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Google

  • Google Play Music launches in SA at R50 a month

    Google Play Music, the technology giant's music streaming service, is officially live in South Africa. Set to cost users R49.99 a month, the service has been live in other markets for some time now and arrives in South Africa considerably later than a number of other international players. Using the subscription model, Google says that Play Music allows users to create an ad-free, interactive radio station from any song or artist. As well as being able to curate your own playlists, you can browse recommendations from Google’s music team and explore songs by genre. Read more: Apple Music now...

  • Google Calendar gets Reminders, enables tracking to-dos in app

    The Google Calendar app, both for Android and iOS, is getting a new Reminders feature. According to Google, this feature will allow users to create reminders in Google Calendar, enabling the user to track all scheduled events and appointments. Google says that Reminders will stick around on users' calendars until they have been completed. Instead of going away when the set date passes, like normal events, Reminders will sit on top of the calendar, making it easy to see them, ensuring that users do not miss an important appointment. Once a task is completed, a user can swipe the...

  • Google Search now allows you to star, bookmark images

    Google Search is receiving a new feature. As it matures, it can only get better, and Google appears to be committed to seeing this happen. In the latest update, Google has introduced a new feature to mobile searches that allows users to bookmark images from their mobile browser. It's basically a Pinterest for Google Search. For the feature to work, users need to be logged into a Google account. The process of doing so is seamless too. When a user finds an image they want to save, all they have to do is to select and star it and the image will...

  • It is time to awaken the force within with Google’s ‘Star Wars’ app makeover

    The world is made of the Dark Side and the Light Side, many will argue. They will too argue that you must make a choice and choose a side and face the consequences of your choice. Google has, ahead of the release of the latest Star Wars movie, released Dark Side and Light Side themes that pay tribute to one of the most iconic movie franchises of all times. Google is urging its users to choose between the Light Side and Dark Side. Google says that this is its tribute to Star Wars: Episode VII. Upon choosing, user’s will...

  • Google Photos update lets you free up space, downgrade photos

    Out of Google’s annual event this year, Google Photos, bundled out of the underwhelming Google+ was an impressive innovation. Over the months since its launch it has served users well. To follow up on that success, Google Photos is today receiving an update. The latest update to Google Photos brings features to the Google Photos app, SD-card enabled devices and the web. Google Photos users on the web will now be able to downgrade photos from original quality to high quality. This feature downgrades already uploaded photos from original quality to high quality. This can be done by visiting the Google...

  • Google Voice Search now understands superlatives, times and more complex questions

    Google has announced that its search engine is getting better at understanding the way people speak and what they say. Google says that the Google app does this by understanding the meaning of what you are saying, breaking down a query to understand the semantics of each piece. The responses, Google says, to questions will now be focus more on the intent of the entire question. Read more: The symbiosis of content marketing and SEO The company says that Google Search will now better understand superlatives, times and complicated questions. "The Google app is starting to truly understand the meaning of what you’re...

  • Why every household absolutely needs a Chromecast

    I enjoy media, I enjoy technology and I really enjoy when the two cross paths. One could be forgiven for assuming that this intersection happens often, and it does, but it’s not often that it’s executed nearly as well as Chromecast. That is why I think Chromecast is the one gadget I would recommend, to anyone. Sure, the Google-built dongle is already in its second iteration, but I don’t actually know how many South Africans are currently casting. I’ve mentioned this to a few people, but I think that television’s biggest competition at the moment is the Internet. Think about...

  • Protecting your personal brand with Google: what you need to know

    Did you know that your personal brand is your most valuable asset online. It your public profile that showcases who you are and it’s visible to everyone. When people are looking for answers, they usually turn to Google for information and solutions. What if you were in a meeting and people searched your name online to learn more about who you are and what you stand for. Will they be impressed with the results? Are you impressed with the results? When was the last time you searched for your name on Google? Is the information presented accurate and up...

