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Google

  • Google brings Home Alone back to life with new ad

    Google has released an ad for its Google Assistant titled Home Alone Again, featuring the original star of the classic Christmas movie Home Alone. Macaulay Culkin returns as the adult version of Kevin McCallister, who is alone at home with only his Google Assistant for company. "The video features a modern-day Kevin, who shows us what happens when he finds that he has the house to himself, and the Google Assistant on his side," explains Google on its website. The video shows Kevin mirroring his younger self as he enjoys his alone time, while also using the Google Assistant to his advantage. "He...

  • Tips and tricks to make you Google account even more secure

    I bet we all like to believe that your Google account is super secure, especially since we use such detailed and complicated passwords. But in 2018, complicated passwords just aren't enough. There are a slew of other measures you should think about putting in place before you can sleep soundly at night. We scrape the surface below. For the love of... activate 2FA Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the first thing you should activate when creating a new account on the internet. When it's enabled, you'll be asked for your password in addition to a special code sent to you or created by...

  • South Africa searched for the strangest things this year on Google

    Google has released its 2018's Year in Search report, a look at the most searched for terms, queries, and trends that took place around the world in the past 365 days. "As each year closes, Google Trends data reflects not only these everyday queries, but also the moments, people, ideas, and questions that made that trip around the sun so unique, " said Google on its news blog. Global search trends saw the world delving into things like politics, celebrity deaths and all things royalty related.  But South Africans on the other hand had their sights set in a somewhat different direction....

  • Google Maps’ For You tab is now live in South Africa

    Google Maps' For You tab is rolling out to a select number of iOS users, and almost all Android users around the world. “Today, the For You tab is making its way over to Google Maps in over 40 countries on iOS and 130+ new countries on Android,” the company explained on its blog. The tab in a new addition to Google Maps that helps users find things to do, based on their searches and visits. If you follow a particular establishment, its details will now be visible in the For You tab too. “The For You tab is designed to be a...

  • Security bug brings Google+’s death forward by four months

    Google+, the company's social network, will be killed off sooner than initially planned, after a security-threatening bug reared its ugly head last month. “We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API,” the company confirmed in an announcement. “No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way,” it claimed. Due to this issue, the social network for consumers will be shuttered in April 2019,...

  • Google Allo will shut down in March 2019

    Google has announced that it will be shutting down its smart-messaging service Allo which it launched just over two years ago. The decision comes after the company “paused investment in Allo” earlier this year, and brought its features to Messages -- Google’s SMS-based messaging service for Android. “Given Messages' continued momentum, we’ve decided to stop supporting Allo to focus on Messages,” the company explained in the announcement. Features such as desktop support, GIFs and Smart Reply have already moved from Allo to Messages. “We've learned a lot from Allo, particularly what’s possible when you incorporate machine learning features, like the Google Assistant, into...

  • Google’s Santa’s Village features Santa tracker, Elf Maker

    Google’s educational “holiday hub” called Santa’s Village is back in swing for the 15th year and you can play more interactive games, learn about different regional Christmas traditions, and track Santa’s whereabouts. One of the hub’s new features comes in the form of Elf Maker, a tool where you can make your very own elf to play with. “Choose an outfit, accessories, hairstyle, and even facial hair to add some flair to your little friend,” Google says on its blog. The Santa Tracker is also back, which you can access via Maps or the Android app. “In the days leading up to Christmas,...

  • Google Translate on web gets UI refresh

    Google has refreshed the UI of Google Translate's web portal, giving it a brand new look and feel. “The site’s new look is now consistent with other Google products, and updated labeling and typography make it easier to navigate,” said Google in an announcement. The new look is still simple and clean like before, but with a more modern layout, making it easier to find certain features like saved documents and your history. “We’ve added labels to each saved translation, so if you speak multiple languages, you can sort and group your translations with a single click,” the company noted further. The update...

  • Google’s Smart Compose will now suggest genderless pronouns

    According to a report, Google has removed gendered pronouns from Smart Compose. This means that words like him, her, he or she will no longer be suggested when typing in Gmail. Smart Compose is an AI feature that helps Google users complete sentences by assuming the next word or phrase. Unfortunately, the company noticed that some of these assumptions were gender biased, offering him in places where the user may be referring to a her. Speaking to Reuters, Gmail’s product manager Paul Lambert said that the company takes gender quite seriously, calling it a "a big, big thing". He also explained that after many...

  • You can now view the messages sent to businesses in Google Maps

    Google has revealed a new tool that will allow users to view messages in Google Maps. The feature will display conversations people have had with Business Profiles on Google. “Sending messages to businesses gives you the opportunity to ask questions without having to make a phone call,” says the company. “Now you’ll see your messages with the businesses you connect with via Business Profiles within the Google Maps app.” If you have contacted any business online via Google, you will now be able to view these chat threads in your Maps app. Originally the ability to messages Business Profiles on Google was...

  • Gboard now uses AI to suggest the perfect emoji

    If all you ever wanted from a mobile keyboard is, well, a mobile keyboard, you're going to hate Gboard's latest update. Google's keyboard, from today, will now suggest GIFs, emoji and stickers to users during your conversations using AI. "This makes it faster and easier to share your #feelings and your glowing personality with whoever you’re chatting with," wrote Angana Ghosh, Gboard's product lead, on Google's Keyword blog. The suggestion feature is triggered when keywords are typed into conversation. This can include overused single words like "awesome" or multiple common phrases like "I'm sleepy". The feature uses Google's AI engine, but it emphasises...

  • Google Chrome 71 could ad block your entire website

    Google has revealed a new plan further to protect Chrome users against abusive ad content. “Starting in December 2018, Chrome 71 will remove all ads on the small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences,” says the company on its blog. This means that entire sites could have their ads blocked if Google flags them for containing abusive ad content. Google notes that harmful ads still affects users despite its current efforts to block ads that have bad intentions, with over half of the offensive online content still slipping through. “These ads trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system...

  • You can now create custom emoji stickers on Google’s Gboard

    Google has revealed a new feature on its mobile keyboard app that lets you create your own personalised emoji stickers. “Today, we’re introducing emoji style Mini stickers for Gboard, designed for those who may have stared into the eyes of emoji and not seen yourself staring back,” said Google on its blog. The stickers, which are created by taking a selfie, are the same as your everyday emojis, they just happen to come in three customisable variants – emoji, bold and sweet. While emoji is a given, the company explains that bold is “for when you might be feeling a little extra,...

  • This app shows kids where to get candy this Halloween

    One of Google Maps' third party partner apps Nextdoor is hosting its annual Halloween Treat Map for those in the US just in time for the spooky holiday tomorrow. With the Halloween Treat Map, Nextdoor users can add their homes and what they’re offering kids in their suburbs for Halloween on to their neighbourhood map. Google explains that neighbours will be able to “mark their homes with a candy corn icon if they plan to pass out candy, a haunted house icon if they plan to give their neighbours a spooky trick, or a teal pumpkin icon if they plan to...

  • If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, it’s Google Maps’ new game

    Earlier this year Google made it possible for game developers to design games that can be played in the real world using Google Maps. Today the company has revealed one of those games, and in true October style, it's Ghostbusters. “With Ghostbusters World, the newest game built with Google Maps, you can grab your virtual proton pack and bust ghosts—all as you explore a game world built on the Google Maps you know and love,” said Google in the announcement. This means Google Maps will not only help you get to your destination, but also aid you in the battle against ghosts...