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Daily Authority: 👉 The Google I/O throwback

Elon Musk is up to his tricks again, too.
By
May 13, 2022
Google IO 2022 pixel tablet design 2
Google

👻 Good morning! Tristan back here with you again. Big thanks to Paula for covering. And — it’s Friday the 13th! Avoid black cats…

Google I/O runs it back

Google IO 2022 pixel tablet
Google

Our guy Joe Hindy is spot on with his post-Google I/O thoughts published on Android Authority: Reliving the good old days — Google I/O 2022 felt like a flashback, Hindy writes. And it’s not a bad thing at all (mostly).

Why?

  • There are tablets from Google, again.
  • Google Wallet was announced, again.
  • Casting to a TV is important, again.
  • You can customize your ad experience, again.
  • And a few more bits and pieces….

What’s happened:

  • Hindy points out that what he’s written isn’t intended to be negative against Google, as he runs the ruler over Google’s announcements which often revisit what Google changed, often for the worse.
  • In fact, really a lot of what Google is doing now is a good thing. Sure, it made mistakes, like when it somehow launched a useful Google Wallet in 2011 and then botched it for a decade or so.
  • But it’s one thing to make a mistake and change apps and software for the worse, it’s another entirely to say: Ok, we got it wrong, and we’re going back to what worked.
  • That seems like what’s happening with the tablet as well. Google had a really decent tablet in the Nexus 7 and then gave up on it.
  • It was a classic Google-y decision, where an idea or products are stopped/started at the whim of whatever colorful object distracted a manager.
  • Click to check Hindy’s veteran takes on what’s happening here. He’s excited by some things, with the caution of being jaded by Google’s past and broken promises.
  • It’s a good tonic as the sun sets on this week of Google!
  • As for looking around elsewhere, this take on why the Pixel 6a lost the best feature of the A-series(The Verge) wasn’t bad. The A-series used to mean compromises on some flagship specs, but you got the flagship Pixel camera. Now you get the flagship processor, and the camera is a step back. Is that what we wanted?

Musk puts Twitter on “pause”

I sometimes have to avoid reporting on whatever Elon Musk is doing with Twitter at any one point in time to avoid the entire newsletter being about ol’ Musky. But there is significant sounding news!

  • Now Musk says his deal to buy Twitter is “temporarily on hold.”
  • He tweeted this morning, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”
  • In the tweet was a link to a Reuters report …from 10 days ago, a lifetime in the Musk-Twitter stakes. That report, which came from Twitter’s own filings, said Twitter had 229 million users.
  • This makes no sense! It’s either a way to get out of the deal with the wider market tanking, including his own shares in Tesla, a move to negotiate on the price of Twitter, or it’s a joke, or he’s bored of it all and wants something new. No one could possibly know!
  • By the way, the break-up fee if Musk walks away is $1 billion.

Roundup

🎧 Sony launches its new-design WH-1000XM5 headphones —, pre-order them now: $399 is a steep price, and the extra $50 compared to the XM4 is two processors working with eight microphones to take noise-cancelling even further (Android Authority). Oh, and hey, The Vergehas a review already, pointing out that there are improvements, but no slam dunk new features, and they don’t fold up anymore which might bother you. Engadget’s review was a lot more enthusiastic on all fronts.

🤷‍♂️ Google says soft-touch glass coming to Pixel 7, then backtracks: it’s high-gloss, okay? (Android Authority).

🚗 Android Auto is getting a major UI update (Engadget).

💵 Honor Magic 4 Pro launches in UK with a Galaxy S22 Plus price (Android Authority).

🤔 And here’s the review of the Magic 4 Pro, with plenty of “frustrating caveats” getting in the way of what the Honor phone does right (Android Authority).

📈 Arm says microcontroller price hikes helped fuel sales (The Register).

🎮 Bethesda’s next two big games, Starfield and Redfall, delayed simultaneously(Ars Technica).

😬 Actually, games all over the place are slipping! “So much for video game release dates” notes Kotaku. No one wants a Cyberpunk 2077.

🏉 Bill Simmons tapped to head Spotify’s global sports division: Not just US sports for Bill? Interesting (Engadget).

🔋 The most important EV of the decade? We drive the F-150 Lightning (Ars Technica).

🌱 Moon dirt can grow plants: Researchers grew tiny plants in regolith collected decades ago (Wired).

🧼 “Is a bar of soap a breeding ground for bacteria?” (r/askscience).

Friday Fun

eso2208 eht mwb
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration has created a single image (top frame) of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short, by combining images extracted from the EHT observations.  The main image was produced by averaging together thousands of images created using different computational methods — all of which accurately fit the EHT data. This averaged image retains features more commonly seen in the varied images, and suppresses features that appear infrequently.  The images can also be clustered into four groups based on similar features. An averaged, representative image for each of the four clusters is shown in the bottom row. Three of the clusters show a ring structure but, with differently distributed brightness around the ring. The fourth cluster contains images that also fit the data but do not appear ring-like.   The bar graphs show the relative number of images belonging to each cluster. Thousands of images fell into each of the first three clusters, while the fourth and smallest cluster contains only hundreds of images. The heights of the bars indicate the relative "weights," or contributions, of each cluster to the averaged image at top.  In addition to other facilities, the EHT network of radio observatories that made this image possible includes the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) in the Atacama Desert in Chile, co-owned and co-operated by ESO is a partner on behalf of its member states in Europe.

Of course the most fun this week is looking at another blackhole: Event Horizon Telescope captures image of supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. There it is, above!

  • You’ll recall the first-ever image of a black hole: M87, which was exciting news for finally showing the “first direct visual evidence” of a supermassive black hole.
  • And the slightly more satisfying view was published a year later.
  • Now there’s an image of “our” supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, in the image above.
  • It’s thought to be more than four million times the mass of our Sun, and was first noticed in 1933.
  • It’s smaller but closer to us than M87, which presented unusual challenges, as noted in six (six!) papers all published yesterday in a special issue of The Astronomical Journal Letters.
  • Interestingly, we still don’t know how the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole is oriented or how fast it is spinning, but it is hoped we’ll find an answer from this point via the Event Horizon Telescope, which is actually a bunch of telescopes working together.

Have a great weekend pondering the universe,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.