March 3, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today

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This Week’s Top 5 Tech Stories You Must Know- November Week 4

Lots has happened this past week in the tech world! With the Xbox PC app getting Microsoft’s compact mode, Google expected to begin deleting inactive Gmail accounts, Spotify announcing a new royalty system, and more, there’s much to catch up on. So, let’s get started! 

Xbox PC App Gets Microsoft’s Compact Mode

Microsoft has introduced the “compact mode” for the Xbox PC app, improving usability on handheld gaming PCs. According to the Xbox Wire blog post, the update is now available for users after testing. In this mode, the sidebar transitions into icons, optimizing screen space. Especially beneficial for devices like Asus’ ROG Ally and Lenovo’s Legion Go, Microsoft is collaborating with tech manufacturers, such as Asus, to enable “compact mode” by default on handheld devices. Additionally, the Xbox PC app will streamline notifications, displaying only unread ones in the drop-down, and introduce a “Gaming Services Repair Tool” for troubleshooting. 

Google Expected to Begin Deleting Inactive Gmail Accounts

As part of a new security policy, Google will begin deleting inactive Gmail accounts starting Dec. 1. In May 2023, Google announced its plan to remove unused accounts for the past two years, including associated emails, photos, and stored tech data. The company will send multiple notifications to the account and its recovery email before deletion. The new policy’s purpose is to enhance user security by addressing the higher susceptibility of inactive accounts to compromise. 

Spotify Announces New Royalty System

Spotify announced a new royalty system that will address fraudulent practices involving functional noises like rainfall sounds, which have been earning as much as traditional music files. As of now, Spotify is raising the minimum track length for functional noise recordings to two minutes and assigning a “fraction of the value” to their streams compared to music tracks. While the exact devaluation percentage wasn’t specified, reports suggest functional tracks will now be valued at one-fifth of their musical counterparts. These functional genres include nature sounds, white noise, sound effects, and silence recordings.

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Elon Musk Visits Israel During Pause in War

 Last month, Musk proposed using Starlink for communication links in Gaza, but there were concerns across social platforms. On Nov. 27, Israel officially hosted Elon Musk during the pause in war with Hamas and announced a preliminary agreement to use SpaceX’s Starlink tech communications in the Gaza Strip. It was also announced that Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would meet Musk to discuss various topics, including combatting online antisemitism.

EU Approves Air Taxi Firm Lilium

German air taxi company Lilium has received regulatory approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to design and operate its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. The approval, known as “Design Organization Approval,” is a special condition license granted by EASA, allowing Lilium to design and manufacture its aircraft in the absence of formal industry rules. Alastair McIntosh, Lilium’s Chief Technology Officer, stated that this approval is a “license to operate” for the company. 

By Lindsey Feth

By Lindsey Feth

Managing Editor, Innovation & Tech Today

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