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Snapchat takes on TikTok with music feature that lets users add popular songs to snaps

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snapchat takes on tiktok with music feature that lets users add popular songs to snaps

As the US looks to ban TikTok, Snapchat is making moves that could replace it.

Users will soon have the ability to add popular songs to snaps from the firms ‘robust’ catalog of music, which stems from a number of deals with industry partners like Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.

When looking at a snap with music, users can swipe up to see the album art, song title and artist name.

There is also a ‘Play This Song’ option that opens a webview to Linkfire so you can listen to the full song on your favorite streaming platform like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.

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Users will soon have the ability to add popular songs to snaps from the firms 'robust' catalog of music. When looking at a snap with music, users can swipe up to see the album art, song title and artist name

Users will soon have the ability to add popular songs to snaps from the firms 'robust' catalog of music. When looking at a snap with music, users can swipe up to see the album art, song title and artist name

Users will soon have the ability to add popular songs to snaps from the firms ‘robust’ catalog of music. When looking at a snap with music, users can swipe up to see the album art, song title and artist name

A Snap spokesperson said: ‘We’re constantly building on our relationships within the music industry, and making sure the entire music ecosystem (artists, labels, songwriters, publishers and streaming services) are seeing value in our partnerships.’

The new feature is set to roll out to this fall in the US as well as Canada and Australia.

‘Snapchat is designed to be a communication tool for close friends, and there is tremendous value in friend-to-friend music recommendations,’ the firm shared in a statement.

‘Snapchatters will be able to form an even deeper connection to the artists and songs they love, both on and off platform.’

Although users will be able to connect to the full song in their player, there is not an option to see videos featuring the same song – a key feature offered by TikTok. However, Snap has formed partnerships with music companies to provide songs in the app

Although users will be able to connect to the full song in their player, there is not an option to see videos featuring the same song – a key feature offered by TikTok. However, Snap has formed partnerships with music companies to provide songs in the app

Although users will be able to connect to the full song in their player, there is not an option to see videos featuring the same song – a key feature offered by TikTok. However, Snap has formed partnerships with music companies to provide songs in the app

Although users will be able to connect to the full song in their player, there is not an option to see videos featuring the same song – a key feature offered by TikTok.

However, Snap has formed partnerships with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Publishing Group, Merlin and others to develop a ‘robust and curated catalogue of music.

The news comes as US President Donald Trump threatens to ban TikTok in the US.

‘As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States’ he told reporters on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.

‘Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that [emergency economic powers].’

The president also made clear he did not support an American company to purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations after an earlier report claimed Microsoft was ‘in talks’ to acquire the platform.

The new Snapchat feature is set to roll out to this fall in the US as well as Canada and Australia.

The new Snapchat feature is set to roll out to this fall in the US as well as Canada and Australia.

The new Snapchat feature is set to roll out to this fall in the US as well as Canada and Australia.

Sources told The New York Times on Friday that a deal was in the works, but it was unclear where the two firms stood.

At the same time, reports had claimed Trump was planning to order TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance to give up ownership of the platform.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the White House, ByteDance and potential buyers of TikTok, including Microsoft failed to produce a deal that would result in the Chinese company shedding the app’s U.S. operations.

The talks are expected to continue in the coming days.

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Robot stocking shelves in Japanese convenience store lets workers maintain social distancing 

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robot stocking shelves in japanese convenience store lets workers maintain social distancing

Japanese convenience stores are testing out robots to stock store shelves in hopes of combating the country’s labor shortage and allowing human workers to socially distance during a pandemic.

FamilyMart, Japan‘s second largest convenience store chain, has partnered with robotics company Telexistence on an android stock boy named Model-T, after Henry Ford’s famous car.

Rather than use AI, Model-T is connected to a human operator who manipulates the robot’s movements remotely using virtual reality (VR).

The seven-foot tall robot has a wide range of motion, necessary for lifting and moving products, with a lag time of only 50 milliseconds between operator and automaton. 

This week Model-T was rolled out at Lawson, another convenience store that is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi. 

