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Google Puts Hold on its Facial Recognition Research Before Pixel 4 Launch

On Friday, Nina Hickson, Atlanta’s city attorney, sent a letter to Google asking for an explanation, according to cbs46.com

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Google has put on hold its facial recognition research for the Pixel 4 smartphone after a report claimed it was bribing the homeless to scan their faces for the price of a cup of coffee in order to improve the tech giant’s facial recognition technology.

The tech giant reportedly said it has launched a probe into the research which was subcontracted to a firm named Randstad.

“The company had been using the technique to grow its database ahead of the launch of the Pixel 4, which is expected to have face unlock as its primary security feature. It said it was to ensure that there was no potential bias, particularly against people of colour, which has been a significant issue for facial recognition in the past,” The Inquirer reported on Monday.

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FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

The subjects or the homeless people were offered a gift card worth $5 to scan their faces.

Meanwhile, officials in the US city of Atlanta are seeking answers from Google on the matter.

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On Friday, Nina Hickson, Atlanta’s city attorney, sent a letter to Google asking for an explanation, according to cbs46.com.

“The possibility that members of our most vulnerable populations are being exploited to advance your company’s commercial interest is profoundly alarming for numerous reasons,” Hichson said in a letter to Kent Walker, Google’s legal and policy chief, added the cbs46.com report. (IANS)

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Google Brings New Feature Called ‘Focus Mode’ For Android Devices

Focus mode is available on all devices that currently have Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings, including new phones launching with Android 9 and Android 10

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Focus mode is a new Digital Wellbeing tool on Google Android, now out of beta, that helps you get things done by temporarily pausing apps so you can focus on the task at hand. Pixabay

Google has introduced a new feature ‘Focus Mode’ for Android devices designed to prevent its users from being consistently distracted by their smartphone.

The feature allows users to turn off distractions – like social media updates or email notifications – for a period of time, so a user can get things done without interruption.

Focus mode was first announced at Google’s developer conference in the summer as part of Android Q/10.

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Google has introduced a new feature ‘Focus Mode’ for Android devices designed to prevent its users from being consistently distracted by their smartphone. Pixabay

“Focus mode is a new Digital Wellbeing tool on Android, now out of beta, that helps you get things done by temporarily pausing apps so you can focus on the task at hand. You can select apps you currently find distracting (like social media or games) and if you try to open them, Focus mode will remind you that app is paused.

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“Focus mode will also silence those apps’ notifications until you are ready to switch out of the mode,” Dayson Pais Product Manager, Android said in a statement on Wednesday.

Focus mode is available on all devices that currently have Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings, including new phones launching with Android 9 and Android 10. (IANS)