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Ford Takes Centre Stage with Microsoft at Gamescom



Ford has announced that the virtual driving simulator series Forza Motorsport has acted as a digital showroom for Ford. The game further enables more consumers than ever before to experience rare, high-performance vehicles such as the Ford GT.

In creating the all-new high-performance Ford GT, the pioneers behind the supercar designed it not only to win races but also to serve as a test bed for new technologies and ideas for future vehicles across Ford’s vehicle lineup.

At Gamescom – Europe’s biggest interactive games trade fair – experts from Ford and Microsoft are participating in a panel discussion about the growing relevance of digital driving experiences for consumers. Forza Motorsport 6 players have collectively spent more than 398 years driving a total of more than 466 million kilometres in Ford vehicles since the game’s launch in 2015. The Ford GT – the game’s cover star – is the most driven car in the game, having covered 66 million kilometres. 

The Ford GT and the acclaimed Focus RS hot hatchback are among the Ford vehicles available to race in Forza. A Ford specialist worked with the game’s developers to ensure every virtual Ford model featured delivers the most accurate imitation of the real car. Ford and Turn10 studios spent almost a year developing the virtual version of the Ford GT using real-world data from the supercar’s top-secret development process to deliver highly realistic looks, performance, and even engine and transmissions sounds.

In the future, Ford anticipates virtual reality technology could offer a convenient way for customers to test drive vehicles from the comfort of their homes. Visitors to Ford’s Gamescom stand will discover interactive activities, including the opportunity to experience the first-of-its-kind Ford Reality Check app using Google Daydream VR, created by Ford, Google and award-winning virtual reality studio Happy Finish.

The app brings to life the potentially fatal consequences of driving while distracted, casting users as a distracted driver picking up friends on the way to a party. Instant messages, phone calls and chatty passengers all compete for attention, sparking a series of near misses. The final distraction proves fatal due to the driver being distracted. The app’s creators hope it will help young people to develop safer driving practices.

Forza players can win the chance to drive the Focus RS on track with tuition from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Harry Tincknell, by setting the fastest virtual lap of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit using the gaming pods at the Ford show stand. Visitors also will be able to experience Tincknell’s real-world lap of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Belgium, using 3D virtual reality headsets, while seated in the Focus RS.

Robotics enthusiasts can try their hand at programming a “YuMi” collaborative robot to perform tasks. Ford is among first auto makers to develop a new, closely integrated approach to car workers and collaborative robots working together on the assembly line. DJ Yoda and “YuMi” recently performed a set-list of tracks from 1976 onward to celebrate Fiesta’s 40th anniversary.

Fans of LEGO will appreciate the full-size Ford Chip Ganassi LEGO racing driver. Featuring detailed Ford racing overalls and racing helmet, the LEGO driver contains 67,252 bricks; stands 1839.6 mm (6 ft) tall; weighs 61 kg; and took seven LEGO builders 304 work-hours to construct. Virtual reality not only helps make Ford models accessible to more consumers, it helps Ford create vehicles, too.

Ford engineers use virtual reality in the development and production of vehicles, from immersive technologies that allow designers to fully experience a vehicle without the need for a physical prototype, to full-body motion capture systems that provide data on how an employee uses his or her body to move and complete tasks on the assembly line.

Ford is displaying the Ford GT race car driven by Tincknell in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Gamescom. Last year Ford made an historic return to the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race with the Ford GT race car taking victory in the LM GTE Pro class exactly 50 years after recording a 1-2-3 clean sweep at the 1966 race. 

The Ford GT race car is based on the 347 km/h Ford GT road car – the fastest Ford production vehicle on the track ever – powered by 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost engine is SAE rated at 647 horsepower and 746 Nm. of torque in U.S. specification. The Ford Focus RS five-door hatchback – featuring a 350 PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, Ford Performance All Wheel Drive and Selectable Drive Modes, and the all-new Fiesta ST-Line – featuring sporty exterior and interior styling, and sports suspension, are also on show.


YouTube Intros Rounded Video Corners on Android with a Subtle Rollout



Google frequently tinkers with YouTube – whether it is design changes, new features, and so on. However, unlike the practical improvements we’ve seen on Google Maps, some of YouTube’s recent changes seem rather arbitrary. Case in point: the transition from square to rounded corners on video thumbnails and the video player in the web version. This modification hasn’t exactly received a warm welcome from YouTube’s user community.

Now, it seems that YouTube is bringing this same adjustment to its Android app. As reported by Android Police, a screenshot reveals rounded corners on YouTube thumbnails. This alteration results in a brighter white background, potentially prompting users to switch to the Dark theme. To do so on Android, open the YouTube app, tap your profile picture in the upper right corner, navigate to Settings > General > Appearance, and select your preferred theme.

Considering that the rounded corners extend to the video player on the web, we can reasonably expect this change to apply to the Android app as well. Presently, the new appearance hasn’t reached many Android devices, and it remains absent from my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 14 Beta 5.3.

