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Thursday, February 20, 2020

This is how Microsoft designed its new colorful Windows 10 icons

The new Windows 10 icons.

Microsoft has started rolling out new colorful app icons in Windows 10 today that overhaul the look and feel of the operating system. Changes to many of the built-in Windows 10 app icons have started rolling out today, but more are coming in the months ahead. It’s part of what the company describes as a “multi-year effort across Microsoft’s design teams to redesign our icons.”

Windows has always suffered from a variety of different icons that are sometimes decades old, and Microsoft originally embarked on an effort to try to simplify some of these in Windows 10 when it first debuted nearly five years ago. Microsoft picked monochrome icons that were simplified but were designed for colorful Live Tiles that never really caught on with app developers and Windows 10 users.

The evolution of the new calculator icon.

“Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve,” reveals Christina Koehn, a design leader for Windows and Devices at Microsoft. “When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications. We needed to incorporate more visual cues into the icon design language using our modernized Fluent Design Language.”

Microsoft has now evolved its icons to better reflect its cross-platform approach, while sticking to the familiarity of what Windows users are used to. “Leveraging the Fluent Design System, we introduced depth and color to our iconography,” explains Koehn. “These additional cues are subtle, but they make a world of difference when scanning an interface.” This splash of color should make it easier to scan for apps on the taskbar or Start menu, and Microsoft is planning to use similar icons with its design language across its apps for Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS.

Windows 10’s new icons in the taskbar.

The new colorful icons are designed to feel familiar and look similar, all while “honoring” the legacy of the Windows operating system in an attempt to evolve it. Microsoft’s design teams “explored a myriad of design directions for the calculator icon,” according to Koehn, all the way from its monochrome version to the Fluent version that now exists in the OS. It’s interesting to witness Microsoft’s experiments with trying to evolve something as simple as a calculator icon and also the company’s evolution of the Windows Mail icon over the past nearly 20 years.

“You’ll start to see some the new icons today and even more in the coming months,” reveals Koehn. “Redesigning these icons signals our commitment to the evolution of the Windows OS, honoring its legacy while redefining the archetype in which it lives.”

How the Windows Mail icon has changed over the years.

Microsoft has clearly taken its time to get these new icons right, and they’re part of a much broader effort to leverage the company’s Fluent Design system across multiple apps and services. Designers are now working closely together to create hardware and software that has a common design system across all of Microsoft’s products.

The software maker also previously overhauled its Office icons and design and is trying to encourage others to use its Fluent Design system for a variety of mobile apps. Microsoft’s updated Edge browser also has a new icon, and even Office itself has a more modern logo.

Original Article ©Copyrights

Twitter’s upcoming manipulated media policy may include labels for ‘harmfully misleading’ tweets

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A leaked Twitter demo showed that the platform is considering labeling tweets from politicians and other public figures if the tweets have lies or misinformation in them, NBC News reports. “Harmfully misleading” tweets would have red or orange labels applied, and include corrected information from fact-checkers, journalists, and other users in “one possible iteration” of a Wikipedia-like anti-misinformation effort Twitter plans to unveil March 5th, according to NBC News.

The project is in the very early stages at Twitter, but a Twitter spokesperson says in an email to The Verge that the labeling system is a “design mockup for one option that would involve community feedback. Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it.”

The leaked demo showed a tweet from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that had incorrect information about whistleblowers and one from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that had an incorrect figure about background checks on gun sales, NBC Newsreports, as well as a tweet with false information about the coronavirus. It’s not clear, however, how Twitter would determine which tweets would be flagged with the new labels.

 Image: Twitter via NBC News

One version of the leaked demo — which the company stressed to NBC News was just one of several possibilities — would allow Twitter users / moderators to earn points or “community badges” if they “contribute in good faith and act like a good leader.” How it would choose which users get to be moderators and what kind of authority moderators would have is unclear, but “the more points you earn, the more your vote counts,” according to the demo. “Community” members would be asked to rate a tweet as “likely” or “unlikely” to be “harmfully misleading”; to predict how many other community members would give the same answer using a sliding scale of 1 to 100; and to elaborate on why they believe the tweet should be flagged.

Earlier this month, Twitter announced the March 5th rollout of its new “manipulated media” policy which will include a ban on fabricated photos, videos, and media on the platform that is “deceptively shared,” and may pose safety risks. Media that has been deceptively edited or otherwise altered in a way that changes its meaning would be labeled as fake, the company said.

