The Face of Nintendo’s Transformation Is Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Nintendo is enjoying a highly successful year. “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” achieved record-breaking success, and Switch sales continue to rise, even in the console’s sixth year. Additionally, the recent opening of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in California has been a significant milestone. However, these achievements pale in comparison to the buzz surrounding their iconic mustachioed plumber.

This summer, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” made nearly $1.4 billion worldwide at the box office, making it the second-highest-grossing animated film in history. Now, Nintendo is set to release “Super Mario Bros. Wonder,” the latest installment in the franchise, which has received rave reviews from critics.

The journey to this point has been a long one for Mario. Created by developer Shigeru Miyamoto four decades ago, this unassuming Italian plumber, known for saving princesses and making remarkable jumps, has become a beloved character. After a rather forgettable live-action movie in 1993, Mario found his true home on Nintendo’s gaming consoles. With hit games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., Mario’s popularity continued to soar as Nintendo expanded its horizons both within and outside the gaming industry.

Nintendo of America president, Doug Bowser, reflects on the limitless potential of the Mario franchise, highlighting the company’s evolution from solely focusing on game development to embracing a broader spectrum of possibilities.

Mario’s reach is extensive, extending beyond video games to various aspects of popular culture. He has become a Lego minifig, a clothing brand, a cereal, and even a character on Saturday Night Live. Fans are enthralled by details like who voices Mario and even the character’s physical attributes. As Nintendo’s most recognizable and beloved character, Mario essentially serves as a mascot for the company. His likability, cuteness, sense of adventure, and approachability make him a perfect ambassador.

The development of “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” was guided by the principle of approachability. The game’s setup is familiar, with Mario and his companions visiting the Flower Kingdom and facing Bowser’s disruptive presence. Players must collect Wonder seeds to defeat Bowser. Nintendo aimed to make this game accessible to both longtime fans and newcomers, particularly those who are experiencing Mario for the first time.

The game features 12 characters, including options that are less susceptible to damage, making it easier for novice players to enjoy the game. The addition of co-op mode, offering both local and online play, allows players to collaborate to complete the game.

“Super Mario Bros. Wonder” marks the return of the series to side-scrolling platforming after a decade. With players more knowledgeable than ever about Nintendo’s approach to Mario games, the title had to meet high expectations. The game introduces “Wonder” elements, which add a fresh and unexpected twist to the classic Mario experience, surprising players with new challenges and power-ups.

Looking ahead, Nintendo is not merely a video game developer but a broader entertainment company. The success of the Mario movie illustrates the potential of expanding Nintendo’s intellectual property into different media. However, while comparisons to entertainment giants like Disney are inevitable, Nintendo remains committed to respecting Mario’s legacy and ensuring any expansion aligns with his popularity and beloved status. Rushing to market with activations outside of video games is not in their strategy; they want to protect and preserve what makes Mario so cherished as they venture into new territories.

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WhatsApp Disappearing Voice Messages: How to Send Them

Initially, we had phone calls, then the shift to texting, resulting in a pause in actual conversations. However, something was still missing: phone calls can be time-consuming, and texting isn’t ideal for conveying lengthy thoughts. Thus, the voice message emerged as a simple way to share spontaneous messages without committing to a full call or laboriously typing on your touchscreen.

But, just like with any form of messaging, there are instances when you don’t want these voice notes to be stored indefinitely. Maybe there was a mistake in your message, and you’d rather not have it lingering around after one listen. Or perhaps you have some confidential information to share and want to avoid leaving any evidence behind.

This is where the “view once” feature typically comes into play. You can use it to send messages, photos, and videos for one-time viewing, erasing them from the app afterward, similar to how Snapchat operates, but within a WhatsApp conversation. However, voice messages have been excluded from this “view once” feature since their introduction to the app—until now.

WhatsApp is currently testing the ability to send voice messages using the “view once” feature, meaning that as soon as the recipient listens to it, the message vanishes. It works similarly to voice messages on iOS, where, by default, they delete two minutes after being played unless the recipient chooses to keep them.

