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WhatsApp’s latest feature: Dark mode inches closer to rollout with latest update

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Dark theme makes its way to WhatsApp beta yet again. WhatsApp has been working on dark mode/dark theme for quite some time now and the latest update reveals more UI changes.

WhatsApp beta for Android 2.19.327 update comes with new images of the dark mode development on the messaging app. Dark mode on WhatsApp is still not available for public beta users as yet. The latest dark mode development on WhatsApp is the default ‘dark’ wallpaper, WABetaInfo reports. The dark mode wallpaper for WhatsApp features the same ‘night blue’ colours as seen before.

With every beta update WhatsApp has worked on a new development for dark mode on the messaging app. WhatsApp recently implemented the dark splash screen on its beta version. Splash screen is the new launch screen with WhatsApp logo at the centre. Dark mode is now visible in the WhatsApp splash screen as well.

WhatsApp dark mode wallpaper.

WhatsApp has so far covered every aspect of the app for dark mode. The latest dark mode wallpaper appears to be possibly the last stage of development in terms of UI changes. This indicates that WhatsApp is indeed very close to releasing dark mode. WhatsApp beta users normally get to experience unreleased features before the public rollout. But with dark mode not being available in public domain at all, WhatsApp could launch it for all users at once.

WhatsApp Web recently got dark mode through a workaround. Users can download the Stylus extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to implement dark mode on WhatsApp Web. Although this isn’t the official dark mode for WhatsApp, interested users can go ahead and start using it.

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YouTube redesign: Videos get bigger thumbnails, longer video titles

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YouTube is getting a major redesign and the new changes will be visible on desktop, Android and iOS apps. With the new update YouTube is going for a more minimalist look by decluttering the home page. YouTube’s homepage will now feature bigger thumbnails and longer video titles. The updated YouTube design is rolling out to all starting today.

If you’ve received the new YouTube design you’ll notice a distinct change in look with bigger thumbnails. In essence, two rows of videos have now been turned into one. Video titles have also become longer now with more space on the home page. YouTube is also adding channel icons along with the video title making it easier for users to access them directly.

With more space for bigger video thumbnails, YouTube has removed some content shelves from the home page. Some video genres that will remain on the YouTube home page will be breaking news, music mixes and more. YouTube is also adding an ‘add to queue’ short-cut with this redesign. Users can now add videos to queue directly from the thumbnail on desktop. Like before, videos saved in queue will not be saved once the browser is closed.

YouTube add to queue short-cut coming to desktop.

YouTube desktop is getting another feature which was first rolled out to its mobile apps. YouTube’s ‘Don’t recommend channel’ feature is now available on desktop. This feature is available on suggested videos and users can access it by selecting the three dotted menu. YouTube also said it will introduce topics selection for desktop and tablets soon.

YouTube’s redesign gives more emphasis to creators with more visibility for videos. But at the same time it also loses out on the availability of videos on the home page. In fact, YouTube users who are seeing the change are already unhappy about it.

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Microsoft’s new Office app combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint in single app

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Microsoft on Monday unveiled a new Office app for iOS and Android that combines three most popular apps — Word, Excel and PowerPoint — into a single go-to app for mobile productivity.

The users no longer need to download each app separately, the tech giant announced at its flagship “Ignite” conference here.

“With the new Actions pane, you can intuitively complete a variety of common on-the-go tasks, such as creating and signing PDFs and sharing files between devices,” said Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365.

Launched as a public preview, the Office app is available to Android users through Google Play Store and to iOS users through Apple’s TestFlight programme.

The new Office app uses the unique advantages of mobile devices to make content creation easier. For instance, you can snap the picture of a document and turn it into an editable word file, or transform tables from a printed page to Excel.

The company also announced the general availability of the all-new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser set for January 15 release. The all-new Microsoft Edge offers the enterprise new tab page, where users will have direct access to Microsoft 365 files.

Microsoft Edge is now available across devices, including Windows 10, Windows 8x, Windows 7, macOS, iOS and Android, said the company.

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Project Silica: Microsoft archives, retrieves Superman movie on a Quartz glass

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Microsoft at its Ignite 2019 conference showcased the future of storage solutions. The company partnered with Warner Bros. to successfully archive and retrieve 1978 ‘Superman’ movie on a piece of glass, roughly the size of a drink coaster. Measuring 75x75x 2mm, the new storage solution is part of Microsoft’s ambitious Project Silica.

Under the Project Silica, Microsoft Research leverages the recent discovering in the field of laser optics and artificial intelligence to store data on a glass (quartz). “A laser encodes data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations at various depths and angles. Machine learning algorithms read the data back by decoding images and patterns that are created as polarized light shines through the glass,” Microsoft explained in a blog.

Microsoft claims the quartz silica glass can survive being boiled in hot water and even bakes in an oven or microwaved. The glass can also withstand other hostile environments such as demagnetization or flooding. The company says the new storage solution ensures security of archives for a longer term.

On partnership with Warner Bros, Microsoft revealed the studio had approached the company to leverage new technology to secure its vast library of movies including radio shows, animated shorts and sitcoms among others. The studio was looking for a storage solution that can survive floods or solar flare and didn’t need much of maintenance such as temperature management or refreshing at regular intervals.

“Glass storage has the potential to become a lower-cost option because you only write the data onto the glass once. Femtosecond lasers — ones that emit ultrashort optical pulses and that are commonly used in LASIK surgery — permanently change the structure of the glass, so the data can be preserved for centuries,” Microsoft added.

The company also pointed out that the Quartz glass doesn’t need air conditioning to keep the material at a set temperature or appliances that constantly remove moisture from the air. The solution, Microsoft said, can help reduce the environmental footprint.

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