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Google

  • 10 incredibly cool Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts you should know

    There are more people using a touchscreen to surf the web than those using a traditional keyboard and mouse setup. But that doesn't mean that the older combination is useless -- far from it. For one, here are some cool shortcuts for Google Chrome that will improve your desktop browsing experience with a keyboard and mouse. 1. Quickly go Incognito with Ctrl+Shift+N Need to "buy some gifts online" and don't want the next computer user to see? Well, you could either right-click on the Google Chrome taskbar shortcut and choose "new incognito window" or you can use the aforementioned keyboard shortcut. Don't have anything...

  • Google Play Music gets contextually active with Concierge in SA

    Google Play Music has officially launched its Concierge service in South Africa, bringing automatically generated, contextual playlists to the country. Play Music subscribers will receive playlists based on the time of day, mood or activity when they update the app on their Android or iOS device. "Choose an activity to get options for several music stations to make whatever you're doing even better -- whether it's a station for a morning workout, songs to relieve stress during traffic, or the right mix for cooking with friends," the company said in a press statement. Other possible contextual playlists include one for Monday morning, a...

  • Google Maps ups ad game to help businesses capture mobile users

    Google is about to get a lot more evil especially if you hold an absolute hatred for advertisements. Google Maps is getting a slew of new advertising features, that will help brands, physical stores and the like reach consumers more effectively. "To help marketers succeed in this mobile-first world, we have redesigned AdWords -- from the ground-up -- and re-thought everything from creatives and bidding, to workflow and measurement," Google's SVP of ads and commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, noted on the AdWords blog. This change comes courtesy of smartphone usage trends, which has seen Google receive close to 50% of its search queries...

  • Can machines create art? Google-powered Magenta project aims to find out

    Can machines (you know, those dead hunks of nuts and bolts) actively produce what humans consider art using nothing but mathematics? This is the question that a new research group dubbed Magenta hopes to answer using Google technology as a backbone. Unveiled at Moogfest by Google Brain's Douglas Eck, the study hopes to understand the extent of computers' creativity using one of Google's own technologies -- TensorFlow. The tech, which is central to Google's DeepMind project as well, uses flow graphs to achieve "scalable machine learning." If you fell asleep during that sentence, it effectively turns mathematical information into, well, art....

  • Google Hangouts won’t be culled, will remain ‘a standalone product’ – report

    In case you went to bed early last night, Google kicked off its I/O conference with a slew of new announcements, including two more chat apps. One, dubbed Allo, will use the company's machine learning savvy to make chats with friends a richer experience, while Duo, takes the company's server and bandwidth power to a whole new level, with live video chat capabilities. You can read about both of these here. But a question that wasn't quite answered by Google's Erik Kay, who demoed both apps, was this: what about Google Hangouts? According to a Business Insider report, Hangouts is here to...

  • Google Chrome wants to block Flash Player by year-end

    Adobe's Flash Player, a plugin that has previously allowed millions of users to enjoy games and video content online, is slowly dying a well-deserved death. Of late, the package has become more of a security risk than a necessary part of the web, and companies are beginning to crack down. Google is the latest and probably most significant thus far, announcing that it will soon disallow the use of Flash content in its Chrome browser. What does this mean for Flash? Well, that could mean anything between 41% and 56% of web users (depending on which monitor's statistics you intend using)...

  • Google wants women to also be professionally represented with emojis

    Google's on a mission to makes emojis more inclusive, and that starts with a new set of proposed Unicode emojis representing women in the workplace. According to the proposal, "Google wants to increase the representation of women in emoji and would like to propose that Unicode implementers do the same. "Our proposal is to create a new set of emoji that represents a wide range of professions for women and men with a goal of highlighting the diversity of women’s careers and empowering girls everywhere." The new emojis will include the likes of female chefs, rock 'n rollers, scientists, doctors and even...

