appear because you’re having trouble understanding the audio, or just want to be sure to catch every word.

With the launch of the Pixel 4, Live Caption is also available for the first time to the general public.

The technology will capture and automatically caption videos and spoken audio on your device, except for phone and video calls. This captioning all happens in real-time and on your device — not in the cloud. That means it works even if your device lacks a cell signal or access to Wi-Fi. The captions also stay private and don’t leave your phone.

Google Live Caption UIDemo720 16MB

This is similar to how the Pixel 4’s new Recorder app functions . It, too, will do its speech-to-text processing all on your device, in order to give you real-time transcriptions of your meetings, interviews, lectures, or anything else you want to record, without compromising your privacy.

You can launch the Live Captions feature with a tap from the volume slider that appears, then reposition the caption box anything on your screen so it doesn’t get in the way of what you’re viewing.

Currently, the feature supports English only. But Google says it’s working to add more languages in the future.

After today’s launch on Pixel 4 and the rollout to the rest of the modern Pixel line of smartphones this year, it will start to show up in other new Android phones. Google says it’s working with other manufacturers to make the technology available to more people as soon as next year.

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    Google : Le Pixel 4 sera bientôt accompagné de nouveaux Pixel Buds / JournalDuGeek – 4 days ago - 08:50

Crédits : Google .

Le Pixel 4 n’est pas venu au monde tout seul lors de la conférence Made By Google 2019 . Comme annoncé hier à New-York, le nouveau smartphone de Google sera accompagné d’ici 2020 d’écouteurs sans-fil Pixel Buds nouvelle génération . Face à la multiplication des écouteurs type « true wireless » intelligents comme les AirPods d’Apple et, plus récemment, les FreeBuds 3 de Huawei, il ne manquait plus que Google pour entrer dans la ronde.

Pour ces Pixel Buds deuxième version, la firme de Mountain View a intelligemment supprimé le fil reliant les deux écouteurs de l’ancienne version et a adapté leur forme pour un meilleur confort dans l’oreille. Les Pixel Buds gardent aussi leurs fonctions phares : l’intégration de Google Assistant en mains libres et d’un Google Traduction automatique pour une quarantaine de langues. Leur batterie, d’une capacité similaire aux AirPods, reste également au rendez-vous. Les Pixel Buds sont capables de fonctionner en autonomie jusqu’à 24h en utilisant leur boîtier faisant office de chargeur portable. Par ailleurs, d’après la firme, ces nouveaux écouteurs maintiennent leur connexion en Bluetooth avec le smartphone auquel ils sont rattachés même à une distance de plus de cent mètres !

Enfin, parmi les améliorations notables de cette nouvelle génération de Pixel Buds, Google opte non pas sur une réduction active du bruit mais sur son système Adaptive Sound qui ajuste le volume sonore en fonction de l’ambiance sonore dans laquelle vous évoluez . Autrement dit, comme son nom l’indique, le système adapte le son sortant des écouteurs selon que l’utilisateur passe rapidement de la tranquillité de son appartement au tumulte d’une rue ou d’une station de métro ou encore si il répond à un appel dans un environnement bruyant. En effet, lorsque il décroche, les microphones intégrés aux écouteurs reconnaissent la voix de l’utilisateur et la mettent mieux en avant en ajustant le bruit extérieur.

Les nouveaux Pixel Buds sont actuellement disponibles uniquement sur liste d’attente sur le Google Store . Leur sortie n’est prévue que pour l’an prochain pour un prix d’environ 160€.

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    Google Stadia : la date de lancement du service de cloud gaming enfin dévoilée / JournalDuGeek – 4 days ago - 07:48

Crédits : Google

À l’occasion de son événement principalement dédié à ses nouveaux smartphones, les Pixel 4 et Pixel 4 XL (lire notre prise en main) , Google en a profité pour glisser la date officielle du lancement de son service de cloud gaming tant attendu. Stadia sera ainsi lancé le 19 novembre prochain à 17h (heure française). Ceux qui ont déjà précommandé et reçu la Founder’s Edition disponible pour 129 euros seront les premiers à pouvoir en profiter. Pour rappel, ce pack embarque la manette Stadia, un Google Chromecast Ultra, ainsi que divers avantages comme la possibilité de pouvoir réserver son identifiant à l’avance, un badge fondateur et trois mois d’abonnement gratuit. Passé ces trois mois, l’abonnement coûtera 9,99 euros par mois.

Dès le jour J, il sera ainsi possible de profiter de tous les premiers jeux du catalogue, comme Bethesda, Wolfenstein : Youngblood, Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat 11, Destiny 2 ou encore Red Dead Redemption 2 . Ces jeux seront bien sûr disponibles dès le premier jour jusqu’en 4K à 60 images par seconde pour les clients de l’offre payante, et « seulement » en 1080p pour les utilisateurs du pendant gratuit de Stadia qui devront quant à eux patienter quelques mois avant de profiter du service de Google.