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Model T, a robot designed to stock shelves, is being tested out at FamilyMart and Lawson convenience stores in Tokyo. It's operated remotely by a human using a virtual reality console

Model T, a robot designed to stock shelves, is being tested out at FamilyMart and Lawson convenience stores in Tokyo. It’s operated remotely by a human using a virtual reality console

In FamilyMart’s pilot program, an operator logs into a VR terminal from Telexistence’s office in Toranomon, Tokyo, and remotely operates a  Model-T installed at a store five miles away in the Toshima Ecomusee Town building. 

FamilyMart says it wants to create ‘a completely new store operation’ by making restocking work automated and remote, saving a large amount of labor-hours.

While Model-T doesn’t move very fast, or remove the need for human employees altogether, one operator could theoretically govern the movements of multiple robots in a number stores with the same layout and inventory.

For now, Model-T will restock plastic beverage bottles from the back of the store, which makes up a relatively large portion of the workload.

FamilyMart says Model-T could help address Japan's labor shortage and allow workers to maintain social distancing during an outbreak

FamilyMart says Model-T could help address Japan’s labor shortage and allow workers to maintain social distancing during an outbreak

Once its speed and accuracy are verified, Model-T will start handling other popular items, like rice balls, sandwiches and bento boxes.

FamilyMart says it hopes to deploy the Model-T in up to 20 stores by 2022, with the goal of eventually being in every location.

‘By introducing Model-T into stores, FamilyMart store staff will be able to work in multiple stores from a remote location, which will help solve challenges around labor shortage and help create new job opportunities,’ the company said in a statement.

A human operator uses Model T to restocks soda bottles at the FamilyMart in the Toshima Ecomusee Town building five miles away. The chain hopes to have robots in 20 locations by 2022

A human operator uses Model T to restocks soda bottles at the FamilyMart in the Toshima Ecomusee Town building five miles away. The chain hopes to have robots in 20 locations by 2022

‘It will also lead to the reduction of human-to-human contact to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.’ 

Japan has faced a critical shortage of labor for years, due to its low birth rate and rapidly aging society.

The population is expected to decline from about 127 million to about 88 million by 2065, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security

Other Asian countries have upped the ante on robots, as well. 

In Seoul, South Korea, robots at No Brand Burger take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to customers.

At Foodom in Guangzhou, China, robot waiters greet customers and guide them to their seats, recommend specials and take orders.

Robots cook the food, as well, which is delivered via conveyor belt.

FamilyMart was early to adopt automation – it tested out self checkout in 2006, long before it became commonplace in the West.

There are more than 24,500 FamilyMart stores across Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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New York City is set to develop a massive climate change research center on Governors Island

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new york city is set to develop a massive climate change research center on governors island

New York City is set to develop a massive four-million-square-foot research center on Governors Island that will study the impact of climate change around the city’s 520 miles of coastline.

The Trust for the island released its proposal to build a living laboratory, academic institution, living quarters and public areas for visitors to engage in conversations about our changing world.

The document notes that none of Governors Island Historic district will be affected, as there are some 100 buildings on the grounds that were constructed during the early 19th century.

Along with studying climate change, the center is projected to create 8,000 new jobs and have a $1 billion economic impact for New York City.

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Pictured is a current picture of Governors Island
Pictured is a render showing the new construction of the research center
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New York City is set to develop a massive four-million-square-foot research center on Governors Island that will study the impact of climate change around the city’s 520 miles of coastline.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Been said: ‘This ambitious plan to pair research and innovation in the climate field with public education and meaningful opportunities for dialogue about climate change is exactly the sort of project the city needs as we turn our attention to getting New Yorkers back to work and restarting our economy.

‘We are excited to work with the Trust for Governors Island on a project that will further position New York City as a leader in climate action, while simultaneously delivering jobs and cementing Governors Island’s position as a beloved cultural, historic and recreational resource.’

The Trust released renders for the proposal that shows a number of buildings it hopes to add during this project.