The catch is that this feature isn’t available to the general public yet. To test it, you need to be part of the WhatsApp beta program. Unfortunately, if you’re not already enrolled in the iOS beta, you’re out of luck because it’s at full capacity. However, the Android beta is open to all, allowing anyone on that platform to give it a try. According to WABetaInfo, the feature is being rolled out to WhatsApp beta for Android versions and, as well as WhatsApp beta for iOS version

Here’s how to send disappearing voice messages in WhatsApp:

  1. Ensure you’re running the beta version of WhatsApp.
  2. Open a WhatsApp chat to which you want to send a voice message.
  3. Press and hold the microphone button to start recording.
  4. Swipe up to enable hands-free recording.
  5. While in this mode, you’ll see a new icon labeled (1). Tap it to send your voice note in “view once” mode.
  6. Note that you won’t be able to listen to your voice message after sending it this way, so it’s a good idea to review it before tapping (1).
  7. Once the recipient listens to or dismisses the message, it will disappear.
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To make it simpler to explore the web, Google is modifying Chrome’s search bar

Google is implementing several alterations to the operation of the search and address bar, commonly known as the omnibox, in the Chrome browser. While these changes may appear minor individually, they collectively reveal an important and somewhat unexpected trend: Google is simplifying web navigation, reducing the need for frequent Google searches.

Whether you’re using Chrome on desktop or mobile, the browser will now attempt to rectify your URL typos. For example, if you type “” or “,” you will receive autocomplete suggestions based on the correct website rather than the misspelled domains. The omnibox’s autocomplete feature will also become more intelligent, predicting the site you’re seeking based on keywords instead of simply guessing the URL you’re typing. It will work with non-Google sites as well. Additionally, Chrome can now search within your bookmarks for relevant sites and files based on your input.

These enhancements are driven by your browsing history and bookmarks, making Chrome more personalized. The final change is a web-wide shift that may seem unusual for Google: when you begin typing the name of a popular website, the omnibox will display that site’s URL in the suggestions list, enabling you to select it and navigate directly to the site. This change has already been rolling out and should now be accessible to everyone.

While these are beneficial features for web navigation, they are likely to reduce the number of Google searches conducted. Navigational search, which involves people Googling the name of a website and clicking on the top result, is a fundamental element of the search business. Typos also generate more search queries than you might think. In the past, the Chrome team has shied away from features like these, concerned that they might decrease the volume of daily Google searches.

However, a few recent developments may make Google more open to such features. Google is currently embroiled in a significant antitrust lawsuit, alleging that it operates as a search monopoly and abuses its authority to the detriment of consumers. Furthermore, as Google embraces AI through the Search Generative Experience, each query becomes more costly since it needs to consult its extensive language models for answers. Many of these navigational searches don’t contain advertisements, so Google might actually welcome the opportunity to divert users from its search results page. Ultimately, maintaining Chrome’s dominance, which keeps Google as the primary search engine for most users, may outweigh the minor trade-offs in features.

Alongside these changes, Google is refining the visual layout of the omnibox to enhance readability and loading speed. It appears that Google is subtly downplaying the importance of the search results page in Chrome, while emphasizing the address bar and suggestions dropdown to expedite web navigation. This shift may potentially lead to sponsored autocompletes, but that’s a concern for another day. In numerous ways, the way we search the internet is evolving, and even Google must adapt swiftly to keep pace.

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Google releases new tools for Maps, Search, and Assistant that are more accessible

Google has unveiled a series of accessibility updates for Maps, Search, and Assistant, along with expanded availability of certain camera-based features on Pixel devices. A significant focus of these updates is on enhancing wheelchair accessibility. Users on iOS and Android can now request stair-free walking routes on Maps, a feature that benefits travelers with luggage or strollers. This globally available feature is accessible as long as Google has sufficient data for the region.

If you have the wheelchair-accessible option enabled in your transit preferences, it will automatically apply to walking routes. Otherwise, you can access stair-free directions when requesting a walking route by tapping the three dots at the top of the screen and enabling the “wheelchair-accessible” option.

