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Google allows Spotify its own in-app payment option in new pilot

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  • Users can either use Spotify’s payment system or Google Play Billing.
  • Pilot to participating developers to offer additional billing option.
  • App developers have complained about Google, Apple’s payment systems.

Google on Wednesday said it would allow Spotify to use its own payment system in its Android app as part of a new pilot aimed at countering app makers’ concerns about high fees and allegedly anticompetitive behaviour.

Users who have downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify’s payment system or with Google Play Billing in some countries in the coming months.

The pilot will allow a small number of participating developers, starting with Spotify, to offer an additional billing option next to Google Play’s billing system in their apps.

“This pilot will help us to increase our understanding of whether and how user choice billing works for users in different countries and for developers of different sizes and categories,” Google said in a blog post.

Under a new competition law in South Korea last year, Google also said it would allow developers to introduce a second payment system alongside its own there.

Spotify said its trial with Google was part of a “multi-year agreement,” without elaborating.

App developers such as Spotify that sell digital goods have complained for years about having to use the official payment systems of the Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

Google and Apple collect up to 30% of each payment as a fee, which developers say is too high. Both have lowered fees in many circumstances and have said that they are needed to fund a safe and secure mobile ecosystem.

Google did not specify the fee that it would collect in the new pilot.

The company is ramping up enforcement of its Google Play Billing requirement, and it has said non-compliant apps could be blocked from publishing updates starting on Friday.

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Google uses AI to telecast the Paris Olympics in the US

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As announced in a statement by the three organizations, Google will be Team USA’s official search AI partner, becoming the first digital business to work with the sports NGO.

In an effort to draw in people who don’t watch live television and younger viewers who are used to seeing clips online, NBCUniversal, the company that broadcasts the Games in the United States, is updating its programming at the same time as the announcement.

Earlier, the media firm controlled by Comcast announced that it would introduce daily recaps of the competition that are tailored by artificial intelligence (AI) and narrated by AI versions of real people, such sports commentator Al Michaels.

NBCUniversal’s anchors will use Google Search’s AI summaries to respond to queries regarding specific sports, including how crucial pool-lane assignments are in swimming competitions, during daytime and primetime coverage of the Olympics.

Without requiring the user to click through to a website, Google’s AI summaries offer written answers to search inquiries.

Google’s Gemini AI model will be utilized by comedian Leslie Jones, who will be a pundit in Paris, to engage viewers and acquire knowledge about new sports.

The Paris Olympics get underway on July 26.

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‘e-procurement system should be implemented throughout the country’

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The e-procurement system was implemented, according to a news release from the PPRA managing director, in order to decrease public spending by increasing transparency.

Hasnat Ahmed Qureshi stated that the system would soon be adopted nationwide, including in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, following its installation in 27 ministries and 280 governmental departments.

In cooperation with the Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Accountant General Pakistan Revenues, and State Bank of Pakistan, he said, a system was planned to facilitate procurement agencies and suppliers. One-window operation and e-payment options will be provided by the system.

The PPRA managing director also noted that the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Division, which are acting in accordance with the Prime Minister’s instruction, have made significant contributions to the implementation of the e-procurement system.

8,500 government workers and vendors have received specialized training for the “E-Pak Acquisition and Disposal System” initiative, which was started with support from the World Bank in March 2023.

The Procurement Rules 2004 have undergone 25 revisions by the federal PPRA in order to provide an easy and uncomplicated procurement process.

For the convenience of procurement engineers and suppliers, the PPRA has released high-quality bidding documents and procurement regulations. Additionally, help desks that offer daily technical support to departments and suppliers have been set up.

After successfully registering for free on the e-procurement system, about 13,000 suppliers and commercial entities are now qualified to participate in federal government procurement processes.

The e-procurement system, which would assist the provinces in ensuring efficient and transparent procurement procedures, has been given to Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the federal PPRA. Since July 1, the Punjabi government has successfully brought the e-procurement system into the province in an effort to guarantee openness.

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The China-Pakistan alliance aims to introduce environmentally friendly solar-powered electric bicycles.

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Recently, a preliminary cooperation deal was made to bring eco-friendly solar e-bikes to Pakistan by Road King, a well-known electric scooter company in Pakistan, and AGAO Solar Mobility, a China-based startup that specialises in solar-powered scooters.

With solar panels installed, solar scooters are environmentally friendly electric scooters. Instead of using conventional charging methods, these panels use solar energy to recharge the scooter’s battery. The Chinese company said that the short-distance, carbon-emission-free scooter and solar energy combination is dedicated to this goal.

The demand for products in Pakistan’s local transportation industry, trends in product development, and particular cooperative methods were all extensively discussed by the parties at the conference, according to CEN.

The Chinese firm promised to help Road King with product optimisation, marketing support, and technical support for solar-powered e-bikes. Developing superior transport products in tandem with the needs of the regional market is the aim.

As the delegation from Road King pointed out, we will aggressively pursue collaboration with the Chinese side and bring solar e-bikes to the Pakistani market. The high efficiency and eco-friendliness of solar e-bikes perfectly match Pakistan’s present need for environmentally friendly transportation.

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