Twitter has put other tools into place in an attempt to help users discern what information on its platform is inaccurate. In May, it announced a tool that could tamp down anti-vaccination information by redirecting users to, a site run by the Health and Human Services Department. And last week, Twitter announced it was expanding its election integrity policy, which prohibits users from sharing “false or misleading information about how to participate in an election or other civic event” by redirecting users to when they search for certain keywords associated with the 2020 US census.

Original Article ©Copyrights

Quibi shares some clues about how its app might work

Image: Quibi

Quibi’s apps are now available for preorder on the App Store and Play Store, and they give a look at how the mobile streaming app might actually work when it launches on April 6th (via TechCrunch).

Based on the renders in the listings, Quibi seems like it looks and feels like, well, a streaming video app. You can check out all of the available renders in the gallery below:

Quibi tells The Verge that the screenshots in the listings were also shown at CES in January, but declined to say if the renders are what the final app will look like. But there are a few interesting details in them that are worth observing.

When browsing content in the app, it looks like there will be four tabs on the bottom bar, labeled “For You,” “Browse,” “Following,” and “Downloads.” “For You” promotes shows using big cards that remind me a lot of the cards in the App Store’s “Today” tab. “Browse” appears as if it will have a search bar up top, a spot for a marquee show up under that, and a horizontally scrolling list of trending shows under that. And the “Downloads” tab looks like it lists out the shows you have downloaded with nice, big thumbnail previews.

The renders also show what watching a video on Quibi might actually look like. The boldest design choice, in my opinion, is the vertical seek bar when in portrait mode, which seems like it could be a really handy way to scrub through a video. Otherwise, the playback UI looks fine and doesn’t seem like it will block much of the onscreen content.

In January, Quibi showed off the app’s “TurnStyle” feature, which lets you instantly switch between portrait and landscape when you’re watching a show. And it’s been rolling out trailers for its shows and ads to try to explain the service over the past few weeks.

(Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a Polygon Daily Essential, and there have been early talks about a Verge show.)

Original Article ©Copyrights

Russia is meddling in 2020 campaign to help Trump, intelligence officials say

NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Russia is already interfering in the 2020 campaign to help President Donald Trump toward reelection, according to a briefing given to the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee last week. The briefing, as reported in paired articles from The Washington Post and The New York Times, suggests many of the same tactics used in 2016 could be employed in the months to come, including troll campaigns and targeted hacking attempts.

The day after the briefing was given, President Trump abruptly replaced his acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in what the Post describes as a direct response to the briefing. The Post is less clear on the contents of the briefing, but the Times reports from five different sources that the briefing primarily concerned active Russian threats to election security.

President Trump abruptly replaced his acting DNI after the briefing

Neither article describes any specific intelligence from the briefing, but there have already been some public signs of Russia-linked election meddling. In February, Facebook took down dozens of accounts believed to be engaged in propaganda campaigns, including many the company attributed to Russia. In January, a phishing attack on the Biden-linked Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma was also attributed to Russia in a possible replay of the 2016 DNC server hack, although the evidence for the attribution is tenuous.

In 2016, Russian election meddling efforts ranged from Facebook troll accounts — operated by the notorious Internet Research Agency — to a sophisticated and targeted effort to steal and disseminate emails from the Democratic National Committee. That hacking effort had a significant impact on national opinions in the run-up to the election.

President Trump has consistently questioned whether Russia was involved, despite definitive attribution from his own intelligence services. Earlier this week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed a Trump surrogate had offered him a pardon in exchange for evidence that would cast doubt on Russian involvement in the hack.

Original Article ©Copyrights

Twitch is making it easier to understand League of Legends matches

Image: Twitch

Twitch debuted a new extension for the League of Legends community this week, allowing viewers to keep track of streamers by displaying details on their overall performance in matches and how they use their favorite champions. League of Legends is famously complicated to watch (and play), and this tool could help to make the gameplay clearer to new audiences.

If a League of Legends streamer installs the tracker, it will give viewers an interactive panel displaying the match’s scoreboard, the in-game artifacts they equip for their champions, and gameplay statistics such as how many kills or assists the streamer, their teammates, and members of the opposing team had during the match. In addition, the new extension also includes a match history, allowing viewers to see what order the streamer brought items in during the match.

