Bluesky now lets you choose your own algorithm

Bluesky, the Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized Twitter alternative, has released one of its most significant updates to date: the ability for users to choose their own algorithms. The service, which is still in a closed beta, released its “custom feeds” feature, which allows people to subscribe to a range of different algorithms and make their own for others to follow.

In practice, the feature works a bit like pinning different lists to your home timeline on Twitter in that users can subscribe to multiple feeds and easily swipe between them in the app. But custom feeds, because they’re algorithmic, are also more powerful than simple account lists.

For example, there’s a feed dedicated to posts from your mutuals —people you follow who also follow you back. That may sound like a list, but unlike a Twitter list, the feed should change as you gain more mutual followers. And while Bluesky’s app stills defaults to the chronological “following” timeline, most custom feeds are not chronological.

Screenshot if the Bluesky app with custom feeds.`

The feeds also provide a window into the different communities forming on Bluesky, as well as what’s trending on the platform. There are already custom feeds devoted to furries, cat photos, queer shitposters, positive thoughts and the hellthread. Early adopters have been able to experiment with the feature for awhile thanks to third-party apps, like SkyFeed and Flipboard, which added the feature before BlueSky’s official app.

For now, creating a feed for Bluesky is open to anyone, though it’s “currently a technical process,” Bluesky’s protocol engineer Paul Frazee said in a post. “In future updates we'll make it easy for users to create custom feeds in-app.”

The update could end up being a defining feature of Bluesky. Jay Graber, CEO of Bluesky, has said that algorithmic choice could address “backlash against the perceived algorithmic manipulation of people’s timelines.” It also offers a hint of what’s to come for the early-stage platform. Graber has outlined a similar vision for content moderation with users in control of the level of moderation and filtering they want.

“Our goal is to assemble a social media architecture that composes third-party services into a seamless user experience, because an open ecosystem is likely to evolve more quickly than a single approach to curation or moderation developed within one company,” Graber wrote. “By creating the interfaces for innovation in these areas, we hope to provide a dynamic and user-driven social experience.”

The idea of custom algorithms is one that’s long been embraced by Jack Dorsey, who floated the idea of allowing users to choose their own algorithms multiple times while he was still running Twitter. It also comes as there is industry-wide scrutiny on how social media algorithms impact users and whether the companies running major platforms are, even inadvertently, putting their thumb on the scale for one group of users. The appeal of custom algorithms is that users know upfront what each feed is prioritizing and can easily move between different experiences, most of which are not controlled by the platform.

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Twitter says startups can ‘experiment’ with its data for $5,000 a month

Twitter’s API roller coaster under Elon Musk continues. The company announced a new “Pro” tier for developers today. At $5,000 per month, it falls between the $100-a-month Basic and custom-priced Enterprise plans.

The new Twitter API Pro plan offers monthly access to one million retrieved tweets and 300,000 posted tweets at the app level. It also includes rate-limited access to endpoints for real-time filtered streams (live access to tweets based on specified parameters) and a complete archive search of historical tweets. Finally, it adds three app IDs and Login with Twitter access.

However, the $5,000-a-month pricing for companies wanting to “experiment, build, and scale [their] business” leaves an enormous gap between it and the $100-a-month basic plan, the next tier down. The latter only offers a tiny fraction of the access in the Pro plan, leaving small businesses to choose between a level that may not provide enough for a $100 monthly fee versus a $5,000 plan that stretches beyond many startups’ budgets. 

Some users also voiced their belief that its limits were too tight for that price. “That’s cool, but you already killed most Twitter apps by now,” Birdy developer Maxime Dupré responded to Twitter’s announcement. “And 5K is still too much for most of us. A 1K plan could make sense... but then again it’s too late.” The pricing also doesn’t likely do much for researchers, who the platform has been trying to charge tens of thousands of dollars for access.

Twitter’s recent API changes have created quite a bumpy ride for developers who still want access to the company’s data. First, the company effectively killed most third-party clients in January before quietly updating its terms to reflect the change. Then, it announced in February that it was ending free API access, only to delay the move after widespread blowback while promising that a new read-only version of the free tier would remain available for “testing” purposes. (The old version of the free API was cut off entirely in April, although Twitter reenabled it for emergency services in May.) The platform rolled out the new API’s initial three tiers (free, basic and enterprise) in March before adding today’s $5,000 pro tier. However, as the company has already alienated many of the developers that once relied on its platform, it remains to be seen how effective it will be at luring new customers — especially smaller operations — into the expensive new plan.

