Hi there. It’s another fantastic week coming to an end. As usual, this week was filled with a lot of amazing stories in the world of tech.
Without wasting much time, let’s quickly go over some stories from this week that you probably have missed.
Indian couple to marry in the ‘metaverse,’ with bride’s father’s ‘ghost’ in attendance
According to reports on Dailymail, an Indian couple is planning a Harry Potter-themed wedding in the virtual reality ‘metaverse,’ with the ‘ghost’ of the bride’s late father in attendance.
Dinesh Sivakumar Padmavathi, 24, and his fiancée Janaganandhini Ramaswamy, 23, will marry online on February 6, with hundreds anticipated to attend the country’s first wedding of its sort.
Due to lockdown limitations in their home state of Tamil Nadu, friends, family and well-wishers would be unable to attend the ceremony in person. But just like most other challenges, this one is not without solution.
Padmavathi publicized the wedding to his Twitter and Instagram followers, with 2,000 confirming their presence and 5,000 suggesting they ‘might’ attend.
‘I know couples have been getting married on Zoom, but I wanted to go farther and be the first to host my celebration within the metaverse,’ he told The Times. I also wanted to introduce Indians to the metaverse.’
Padmavathi, a project associate at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, has even prepared a Metaverse tutorial on YouTube to assist his family to understand it.
The bride’s father, who died last year, will be among the guests. According to Padmavathi, he had made his avatar so that he would be the one to greet all of the guests.
Twitter Communities now available for Android users
Social microblogging website, Twitter has announced the rollout of its Communities feature, which competes with Facebook Groups and Reddit, to Android users all across the world.
Since its inception in September, Twitter Groups have only been available on iOS and the web, which meant that Android users could only join and engage in communities through a browser, rather than the main Twitter app.
According to a report, Android users may now simply join, request to join, and engage in Twitter communities, bringing the service to a far wider audience.
Twitter Communities function similarly to a private group or a subreddit. Users can opt to tweet directly to a Twitter community, which will not appear in their personal feed or among their followers.
For individuals who wish to start their own private communities, Twitter Communities is still an invite-only service. Owners of groups can decide whether or not individuals must be invited to join a community or if they are open to everyone.
Twitter is also looking into a “request to join” option for communities so that groups can keep a closer eye on who gets in.
Along with this new feature, Twitter plans to test a ranked timeline that will display the top tweets from a community, as well as ways for moderators to highlight information in the community and methods for mods or members to do Q&As.
Facebook reportedly set to let users mint and sell NFTs
According to a report, Meta, the social media conglomerate and Facebook parent company, is looking into allowing users to mint, promote, and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram.
If the corporation offers such tools, it will be the most public display of support for NFTs yet, helping to cement the contentious assets’ place in the digital world.
According to the reports, the plans for an NFT marketplace are still at the early stage and might potentially be altered.
The report also noted that Facebook and Instagram are “readying” a feature that will allow users to use NFTs as profile photographs, as well as developing a prototype that would allow users to mint new NFTs.
Other Meta employees are also allegedly talking about “launching a marketplace for consumers to purchase and trade NFTs.”
It’s tough to say how far advanced these ideas are, but this isn’t the first time Meta’s executives have expressed interest in NFTs.
Last December, Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri stated the firm is “currently exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a larger audience,” while Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse would need to enable “ownership of digital products or NFTs” in October.
Embracing NFTs might also help Meta gain more clout in the metaverse, which the firm has coined as a hazy idea of interconnected virtual worlds akin to the promises of VR universes made in the 1990s and prior.
Google to build new blockchain division
Google is reportedly forming its own dedicated blockchain section, marking the company’s first outward display of interest in cryptocurrencies and the technology that underpins them.
According to a report published by Business Insider, a leaked email from the company revealed that the new business would focus on “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies.”
Shivakumar Venkataraman, a Google veteran who spent almost two decades working on the company’s core search advertisement business, has apparently been named to manage the new department.
Following a run of failures in virtual reality and social networking, Google appears to have been hesitant to enter the cryptocurrency market, possibly due to CEO Sundar Pichai’s conservative leadership style.
Until last August, the corporation barred bitcoin startups from advertising on its network and refused to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for its goods and services.
While other major digital firms, including Twitter and Meta (formerly Facebook), have aggressively pursued “Web3”, a phrase that encompasses non-fungible tokens, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies, Google has generally remained out of the fray. One explanation might be regulatory action.
According to the report, the new blockchain branch would be housed under Google’s relatively new Labs division, which also houses the company’s virtual and augmented reality research. Venkataraman will join Labs as a “founding leader.”
Intel acquires the industry’s first next-generation chipmaking gear.
Intel has bought the first of a new generation of chipmaking equipment from Dutch specialist ASML as part of its attempt to recapture processor manufacturing leadership by 2025.
According to a report, the firm on Wednesday announced that the Twinscan EXE:5200 device is expected to be delivered in 2024, with operations commencing in 2025.
The machines, which cost on average $340 million apiece, are vital to accelerating processor advancement. Miniaturizing semiconductors is becoming increasingly difficult, yet it is critical for computer companies that rely on advancements in cellphones, PCs, and data centres.
For decades, Intel has dominated the chip manufacturing market, continually decreasing chip circuitry to allow computers to handle ever-increasing amounts of work.
Despite the fact that other companies like GlobalFonudries and IBM chose not to stay on the cutting edge, Intel’s production issues caused it to lose ground to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung.
Intel was late to implement EUV lithography, but now that Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger, an engineer, is in control, the company is focused on speeding things up.
According to him, Intel would be the first to order a more sophisticated EUV tool with a high numeric aperture (high NA) to inscribe even finer details. ASML said on Tuesday that it had received its first order, and Intel confirmed on Wednesday that it was the purchaser.
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