Epic Sues Apple and Google Over Fortnite App Store Ban

Fortnite is a massively popular game. But that popularity hasn’t stopped both Google and Apple removing Fortnite from their app stores in a dispute over money. And in retaliation, Epic is suing both companies claiming antitrust violations.

Why Apple and Google Removed Fortnite

This all started when Epic decided to get around the App Store and Google Play’s in-app purchasing by using its own payment system. This is in violation of the rules put forth by the two companies.

Essentially, Apple and Google take a 30 percent cut from app creators when a user makes a purchase. By launching its own payment system (which the company rolled out on Thursday), Epic could get around that fee.

A Google spokesperson made a statement to The Verge on the matter:

“The open Android ecosystem lets developers distribute apps through multiple app stores. For game developers who choose to use the Play Store, we have consistent policies that are fair to developers and keep the store safe for users. While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies. However, we welcome the opportunity to continue our discussions with Epic and bring Fortnite back to Google Play.”

Apple wasn’t silent on the matter either, delivering a lengthy statement to The Verge. The company made it clear that it doesn’t intend to make an exception for Epic, regardless of how big Fortnite is:

“Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users. As a result their Fortnite app has been removed from the store. Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services.”

To put it simply, Epic broke the rules in an attempt to secure itself a larger cut (and offer a discount to its users). Not thrilled with this, both Apple and Google removed the game from their stores in response.

Epic’s Lawsuit Against Apple and Google

Epic certainly wasn’t just going to sit there and do nothing. First, The Verge reported that Apple was under legal attack from Epic. Just a few hours later, The Verge discovered that the company was coming after Google as well.

There’s a lot to unpack with these lawsuits. Epic claims that Google and Apple are breaking antitrust rules with the way the firms control their application marketplaces.

Epic alleges that Apple has a monopoly in the form of the iPhone, the iOS ecosystem, and the App Store. It also says that Apple places unreasonable restrictions on the distribution of iOS apps.

The Apple case features some pretty interesting claims, and Epic got a little creative with the statements. Here’s one particular example:

“Fast forward to 2020, and Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation.”

As this is the early stages of a legal case, it’s hard to know exactly how this will end. However, the implications could be huge. If the court find that Epic is in the right here, it could completely change how we all access Android and iOS apps. Especially those that offer in-app purchases.

Epic claims it isn’t seeking special treatment. Instead, the company is against the policies both companies use, and is seeking a change for all developers, not just itself.

The company’s Free Fortnite FAQ breaks down the company’s stance:

“We don’t seek a special exception for Epic. We firmly believe Apple’s policies must be changed for all developers. For over a decade, Apple has single-mindedly crafted and proliferated a tangled web of rules and policies to impose a 30% tax on apps while preventing competitors from offering a better deal. That’s around 10x more than what a typical transaction may cost on competing payment processing services such as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, which charge rates of 2.5% to 3.5%. When competition is stifled, the customer always loses.”

What Does This All Mean for You?

This is a legal battle between several massive companies.

In the long run, it could have massive implications as far as how the Google Play Store and Apple App Store run. In the short-term, it may affect your ability to play Fortnite on Android and iOS. Epic has published a FAQ breaking down the availability of the game on both platforms.

If you’re on Android, you can still download Fortnite directly. If you already have the game downloaded on iOS, you’ll still be able to play it. However, you won’t be able to update it as new content comes out. As long as you have Season 3’s 13.40 update, you’ll be good to go for a while.

If you can’t play Fortnite right now, have a look at these mobile games that let you explore the world. Especially if you’re still stuck indoors.

Read the full article: Epic Sues Apple and Google Over Fortnite App Store Ban


You Can Now Watch Microsoft Demo the Surface Duo

With the Surface Duo’s launch date closing in, you may be wondering what it can achieve and how it can help you. Fortunately, Microsoft has released a video demonstration that lets you see it in action.

How to Watch the Microsoft Surface Duo Demo

The video comes to us from Microsoft, with the company publicly releasing its press briefing demonstration on YouTube. The demo covers everything the Surface Duo can do, from its fold-up design to its ability to run an app on each screen.

Even though the original intent of the video was to give information to the press, it also doubles as an in-depth breakdown of what the Surface Duo can do. As a result, whether you’re a journalist or not, if you’re curious about Microsoft’s dual-screen device, you owe it to yourself to watch the demo.