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TikTok is testing an AI chatbot for content discovery

TikTok could soon have a new way for users to discover content. The company is in the “early stages” of testing an AI-powered chatbot, called Tako, which will be able to recommend videos and respond to queries about what users are watching.

The bot, which was first reported by TechCrunch, is currently being tested in the Philippines, TikTok said in a statement. “Tako is powered by a third-party chat assistant and is designed to help make it easier to discover entertaining and inspiring content on TikTok,” the company said.

Despite being in an early phase of testing, TikTok is apparently featuring Tako fairly prominently in the app. A shortcut to the assistant sits in the main right-hand menu alongside shortcuts for bookmarks, and likes, according to TechCrunch, which got a peek at the feature.

That’s similar to the prominence Snap gave its chatbot, My AI, in its app, pushing it to the top of user’s chats. But unlike My AI, it seems TikTok is positioning Tako as a way to find new content and learn more about what’s being discussed in the clips. Users should “feel free to ask me anything and I’ll do my best to help you find what you’re looking for,” the bot says in a screenshot of the chat interface.

Tako isn’t the only way TikTok is experimenting with generative AI. The company is also testing AI-generated avatars, but hasn’t announced plans for a broader rollout. However it’s for now unclear how serious TikTok is about the technology. In its statement, the company said it has “no current plans for this beyond these early tests" of Tako.

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How to screen record on an iPhone

Sometimes, it’s just better to share your screen when you’re trying to show how to do something or get an idea across. The latest version of iOS on iPhones has made it easier to do this — you can even share your screen via Facetime now, too. But you don’t have to force your not-so tech savvy mom or dad to jump on FaceTime to show them how to check their email. iPhones have another built-in feature that makes screen recording and sharing easy. The steps below will work on iOS 11 and later. Any older iPhone will have to rely on third-party screen recording apps from the App Store.

How to screen record on iPhone

To start screen recording, you first need to make the option more accessible by editing your Control Center.

1. Go to the Settings app and tap Control Center.

2. Here you’ll see a list of tools you can add to your Control Center for easy access. Scroll down the list and tap the green plus icon next to Screen Recording. That will move it up to the “Included Controls” list.

How to screen record on iPhone

3. Now when you go to the Control Center by swiping down from the top right corner of your iPhone’s screen. (On anything older than the iPhone X you’ll swipe up from the bottom.) Screen Recording is represented by an icon with a white dot with a circle around it.

4. Tap that icon and wait for the three second countdown to begin.

How to screen record on iPhone

How to stop screen recording

Depending on your iPhone model, you’ll see a red timestamp at the top left of your screen or a red dot near the center while recording. Tap either of those and the iPhone will ask you if you want to stop recording. Hit “confirm” and you’ll then see a pop up that tells you your video is saved and where to find it.

How to turn on your microphone

If you want to add audio to your recording, go to the Control Center. Press and hold the Screen Recording icon and tap the microphone icon in the context menu. Now, every time you screen record, your iPhone will collect sound along with video.

How to find a screen recording

Screen recordings are treated like any other video, so you’ll find them in the Photos app where you can edit them if needed. However, if you would like your recording to go to a different location, press and hold the Screen Recording icon in the Control Center. You’ll then see a list of apps to which you’re able to send your video and share with others. For example, if you want to send that screen capture to Discord, all you have to do is tap the app in the menu and add a check next to it. Next time you want to show your gaming buddies what's on your screen, you can send the video straight to them.

How to screen record on iPhone

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ChatGPT for iOS is now available in 11 more countries

OpenAI first launched its ChatGPT iOS app across the US in mid-May and now it has made good on its promise to expand to more countries in the "coming weeks" by launching in 11 new countries. The countries are a global mix with iOS users in Albania, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria and the UK now able to access the app.

The ChatGPT app works and looks like the website does with conversation history synced between the computer and iPhone. ChatGPT Plus subscribers can access GPT-4 through the app and receive faster responses. The app does have one new feature compared to the website, allowing people to use voice input through OpenAI's Whisper speech recognition. For now, it's only formatted for iPhones, so iPad users still need the desktop version.