An image of the western promenade shows a large building looking toward Manhattan covered in live vegetation.

At its side are elevated structures that hold grassy fields and other plants where visitors of the center can congregate and stare off into the skyline.

An image of the western promenade shows a large building looking toward Manhattan covered in live vegetation. At its side are elevated structures that hold grassy fields and other plants where visitors of the center can congregate and stare off into the skyline

An image of the western promenade shows a large building looking toward Manhattan covered in live vegetation. At its side are elevated structures that hold grassy fields and other plants where visitors of the center can congregate and stare off into the skyline

An image of the western promenade shows a large building looking toward Manhattan covered in live vegetation. At its side are elevated structures that hold grassy fields and other plants where visitors of the center can congregate and stare off into the skyline

The living lab appears to be enclosed in a similar structure used by greenhouses, with floating gardens surrounding the harbor. The buildings hold plants and other experiments for professionals and the public to learn more about climate change

The living lab appears to be enclosed in a similar structure used by greenhouses, with floating gardens surrounding the harbor. The buildings hold plants and other experiments for professionals and the public to learn more about climate change

The living lab appears to be enclosed in a similar structure used by greenhouses, with floating gardens surrounding the harbor. The buildings hold plants and other experiments for professionals and the public to learn more about climate change

The living lab appears to be enclosed in a similar structure used by greenhouses, with floating gardens surrounding the harbor.

The buildings hold plants and other experiments for professionals and the public to learn more about climate change.

The Trust is calling one are ‘Island Institute,’ which will be used by academics and researchers ‘to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields, bringing climate science, policy, communications, climate justice initiatives and solution development under one roof,’ the group shared in a news release.

The Trust also notes that its project will not takeover public space, but is set to build around it.

The Trust is calling one are 'Island Institute,' which will be used by academics and researchers 'to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields, bringing climate science, policy, communications, climate justice initiatives and solution development under one roof'

The Trust is calling one are 'Island Institute,' which will be used by academics and researchers 'to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields, bringing climate science, policy, communications, climate justice initiatives and solution development under one roof'

The Trust is calling one are ‘Island Institute,’ which will be used by academics and researchers ‘to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields, bringing climate science, policy, communications, climate justice initiatives and solution development under one roof’

The Trust also notes that its project will not takeover public space, but is set to build around it

The Trust also notes that its project will not takeover public space, but is set to build around it

The Trust also notes that its project will not takeover public space, but is set to build around it

Clare Newman, Trust for Governors Island president and CEO, said: ‘As one of New York City’s great public places, Governors Island can serve as a powerful platform and living laboratory for research, innovation and advocacy.’

‘We’re thrilled to announce a vision that realizes the full potential of Governors Island, marrying its extraordinary open space, history, arts and culture with a visible center for confronting one of the defining issues of our time.’

‘We look forward to working with community stakeholders and our local elected officials in the coming months as we begin to make this plan a reality.’

The rezoning proposal is expected to enter the city’s formal public land-use review process next month.

Climate change has already shown its face in the Big Apple, with rising temperature, increases sea levels and major storms.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Sea levels around the coast have already risen more than one foot since 1900 and by 2100 they are predicted to increase by 18 to 50 inches than the current measurement.

In July, New York City saw record-breaking temperatures across all five boroughs, with one weekend hitting 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

SEA LEVELS COULD RISE BY UP TO 4 FEET BY THE YEAR 2300

Global sea levels could rise as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 2300 even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals, scientists have warned.

The long-term change will be driven by a thaw of ice from Greenland to Antarctica that is set to re-draw global coastlines.

Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.

It is vital that we curb emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater rise, a German-led team of researchers said in a new report.

By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would gain by 0.7-1.2 metres, even if almost 200 nations fully meet goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Targets set by the accords include cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.

Ocean levels will rise inexorably because heat-trapping industrial gases already emitted will linger in the atmosphere, melting more ice, it said.

In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

Every five years of delay beyond 2020 in peaking global emissions would mean an extra 20 centimetres (8 inches) of sea level rise by 2300.

