Author: Shivendra Singh

TikTok is thinking about letting its creators charge subscription fees

TikTok is testing paid subscriptions | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok confirmed Thursday that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short form video platform to charge for their content. First reported by The Information, the company didn’t share details about when it might roll out to creators, how many creators are currently testing it, or what the pay structure might look like. Company spokesman Zachary Kizer said in an email to The Verge that the subscriptions were a “concept that’s been in testing,” and that it was “always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” (whatever that means).

If adopted, it would be the latest move by TikTok to help its creators monetize their content; it introduced its C…

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Netflix co-CEO says there will ‘absolutely’ be a second season of Squid Game

Image: Netflix

Hold on to your jumpsuits — Netflix’s wildly popular Squid Game series has been confirmed by the company for a second season.

During its fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that the Korean miniseries is returning. Asked by Nidhi Gupta of Fidelity Management and Research whether the viewers would get a second season of Netflix’s most popular series ever, Sarados said there’s more grisly action to come.

“Absolutely,” he responded. “The Squid Game universe has just begun.”

Previously, Hwang Dong-hyuk confirmed that the series would return, adding that he was in the “planning process.” Sarandos didn’t elaborate on when the series will return, or what an expanded Squid Game…

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Godzilla and the Titans will reunite in new Apple TV Plus Monsterverse series

Godzilla on the international poster for Godzilla vs. Kong.
Legendary Pictures

Though Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong made waves last summer by debuting on HBO Max and quickly becoming one of the platform’s top performing features, the next time we see the titanic monster and his fellow kaiju, they’ll be calling new streamer home: Apple Plus.

On Thursday, Apple Plus announced that it has greenlit a new live-action series set in Legendary’s Monsterverse from co-creators Chris Black (Star Trek: Enterprise) and Matt Fraction, writer of Marvel’s Hawkeye run that the recent Disney Plus series heavily draws from. Along with Black and Fraction, Toho’s Hiro Matsuoka and Takemasa Arita and Safe House Pictures’ Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell are set to executive produce.

Legendary
Legendary’s…

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Congress weighs cleaning up cryptocurrency mining in the US 

US-CRYPTOCURRENCY-CLIMATE-EMPLOYMENT-CHINA
 The “Sandow Switch” that once was used by the Alcoa coal power plant now provides electricity for the Whinstone US Bitcoin mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, on October 9, 2021.  | Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, members of Congress debated how to make cryptocurrencies greener, as energy-intensive bitcoin mining booms in the US. One of the biggest questions was whether to use renewables to power the energy-hungry mining at the heart of bitcoin’s blockchain, or turn to other blockchains that don’t need as much energy in the first place.

The debate took place during an oversight hearing on the “energy impacts of cryptocurrency” held by the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The US became the de facto epicenter for bitcoin mining last year, after China clamped down on mining within its borders — in part because of how much energy bitcoin uses. That transition could have big implications for the already strained power grid in the US, as…

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The IRS will soon make you use facial recognition to access your taxes online

The IRS will use a third party facial recognition company to verify online taxpayers | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The Internal Revenue Service will require people who access and pay their taxes online to enroll in a third-party facial recognition company starting this summer (h/t Krebs on Security). Even those who have already registered on IRS.gov with a username and password will have to provide a government ID, a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie to ID.me, the Virginia-based identity verification company. You’ll take a video selfie with whatever webcam or mobile device you’re using to sign up, which seems likely to cause problems for people with older hardware or who don’t have access to one.

According to the IRS, ID.me is a “trusted technology provider” of identity verification services. Anyone who already has an ID.me account from another…

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Samsung will unveil its next Galaxy S flagship in February

Samsung will unveil its next Galaxy S flagship in February

After introducing S Pen support to the Galaxy S21 Ultra and not launching a new version of the Note series last year, Samsung’s next Unpacked event would be a timely opportunity to address concerned fans. Though the company has yet to confirm an exact date beyond the month of February (rumors suggest it might take place Feb. 8th), president TM Roh has written a blog post on what we can expect at the launch. Samsung has also shared a teaser trailer.

“We know many of you were surprised when Samsung didn’t release a new Galaxy Note last year,” he wrote. “At Unpacked in February 2022, we’ll introduce to you the most noteworthy S series device we’ve ever created.” The company is expected to unveil the Galaxy S22 series this year.

