10 things you need to know in tech today

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, March 14, 2019 – Pi day!

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1. Android Q released!

Google released the first preview of Android Q for developers yesterday, the next major update of the Android OS powering a few billion devices or so.

  • Those with a Google Pixel device were able to jump onto the Android Q beta first.
  • Sign-up to the beta here if you’re using an eligible device eg. a Google Pixel, Pixel 2, or Pixel 3 and don’t mind occasional glitches as Android Q smooths out, but it’s not really intended for daily driver use, just FYI.

What’s new?

  • Google announced Android Q on its Developers Blog with a focus on privacy and security, plus a range of enhancements for foldables, new media codecs and camera features, and a host of new APIs, audio and video codecs, and more.
  • Android Q offers new features for developers to work with for their apps, as well as a bunch of smaller useful and interesting changes for users right now (detailed below).
  • Much of the Google announcement targets developers, discussing new methods and classes, such as for foldable devices.
  • There are also elements such as customizable Wi-Fi performance modes, to work on lower latency connections with adaptive Wi-Fi.
  • Sharing shortcuts will now be much faster with the share sheet improved, which is a big one considering the weird lag involved with it now.

Changes? What changes?

  • Many of the changes announced by Google will take some time to be used by manufacturers like Samsung, as well as developers of all your favorite apps.
  • But some changes are evident as of now.
  • My colleagues at Android Authority were busy all night documenting new Android Q features and changes from the last release.
  • There’s a whole new privacy section in Settings, which gives better access to app permissions, lock screen content settings, preferred autofill service, location history, and more.
  • Long-pressing the power button will now display a new ‘Emergency’ icon. Tap this icon and you’ll have quick access to an emergency dialer.
  • Accent colors and theming options now exist, finally:

Android Q accent colors

  • There’s an estimated battery life left display in quick settings:

android-q-estimated-battery-remaining

  • It’s now possible to quickly share Wi-Fi login details via QR codes, which bridges the gap slightly to Apple devices that have been doing this nicely for some time now.
  • The list of changes is long and more surprises and features are being found all the time as Pixel owners hit every button – even screenshots in Android Q now include the notch, which is unexpected.
  • There are six Android Q beta versions on Google’s timeline so expect more updates and changes on this Q pathway.

Android Q dessert name problems:

  • We won’t know the Android Q name for some time yet, following the line of desserts like Android KitKat, Android Oreo, and most recently the fairly boring Android Pie.
  • Android Quik, makes some sense, given Nestle exists in every corner of the earth. Android Quince Jelly? There aren’t a lot of options.

More: All the Android Q coverage you could want, including just in, a secret desktop mode.


2.Facebook and all of its services including Instagram and WhatsApp suffered serious global service outages over the past 16 hours or so, and it hasn’t completely restored yet.

  • Facebook’s status dashboard shows partial outages continue.
  • This has been Facebook’s worst outage since 2008.
  • Most of the apps still opened, but functionality was limited depending on geo-location, app, and API call.
  • On desktop, Facebook messenger didn’t work but the app could be used to send messages.
  • WhatsApp messages would also send, but uploading images and audio had errors.
  • Signing in to apps like Spotify via a Facebook login wasn’t possible, either.
  • A Facebook spokesman told Bloomberg that it was “considering the possibility of refunds for advertisers”.
  • Facebook’s outage hurts everyone else who uses it too: businesses big and small, media and content creators, and spare a thought for people who organized events solely on Facebook on the day, too.
  • (And spare a thought for my Dad who apparently couldn’t play his favorite mobile game.)
  • No explanation from Facebook at the time of writing, although it did confirm it was not a DDoS attack (BBC).
  • Bonus: Facebook’s data deals are under criminal investigation (NY Times). Not a great day over in Menlo Park.

3. Gary Sims has a video for Pi day: Nilakantha’s Infinite Series (YouTube). Math is fun, trust!


4. On that note, Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee from Japan, calculated pi even further: now out to 31 trillion digits, up from 22 trillion (BBC).


5. Google has quietly added DuckDuckGo as a search engine option for Chrome users in ~60 markets (TechCrunch).


6. Five things Tesla needs to show at tonight’s Model Y event (CNET). (8pm PDT)


7. The same Stone Age symbols crop up in caves all over the world. But what do they mean? (Kottke)


8. Australian man blocks arrow with a smartphone (The Guardian).


9. Stardew Valley is now out: Tips and tricks including how to transfer PC save to mobile (AA).


10. A three-day expedition to walk across Paris underground (Longreads).


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