As for when ChatGPT will be available on smartphones globally, OpenAI says "soon." Keep in mind there still isn't a ChatGPT app available for Android users anywhere, though OpenAI's original iOS app announcement said, "Android users, you're next!"

The expansion itself and continually easing access to AI hastens the global debate over policies. According to Reuters, Sam Altman, OpenAI CEO, has expressed the possibility of pulling ChatGPT from the European Union if the company decides it can't work within upcoming regulations. Meanwhile, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai is working closely with the European Commission to enact AI guidelines.

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WhatsApp may soon introduce usernames

WhatsApp has been rolling out a constant stream of updates lately across its platform. The latest news comes in the form of a profile update, with WhatsApp reportedly working on a new username option, WABetaInfo reports. Included in the latest WhatsApp beta for Android update is a new field in the profile section of the app, which asks users to choose their own unique handle.

The added option brings WhatsApp one step closer to how people communicate on fellow Meta-owned app Instagram, though not much is known about how a username will work on the messaging app. It could mean a significant change in how people find each other on WhatsApp and increase their privacy — instead of a person needing to share their personal phone number or QR code to chat, a user-chosen username might be enough. End-to-end encryption is said to still be deployed on WhatsApp conversations started by username.

This announcement comes on the heels of another sought-out feature release: message editing. The update allows WhatsApp users to alter a message within 15 minutes of sending it, with the caveat that it will have the word "edited" written beside the timestamp. The messaging app also rolled out "Chat Lock" in May, a tool that lets you make specific one-on-one or group chats available solely through entering your password or biometric scanning. It also stops messages from popping up as notifications.

As for usernames, WhatsApp has yet to set a release date or even confirm the feature. It will likely be offered to beta users first when it does arrive before rolling out across all devices. 

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Windows 11 finally gets native RAR support

The Microsoft Build developer’s conference has been heavily focused on all things AI, per usual, but the company’s making announcements in other spaces, including a particularly useful update for Windows 11 users. The operating system is finally getting native RAR support, ending the tyranny of third-party apps like WinRAR.

This is an open-source solution powered by the multi-format libarchive project. Microsoft says this not only offers a native option to handle RAR files, but additional formats like tar, 7-zip, gz and many others, as reported by The Verge. It also touts “improved functionality” regarding compression when compared to third-party apps.

The company hasn’t announced an official launch date for the feature, but Windows 11 is getting a robust update tomorrow with support for Bluetooth LE and more, so maybe it’ll get tacked onto that. We’ll let you know. It’s always nice to have options when it comes to compressing and unzipping files. Here’s hoping this new tool is easy to use and, most importantly, fast.

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Peloton’s revamped fitness app restricts most equipment workouts to new, more expensive tier

Big changes are coming to the Peloton app. As of today, the software offers three different standalone subscription tiers. To start, there’s a new free option, with no credit card required, that comes with access to more than 50 classes – though live workouts are off the table. It joins Peloton’s existing service, which will be known as App One. For $13 per month, App One grants you access to nine of Peloton’s 16 “modalities,” meaning you can watch the company’s pilates, yoga and outdoor running classes. However, the tier limits you to just three equipment-based cycling, treadmill and rowing classes per month, with scenic and lanebreak variants excluded. For unlimited access to those, you will need to pay for Peloton’s new App+ subscription, which costs $24 per month.

Effectively, the change means those who used the Peloton App to enjoy the company’s cycling and treadmill on their non-Peloton equipment will need to pay more to keep doing that. If you’re a current annual subscriber, you will continue to have access to all of the classes Peloton offers through its app until your membership renews. At that point, you will need to decide if you want to upgrade to the App+. Even with today’s change, it’s worth noting the Peloton App won’t replace the company’s equipment subscription, which will you will still need to access its classes on your Bike, Tread or Row machine.

Separately, Peloton is adding tutorials for strength training. The company says the app’s new “Gym” component features “self-paced, whiteboard-style” classes for those who prefer exercising outside of their home. The service will be available in the coming days, with the new App+ tier launching in the US, Canada, Australia, German and UK.

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Microsoft puts AI in the heart of Windows 11 with Windows Copilot

Unlike Meta, Microsoft doesn't need to change its name to prove it's committed to an entirely new tech platform: It's doing so through action. After debuting its AI-infused Bing search engine earlier this year, the company unveiled the Microsoft 365 Copilot for Office apps. And even before those consumer reveals, Microsoft delivered an AI tool for developers in 2021 with GitHub Copilot. Today at its Build developer conference, Microsoft is making the inevitable next step: It's making AI an integral part of Windows 11.