Crédits : Google

Pour rappel, Google a rappelé qu’il faudra au minimum une connexion de 5 Mb/s pour profiter de ses jeux en 720p. Il faudra au moins 20 Mb/s pour jouer en 1080p à 60 images par seconde, et jusqu’à 35 Mb/s pour passer en 4K Ultra HD. Autrement dit, pensez à vérifier si votre connexion tiendra le choc avant de vous lancer le 19 novembre prochain, Google ayant mis en ligne un outil dédié pour mesurer votre bande passante à l’approche du service. La firme a également indiqué vouloir privilégier systématiquement la fluidité et assure maintenir une cadence d’image à 60 images par seconde même pour les plus petites connexions.

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    Google complète son kit de sécurité Titan avec de l’USB-C / JournalDuGeek – 4 days ago - 07:00

Crédits : Google .

Google souhaite offrir une garantie de sécurité pour tous, même aux détenteurs de smartphones modernes. En août dernier , le géant du web lançait le kit de sécurité Titan, muni d’une clé USB-A classique et d’une clé Bluetooth. La première joue le rôle de double-facteur d’authentification, permettant à un utilisateur de mieux protéger son compte Google. La seconde sert de solution de secours et, jusque là, de support de sécurisation pour les smartphones en Bluetooth ou par la technologie Near Field Communication (NFC). Pour faciliter la tâche aux clients privilégiant leur téléphone ou leur laptop plus modernes, la firme de Mountain View s’apprête, selon The Verge , à sortir une troisième clé complétant le kit .

Sous la forme d’une clé USB type C, elle est le résultat d’un partenariat avec la start-up Yubico et suit donc le même modèle que sa YubiKey 5C . Cette nouvelle clé est surtout compatible avec une variété de systèmes : Android, Chrome OS, macOS et Windows. Seul iOS requiert de s’y connecter uniquement avec la clé Bluetooth, en ayant installer au préalable l’application Smart Lock de Google. Par ailleurs, pour encore plus de sécurité, le firmware de la clé USB-C Titan est scellé pour résister aux attaques physiques . Pour rappel, s’il permet d’esquiver les nombreuses vérifications et alertes de sécurité, le kit de sécurité Google Titan s’adresse principalement aux professionnels travaillant sur des sujets sensibles.

La nouvelle clé USB-C du kit sera disponible sous peu, individuellement, pour environ 36€. Le reste du kit est toujours en vente sur le Google Store .

Two years after the release of the Home Mini, Google’s back with the sequel. Well, “sequel” might be a bit strong. The Nest Mini is more like one of those 1.5 movies they release on home video with a little extra footage than the theatrical release.

That’s not a compliant, exactly. The truth is there are some improvements here, but honestly, Google didn’t really need to do much. The $49 Home Mini sold like hot cakes and is a big part of the company’s rapid growth in the smart home space.

google nest mini

It was a low barrier of entry for those who were curious, but perhaps not fully on-board. And, like the Echo Dot before, it’s been an inexpensive way to outfit an entire home with smart speaker functionality.

Google has smartly kept the price the same with the Nest Hub. The device may not be a loss leader, exactly, but it’s the easiest and cheapest way of hooking users into the Assistant ecosystem — one that will theoretically lead to more smart home purchases, and, perhaps mobile device decisions.

The Nest is nearly identical to its predecessor. That, too, is fine. It’s simple and with a choice of four pastel colors (Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and Sky), it should fit most interior designs reasonably well. Bonus points for the new fabric covering, which is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Google says one half-liter bottle will cover two Minis. Interestingly the new cloth doesn’t negatively impact the sound.

google nest mini

Speaking of, that’s the biggest upgrade on-board. Sound has been improved over the original with a louder max volume and twice the bass. I’ve been listening to music at home on the new device, and while it gets pretty loud, I can’t recommend it as a standalone speaker. There are much better options for that. It serves Assistant and voice playback pretty well, but it gets a bit distorted at louder volumes.

I do quite like the music playback controls, however. Tap the center to play or pause music and either side to increase and decrease volume. When your hand approaches the speaker, two dots will illuminate on the edges to show you where to touch. Paired in stereo mode with another, better speaker (like, say, the Home Max) and it serves as a cool little touch control. The recent addition of stream transfer, meanwhile, makes it easier to keep listening to music as you change rooms.

Another interesting tidbit that didn’t get a lot of mention at today’s event is dynamic volume adjustment, which adjusts the sound based on background noise. It’s similar to the feature the company teased with today’s Pixel Buds reveal and could come in handy if you happen to live or work in a loud environment. Take that, neighbors.

google nest mini

The new Mini presents one of the more compelling use cases I’ve seen for Duo thus far (and honestly, I haven’t seen a ton). You can use the device as a kind of speakerphone with the app. I can certainly see this coming in handy for things like work calls at home. If you’ve got a big home, you can also use it as an intercom to communicate with other Home/Nest devices.

One other bit worth mentioning is the smart addition of a wall mount on the bottom of the device. It’s something small, but handy. Using a nail or thumbtack (well, probably just a nail, given the size/weight), you can now hang the Mini on a wall. Apparently this was a pretty heavily requested feature for those with limited shelf space. I could certainly imagine sticking it in my kitchen, where counter space is at an extreme premium — though dealing with the cord is another question entirely.

The Nest Mini arrives on retail shelves and walls October 22.