New Android OS to Improve Facial Recognition

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Android’s 5.0 Lollipop update will be available soon, and may come with a hidden security feature. The “Trusted Face” feature, which promises to be an improved version of its facial recognition software, might make standard passwords a thing of the past.

Trusted Face uses facial recognition to unlock a user’s phone. In the past, the feature took too long to unlock and it could easily be hacked by holding a photo of the user in front of the device. However, Lollipop’s update comes with a faster, more secure version.

Trusted Face is a way for Android to compete with Apple’s seamless fingerprint identification system, which has proven highly successful. However, users will still be able to input a regular security code if they desire.

Ontario Distracted Driving Fines Spike

It's the law

Ontario is raising its distracted driving fines in an attempt to prevent drivers from watching their phones instead of the road. Before now, distracted driving charges ranged from $60 to $500. Under the new legislation, someone pulled over for texting while driving can be fined between $300 and $1,000.

Use of a handheld device to talk or text while driving has been banned in Ontario since 2009, with the exception of making 911 calls. However, one out of three licensed high school drivers admitted to texting and driving at least once in the past year. This statistic was collected by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Scarier still, distracted driving has become the number one cause of road-related deaths, ahead of impaired driving and speeding.

Google and Other Tech Giants Back Augmented-Reality Developer Magic Leap

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Florida-based augmented-reality startup Magic Leap has generated $542 million in a Series B financing round, and Google’s contribution is at the head of the pack. Tech giant Qualcomm is also pitching in, along with many others including Legendary Entertainment, Vulcan Capital and Obvious Ventures.

The company, founded in 2011, hopes to replace traditional smartphone screens with virtual-reality interfaces. Magic Leap founder, CEO and president Rony Abovitz promises he can deliver mind-blowing “cinematic reality” and “revolutionize” the way people communicate, but this round of funding was raised without unveiling a single product.

Magic Leap has remained tight lipped about its products, but the company’s website features images of a baby elephant cupped in a person’s hand, and a submarine floating above a street. Speculation suggests the company plans to develop a wearable device which tracks users’ eyeballs and projects images onto them. A technique called “object occlusion”, paired with the manipulation of depth perception, would allow for virtual objects to be added to what the wearer would see naturally, both in front of and behind objects.

Google itself, rather than Google Ventures or Google Capital, is behind the investment, sparking rumors the internet company may be hoping to align or eventually partner with Magic Leap. Google has appointed Sudar Pichai (senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps) and Don Harrison (vice president of corporate development) to Magic Leap’s board in an observer role as part of the deal.

Google Creates Guide for Users Switching from Apple

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The world’s leading mobile device creators are constantly campaigning to win users over and steal business from each other. With the upcoming release of its Nexus 6 phone and Nexus 9 tablet, Google has amped up its tactics. Now, for users disappointed with Apple’s latest releases, Google has released a guide for switching over to Android.

For unhappy Android users, Apple has posted a similar guide for switching over to iOS.

The guide for switching to Android is split into four categories, covering transferring photos and music, contacts, apps and Gmail settings. Apple’s is slightly more involved with six parts, covering moving books, PDFs and other documents from an Android phone or tablet. Whether or not these guides will cause any shift in usership remains to be seen.

Android’s latest model will be released in the near future, and features Android’s latest operating system called Lollipop.

FCC Approves Inquiry into 5G Technology

SONY DSCThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously approved an inquiry into 5G technology. The investigation will seek to determine if high-frequency airwaves previously considered to be unusable may in fact revolutionize mobile technology.

“We are moving from networks designed for analog voice to networks designed for high-speed digital data,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “So how do we meet these demands? We look up. Way, way, up. To infinity and beyond.”

Frequencies higher than 24 gigahertz have gone unused in the past, as they could not handle cell phone signals. These frequencies cannot carry signals over long distances and are easily stopped by barriers, but companies are currently developing new technologies which could make these frequencies usable. If reliable technology is developed, these frequencies could handle data as fast as 10 gigabits per second.

Google has asked the FCC for permission to begin testing extremely high frequencies, which could eventually be incorporated into Google Fiber. There is no current definition of 5G speeds, but it could very well lead to a new generation of technology and mobile devices.