Preparing for the Surface Duo’s Launch

This video comes hot on the heels of Microsoft’s launch date confirmation. We covered this in our article revealing that the Surface Duo is being released on September 10. In addition to the release date, we talked about the device’s specifications and where you can preorder one for yourself.

However, there was one major thorn in people’s sides when the news dropped: the price tag. After the announcement, some people argued that paying $1,399 for a Surface Duo is a joke.

Which may be why Microsoft has released this demo video showing the Surface Duo in action. It’s the company saying, “Sure, it’s expensive, but it can also do this, this, and this!”

Getting Up to Speed With the Surface Range

Regardless of whether you’re excited or skeptical about the Surface Duo’s capabilities, you can now draw your own conclusions thanks to Microsoft’s video demonstration. So why not give it a watch and see if you think the Surface Duo is worthy of its price tag.

If you want to learn more about the Surface range, be sure to read about how and why the Surface Neo has been delayed.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch Microsoft Demo the Surface Duo


Google Is Rolling Out G Suite Gmail Integration Soon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is a part of life for many in 2020. And Google wants its suite of services to be the one you rely on most while working remotely. As such, the company is rolling out its G Suite Gmail integration across both the web and Android.

Basically, from now on, when you find yourself using Gmail, you’ll also get a heavy dose of Meet, Chat, and Rooms. This only applies to G Suite customers, so regular Gmail users won’t see any changes for now.

Meet, Chat, and Rooms Get Integrated Into Gmail

Google posted about the heavy G Suite Gmail integration on its G Suite Updates blog.

The company revealed that Gmail will now feature four distinct components, the first of which is Mail. This is the Gmail experience users already know and love. Google says nothing will change about the email experience for G Suite users with this update.

Where things change is the addition of Chat, which is G Suite’s service for sending messages to friends and colleagues. There will also be a tab for Rooms. This section is for shared chat, files, and tasks for groups. The final new section is Meet, which is Google’s Zoom competitor for face-to-face meetings.

g suite gmail integration

Obviously, these aren’t new services to G Suite, but having them integrated into Gmail is a big change. Some users might be a little annoyed if they don’t use Chat, Rooms, or Meet. However, it makes sense for Google to push its other services into its popular email app in order to leverage that popularity.

As part of this update, you’ll be able to open and co-edit a document with your team without leaving Gmail. This will make it so that you and your co-workers can get more done without needing to switch between different apps.

G Suite Gmail Integration Availability

If your team is looking forward to having G Suite integrated into their email, Google says that the new features will launch to all domains with Chat preferred enabled.

The company also said that there will be a gradual rollout, with Rapid Release domains getting it starting August 12 and rolling out over 15 days. For Scheduled Release domains, the company will roll out the updates over 15 days starting on September 1.

If you’re not sure about using Google Meet, but you don’t like Zoom, check out our list of Zoom alternatives you can use right now.

Read the full article: Google Is Rolling Out G Suite Gmail Integration Soon


Google Search Gets New Sports and Entertainment Features

Google Search is already incredibly powerful, but Google is making it even more useful. The company is adding some incredibly helpful features for anyone who regularly watches sports or entertainment on TV.

The new features are all about showing users where they can watch whatever they search for. It was always easy to find what time your favorite team was playing using Google, but you had to dig a little deeper to find out what channel was carrying the game. This update answers that.

What’s New in This Google Search Sports Update?

As announced on The Keyword, Google has made it so you can simply search for where to watch an upcoming game on your phone to find out what channel is carrying the game in your area. For example, you could type “where to watch the Clippers game” to find live TV options and how to tune in across a variety of cable services.

google search sports update

You could also search for something like “Yankees game” to see all of the usual features like live scores, top stories, and standings. However, with this new update, that same search query will also show you where to watch the game. All you need to do is click the Live on button to get that information.

Currently, Google is only adding this feature for MLB and NBA games, but the company intends to integrate it into other leagues as well. Additionally, Google says that it includes a variety of cable and network channels, but it will add streaming services soon.

What Do Entertainment Fans Get?

Google isn’t just limiting its Search enhancements to sports fans. If you enjoy watching TV shows, Google has something special for you.

