Tech Digest daily roundup: Google has new Pixel feature drop


Google has a new Pixel Feature Drop for owners of Pixel devices. All of these are headed to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but for the rest of the Pixels that are still supported, you’ll be getting a subset of “relevant updates”, according to Google. Anyway, let’s dive right into the drop. The December Pixel Feature Drop puts Snapchat on your lock screen (if you want it to be there), with Quick Tap to Snap. This means you’ll be able to make a Snap quicker than on any other device, Google boasts. Also, “starting this month”, you’ll be able to add a new Pixel-exclusive Lens called Pixel Face to your Snaps. This feature is coming to the Pixel 4a 5G and newer phones. Next up, car keys. As already announced, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro can now act as your digital car key for select 2020-2022 BMW models “in certain countries”. Ultra-wideband is now enabled on the Pixel 6 Pro, and this improves Nearby Share. GSM Arena 

Three in four young girls have been sent sexual images via smartphone apps, according to a new study. A survey conducted by academics at University College London and the University of Kent found that just 50 per cent of teenagers who had received an unsolicited image had reported it to their parents, authorities or the app they were using. The report warns that the practice of sending sexual images is becoming “dangerously normalised”, with girls feeling pressured to “trade” images with boys. Girls who sent a picture in response were then mocked by classmates after their photo was shared, the report said. Just a quarter of teenagers surveyed had told a friend about sexual images they had received, while only two per cent told school authorities and 5 per cent told parents. Evening Standard 

Canadian hacker Gary Bowser must pay $10m (£7.5m) to settle Nintendo of America’s lawsuit against him. The final judgement in this civil case was filed last night, and is separate to the federal lawsuit Bowser already pleaded guilty to at the end of October. For that, he was ordered to pay $4.5m, and faces up to 10 years in jail. Bowser, 51, made a business out of selling console mods which enabled video game piracy. Working with modchip firm Team Xecuter, Bowser “knowingly and wilfully participated in a cybercriminal enterprise that hacked leading gaming consoles” since 2013, it was reported last month. As part of Bowser’s previous federal plea agreement, the hacker admitted he had “developed, manufactured, marketed, and sold a variety of circumvention devices that allowed the enterprise’s customers to play pirated versions of copyrighted video games, commonly referred to as ‘ROMs’ “. Eurogamer

The boss of a US firm has been criticised after he fired around 900 of his staff on a single Zoom call. “If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” said Vishal Garg, chief executive of mortgage firm, on the call, later uploaded to social media.  Comments on social media said it was “cold”, “harsh” and “a horrible move”, especially in the run up to Christmas. “Last time I did [this] I cried,” Mr Garg told the staff on the call. “I wish the news were different. I wish we were thriving,” he said. This time his tone was measured and he referred to notes on the desk in front of him. BBC 

Donald Trump’s plans to set up a new social media venture to take on the likes of Twitter and Facebook have hit an obstacle after US regulators announced an investigation on Monday. Two US regulators have requested records from Digital World, the “blank cheque” company planning to merge with Donald Trump’s new social media venture. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) have requested records tied to meetings involving Digital World’s board, its policies and procedures related to trading, and the identities of certain investors. Finra is also investigating trading that preceded the public announcement of Digital World’s merger with Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG). Telegraph 

Chris Price
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