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Google Search can now link to key moments in videos

Sharon Ross

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google search

Google has introduced a new update to handle videos in its search results page. Rather than just listing out relevant videos in the search page, the company will now highlight the key parts of longer videos as well. The highlighted parts will be based upon the timestamps offered by the creators of the videos. Well, this new feature is especially useful when it comes to documentaries or how-to videos.

As per Prashant Baheti, product manager, Google Search, videos cannot be skimmed like text, which means that video content can be overlooked easily. Google has always strived on making other kinds of info accessible with ease. Similarly, it is creating new ways to manage video content in the search and make it more useful for users, he added.

The users will now be able to find links to various key moments of a video in Search. They simply have to tap on those highlighted moments in order to see that part in the video.

To make the feature work, video creators will first need to markup their videos using bookmarks to highlight the key moments. Interestingly, this feature is not just meant for YouTube video creators. Soon, one will find such key moments from providers such as NDTV and CBS Sports, who will begin adding markups to their videos. Besides, Google is also looking forward to inviting more creators to adopt this useful and advanced search feature.

For now, the new video indexing feature will be available for English searches of YouTube videos.

Meanwhile, it is quite surprising that Google is not utilizing its machine learning tech to automatically markup videos. For the time being, the entire burden lies upon video creators. And considering the amount of work that goes into creating a nice video, one will have to wait to see how many will succeed in doing so.

Sharon Ross has been phenomenal in the success of Report Door. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Report Door.

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CATL explores new EV battery services, to add capacity: chairman

Sharon Ross

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CATL explores new EV battery services, to add capacity: chairman

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is seen on its building in Ningde, Fujian province, China August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top electric vehicle (EV) battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) is exploring new battery-related services and will expand manufacturing capacity in the next two years, its chairman told Reuters.

Ningde-based CATL, which alongside LG Chem and Panasonic is one of the biggest EV battery makers globally, is developing battery-swapping and battery maintenance services, its chairman Zeng Yuqun said on Wednesday.

It will also expand recycling capabilities in China and invest in similar businesses overseas, Zeng added in a written response to Reuters questions.

The firm, which has signed supply deals with Tesla Inc and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), expects to increase battery manufacturing capacity in the next two years, Zeng said.

It may target further overseas expansion based on customer demand, he added. The firm is currently building a plant in Germany.

Zeng said the firm will control costs to better manage the impact from the coronavirus pandemic. He did not offer details.

As the virus hit demand in China, the world’s biggest auto market, sales of new energy vehicles, which include battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, fell 43% in the first four months this year compared to a year earlier.

Reuters reported in February that Tesla is in advanced talks to use lithium iron phosphate batteries from CATL. Sources said this month Tesla and CATL are developing next generation batteries which would have significantly longer lifespans.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jan Harvey and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Apple updates Schoolwork app to help teachers manage classrooms from afar

Sharon Ross

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Apple updates Schoolwork app to help teachers manage classrooms from afar

Apple

Teachers can also now tap into individual assignments and view each student’s progress and how much time they are spending on the work, compared with the rest of the class. While these changes would be helpful even in the normal classroom setting, it could provide teachers valuable insight as students are working remotely. If one student is taking significantly longer to finish an assignment, or finishing much more quickly than the rest of the class, that could let the teacher know they need extra help, for example. Teachers will also now have the ability to message or FaceTime students via the Schoolwork app in case they need more one-on-one attention. 

Apple first released its Schoolwork app in 2018, alongside a new iPad geared toward schools. But with so many schools now adapting to remote work, the latest changes could help accelerate adoption of the company’s teaching tools. The company has also launched a new “learning from home” section of its website, with resources to help educators create remote-friendly lessons.

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ChatableApps launches its hearing assistance app – Report Door

Sharon Ross

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ChatableApps launches its hearing assistance app – TechCrunch

ChatableApps is launching its hearing assistance app on iOS today, with a wider Android release to follow shortly. Backed by Mark Cuban, and based on the work of auditory neural signal processing researcher Dr. Andy Simpson, the app removes background noise in near real-time so that one-to-one conversations can be heard more clearly.

And, unlike other solutions on the market, its makers say it works with any modern smartphone and standard earbuds. Early “pre-clinical” trials of the Chatable app claim to demonstrate that it matches or even surpasses the performance of some traditional hearing aids, with 86% of participants reporting that the ChatableApps’ “universal hearing aid” was better for conversation than their existing hearing aid.

When I covered the startup’s recent funding round, ChatableApps co-founder Brendan O’Driscoll told me the company’s technology and approach is “completely unique” because it doesn’t use noise filtering or other DSP techniques. “It’s actually a deep learning neural net approach to speech and noise separation that doesn’t apply filters to the original audio but rather it listens and re-prints a brand new audio stream in near real-time which is a mimic of just the vocal components of the original audio,” he said.

Or, put simply, unlike traditional approaches to background noise removal — which attempt to label and remove unwanted sounds — ChatableApps’ AI, dubbed “VOXimity”, identifies the voice we want to hear, and creates a new, identical voice track which sounds (more or less) the same as the original but without any other background sounds. The technique is called end- to-end neural speech synthesis.

Meanwhile, ChatableApps CEO Giles Tongue, tells me the team has been racing to get the app released as quickly as possible, after realising it could help plug a gap for people unable to access a hearing clinic during the coronavirus crisis or unable to lipread due to the prevalence of face masks.

“Following successful pre-clinical trials, we have decided to launch immediately due to urgent demand from audiologists to help people struggling because of coronavirus,” he says. “With many unable to lipread due to face masks or unable to visit a hearing clinic in an emergency, our app provides a lifeline that will help people communicate”.

The app may also help manage social distancing. “You can place the phone next to the person talking, put in your Bluetooth buds, walk ten feet away and still be able to hear someone with perfect clarity,” adds Tongue.

Since we last covered the company, the team has also re-visited the ChatableApps pricing model. Previously the startup planned to offer a paid subscription version only, but now has a free, albeit somewhat limited, tier.

“The app is free to access, with the option to subscribe to unlock maximum voice amplification and reduction of background noise,” says the company. The full version is available for £9.99 ($12.99) per month, or £59.99 ($79.99) per year when paid annually.

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