Building upon its update that made it easier to find TV shows and movie recommendations in Search, Google is adding carousels of live content from cable and broadcast providers. You can simply type something like “what to watch” on your mobile device, and you’ll get results featuring both streaming and live TV content.

The update adds an On TV Now carousel and On TV Later carousel, which will help you find new content that’s currently airing or content coming up in the near future.

Both updates only work on mobile devices as of now.

How to Find What to Watch Next

Google is definitely offering some great new features that’ll help you find what to watch. Whether it’s live sports or television shows. However, Google Search is far from the only option. Check out the A-Z of Netflix to find the best content to watch on the streaming service.

Read the full article: Google Search Gets New Sports and Entertainment Features


How to Download More Voices for Windows Narrator

Windows Narrator is one of several accessibility functions in Windows 10. It serves as a simple screen reader for users with visual impairments.

But even if you don’t need it for that reason, you may still find Windows Narrator useful. To that end, you might wish to download and install Windows Narrator voices other than the default. We’ll show you how to easily get new Windows 10 Narrator voices for text-to-speech (TTS).

How to Change the Windows Narrator Voice

You actually don’t have to go outside Windows to get new Narrator voices, as it does include a few extras besides the default. To change them, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator. Under Personalize Narrator’s voice, choose a new voice from the dropdown box.

Windows Narrator Voices

In addition to changing the voice sound, you can adjust other aspects of it too. Use the sliders to Change voice speed, voice pitch, and voice volume. There are many more options about how the Narrator works below, but they’re not directly related to the voice.

By the way, aside from the Narrator, there are other ways to make your computer read documents to you.

Downloading New Windows 10 Narrator Voices

In recent versions of Windows 10, Microsoft added the ability to download more Narrator voices from inside Settings. However, this is really just a shortcut to download more voice packs for other languages.

You should see an Add more voices link underneath the Choose a voice box on the settings page mentioned above. If you don’t see this, download the latest version of Windows 10 from Microsoft and check again.

When you click Add more voices, you’ll jump to the Speech tab of the Time & Language section of Settings. Scroll down to find the Manage voices section, where you can click Add voices again. This will bring up a list of languages that you can download voice packs for.

Manage Voices Windows 10

Obviously, languages that you don’t know are of little use to you as Narrator voices. But you can get some use out of these by downloading variations of your language in other regions. For example, if you live in the US, you can download the English (Australia) pack to use voices that have an Australian accent.

Once you download a pack, it will appear in the Installed voice packages section. Close the Settings app, then go back to the Narrator options and you can choose voices from the new pack you downloaded.

More Third-Party Windows Narrator Voice Options

If none of the above options work for you, you’ll have to turn to third-party tools for more text-to-speech voices. Microsoft’s page on customizing the Narrator recommends several third-party speech synthesizer software tools that you can use to add more voices. These all support SAPI 5, and include:

While most of these tools aren’t free, if you need a high-quality screen reader or voice, they’re worth paying for. Once you add the tools to your system, you can select their voices using the same menu above. Give Zero2000’s free text-to-speech voices a try if you don’t want to pay.

And for the reverse of this, check out the best free speech-to-text tools for Windows.

Read the full article: How to Download More Voices for Windows Narrator


New Google Assistant Mask Song Offers Safety Reminder

If you have a hard time remembering to wear a mask when you leave the house, the new Google Assistant mask song might be just the reminder you need. It’s a cute little ditty that hammers home the importance of protecting yourself and others when you’re out in public.

As great as it would be if we didn’t need to wear masks in public, that just isn’t the case. However, at least Google Assistant’s new song will put a smile on your face before you head out to face the world.

The New Google Assistant Mask Song

The new song, which was first discovered by Android Police, is quick and to the point. It runs through the importance of wearing a mask when you go out in the cutest, most pleasant way possible.

Here are the complete lyrics to Google Assistant’s new tune:

When in public, wear a mask

Just a teeny, weeny task

It helps keep us safe and sound

Health and care, all around

On your mouth and on your nose

Good to cover both of those

Of course, it’s not enough to just wear a mask covering your chin. You need to cover both your mouth and nose in order for a mask to be effective at stopping (or at least slowing) the spread of COVID-19. In case you forget that key fact, Google Assistant will remind you at the end of its new song.

This isn’t Google Assistant’s first song related to the COVID-19 situation. Google previously added a song about washing your hands for 40 seconds. That song was very helpful, because it was actually 40 seconds long, making it easy to keep track of how long you’ve been washing your hands for.

