Tech Digest daily round up: Google Earth introduces time-lapse feature


Google Earth has launched a time-lapse feature that lets users wind back the clock and see how the world has changed over several decades. The feature uses millions of satellite images from the past 37 years to let people scroll through time. It allows people to see, for example, the retreat of glaciers alongside global warming, or the deforestation of the Amazon over time. The company says it is the biggest update to Google Earth in four years. Google Earth uses similar technology to the widely used Maps product, but is more focused on geology and exploration than public transport and directions. Users can access the tool in a web browser, and the feature comes with some pre-packaged virtual tours of an Alaskan glacier melting over the years or forest protection efforts in Brazil. BBC 

Video dating is the pandemic trend that is here to stay, writes Margi Murphy in The Telegraph. “You would have thought that after a good year or so locked up in their homes, the single and (almost) ready to mingle would be primed to go on a date,” she says. But a recent survey from dating app Hinge has revealed that the majority of daters plan to continue video dating post pandemic because it is a stress-free way to gauge compatibility before going for an awkward first drink. Bumble was the first of the major dating apps to have introduced an in-built video chat feature. And after lockdown hit in the UK, the company saw a 42pc spike in the number of video calls through the app.

Microsoft on Thursday debuted a new kids mode for its Edge web browser, the first such feature from any major browser. The move, the company says, is meant to ensure that parents can let their children jump online without worrying about the kind of content they’ll come across. Available starting today, Microsoft Edge Kids Mode is designed to prevent kids 12 and under from gaining access to sites and services their parents may find objectionable. Microsoft Edge Kids Mode is its own version of Edge that features unique home screen designs, and news stories from kid-friendly publications like Animal Planet and Time for Kids. To open kids mode, parents launch Edge on their PC or Mac and select the kids mode button from the profile menu in the top right corner of the screen. Yahoo! News 

SpaceX is set to send four astronauts to space on behalf of NASA, which has announced the mission is now “go”. The announcement means that managers from both NASA and Elon Musk’s space company have given the go-ahead for the falcon rocket and the Dragon capsule that will be stuck to its top to carry the astronauts to the International Space Station. They will spend six months onboard the floating lab, swapping with another SpaceX crew that will soon come back home. The mission, named Crew-2 as it is the second full trip by NASA astronauts in the SpaceX craft, will be the first to use a Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule that have been recycled from a previous trip. The capsule, dubbed Endeavour, also will be making a repeat performance; it carried two test pilots to the space station on SpaceX’s first crew flight last spring. Independent 

New Zealand said on Friday it has agreed to give Amazon extra rebates on its expenses for the filming of “The Lord of the Rings” TV series in the country, hoping to reap multi-year economic and tourism benefits. Amazon will get an extra 5% from New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant in addition to the 20% grant the production already qualifies for, the government said in a statement. Amazon is estimated to be spending about NZ$650 million ($465 million) filming the first season of the show, for broadcast on its Amazon Prime streaming platform, meaning it would be eligible for a rebate of about NZ$162 million ($116 million), the government said. “The agreement with Amazon … generates local jobs and creates work for local businesses,” Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement. “It will enable a new wave of international tourism branding and promotion for this country.” Reuters

Chris Price
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