The inclusion of a real-time stats tracker has been highly requested by fans of League of Legends. Riot Games’ free-to-play MOBA is one of the most viewed games on Twitch, with a concurrent daily player count estimated at 8 million. This new Twitch extension not only mainstreams the process of keeping up to date with League of Legends’ streamers, but it could potentially provide indirect ways to help viewers get better at playing the game.

Original Article ©Copyrights

Bloomberg debate video would violate Twitter’s deepfake policy, but not Facebook’s

Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In Las Vegas Ahead Of Nevada CaucusesPhoto by Mario Tama/Getty Images

As platforms prepare for the upcoming 2020 election season, Twitter and Facebook are divided on whether a video posted by the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign would violate their policies on manipulated media.

On Thursday, Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign posted a video to Twitter that was edited to make it appear as though there was a long, embarrassing silence from Bloomberg’s Democratic opponents after he mentioned that he was the only candidate to have ever started a business during Wednesday night’s debate. Candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg are shown searching for the words to respond to Bloomberg’s challenge.


— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020

Twitter told The Verge that the video would likely be labeled as manipulated media under the platform’s new deepfakes policy that officially goes into place on March 5th.

However, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed on Twitter that the same video would not violate the platform’s deepfakes rules if it were posted to Facebook or Instagram. Facebook’s policy “does not extend to content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited solely to omit or change the order of words” likely not affecting videos like Bloomberg’s. A video must also be created with an artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithm to trigger a removal.

It’s not clear as of publication if Facebook would label the video as containing false information like it did for a viral video featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year.

Bloomberg spokesperson Galia Slayen told The Verge the edits made were so flagrant as to not be deceptive. “It’s tongue in cheek,” Slayen said. “There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage.”

The edited Bloomberg clip is an early real-world example of how Twitter will classify “manipulated media” under its new policy. Earlier this month, a video posted to President Donald Trump’s feed was deceptively edited to depict House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up the president’s State of the Union speech to spite veterans and a single mother. Twitter declined to confirm whether that video would receive the same disclosure noting the manipulation to users. At the time, Facebook and YouTube said the video did not violate their platforms’ policies.

This also isn’t the first time the Bloomberg campaign has challenged social media platforms. Last week, Facebook announced that it would allow influencers and popular meme pages to post sponsored content for politicians after Bloomberg launched a meme campaign on Instagram. So long as the influencer uses the platform’s branded content tool and discloses that the post is an ad, it is allowed to run and won’t be subject to being cataloged in Facebook’s political ads library.

Original Article ©Copyrights

Trump's deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates leaving White House

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The White House on the Senate impeachment vote© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The White House on the Senate impeachment vote

By Steve Holland

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Victoria Coates, one of President Donald Trump's longest-serving national security aides, is leaving the White House soon to become a senior adviser at the Energy Department, the White House said on Thursday.

Coates has been at the Trump White House since he took office three years ago and has been a key player in the administration's deliberations on Iran and the Middle East.

But she had battled rumors that she was the author of an opinion article by someone styling themselves as "Anonymous" expressing opposition to Trump's agenda that ran in the New York Times on Sept. 5, 2018.

"The White House leadership rejects rumors that have circulated recently and does not put any stock in the suggestion that Victoria Coates is the author of (the November 2019 book) 'A Warning' or the related op-ed in the New York Times," said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Dr. Coates’ transition to the Department of Energy has been in the works for several weeks and reflects the continued trust and confidence the administration places in her as she takes on this sensitive role at the Department of Energy, where she will continue working to implement the president’s agenda," the official said.

A White House statement said the move would take effect on Monday.

"We are enthusiastic about adding Dr. Coates to DOE, where her expertise on the Middle East and national security policy will be helpful," Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a statement. “She will play an important role on our team.”

The move comes as Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, retools the National Security Council apparatus that he inherited from John Bolton, who left under fire from Trump as national security adviser last September.

O'Brien has been reducing the number of staff at the council.

He said in a statement that Coates has played a valued role in implementing Trump's Middle East policy.

“While I’m sad to lose an important member of our team, Victoria will be a big asset to Secretary Brouillette as he executes the president’s energy security policy priorities," O'Brien said.

Trump, who is on a Western swing for his re-election campaign, told reporters on Tuesday that he had his suspicions as to who "Anonymous" is, but would not elaborate.

A successor to Coates was not announced.

Original Article ©Copyrights Reuters