ShinyShiny tech roundup: AI can tell if it’s going to rain in next 2 hours

Artificial intelligence can tell whether it is going to rain in the next two hours, research suggests. Scientists at Google-owned London AI lab DeepMind and the University of Exeter partnered with the Met Office to build the so-called nowcasting system. Traditional methods use complex equations and often forecast for only between six hours and two weeks’ time. The AI system can make more accurate short-term predictions, including for critical storms and floods. Climate change is making it harder to anticipate adverse weather conditions, as the frequency and severity of heavy rain increases, which researchers believe will lead to both significant material damage and death. BBC 

Scotland’s new vaccine passport app has been experiencing technical problems just hours after its launch, according to users. The NHS Scotland Covid Status app was made available to download on Apple and Android devices on Thursday afternoon. One man was told “no match found” followed by “something’s went wrong” as shown in screenshots he shared on Twitter. Some struggled to get past the initial login page while others reported taking eight attempts to sign up. But just hours after its launch, comments circulating on social media suggest many users have been unable to register on the app. Standard

Google has announced that it’s bringing its Lens feature to Google Chrome in the coming weeks, which allows you to easily discover more information on the web page you’re browsing. Web browsers have become more important in the daily lives of their users lately due to the pandemic, so developers are bringing ever more innovative and eye-catching features to them, from RGB lighting in Opera’s GX browser, to a new look for Apple’s Safari browser. However, Google Lens has been a useful feature to many people who use Chrome on their smartphones, allowing users to discover more information about images and translate text on the fly. 

“Google” is the most searched term on Bing “by far,” according to a lawyer working for Google’s parent company, Alphabet. According to Bloomberg, Google made the argument while trying to get its $5 billion antitrust fine from the EU overturned, using the statistic as evidence that people use Google by choice, not force.  The fine Google faces is from the European Commission, which says that Google has abused its position as the maker of Android. The regulator says that Google will have to stop forcing handset makers to pre-install Chrome and Google search if they want to have Android. Google’s argument? That most people would just use its search engine anyway. The Verge 

It was Auric Goldfinger in the 1964 James Bond movie who was said to have the Midas touch, but classic car insurance company Hagerty has found that just an association with the spy franchise is enough to make car values soar. Its valuation analysts compared the values of real Bond cars which were used during the production of the famous films to the prices of standard examples of the same model and found that a starring role in a James Bond movie added on average over 1000 per cent to the value of a car. The most valuable Bond car compared with its standard, road-going opposite number is the 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 known as ‘Wet Nellie’ which starred in the 1977 movie The Spy Who Loved Me. It sold at RM Sotheby’s 2013 London auction for £616,000, a huge 4908% mark-up over the standard model at the time. Tech Digest 

Chris Price