Roh also said “the next generation of Galaxy S… [brings] together the greatest experiences of our Samsung Galaxy into one ultimate device.” He teased nighttime photography, power and performance as some areas to look out for, ending his post with “Get ready for the ultimate Ultra experience.” That could mean the best upgrades could be limited to the Ultra model again, as in previous years.

The rest of Roh’s …read more

New Android game uses a smart vibrator as a controller

New Android game uses a smart vibrator as a controller

In October, roboticist and software engineer Allison Liemhetcharat announced that she had been working on a game that would use a smart vibrator as a controller. Specifically, the Lioness smart vibrator, which gathers bio-data like body temperature and pelvic pressure. Liemhetcharat said she was partly inspired by the Perifit kegel exerciser, which also uses games and a device to help people strengthen their pelvic floor. The game, an endless runner called You Are What You Eat, has been in beta since then. Today, Liemhetcharat has released the Android version, which you can now download from the Google Play Store

Liemhetcharat told Engadget that You Are What You Eat is based on her family’s favorite activity. “Our running joke is that we eat everything,” she said. By itself, the game is an endless runner, with the objective of eating as many creatures as possible before dying. You begin as a blob, then grow and morph depending on what you ingest. That will also affect what you can continue to consume, as some creatures will subsequently become “inedible” based on what you’ve become. A WebGL version of the game is available. 

But for those …read more

NASA’s Swift Observatory may have suffered an attitude control failure

NASA’s Swift Observatory may have suffered an attitude control failure

NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory has run into difficulties after 17 years of largely smooth service. The orbiting explorer has entered safe mode after detecting a “possible failure” in one of the six reaction wheels used to change attitude. While it’s not clear exactly what (if anything) went wrong, NASA has halted direction-based scientific observations until it can either give the all-clear or continue operations with five wheels.

This is the first potential reaction wheel problem since the Swift Observatory began operations in February 2005, NASA said. The rest of the vehicle is otherwise working properly.

The Swift Observatory has played an important role in astronomy over the past two decades. It was primarily built to detect gamma-ray bursts and detects roughly 70 per day. However, it has increasingly been used as a catch-all observer across multiple wavelengths, spotting solar flares and hard-to-find stars. NASA won’t necessarily run into serious trouble if Swift has a lasting problem, but it would clearly benefit from keeping the spacecraft running as smoothly as possible.

All-in-one diabetes devices could take the hassle out of insulin injections

All-in-one diabetes devices could take the hassle out of insulin injections

People with diabetes have more than a few hassles, particularly at meals. They not only have to measure their blood glucose levels and inject the right amount of insulin, but carry all the relevant equipment with them. MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers might soon eliminate many of the headaches, though. They’re developing all-in-one devices (not pictured) that measure glucose, calculate the necessary insulin dose and inject you accordingly.

The first device includes the blood-drawing lancet, glucose test strips and an insulin needle. Users would first take a photo of their meal using a smartphone app to estimate the food volume and carbohydrate levels. After that, they’d start the automated process of collecting blood, calculating glucose (again through the app) and delivering the appropriate amount of insulin.

The second gadget would only need one needle jab — it would build the glucose sensor into the insulin needle and inject the appropriate amount of insulin. You’d have to wait five to ten seconds, but you wouldn’t have to stick yourself twice.

The technology is still some ways off. While the first device would use parts that were already FDA-approved, it hasn’t been tested in humans. The second, meanwhile, uses a new …read more

TikTok joins Instagram in testing creator subscriptions

TikTok joins Instagram in testing creator subscriptions

Soon after Instagram started rolling out paid subscriptions for creators, TikTok says it may be following suit. The service is exploring a feature that would allow influencers to paywall at least some of the content they share on the app, as The Information first reported.

TikTok’s subscriptions are being tested on a limited basis, so you may not see your favorite creators using them anytime soon. The platform didn’t provide more details about how the feature works. “We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a TikTok spokesperson told Engadget.

As with the likes of Twitch, Twitter and YouTube, TikTok allows viewers to send tips to influencers who are enrolled in the Creator Next program. Users can also buy and send virtual gifts to creators.

Given its other monetization options and that rival platforms have embraced subscriptions, it’s hardly a surprise that TikTok is following that path too. In 2020, TikTok announced a $200 million fund to support creators.

Meta is also spending heavily on influencers. The company said last year it would invest $1 billion in creators across the likes of Facebook and Instagram …read more