  • Google to launch hundreds of internet-enabled balloons in 2016

    Google's Project Loon never seizes to impress. Though the initiative started testing about two years ago, the US internet giant's moonshot of sending internet-beaming balloons into our stratospheres have just gone up a notch. According to the BBC, the internet giant is planning to launch a string of 300 balloons, enough to create continuous on-the-ground coverage of a section of the world's Southern Hemisphere. Each balloon will cover around 40km in diameter, with speeds of up to 10 megabits a second. The longest a balloon has remained afloat has been 744 days. "We hope next year to build our first continuous ring...

  • Google launches Beta test for the Google app

    Google has opened its Google app to beta testers, bumping it from version 5.3 to 5.4. It is not clear yet what the plan is from Google, but one can speculate that it has something up its sleeve. The Google app is a significant part of the Android ecosystem. With the app, users can perform voice commands, and access Google Now, Now on Tap (if running Marshmallow), traffic updates, sport updates, news alerts, etc. There is no indication of a major overhaul of the current app, but a beta test usually hints at an ambition to introduce new capabilities for...

  • Google introduces Accelerated Mobile Pages for rich, faster content on mobile

    Google has announced a project called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which is an open source HTML code framework that publishers and developers can adopt into their websites and apps. The AMP code will work across multiple browsers, apps and devices. AMP HTML is a new open framework that is built from existing web technologies, which allows websites to build light-weight webpages. Google, with this initiative, wants not only to bring rich content like video, animation, smart ads and other graphics to mobile web but to optimise it so that it can load faster on mobile web. This appears a lot like Facebook’s...

  • Weekly Round Up #37: Google event, Takealot raising 1bn, Tesla Model X and Edward Snowden on Twitter

    Welcome to Weekly Roundup, our podcast discussing the tech trends, innovation and news from the last few days. This week on BurnCast, Stuart Thomas, Jacques Coetzee, Graham van de Made and Andy Walker discuss the Google event, Takealot, Edward Snowden and the Tesla Model X. Earlier this week, Google laid out the red carpet and announced new devices. You can watch the event here. Amongst the exciting announcements Google made were new Nexus devices: the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, and its Google Pixel C. The team discusses the possibility of the Nexus devices coming to South Africa, the similarities of...

  • Google acquires Jibe Mobile, a leading provider of Rich Communication Services

    Google has acquired Jibe Mobile, a startup that is a leading provider in Rich Communication Services. Google is in the process of implementing RCS on Android and Jibe Mobile's expertise will be useful. “Deploying RCS to create an even better messaging experience on Android will take time and collaboration throughout the wireless industry, but we’re excited to get started” wrote Mike Dodd, Android RCS Software Engineer and Minister of Messaging. Read more: Android is now used by 1.4 billion people worldwide Though instant messaging services have had much innovation, SMS has been left behind over the last little while. RCS is...

  • Google plans to roll-out WiFi to 400 train stations across India

    It comes as little surprise that Google plans to provide public WiFi in 400 train stations across India. Right now, India is a fast-growing market that tech companies are taking advantage of. The news comes at the same time Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is touring the US. As part of his trip, Modi visited Google's headquarters and also made a stop at Facebook for a Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg. The roll-out for the project, says Google CEO Sundar Pichai -- an Indian native -- will see 400 train stations across India receive WiFi. The plan is to have 100 of...

  • Google Maps takes a giant step into Zomato’s territory with individual restaurant recommendations

    Google Maps has always been about giving users more than detailed directions, and now it seems to be heading into Zomato’s territory. The internet giant announced that Google Maps on Android is receiving an update to its explore feature that will give users curated restaurant recommendations. Google says that the update will allow Android users in the US and UK to enjoy curated restaurant recommendations from Google Maps. The recommendations have options like Lunch, Breakfast, Drinks, Dinner, Best spots for dinner with kids this weekend. Read more: Uber and Zomato tie-up to simplify booking taxis to restaurants, even...