Microsoft Simplifies Windows Updates, Google Duo Challenges FaceTime… [Tech News Digest]

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Microsoft simplifies Windows Update, Google Duo lets you chat with friends, Google kills Hangouts on Air, Minecraft VR comes to Oculus Rift, and why Elon Musk thinks we’re living in a computer simulation.

A Windows 7 and 8 Updates Update

Microsoft is changing the way it delivers updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Rather than releasing individual patches for these operating systems, and letting users choose which patches to install and which to ignore, all patches will now be released in a monthly rollup. What’s more, one month’s rollup will supersede the previous month’s rollup.

This means you should only ever have to download and install one update, which will include all previous patches, and bring your PC up-to-date in one fell swoop. However, it does take away some element of choice, as you will no longer be able to pick and choose which updates to install. For better or worse, it will be a case of all of nothing.

These monthly rollups will initially only contain new updates, but over the next year, Microsoft will be integrating all previous updates released since “the last baseline”. When this process is complete, the monthly rollup will be fully cumulative. The idea is to both simplify the process and to avoid fragmentation.

This is a good move form Microsoft, bringing the Windows 10 model to previous versions of its operating system. Windows Update has always been an annoying and overly complicated part of using Windows. It’s essential, of course, but simplifying it is a good start to making it less of a hassle. Even if the act of simplification means stripping away an element of user choice.

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Google Duo Is a Simple Video Chat App

Google has launched Google Duo, its new video calling app announced at Google I/O 2016. Google Duo, which is available on Android and iOS, is all about simplicity, and the company promises it “takes the complexity out of video calling”. For this reason, Google Duo only allows one-on-one conversations.

The simplicity means all you need is a phone number, with a Google account no longer a prerequisite. Once you have signed up to use Duo you can call anyone in your contacts list with a single tap. Google is also aiming to keep you connected, changing the resolution to suit changing network conditions.

In an effort to improve its security credentials, all conversations held on Google Duo are encrypted from end-to-end by default. Google Duo is being rolled out right now, and should be live across the world within the next few days. You can download it on Android or on iOS.

Google Is Killing Off Hangouts on Air

Google is killing off Hangouts on Air, directing everybody to use YouTube Live instead of Google+ from now on. The switch will take place on September 12, and includes events scheduled to stream after that date.

Hangouts on Air features such as Q&A, Showcase, and Applause will not be making the move to YouTube, with Google asking broadcasters to use Google Slides and social media to “gather questions ahead of the event” and “share links with your audience”.

While it’s annoying to see Google killing yet another service, this one makes perfect sense. Google+ is being carved up, with its best features being spun off or moved to other platforms, and YouTube Live is a much better fit for people looking to broadcast to a wider audience.

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Minecraft Has Landed On the Oculus Rift

Minecraft is now officially available on the Oculus Rift, with Mojang finally delivering on its promise to bring the game to virtual reality. Oculus Rift owners have been playing Minecraft via a mod called Minecrift for months, but that is now shutting down.

Minecraft is available to play on the Oculus Rift thanks to a free update being released for the Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta. The update adds some new features not available on the normal version of the game, including improved graphics and mouse and keyboard support.

Oculus Rift owners looking to play Minecraft in VR simply need to update Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta to gain access to the game.

Are We Living In a Computer Simulation?

And finally, are we all living in a computer simulation created by an advanced civilization? Yes, according to Elon Musk, who postulated this theory earlier this year. Musk is an intelligent man and technological visionary, but can he possibly be correct on this occasion?

It turns out that there’s some science behind his claims, and we only have to look at the world around us to see it with our own eyes. Technology is advancing at a phenomenal pace, which means that thousands of years from now, humans should be capable of computer simulations indistinguishable from reality.

If that’s true then the odds support us being part of one of those simulations, rather than the first generation of humans on the path to enlightenment. This isn’t a new theory — we all remember The Matrix, right?! — but hearing Elon Musk discuss it certainly adds credence to the whole idea.

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Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you pleased that Microsoft is simplifying updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8? Will you be trying out Google Duo? Are you sorry to see Google killing off Hangouts on Air? Will you be playing Minecraft on your Oculus Rift? Do you think we’re all living in a giant computer simulation?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Per-Olof Forsberg via Flickr

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