A highlight from Your-Weekly-Tech-Update-EP-134
Hello everyone! Welcome to your weekly tech update, the show that explores the newest, coolest, and sometimes mind -boggling side of tech available on the interwebs. I am your host, Ray McNeil. Coming up on the program today, Google Meet video calls are getting a Zoom -like layout. Impossible Foods rolls out to nearly one thousand new grocery stores and supermarkets, and will take your mind off the world and put a smile on your face with this week's Moment of Joy. That and a whole lot more coming up on today's edition of your weekly tech update, next. Google Meet will undergo huge changes over the next few weeks as the tech giant rushes to make it a more viable alternative to Zoom. To start with, the video conferencing tool is now directly accessible from within Gmail for business and education users. Those who prefer Zoom for its gallery -like layout that can show up to 25 participants at once would probably be more excited to get another feature coming later this month. Google will roll out a new layout option that can display up to 16 participants. There's already a Chrome extension that can mimic the Zoom feature for Meet, but its official release means there's no need for a workaround anymore. The company will also enhance Meet's video quality in dim lighting and its ability to filter out background noise in the coming weeks. In addition, an upcoming feature will allow users to display a specific tab open on their Chrome browser during a call. Zoom recently enjoyed a surge in popularity due to a shelter -at -home order, but it suffered from various privacy issues that has prompted a lot of organizations. including several school districts in the U .S. to ban it outright. With these changes, Meet could become a new decent alternative to Zoom, especially since its premium features are free to use until September 30th. Disney set the streaming -only premiere date for live -action sci -fi fantasy Artemis Fowl on its Disney Plus service worldwide, hoping it gives more juice to the subscription VOD product while all of the theaters are closed. Artemis Fowl, directed by Kenneth Branagh, will be exclusively available on Disney Plus beginning on Friday, June 12th. It had originally been set for a May 29th theatrical debut. Based on the best -selling book by Irish author Ian Culfer, Artemis Fowl follows the journey of a 12 -year -old criminal mastermind as he desperately tries to save his kidnapped father. Artemis must infiltrate an ancient underground civilization of fairies and track down the Oculus, the fairies' most powerful and coveted magical device, to pay the ransom. In a statement, Branagh said that Artemis Fowl would be as proud as I am that families around the world will now be able to enjoy his first amazing screen adventures together on Disney Plus. Artemis Fowl stars newcomer Ferdia Shaw in the title role, alongside Laura Macdonald, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozzi, Josh Maguire, Nikesh Patel, and Adrian Scarborough, with Colin Farrell and Judi Dench. Branagh and Judi Hofflin are producing, with Angus Moore Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. Connor McPherson and Hamish McCall wrote the screenplay. Amid the COVID -19 crisis, Disney has postponed nearly every one of its forthcoming movie releases, including Black Widow, Mulan, The New Mutants, The Eternals, Jungle Cruise, and Indiana Jones 5. The media conglomerate is betting that Artemis Fowl will draw more subscribers into Disney Plus, which surpassed 50 million paying customers worldwide in its first five months of service. That's been buoyed by its recent launch in India and eight Western European countries, along with the early release of Frozen 2 on the subscription service. In the U .S., Disney Plus is $6 .99 monthly, or $69 .99 for a one -year subscription.