The new Windows Copilot tool lives in the Windows sidebar and, just like Bing's AI chat, you can use it as a super-powered search engine by typing in general questions. But true to its name, it's also deeply integrated with Windows. You can ask it to accomplish tasks within the OS — like turning on the night light mode, or changing your desktop background — without fishing around for specific settings. Windows Copilot can also function as a genuine virtual assistant by summarizing documents, or launching a photo app to accomplish a few edits before sending it off to a group of your coworkers. Cortana would never.

Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing demonstrates the new Microsoft Surface Studio computer at a live event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Microsoft CVP Panos Panay introducing the Surface Studio.
Lucas Jackson / reuters

"I think about Windows and the role of AI as such an opportunity," said Panos Panay, Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer, in an interview with Engadget ahead of Tuesday’s launch. "We have hundreds of millions of people [using Windows], bringing the power of AI to Windows 11 gives you the opportunity to not only get more creative and get more productive, but ultimately just let every Windows user become a power user."

Windows Copilot, which will be available to preview in June, also has the potential to reach far more users than the revamped Bing. The company's search engine clearly received plenty of buzz thanks to AI — Microsoft said it hit 100 million daily active users a month after the AI chat feature launched — but according to StatCounter, Bing has also lost market share over the past few months. It hit 7.2 percent in April, down from a recent high of 9.92 percent last October.

That's not entirely surprising, though. Microsoft's battle against Google has always seemed like a hopeless endeavor. The company launched its first attempt, MSN Search, in 1998 soon after Google arrived, and amid Yahoo's dominance as the go-to web portal. MSN Search turned into Live Search, which ultimately evolved into Bing in 2009.

Microsoft has always been a company that's dabbled in search, but it's not a search company. But Windows is another matter entirely. It's a product with a devoted user base, many of whom have decades of experience with the OS. According to Microsoft, there are over 1.4 billion monthly active devices running Windows 10 or 11. (And of course, that doesn't include the PCs running older Windows versions.) Microsoft previously tried to bring Bing's AI capabilities into the Windows taskbar in February, but that ultimately just amounted to a shortcut that launched Bing's AI chat in the Edge browser. Windows Copilot actually weaves AI into the core Windows 11 experience.

Windows Copilot helping with coding

"There's so much depth in this product from the '90s on," said Panay. "Our job is to responsibly, of course, push it forward to users that need both the past and need to get to the future [...] We have so many kinds of users that use Windows in its simplest form, like browsing, Mail, and Office [...] And then we've got the hardcore devs who get right down to the depth of the product. And I think both are so vital to the platform. But now I think every developer can move forward as an AI developer and every user can be a power user on Windows. I think it just makes Windows that much better."

Windows Copilot is currently a text-only tool, but Panay envisions it evolving into something you can interact with on your own terms. It has the potential to be the powerful voice assistant that Cortana, the Siri competitor Microsoft pushed for years, never amounted to. (And to be fair, pretty much every virtual assistant ended up being a disappointment. Siri remains confounding and inaccurate, while Google's Assistant is mainly useful for preemptively delivering information, rather than dealing with voice commands.)

Windows Copilot choosing music in Spotify

The simple, text-based approach to AI also makes sense for Microsoft. For many users, Windows Copilot will be the first time they've interacted with any sort of generative AI product. Better to let general users warm up with a few text strings before overwhelming people with voice commands. And hopefully by the time Microsoft adds voice support, it'll be closer to the Star Trek computer than the frustrating assistants of yore. (I'm dreaming of the day when I can shout at my computer to look up information as I'm writing feverishly on deadline, or ask it to transcribe and summarize a meeting.)

Windows Copilot, just like Bing Chat, will also support the same third-party plugins that OpenAI's ChaptGPT uses. That means any developer will be able to easily connect their apps to AI, an essential move to make these products more useful. Every software platform needs a thriving third-party ecosystem to survive — just think of what iOS or Android would be like if you were stuck using only Apple or Google's apps.

"AI is going to be the single largest driver of innovation for Windows in the years to come," said Panay. "It's going to change the way you work, change your interaction models to make it easier. It's going to understand so much about what you need."

