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A system to tell good fake bokeh from bad

21 February, by Devin Coldewey[ —]
 The pixel-peepers at DxOMark have shared some of the interesting metrics and techniques they use to judge the quality of a smartphone’s artificial bokeh, or background blur in photos. Not only is it difficult to do in the first place, but they have to systematize it! Their guide should provide even seasoned shooters with some insight into the many ways computational bokeh varies in quality. Read More

Signal expands into the Signal Foundation with $50M from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton

21 February, by Devin Coldewey[ —]
 Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned about Signal when I spoke with Moxie Marlinspike, the app’s creator, last year at Disrupt, was that it was essentially running on a shoestring budget. A tool used by millions and feared by governments worldwide, barely getting by! But $50M from WhatsApp founder Brian Acton should help secure the app’s future. Read More

Gabi gets $9.5M to help car and home owners find better insurance once it’s available

21 February, by Matthew Lynley[ —]
 If you own a car or home, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is finding the right insurance plan that’ll cover everything you need and save you some money — but those plans are always changing, and consumers are getting stuck footing a bill they don’t necessarily need, according to Hanno Fichtner. That’s why he started Gabi. Read More

Google tries to make Android more enterprise-friendly with new recommendation program

21 February, by Ron Miller[ —]
 With so many Android devices out there to choose from, it’s not always easy to find one that’s enterprise-friendly. To help alleviate that problem, Google announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program today. As the name implies, it’s designed to point enterprise IT departments at devices that Google has deemed to be enterprise-ready. Read More

Mozilla and NSF awards $380K to small projects connecting the unconnected

21 February, by Devin Coldewey[ —]
 The FCC may be hard at work at “bridging the digital divide,” as Chairman Pai so frequently puts it, and the Connect America Fund II will help. But while the big players are setting up, people all over the U.S. are going without reliable internet. Mozilla and the National Science Foundation are awarding cash to projects that aim to connect those still waiting on the bandwidth we… Read More

Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts

20 February, by Josh Constine[ —]
 What if you could digitally sculpt a 3D object and share it on Facebook, play with it in virtual reality or insert it into your world with augmented reality? Facebook is polishing up stages one and two today after debuting posts of interactive 3D models in News Feed in October that you can move and spin around. Read More

Instagram Direct one-ups Snapchat with replay privacy controls

20 February, by Josh Constine[ —]
 Messaging is the heart of Snapchat, so after cloning and augmenting Stories, Instagram is hoping to boost intimate usage of Direct with privacy controls not found elsewhere. Now when you send an ephemeral photo or video from the Instagram Direct camera, you can decide whether recipients can only view it once, replay it temporarily or see a permanent thumbnail in the chat log. Read More

Tenor hits 12B GIF searches every month

20 February, by Matthew Lynley[ —]
 David McIntosh’s startup Tenor builds a GIF keyboard — but he actually hopes you’ll spend as little time searching on it as possible. Instead, Tenor’s aim has been to collapse the amount of time it takes you to find a GIF you like and send it to a friend. Read More

Snapchat adds GIF stickers via Giphy, plus new Friends and Discover screen tabs

20 February, by Darrell Etherington[ —]
 Snapchat is bringing one of the best recent features of Instagram Stories to its own app, with the ability to add GIF stickers from Giphy to your posts. This is a notable reversal of the typical pattern we’ve seen of Instagram cloning Snapchat features, but it’s a good one for users since GIF stickers for Stories are basically the greatest thing ever invented on social media. The… Read More

Say goodbye to Android Pay and hello to Google Pay

20 February, by Frederic Lardinois[ —]
 As we reported last month, Google is uniting all of its different payment tools under the Google Pay brand. On Android, however, the Android Pay app stuck with its existing brand. That’s changing today, though, with the launch of Google Pay for Android. With this, Google is rolling out an update to Android Pay and introducing some new functionality that the company hopes will make… Read More

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