How to Hear the New Google Assistant Mask Song

To hear Google’s new song, you simply need to say “Hey Google, sing me a song.” You can also say, “Hey Google, do you wear a mask?” In our testing, however, the latter didn’t work, so it’s possible that Google hasn’t pushed the update required for Assistant to recognize that command just yet.

Google Assistant can do a lot more than just sing you songs about the need to wear a mask. So be sure to check out our list of things you didn’t know Google Assistant could do.

Read the full article: New Google Assistant Mask Song Offers Safety Reminder


Microsoft’s August 2020 Patch Fixes 120 Security Exploits

As annoying as they may be, it’s always important to allow Windows Updates to install security patches when they’re released.

If you want to keep your Windows 10 PC secure, be sure to download and install the August 2020 patch, as it fixes 120 security exploits in Microsoft’s operating system and associated software.

What Does the August 2020 Patch Fix?

This news comes in from the Zero Day Initiative, an organization dedicated to reporting zero-day exploits. In the report, the organization discusses the Windows 10 August 2020 update, which contains 120 patches:

“Of these 120 patches, 17 are listed as Critical and 103 are listed as Important in severity. Eleven of these bugs came through the ZDI program. One of these bugs is listed as being publicly known and two are listed as being under active attack at the time of release.”

The Zero Day Initiative goes on to list each bug. Of particular interest are the two exploits that are “under active attack.” This means that hackers have located and exploited these bugs before the researchers could report them.

The first of these two bugs is the CVE-2020-1380 exploit. This is an Internet Explorer vulnerability that allows hackers to run arbitrary code. A hacker sets up a website that exploits the bug, then tricks users into visiting it. If the user visits the website using Internet Explorer, the hacker gains user-level privileges on the victim’s PC.

The second critical issue is the CVE-2020-1464 exploit. This exploit is particularly dangerous, as it allows malicious files to bypass signature validation. Windows uses signatures to ensure that programs are from a reliable source, but hackers can now bypass this system.

Of course, these two bugs are only scratching the surface of this update. There are 118 other bugs that the update fixes, 17 of which are on a critical level. As a result, we recommend you manually check for a Windows Update now to secure your system.

Keeping Yourself Safe From Exploits

If you use Windows 10, the August 2020 update will bring some important fixes for your device. It’s a good idea to download it, as two of the patches fix exploits that are currently under attack.

If you’re unsure as to why this patch is important, read our article explaining what a zero-day vulnerability is and how it affects you.

Image Credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr

Read the full article: Microsoft’s August 2020 Patch Fixes 120 Security Exploits


The Surface Duo Releases on September 10 for $1,399

If you’ve been keeping track of the development of the Surface Duo, you’ve probably heard rumors that it would be coming out soon. And now, Microsoft has confirmed the Surface Duo release date and pricing.

The Surface Duo: Release Date and Price

On the Microsoft Tech Community website, the company goes into detail about the Surface Duo’s launch. So we now know the Surface Duo will release on September 10 with a price tag of $1,399.

After that, Microsoft goes on to discuss how the Surface Duo aims to bring the PC and smartphone together. For example, it combines the vast library of Android apps with Microsoft 365 to create a device designed for both work and play.

The Surface Duo also has some impressive flexibility, as stated by Microsoft:

“…[the] Surface Duo opens into the thinnest mobile device on the market with an 8.1″ PixelSense Fusion display connected by a revolutionary 360-degree hinge, allowing you to use each 5.6″ display individually or together, across a variety of modes.”

More Information on the Surface Duo’s Specs

If this is the first time you’re hearing about the Surface Duo, you’ll want to know about what it’s capable of. Fortunately, we knew of the specifications ahead of time after GSMArena reported on a leak in mid-2020.

The main draw of the Surface Duo is its two-screen design. Each screen has a 5.6″ display with an 1800×1350 resolution. The system can fold out into one large 8.1″ display with a 2700×1800 resolution. The Surface Duo also boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, and comes with either 128 or 256GB of storage.

The device runs on Android 10, with potential plans to upgrade it to Android 11 soon after launch. The Surface Duo sports two batteries, each underneath one of the screens. Combined, they provide 3,577 mAh of capacity. This reportedly lets you watch 15.5 hours of video or make calls for 27 hours.

