ShinyShiny snippets: Google confirms Pixel Fold phone

Google has confirmed the Pixel Fold, its first foldable smartphone, with video teasers on both YouTube and Twitter. The company was expected to reveal the Pixel Fold at Google I/O next week, but leaks ruined that surprise. The device has a vertical hinge that unfolds into a tablet-like 7.6-inch display. There’s also an exterior screen, measuring 5.8 inches. Rumors suggest the price could be around $1,700, fetching a premium far beyond Google’s flagship Pixels. However, I could be convinced – if the foldable can deliver a rumored 24-hour battery life. Expect to hear everything you need to make up your mind on May 10th, which is next Wednesday. Engadget 

The head of Google’s artificial intelligence division DeepMind has predicted that human-level AI may be just a few years away. The forecast from Demis Hassabis puts the date for the arrival of artificial general intelligence (AGI) – systems that can think in similar but superior ways to humans – much earlier than previous predictions. Many have speculated that the technology may still be decades away. “The progress in the last few years has been pretty incredible,” Mr Hassabis said at the Future of Everything Festival this week. Independent 

What just happened? We can’t seem to escape blue verification marks these days. With Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others embracing verified checkmarks, Google is joining the party with its own blue icon for Gmail. It’s not just an ego thing, though; the company says these icons will help users identify scam emails. The blue checkmark will automatically appear in emails from companies that are part of Gmail’s Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) feature, which arrived in 2021. Techspot

Discord has announced everyone using the platform will be asked to change their username “over the coming weeks”. The online chat service, which allows people to create and join groups based on their interests, has 150 million monthly active users worldwide. Previously, users were identified by a name preceding a hash and four numbers. The new system will require people to create a unique username following an “@” symbol, bringing it in line with Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. BBC

The European Union is taking measures to ensure that Apple won’t restrict charging and data transfer rates via USB-C for the iPhone 15 and later. Apple is likely working on adding USB-C accessories to its Made for iPhone (MFi) program that certifies products that meet quality standards. In February, a rumor claimed that Apple would throttle charging and data transfer speeds for non-certified USB-C cables, but according to Die Zeit, EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton has written a letter to Apple to say that restrictions involving charging are unacceptable. Apple Insider 

Motorola today announced the Motorola Edge 40, the latest entry into its flagship Motorola Edge line and the base model of its current Motorola Edge 40 series. This comes after the launches of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro in April and the Motorola Edge 2023 Plus on May 2. Unlike the Motorola Edge 40 Pro which had first debuted in China as the Motorola X40, the Edge 40 is an entirely new phone. It’s powered by a MediaTek 8020 chipset – a step down from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but still an extremely capable chip. Tech Radar 

Technology writers are sadly (some gleefully) announcing the latest admission to the social media morgue: the formerly ascendant photo-sharing app BeReal. The app had been a huge success, jumping from 1m to 20m users in just seven months. Central to its success was its positioning as the anti-Instagram, a platform trading on authenticity that offered a glimpse of our friends’ “real” (read: mundane) lives. But its active daily users more than halved between October 2022 and March 2023, down from 20m to 6m. The Guardian 

Chris Price