Wheelchair-accessible information will also be incorporated into other Google products, such as Maps for Android Auto and vehicles with Google integrated. When searching for a place, a wheelchair icon will appear if the location offers a step-free entrance, accessible restrooms, parking, or seating.

Additionally, Google aims to make it easier to find and support businesses owned by individuals with disabilities. If a business identifies itself as “disabled-owned,” this information will be displayed in Maps and Search listings, similar to other labels for Asian-owned, Black-owned, Latino-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.

Google is also introducing screen reader capabilities in Lens in Maps (formerly called Search with Live View). This augmented reality tool helps users locate ATMs, restrooms, and restaurants by using the smartphone’s camera. When the screen reader is enabled, users will receive auditory feedback about places around them, including the name and category of the place and its proximity. This feature, designed for the visually impaired and those with low vision, will be available on iOS and later this year on Android.

For Pixel devices, the Magnifier app uses the camera to zoom in on distant real-world details or make text on menus and documents more readable through color filters, brightness, and contrast settings. The app is available for Pixel 5 and newer devices, excluding the Pixel Fold.

Google is also expanding the capabilities of Guided Frame, available on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. This feature recognizes pets, dishes, and documents, in addition to faces, to assist people who are blind or have low vision in capturing high-quality photos. The Guided Frame update will come to Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 devices later this year.

Furthermore, Google is introducing more customizable Assistant Routines, allowing users to add a Routine to their home screen as a shortcut, customize its size, and personalize it with their own images. This customization is particularly beneficial for individuals with cognitive differences and disabilities.

Lastly, Google has brought the feature to detect typos and suggest websites to the desktop Chrome address bar to Chrome on iOS and Android. This feature aims to assist people with dyslexia, language learners, and those prone to typos in finding what they are looking for.

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The new generative AI tool from Adobe is innovative for video editing

Adobe’s suite of creative applications, including Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere, has long served as the bedrock of many creative professionals’ daily workflows. With the advent of generative AI, Adobe has been working to streamline these workflows, and the latest development is poised to significantly assist video editors.

During Adobe MAX, the company’s annual creative conference, Adobe offered a glimpse of Project Fast Fill for video, a tool that will empower users to make video edits using simple text prompts.

With Project Fast Fill, users will have the ability to perform tasks like removing or adding objects or altering background elements by merely entering quick text prompts. These tasks traditionally demanded intricate video editing techniques.

Adobe explains that Project Fast Fill leverages its widely used Generative Fill technology, bringing generative AI capabilities to its video editing applications.

In the demonstrations presented during the event, the potential applications of the tool were evident. In the first example, Adobe research engineer Gabriel Huang seamlessly removed people from the background of a video. In the second example, Huang added a tie to a man walking toward the camera by inputting the text prompt “tie” into Generative Fill after selecting the area of the collar.

Generative Fill generated four different video results in both instances, allowing Huang to choose the best one to create the final product. Remarkably, the tool applies edits not just to a single frame but automatically extends them to all frames of the video while adapting to changes in lighting, shadows, object movement, and more.

Though Adobe has not provided details about when Project Fast Fill will become available, the company describes these sneak peeks as “cutting-edge, experimental technologies that could someday become features in Adobe products.”

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How to Create AI Images in Google Search With a Text Description

Dedicated AI image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney popularized the idea of generating images from text descriptions. Since then, various tools and platforms have emerged, offering different methods of creating images with artificial intelligence.

However, Google is now exploring the concept of generating AI images directly within its search engine, known as the AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE).

Bringing AI-Generated Images to Google Search

In August 2023, Google introduced the SGE feature, which provides users with answers to their queries directly on the search page. Google has expanded this functionality to include AI image generation.

This update enables users to generate images using generative AI by simply entering a text description in Google Search. You describe your concept, and SGE will display up to four generated images in the search results. You can then select one of these images and further edit the description to add more details and refine your vision.