If you’re interested, you can preorder the Surface Duo from the Microsoft website, AT&T, or Best Buy.

Scratching the Surface of Microsoft’s New Devices

After rumors claimed the Surface Duo would release soon, we now have an official date and price point from Microsoft. Mark your calendars for September 10 when you’ll be able to get your hands on one.

And if you’re wondering where the Surface Neo is, we have previously written about how the Microsoft Surface Neo has been delayed.

Read the full article: The Surface Duo Releases on September 10 for $1,399


Google Lens Can Now Help With Math and Science Problems

Google is looking to help children and parents get ready for a whole new form of school when education resumes in the coming months. The company announced a slew of new educational tools and features on The Keyword.

While all the changes seem useful, the one that really stands out from the crowd is the update to Google Lens. It was already a useful tool, but Google is adding a new feature that’ll allow it to help with solving difficult math and science questions.

Google Lens Homework Help

The new Google Lens feature uses Socratic to allow students or parents to take a photo of a difficult problem and get help.

It’s not just a tool that provides you with the answer, either (though it does give you the answer in the end). Instead, Google Lens and Socratic will provide step-by-step instructions to solve the problem. It’ll also show helpful explainers that will help the student actually learn to solve the math or science equation. After all, the point isn’t just to find out the answer, but to understand how to reach it yourself.

google lens homework help

Google Lens is an awesome visual search tool that’s becoming more useful as the company introduces new functionality to it. With this new homework feature, not only does it function as a cool way to find information, but it could be a game-changer for kids who struggle with difficult math problems.

For science, Google Lens will show graphics and explanations of the concept you’re struggling with when it scans a question.

How to Use Google Lens for Homework Help

The feature is incredibly easy to use. To start with, you need to tap the graduation cap within Google Lens. From there, it’ll prompt you to take a photo of the problem you need help with. Google Lens will highlight all of the equations or questions it sees, and you tap the one you’re stuck on. Next, you’ll have the option to copy the text, send it to your computer via Chrome, or edit the math equation.

Below those options is a Steps to Solve area. You can use this to learn how to solve the problem and ultimately find the answer to the question. This same method applies to both math and science questions, though the type of results will vary.

Get More Homework Help

Homework is hard. We’ve all struggled with various concepts in school throughout the years. Thankfully, the internet has made finding homework help much easier. Check out these Chrome extensions that’ll give you even more homework help and get to work!

Read the full article: Google Lens Can Now Help With Math and Science Problems


You Can Use Chrome Apps for a Little While Longer

Google was planning to shut down Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux by June 2020. The company also said that it would kill Chrome apps for enterprises and educators by December 2020.

If you’re one of the few people who actually use Chrome apps on any of the above platforms, or you’re part of an enterprise or an educator, you can keep using your apps for a while longer.

When Will Google Shut Down Chrome Apps?

Google has announced on the Chromium Blog that Chrome app users on Windows, Mac, and Linux can keep taking advantage of them until June 2021. While there aren’t many people who still use these apps, the few who do should appreciate this announcement.

Organizations that rely on Chrome apps can keep using them for even longer. Google says organizations will be able to keep working with them until June 2022.

google chrome apps

Chrome OS users will also lose access to apps in June 2022.

Google first announced that Chrome apps would go away in 2018, but the company keeps pushing that date back. Even though Google announced that Chrome apps will go away soon, it’s possible the company will decide to delay their demise again. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

What Will Replace Chrome Apps?

Obviously, Google isn’t doing away with Chrome apps without having something in mind to offer similar functionality. Google’s answer is extensions, which the company says it will continue to invest in as time goes forward.

Google addressed the future of extensions on the Chromium Blog, saying:

“Google will continue to support and invest in Chrome Extensions on all existing platforms. Fostering a robust ecosystem of extensions is critical to Chrome’s mission and we are committed to providing a useful extension platform for customizing the browsing experience for all users.”

For developers, Google made a page that will help migrate from Chrome apps to progressive web apps, extension-enhanced web pages, extensions, or Android apps through Chrome OS.

We can certainly help you as well. Check out these Chrome extensions that will vastly improve your browsing experience and you won’t even notice that Chrome apps are missing in action.

Read the full article: You Can Use Chrome Apps for a Little While Longer