Category: Technology

Google expands AI calling service Duplex to Australia, Canada, and the UK

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google’s automated, artificial intelligence-powered calling service Duplex is now available in more countries, according to a support page updated today. In addition to the US and New Zealand, Duplex is now available in Australia, Canada, and the UK, reports VentureBeat, which discovered newly added phone numbers on the support page that Google says it will use when calling via Duplex from a distinct country.

Duplex launched as an early beta in the US via the Google Assistant back in late 2018 after a splashy yet controversial debut at that year’s Google I/O developer conference. There were concerns about the use of Duplex without a restaurant or other small business’ express consent and without proper disclosure that the automated call…

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Disney Plus surpasses 50 million subscribers

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Disney Plus has surpassed 50 million subscribers — up more than 22 million since the last time Disney disclosed numbers two months ago.

Disney’s new subscriber numbers follow a series of rollouts in international territories, including the UK, India, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Although Disney Plus did delay the launch of its service in France due to government concern that it would put too much strain on bandwidth, the app is now available there, too. Disney previously reported that it had 28 million subscribers during an earnings call with investors in February.

To compare, Netflix has 167 million subscribers around the world, or just under one-third of Netflix’s total subscriber base. Hulu, Disney’s other…

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How to play free YouTube music in the background on Android and iPhones

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

There’s a lot of music — and storytelling and news — on YouTube, and so it stands to reason that you’d want to be able to play it in the background on your mobile device while reading, texting, or doing other things. Unfortunately, unless you’re a subscriber to YouTube Premium ($11.99 a month) or YouTube Music ($9.99 a month), your ability to listen to a YouTube video in the background is limited — doable, but limited.

Android users have it slightly better in this respect. Recent versions of the Android YouTube app allow you to use Picture-in-Picture (PiP) to view (or listen to) almost any YouTube video while you’re reading your tweets or checking out the latest news — that is, any video except one that’s labeled as being music.

We’ll…

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Google’s Hangouts Meet is now just Google Meet

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Remote workers, meeters, streamers, and hangers-out, take note: Google’s Hangouts Meet is no longer called Hangouts Meet; it’s now called Google Meet.

The rebrand was made apparent yesterday in a Google Cloud blog post written by two of Google’s directors of product management, Karthik Lakshminarayanan and Smita Hashim. The blog post lists a number of privacy measures that Google Meet employs to keep remote meetings from being hijacked, and also refers to the service as Google Meet. Android Police found that a number of support pages had been updated with the new title as well.

In an email to The Verge, Google confirmed that it has officially changed the service’s name. Google also confirmed…

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