Google’s new AI turns text into music

Google researchers have made an AI that can generate minutes-long musical pieces from text prompts, and can even transform a whistled or hummed melody into other instruments, similar to how systems like DALL-E generate images from written prompts. The model is called MusicLM, and while you can’t play around with it for yourself, the company has uploaded a bunch of samples that it produced using the model. MusicLM can even simulate human vocals, and while it seems to get the tone and overall sound of voices right, there’s a quality to them that’s definitely off. That quality isn’t as clear in the example above, but this one illustrates it pretty well. It’s always possible the tech could show up in one of Google’s fun musical experiments at some point, but for now, the only people who will be able to make use of the research are other people building musical AI systems. Google says it’s publicly releasing a dataset with around 5,500 music-text pairs, which could help when training and evaluating other musical AIs.

Angry Miao’s quirky new keyboard saves space by using a touch panel for arrow keys

Angry Miao is at it again with another unique mechanical keyboard that costs a small fortune. This time it thought, “Hey, wouldn’t you love to use perfectly straight swipe gestures instead of physical arrow keys?” This new board is called the AM Compact Touch. Angry Miao calls it a 65 percent board, but it doesn’t have arrow keys. Instead, it has a small touchpad on the front for swiping your up, down, left, and right directions. It’s also a mixed bag of impeccable build quality, excellent typing feel, and some confounding design decisions. It’s set to launch in February, ranging in price from $398 to a hefty $615 depending on the chosen build and bundle. At first glance, the AM Compact Touch looks similar to the Happy Hacking Keyboard, a unique mechanical keyboard with a hardcore fanbase that loves its layout and thocky-sounding Topre switches. While the symmetrical design with “blockers” (blank spots in the corners where the Control keys usually go) is pure HHKB, the Compact Touch lacks its other hallmarks, like a split Backspace key or a Control key in place of Caps Lock.

Google’s Clear Calling feature is now available to Pixel 7 and 7 Pro owners

When Google announced its new Pixel 7 and 7 Pro smartphones, it promoted a feature called Clear Calling that would improve audio on hard-to-hear phone calls. The feature wasn’t ready when the phones went on sale, but in December 2022, Google made it available for its two latest devices via feature drop. Here’s what Clear Calling does and how to enable it – which you should definitely do because it’s very good! Clear Calling is designed to reduce loud noises coming through from the other end of the line when you’re on a phone call. It only kicks in if the person you’re talking to is in a noisy environment, like a busy street or a cafe. When that happens, clear calling acts as a kind of noise cancellation to minimise the background sounds and make the person you’re talking to easier to hear. That’s the good news and the bad news is that Clear Calling is strictly limited to the Pixel 7-series phones and won’t be made available for earlier Pixel devices because it relies on the updated Tensor G2 chipset in the company’s newest phones.