Windows Copilot sending an edited images to a Teams group

Panay stressed that Microsoft is also focused on making your AI interactions secure and private. Windows Copilot could end up juggling some sensitive information if you start asking questions about specific health questions, for example. A potentially bigger concern is misinformation: Windows Copilot and Bing Chat can answer your questions confidently, but it may not always be accurate. And it's a bigger problem than standard web searches since it's unclear where AI chatbots are pulling information from.

"We have to approach AI with innovation but also optimism," Panay said when I asked about how Microsoft is planning to deal with AI misinformation. "To your point, we have to prioritize both people’s safety and privacy. Also, at the end of the day, if you do it in a frame of humility, where we're always learning, this is going to be vital to your point."

It's clear that Microsoft still has plenty to learn from Windows Copilot. The preview period, which kicks off next month, is a chance for the company to see how it's used in the wild, and to make adjustments before it's officially released. Panay says that the Bing team is already working to make sure its results come from grounded references, and that they're also holding to Microsoft's responsible AI standards.

Microsoft CVP Shilpa Ranganathan
Microsoft CVP Shilpa Ranganathan

According to Shilpa Ranganathan, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President leading the Windows team, the company has been talking a lot about how Copilot results are displayed, as well as communicating the uncertainty of some answers to customers. “We're going to build it into the experience as a learning experience for us as well […] I don't want to take a path that allows us to lose trust with customers,” she said. “We believe that's most important. I'd rather say, hey, we're not 100 percent sure. Help us make this better or if this didn't help you, I would like feedback now so that we never show this to another customer again.”

Panay hopes to get to a point where "as a product maker, I have the confidence that what we're handing to our customers is exactly what they need when we launch into the full availability [of Windows Copilot]." He added, "It's about humility. If you give it time and the right innovation, then we can get to that point of creating the guardrails needed to keep it safe and remove the misinformation."

Given the state of the web today, where less reputable websites employ a variety of SEO tricks to rank higher in search results, it’s unclear if we’ll ever be truly rid of AI misinformation. The next content war will be entirely focused on websites vying for placement within AI search results. The problem for users is that it’ll be harder to tell if bad information is coming from a seemingly reputable source, rather than an obviously scammy website filled with junk content.

Windows Copilot has the potential to fundamentally reshape the way we use Windows. But hopefully, it won’t erode user trust in the process.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

AI is headed to the Microsoft Store on Windows

As Microsoft unveiled more of its plans for AI domination at its Build developer conference today, no aspect of its business will be left untouched by AI. In addition to bringing its "Copilot" to Windows 11 and Edge, the company also shared details on how it will be infusing the Store with AI, beginning with the new AI Hub. 

This is a "new curated section in the Microsoft Store where we will promote the best AI experiences built by the developer community and Microsoft," the company said in a press release. It will use this area to "educate customers on how to start and expand their AI journey, inspiring them to use AI in everyday ways to boost productivity, spark creativity and more." Examples include apps like Luminar Neo, Descript, Podcastle,, Kickresume, and other services that let users tap AI to help them create content. 

The Store will also get AI-generated review summaries that takes feedback left by other users on apps and games and generates a concise rundown of what was said. This way, people won't have to sift through the "thousands of reviews," that Microsoft says some popular apps have. 

If you're a Windows Insider, you'll be able to try out a new feature in preview that will restore your Store app icons when you're transitioning to a new Windows 11 device. You'll have to be moving from a Windows 10 or 11 setup to begin with, and when you switch over, icons for your Store apps will "automatically get restored right where [you] had them — on the Start menu and Taskbar."

Developers will also be getting some AI support, like automatically generated keywords and suggested Search Tags in the Partner Center. This will use AI to "consumer your metadata, as well as other signals, and help you improve the discoverability of your app in the Microsoft Store search results." The company is also adding the ability to list your app in multiple categories.

Microsoft Store Ads are also expanding in a few ways. First, they'll be added to search results on Bing starting next month, so people using their browsers to look for stuff will also be aware of relevant Windows apps. Next month, they'll also be reaching outside the US market to more than 150 regions around the world. Developers will also get the option to display rich advertising in the spotlight section of the Store.

Most of the consumer-facing features announced for the Microsoft Store today will be available "soon," and more specific timeframes have yet to be shared. Still, it's clear the company is intent on bringing AI to every part of its business and all its products and the onslaught is nigh. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at