On the YouTube website, the rounded corners are absent when viewing a video in full screen or Theater mode, but they reappear upon returning to the Default view. Unfortunately, we lack specific information about Google’s timeline for rolling out this update to a wider Android audience and whether iOS users can anticipate a similar corner-rounding update for the YouTube app.

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Genshin Impact 4.1 Update Unveiled



HoYoverse today announced that Genshin Impact Version 4.1 update “To the Stars Shining in the Depths” will arrive on September 27. Fontaine will expand northward, where the main story continues with Neuvillette and Wriothesley joining the cast of playable characters, as well as the Fatui Harbinger “Arlecchino” making her debut. Rewards including Intertwined Fates ×10, Primogems ×1,600, and 2 exclusive gadgets will be issued as Genshin Impact celebrates its three-year anniversary with fans and players around the world.

Following the introduction of the prosperous Court of Fontaine, the upcoming northern area will reveal the history and mystery of the nation from different perspectives. Concealed in the deep sea, the Fortress of Meropide holds not only exiles from all over Fontaine but also vital functions and mysteries. The latest Archon Quest will pick up here as the Traveler searches for Childe. Floating in mid-air, the “Allogravity-Condensed Water Bodies” and ruins tell of a deadly attempt by the Fontaine Research Institute to survive a prophesied great flood.

Dangers await as players explore the new underwater area and ruins. The new Boss Enemy “Millennial Pearl Seahorse” is a beautiful beast that deals Electro damage. Another Boss Enemy “Experimental Field Generator” is an out-of-control research device used to counteract the effects of gravity, giving players the ability to leap higher and evade its attacks.

Two Fontaine characters in high positions will both become playable as five-star Catalyst wielders, and players can find out more about them in their Story Quests. Neuvillette, the Iudex of Fontaine, can unleash straight-line surging torrents dealing Hydro damage via Charged Attacks, and Wriothesley, the Administrator of the Fortress of Meropide, is adept at using melee attacks to deal Cryo damage. Both characters are capable of consuming health to cast certain types of attacks and then recovering their health afterwards. Neuvillette and Hu Tao will be available in the first round of Event Wishes, followed by Wriothesley and Venti.

In addition to the adventure in Fontaine, a poetry festival in Mondstadt and Liyue offers a good opportunity to reunite with friends and honour friendship and love. The festival also features various mini-games and an exclusive 4-star Catalyst to be redeemed.cMore rewards can be claimed as Genshin Impact’s third-anniversary approaches. The special daily login event is back with up to Intertwined Fates ×10 and other bonuses. During Version 4.1, players can also check their in-game mailbox to claim Primogems ×1,600, Fragile Resin ×4, and two unique gadgets “Portable Aerodynamic Gelatinous Bubble Generator” and “Itty Bitty Octobaby.”

Genshin Impact Version 4.1 will be arriving on September 27. With cross-progression and Co-Op functions, players can enjoy their adventure across PlayStation, PC, Android, and iOS. The game has been rated T for Teen by ESRB on PS5, PS4, PC, and Google Play, and 12+ on iOS.

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world adventure RPG that brings players to the visually stunning world of Teyvat. The player takes on the role of the mysterious “Traveler,” who sets off on a journey to discover the fate of their lost sibling. Starting from Version 4.0, the fifth of the seven nations, Fontaine, is open for exploration. Players can explore each nation with unique cultures and vast landscapes, meet a diverse cast of characters, master the art of element-based combat, and unveil the secrets of Teyvat. With cross-progression and Co-Op functions, players can now continue their adventure across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Android, and iOS alone or with friends.

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WhatsApp Channels Now Available in the UAE and KSA



WhatsApp has begun rolling out Channels globally – a private way for people to receive updates that matter to them. This includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

As part of the global expansion:

Channels is a one-way broadcast feature that allows admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers. Channels will be discoverable via a searchable directory. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.

Key Features

  • Privacy: WhatsApp is aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available. As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private.
  • Prioritizing user preference: Admins will not be able to add followers to their channel.
  • Control for admins: Admins can decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not.
  • Separate to your main chat: WhatsApp Channels will appear in a new tab called Updates – where you’ll find the Status and channels you choose to follow – separate from your chats with family, friends, and communities. You can now search the directory to find Channels that interest you and follow sports teams, updates from local officials, and more.
  • Relevance: Channel history will only be stored on WhatsApp servers for 30 days, and the company will add ways to make updates disappear even faster from follower’s devices.

Moon Baz, Creator Partnerships Lead, Africa, Middle East and Turkey at Meta, said, “WhatsApp Channels aspires to be the most private broadcast service available, helping users receive updates from the organizations and people that are important to them in a reliable, safe and private way. From today, we’re excited to be bringing Channels to WhatsApp users globally and to be supporting creators in the UAE and KSA to engage with their audiences in new, diverse ways.”

Regional businesses, government entities and media outlets have already activated Channels to expand their reach. Additionally, Channels have become yet another strong tool for creators to reach a wide community in unconventional and innovative ways. Channels is set to make its debut in the UAE and KSA this week, and the product will gradually roll out to all users in both countries over the coming days.

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