‘Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can’t do much about … but the next 30 years really matter,’ lead author Dr Matthias Mengel, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.

None of the nearly 200 governments to sign the Paris Accords are on track to meet its pledges.

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Development: Effect of sleep on the human brain ‘suddenly changes’ in childhood, study shows 

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development effect of sleep on the human brain suddenly changes in childhood study shows

As children grow the effect that sleep has on the brain changes from supporting memory and learning to maintenance and repair, a study has found.

US experts found that the shift in function occurs at around the age of two-and-a-half — a time when several big brain transformation were previously known to occur. 

Most animals need sleep to repair damage caused by stress and to recognise neural patterns, which are key to boosting learning and memory skills. 

As children grow the effect that sleep has on the brain changes from supporting memory and learning to maintenance and repair, a study has found. US experts found that the shift in function occurs at around the age of two-and-a-half — a time when several big brain transformation were previously known to occur

As children grow the effect that sleep has on the brain changes from supporting memory and learning to maintenance and repair, a study has found. US experts found that the shift in function occurs at around the age of two-and-a-half — a time when several big brain transformation were previously known to occur

‘The pervasiveness of sleep during development and throughout the animal kingdom suggests that it is a biological process that is necessary for survival,’ said paper author Junyu Cao of the University of Texas at Austin.

‘Although we spend approximately a third of our life asleep, its explicit physiological and evolutionary function remains unclear, with a myriad of hypotheses.’

In their study, Professor Cao and colleagues analysed sleep datasets — taken from children aged between 0–15 — using models that focussed on each child’s brain’s metabolic rate, volume and the amount of time spent in REM sleep.

REM — or ‘rapid eye movement’ — is one of the five stages of sleep that occurs several times a night and is when dreaming takes place.

‘We created a novel mechanistic framework for understanding and predicting how sleep changes,’ explained Professor Cao.

‘Because data are seldom analysed in a way that connects them with mathematical models or quantitative predictions, conclusions about the function of sleep have remained slow to evolve,’ she added.

Neural reorganisation, an important part of learning and memory, takes place before children reach the age of two-and-a-half years old, the researchers found.

After this point, the brain appears to stop reorganising, and focuses instead on protecting and repairing neural networks.

According to the team, the change in sleep function was not gradual, but rather like ‘water turning to ice’. 

‘Our findings reveal an abrupt transition, between two and three years of age in humans,’ said paper author Van Savage of the University of California, Los Angeles.

‘Specifically, our results show that differences in sleep across animal groups and during late ontogeny (after two or three years, in humans) are primarily due to sleep functioning for repair or clearance.’

‘Changes in sleep during early ontogeny (before two or three years) primarily support neural reorganisation and learning.’

Neuroplastic reorganisation, the brain’s ability to learn by changing its structure and function, took place during REM rather than non-REM sleep phases, the researchers also found.

The researchers hope to examine the sleep function change in animals with shorter development periods, where it occurs earlier, and can even take place before birth.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal  Science Advances.

CAN YOU LEARN WHILE YOU NAP?

It is the perfect learning shortcut, to play a language tape or revision recording at night while you are asleep.

But those desperately hoping the information will go in as they snooze may be disappointed.

Scientists have previously found that the brain does take in what it hears during REM sleep – the time spent mostly dreaming, usually in the morning before we wake up.

Leaving a tape running overnight is probably counter-productive as information gained in deep sleep can be completely lost.

French researchers found that sound played during certain parts of deep sleep may make information harder to learn when you wake up than if you had never heard it before.

That is thought to be because the brain is busy erasing memories at this time, and the new knowledge is dumped along with them.

In a study published by experts from PSL Research University in Paris in August 2017, researchers tested sleep learning by playing 20 participants white noise, which contained patterns of sound.

The sounds heard during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep were remembered by these people when they woke up.

They found it easier to identify the white noise which had repeated sounds in it because they had heard it while asleep.

But the noise played while people were in deep sleep, which makes up almost a third of our slumbers, was forgotten.

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