How to Create AI Images Directly in Google Search

To use Google’s Search Generative Experience, you need to opt into the feature first, which you can do on the Google Search Labs page. As of now, SGE is available only to US residents aged 18 and older.

Once you’ve opted in, follow these steps to start creating AI images using SGE:

  1. Visit and enter a description of what you want to visualize in the search box. For example, you can type “create an image of a flying car.”
  2. Press Enter or click the search icon. Up to four generated images will appear in the search results.
  3. Click on any of the images to view an expanded version of your query. You can also modify the query by clicking the Edit button in the expanded image view, allowing you to adjust or add more details to your request.
  4. When you’re satisfied with your image, you can download it by selecting Export > Download. Alternatively, you can export it to your Google Drive by clicking Export > Google Drive.

Tips for Using Google’s SGE for AI Image Generation

To make the most of this feature, consider the following tips:

Structure your query as a prompt: To activate Google’s AI image generator, structure your query as a prompt. Begin with action verbs like “create,” “draw,” “make,” “generate,” and so on.

Get creative and have fun: SGE not only serves as a useful tool but also encourages you to explore your imagination and creativity. Experiment with generating images that are humorous, surreal, or impossible in real life. If you need inspiration, our AI art prompt ideas article can provide suggestions.

Maintain respectfulness: While SGE is an enjoyable and practical tool, it’s not designed to generate harmful or offensive content. If your query is potentially harmful, SGE will not produce any images and will request that you try something else.

Create AI Images Effortlessly with Google’s SGE

Google’s SGE is a convenient tool for those seeking a quick and effortless way to generate images. Whether you have professional, educational, or personal image needs, or simply want to explore your creative side, this feature allows you to transform your text into images with ease and speed.

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Threads is introducing a free edit button

Meta’s Threads, in its bid to compete with Twitter, is fulfilling one of its most sought-after requests – the addition of an edit button.

As announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Threads will commence the rollout of an edit button today for all its users. This option enables users to make edits to a post within a short window after it’s been posted. During the initial five minutes, you can edit the post as much as needed, but after that period, editing is restricted.

This feature is accessible on both mobile apps and the web and is already available to some users.

It’s worth noting that while this functionality is free, it comes with a more stringent time limit compared to Twitter’s version. Threads does not display a history of edited posts, making it less evident which posts have been altered. Instead, there is merely an indicator to show whether or not a post has been edited.

Additionally, a new feature called “Voice Threads” is rolling out today, allowing users to attach an audio clip to a post. Although demonstrated by Tom Warren, it appears that this feature may not be widely available, especially on Android.

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The official release of Android 14 is now available for Pixel smartphones

Android 14 has made its debut today, coinciding with the launch of a new Pixel phone. The operating system is currently being distributed to compatible Pixel devices, including the Pixel 4a (5G) and all versions of the Pixel 5, 6, and 7, as well as the Fold and Tablet.

This year’s standout feature is a somewhat customizable home screen. Users can select from various lock screen clock styles and personalize the two bottom app shortcuts. This update appears to be in response to iOS 16’s lock screen widgets, although it is not as customizable. Android 14 is one of the smallest Android releases in recent memory, making it challenging to pinpoint a standout feature beyond the home screen customization.

Google’s blog post mentions a new wallpaper picker as the first feature. On the Pixel 8, Android now includes a built-in AI-based wallpaper creator for text-to-image conversion, possibly in line with Google’s emphasis on AI technology. Additionally, a new monochrome theme is available for users seeking a change from the vibrant “Material You” colors.

Other updates include a redesigned battery charging indicator in the status bar, enhancements to Android’s runtime, the ability to activate the screen and camera LED flash for notifications, Ultra HDR image support, a “Health Connect” data repository for fitness apps, and the launch of the phone-as-PC-webcam feature.

Android 14 is currently rolling out to Pixel devices, and Google anticipates that many of its partners will be ready to implement the update before 2024. However, there is no rush for users to adopt this update, as it represents one of the more modest Android releases in recent history.

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