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'Stardew Valley' has sold more than 20 million copies

Engadget

Six years after its initial release, Stardew Valley has sold more than 20 million copies. Creator Eric Barone shared news of the accomplishment in an update posted to the game's press site and an interview with PC Gamer. "The 20 million copies milestone is really amazing," he told the outlet. But what's even more impressive is the increasing pace of Stardew Valley's sales. It took four years for the game to sell its first 10 million copies.


DOJ warns AI hiring and productivity tools can violate anti-discrimination law

Engadget

Federal agencies are the latest to alert companies to potential bias in AI recruiting tools. As the AP notes, the Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have warned employers that AI hiring and productivity systems can violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. These technologies might discriminate against people with disabilities by unfairly ruling out job candidates, applying incorrect performance monitoring, asking for illegal sensitive info or limiting pay raises and promotions. Accordingly, the government bodies have released documents (DOJ, EEOC) outlining the ADA's requirements and offering help to improve the fairness of workplace AI systems. Businesses should ensure their AI allows for reasonable accommodations.They should also consider how any of their automated tools might affect people with various disabilities.


OpenSea's new measures hope to crack down on fake NFTs

Engadget

OpenSea is putting in place a new system to spot NFT fakes and verify accounts, in an effort to cut down on the industry's growing fraud problem. In a couple of blog posts, the NFT marketplace detailed what changes users can expect, including opening up verification to more users, automated and human-assisted removal of so-called "copymints" or fake copies of authentic NFTs and changes to how collection badges -- which identify NFT collections with high sales volume or interest -- are doled out on the marketplace. First off, OpenSea will use a two-part system to detect fakes that combine both image recognition tech and human reviewers. The company says its new system will continuously scan all NFT collections (including newly minted assets) to spot any potential fakes. "Our new copymint prevention system leverages computer-vision tech to scan all NFTs on OpenSea (including new mints). The system then matches these scans against a set of authentic collections, starting with some of the most copy-minted collections -- we'll look for flips, rotations & other permutations," wrote OpenSea's Anne Fauvre-Willis in the post.


Here's everything Google announced at I/O 2022

Engadget

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Google's annual I/O developer conference returned to the historic Shoreline Amphitheatre. In an in-person event that saw the company share details on its latest breakthroughs in AI, machine translation and more, Google also found time to outline some of the hardware it plans to release later this year. In case you missed the chance to watch the event live, here are the biggest announcements from I/O 2022. Google may have teased its latest flagship devices at I/O, but the company's new Pixel 6a stole the show. Available to pre-order on July 21st, the $449 device will feature the search giant's homegrown Tensor AI chipset and a 12-megapixel camera that shipss with the latest version of Google's Magic Eraser photo editing tool. The company also promised to support the Pixel 6a with five years of security updates.


The new Sonos voice assistant seems faster than the competition

Engadget

Sonos devices have supported Amazon's Alexa voice assistant for almost five years now. The Sonos One from 2017 was the first speaker the company made with built-in microphones, and almost every speaker it's made since has worked with Alexa, not to mention Google Assistant. Despite supporting those popular services, though, Sonos has decided to build its own voice assistant. Dubbed Sonos Voice Control, the feature is specifically designed to work with music only, so this isn't exactly a competitor to Alexa and Google Assistant. Instead, it's meant to control your music as quickly as possible, and with privacy in mind.


The portable Sonos Roam speaker is now available in three new colors

Engadget

Once in a blue moon, Sonos releases its speakers in some fun colors or finishes, but most of the time, people just have to pick between black and white. But starting today, you can get the portable Sonos Roam in three new shades; Wave, Sunset and Olive. As you might guess, Wave is a chill shade of light blue, Sunset straddles the line between orange and pink and olive is a cactus sort of green. Aside from these colors, there's nothing else new with the $179 speaker -- it has a built-in battery for about 10 hours of play time, Bluetooth for when you're away from WiFi, a microphone for voice commands via Alexa and Google Assistant and auto Trueplay technology to tune the speaker for optimal sound wherever you place it. I really liked the speaker when I reviewed it last year, and even though it costs $10 more than it did when it launched, I still think it's a great portable speaker that is a smart addition if you're already using other Sonos products.


Google's Matter smart home standard is launching this fall

Engadget

Google plans to finally launch its new smart home industry standard called Matter this fall. Devices will all connect quickly and easily using Fast Pair and the platform will support a variety of voice assistants and networking protocols. Those include Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri as well as WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. While Fast Pair feature has been used for headphones and audio gear, the company is working to use it for more things, including syncing lightbulbs and smart plugs with Android and Nest devices. You'll be able to scan a code with your phone to get things rolling, which should be quicker and easier than the current method for adding new gear to your arsenal.


More Wear OS watches are coming from Fossil, Montblanc and Samsung

Engadget

After launching a new version of Wear OS in collaboration with Samsung last I/O, Google is back with more updates. At this year's I/O developer conference, the company unveiled features coming to Android 13 and a new Google Wallet, as well as emergency SOS coming to Wear OS. Google also shared that there are now three times more Wear OS devices this year as there were last year and that new devices from Samsung, Montblanc, Mobvoi and Fossil are coming. Google didn't provide much detail about those devices, though it did later say that more third-party apps were also coming to Wear OS, including SoundCloud and Deezer. Samsung published a blog post sharing that Galaxy Watch 4 owners can soon download the Google Assistant for "faster and more natural voice interactions, enabling quick answers and on-the-go help."


Google's AI Test Kitchen lets you experiment with its natural language model

Engadget

Google is announcing news at breakneck pace at its I/O developer conference today, and as usual it's flexing its machine-learning smarts. In addition to unveiling its new LaMDA 2 conversational AI model, the company also showed off a new app called AI Test Kitchen. The app offers three demos that showcase what LaMDA 2 can do. The first is a simple brainstorm tool that asks the app to help you imagine if you were in various scenarios. During the keynote demo, Google entered "I'm at the deepest part of the ocean" as a response to the app's prompt of "Imagine if."


Google makes its AI assistant more accessible with 'Look and Talk'

Engadget

Google Assistant is already pretty handy, filling in your payment info on take out orders, helping get the kids to school on time, controlling your stereo systems' volume and your home's smart light schedules. At its I/O 2022 keynote today, company executives showed off some of the new features arriving soon for the AI. The first of these is "Look and Talk." Instead of having to repeatedly start your requests to Assistant with "Hey Google," this new feature relies on computer vision and voice matching to constantly pay attention to the user. As Sissie Hsiao, Google's VP of Assistant, explained on stage, all the user has to do is look at their Nest Hub Max and state their request.