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Google

  • 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...

  • Google Play Movies officially available on South African screens

    Hot on the heels of Google Music's South African bow, Google has now announced that Google Play Movies is available in the country. The service will allow users to "to rent or purchase movies for watching on their phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs," explains the press release. It's not quite a streaming service however, and it doesn't offer any series at launch. There's also a massive hole left by the lack of local South African content, but Google SA "hopes to make these available soon." Read more: Google Play Music launches in SA at R50 a month The service does however offer...

  • Google Translate now supports over 100 languages

    Google Translate is turning ten this year and to celebrate coming of age it has added 13 new languages to its translating capabilities. When the service launched in 2016, it could only translate between English and Arabic, Chinese and Russian. From today, 103 languages will be covered which includes 99% of the online population, according to Google. The 13 new languages add 120-million new people to the billions who can already communicate with Translate all over the world, Googles notes. Late last year, Google announced that more than one million people speaking 117 languages had made 50-million contributions through the Google Translate...

  • Are Google’s tax chickens coming home to roost?

    A couple of years ago, a furore arose across the European Union and Great Britain in particular. The leaders of these countries, you see, had found out that some of the world's biggest tech companies -- including Amazon, Google, and Apple -- were paying tiny amounts of tax on incredibly large sums of revenue. In the UK, for instance, it emerged that it had paid just £6-million on £2.5-billion worth of sales in the country. That in turn led to a hearing in which a UK parliamentarian called Google “devious”, “unethical” and “evil”. A former Google UK executive...