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Google

  • 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...

  • 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...