  • Google derps, thinks own Google.com domain is dodgy

    Here's a strange story. Google has a little tool for internet users to check the good standing of websites across the web. Its known as the Safe Browsing Site Checker, and aims to keep netizens out of trouble. But while you can definitely use it to check if thissiteistotallydangerous.com is a place you just shouldn't visit, some crafty Redditor thought it would be fun to check google.com instead. And the result? Well, Google thinks that Google.com is partially dangerous. The resultant warning is a bag of laughs: "Attackers on this site might try to trick you to download software or steal your information," and...

  • Google brings more specific traffic alerts to SA

    Checking your smartphone for commute times has become the norm for millions of people around the world. Google pioneered this function with Google Now, but Apple and Microsoft were quick to copy the feature for their respective platforms. The Mountain View company stepped its game up in November last year, moving beyond generic "25 minutes to work" alerts. Instead, the company delivered specific traffic notifications in Google Maps, offering spoken alerts and notifications about traffic conditions. Now, South Africans, Nigerians and Kenyans can get in on the action too, the company announced. "Just in time for you to hit the road, we're updating Google Maps with new traffic alerts to...

  • Google promises to train one million Africans in digital skills

    There's no doubting that internet penetration, digital skills and economic growth are closely entwined. So it comes as no surprise to hear that Google has announced a "commitment" to train one million Africans in digital skills in the space of a year. Google confirmed the news in a blog post and a press statement, saying it is supporting non-profit Livity Africa to run two free digital skills programmes in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. "A group of 65 Googlers from nine different countries have helped Livity develop content, provide mentorship and, in some cases, deliver the training," it added. "The internet is at the heart of...

  • Google provides seed funding to Taiwanese renewable energy program

    Google is concerned about the well being of the environment and has provided seed funding to a renewable energy company based in Taiwan. This is not the first investment in a green company either. To date, Google has acquired about two gigawatts of renewable energy, an equivalent of taking nearly one million cars off the road, making it the world's largest non-utility purchaser of renewables. Google has provided seed funding to the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) in a bid to provide all of its data centers around the world with renewable energy, a commitment the company has made in which...

  • ‘Jacob Zuma’ more popular than ‘April Fools Day’ on Google

    President Jacob Zuma tonight took to the Luthuli House podium to comment on the Constitutional Court's ruling regarding upgrades made to his Nkandla homestead. He declared his innocence, and claimed that he did not deliberately act against the Constitution. He also stated that he acknowledges and respects the Constitutional Court's ruling, which will require him to pay for some of these non-security upgrades. Ultimately however, it seems that general sentiment of the country -- at least on social media -- was that the President would resign tonight. That definitely didn't happen. Instead, there's another takeaway, at least for the data lovers...

  • Google wins, loses on April Fool’s Day

    It's that time of the year, when tech firms and news websites decide to leap on the April Fool's bandwagon. As usual, Google decided to go all-out, delivering some hits and a rather unfortunate miss. Gmail offers a "mic drop" option  The mega-popular email service introduced a rather odd mic drop function button as an alternative to the "send" button. This allowed users to add a GIF of a Minion dropping a microphone into messages. The function also allows you to "have the last word" in email threads, banishing the thread to your archives. The prank proved to be short-lived however, as the Gmail team disabled...

  • Google updates its analytics suite for more insight, less data

    If you’ve only just gotten your head around what you need and don’t need from your Google Analytics dashboard (OK so maybe it’s just me), then it’s time to put your thinking cap back on again. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Google unveiled a new suite of marketing analytics and data products on Tuesday, called the Google Analytics 360 Suite.” The update from the search giant is designed to keep the company’s products in line with the more modern ‘cloud-based’ offerings from companies like Adobe, Salesforce and IBM. The suite comprises six separate tools, some brand new and some...

  • Mzansi Experience: Google gives virtual tours of SA’s national parks

    South Africa has some of the world's best, and most diverse, national parks. Thing is, not everyone can get to them and even those who can sometimes end up going to the same places because they don't know what else is out there. In a bid to change that, Google South Africa on Tuesday announced the launch of Mzansi Experience -- Discover South Africa. The new product, which is part of its Maps offering uses images collected by the Street View Tripod and Trekker and gives people the chance to explore some of South Africa's most beautiful locations in...