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Google

  • Google Crowdsource app wants your help to better Google’s services

    Google Crowdsource is the company's latest app that harnesses the power of the people. It aims to leverage user input to test, and improve, various Google services. The app sneakily appeared on the Google Play Store this week without much fanfare, and allows users to effectively become unofficial Google employees. The app provides users with tasks, which includes image transcription, handwriting recognition, translations and validation of said translations, and Maps. Google Crowdsource is a new app that turns you into an unofficial employee These tasks last anything from five to ten minutes. This is not the first time that Google has ventured into...

  • Google Hangouts will be punted for business use, company exec explains

    Google, after I/O 2016, vehemently denied it will be killing Hangouts after it announced two new chat apps, but the company has been mum on what that meant for the service. Thanks to new remarks from Google's Nick Fox, we can now prepare to see Hangouts rebranded as a business-orientated service. Speaking to Engadget's Nathan Ingraham, the VP of communications Fox explains that Google's two new chat apps -- video calling service Duo, and search-enhanced chat app Allo -- will pilot the company's consumer messaging division. On Gearburn: Google I/O 2016: Allo and Duo apps revealed Hangouts will be refocused as a...

  • Google Duo video calling app now available in South Africa

    Google's new video calling app, Google Duo, is now officially available on the Play Store in South Africa. Google Duo was announced earlier this year at the company's I/O 2016 conference in California, where it's companion chat app Allo was also unveiled. Duo allows users to place video calls to other users in similar vein to Apple's Facetime app. Duo also ties to phone numbers, which means users don't necessarily need a Google account to use the service. Calls are also encrypted from end-to-end, and to further set it apart from other chat apps, it has a "Knock Knock" feature, which...

  • Google’s Alternative Olympics medal table sheds light on small countries’ achievements

    After winning 26 gold medals, it's not delusional to believe the US is running away the Rio Olympic Games. At the time of writing, the 554-strong team have collectively won 69 medals, which dwarfs Great Britain and China's achievements. Still, the medals table doesn't really take into account other factors, like population, a country's general affluence or even, uh, overall Google Search rankings. That's where Google's alternative medals table comes into play. Ranking teams by more than just the "look at all my medals" philosophy, the visualisation allows visitors to understand just how big an achievement winning a single medal (gold...

  • Google wants to project holograms of super famous people using drones

    It seems Google's mad scientists have been playing a little Killzone: Shadow Fall recently. The Mountain View tech giant wants to build smart drones that will output images onto screens, or virtual people onto stages. "A mobile teleprescence system," remarks Google's patent application, "may include a frame, a propulsion system operable couples to the frame to propel the frame through a designated space". This frame will also include an "image output device" while it will be propelled by "rotors at opposite end portions". But why on earth would anyone or any company want to use something like this? Other than it being...

  • Google Phone app now warns users of spam calls

    Great news for those constantly hassled by insurances companies who want your money (and soul). This week, everyone's non-evil company Google announced that it will now warn users of incoming spam callers through its Google Phone app. Now, this announcement won't be useful for everyone. The app -- available natively through Google's Android One and Nexus programmes -- is not yet available for those not running on Android Marshmallow or above. Still, it's a tale of the future. On Gearburn: Android One arrives in Africa with the $90 Infinix Hot 2 The company notes that the feature can now be switched on...

  • Google Maps now features ‘Areas Of Interest’ with cleaner aesthetic

    Google Maps' latest update now allows users to get a more up to date sense of what's happening in their surrounding areas. It also brings a few UI improvements. To achieve a cleaner look, the company has gone for a more subtle and balanced colour scheme and removed unwanted elements like road outlines. The new look, according to the company, allows users to see helpful and actionable information like traffic and transit a lot clearer. "We’ve improved the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations, and more to make them more distinguishable from other things on the map, helping...

  • 11 Google Now voice commands worth remembering

    Voice assistants are all the rage now but, alongside Siri, Google Now has played a major role in the current trend of smart, voice-enabled apps. There are loads of commands, queries and questions you can pose Google's effort, but which ones are worth noting? We already know commands like texting/calling contacts, weather forecasts and trivia answers, but here are some more interesting ones. Find sports scores Google doesn't care about the sports I like (MMA, Formula 1), but did you know you can ask it about scores/results for more traditional fare? "Who won Euro 2016?" or "what's the score between England and Pakistan?" will serve up...

  • Google Search improves for holiday makers, simplifies online shopping

    Google wants to make searching, booking and paying for your December holiday an easier affair, according to its new additions to Google Search. The company this week announced that it will "make travel planning and mobile shopping easier" thanks to a few new ad-centric features. Firstly, the company's beefing up its search algorithm to give users more acute holiday-making results tuned to specific queries. For instance, Google notes that it'll "now give people the option to filter Hotel search results based on specific needs". Google's simplifying jet-setting "For example, travelers can filter based on rating or price with one tap on their...

  • Google Hangouts for Android gains video messaging, loses SMS merging

    Google vehemently denied at its I/O 2016 conference that it would be ditching Hangouts in favour of its two new chat apps. And good news, because it doesn't seem that it was lying. The company has now added video messaging to Google Hangouts, which puts it in line with some of the other major chats apps. And speaking of major chat apps, the iOS version of Hangouts has had this feature since 2014. According to 9to5 Google, a non-official APK is currently available for those brave enough to dally with video messaging. The feature works similarly to sending a voice note...

  • Google now shows song lyrics within search, thanks to LyricFind

    If you annoy family members with your awful carpool karaoke sessions, blurting aloud the wrong words to Taylor's hit new song, Google can now help. Partnering with LyricFind, Google will now display lyrics directly in search results, negating the need to visit countless lyrics site. Although that does sounds pretty awful for those countless lyrics sites, it is great for artists. "I can’t get into the rates, but we expect it to be millions of dollars generated for publishers and songwriters as a result of this. It’s all based on usage. Royalties are paid based on the number of times a lyric is...

  • Google uses 700 trillion pixels to update Maps, Earth

    We often take Google Maps and Google Earth for granted, but the Mountain View company has updated its cloud-free mosaic with some wonderfully sharp images this week. Yep, the company has taken advantage of new processing techniques and the Landsat 8 satellite to deliver an updated global mosaic - and the results are rather impressive. Google said it sifted through over a petabyte of data to deliver this new mosaic, coming three years after its original Earth mosaic. It added that the petabyte of information was made up of 700 trillion individual pixels. "To put that in perspective, 700 trillion pixels is 7000 times more pixels than the...

  • 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...