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Big Tech

  • South Africans were asking Google about Dumi Masilela and bitcoin in 2017

    Google has released its year in search, and while the global results are interesting (Cash Me Outside was the top-searched meme, sadly), South Africans had a locally-specific year filled with tropical storms, high-profile fights, and cryptocurrency. According to Google, South Africa's top search of 2017 was for the late Dumi Masilela, who was killed in a hijacking earlier this year. Masilela was best known for his role as Sifiso Ngema on Rhythm City, though he was also a musician and former soccer player. The second-most searched? Zimbabwe -- the country that endured the most this past month. And in third place was Cyclone Dineo, which battered...

  • Google Search updates features to keep you on the platform

    Google Search is updating a few features to provide users with even more relevant information, and well, to keep them on the platform. Each of the updates revolves around related searches, and offering them in new ways so that users keep on a-clicking. Google Search's new updates aim to offer more related content to the user Of the updates, the most novel is that now, when users search for multiple terms related to a topic, Google will identify the topic and offer related searches. For example, if a user searches "Neymar" followed by "Lionel Messi", Google Search will recognise they're searching for current soccer players, and will...

  • First coding Google Doodle is a fun game that celebrates kids coding

    Today's Google Doodle is the first ever "coding doodle" and it is nothing short of adorable. In celebration of 50 years of kids coding languages, the doodle teaches the foundations of programming with a fun game involving a pastel rabbit who says "doing" (like boing) and desperately wants some carrots. Celebrate #CSEdWeek & 50 yrs of kids coding languages by checking out our VERY FIRST coding #GoogleDoodle! 🐰🥕🐰→ https://t.co/Kr7pjrLXOr pic.twitter.com/V0aJFBBAM2 — Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) December 4, 2017 The doodle is based on the Scratch programming language for kids, and allows children -- and unfamiliar adults -- to program the rabbit across six levels, lapping...

  • These executives left tech giants in 2017

    It's been a whirlwind of a year for the top dogs at some of the biggest tech companies in the world -- and not all of it has been positive. The following are just some of the executives who left their posts in 2017. Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick left his post in June after a series of scandals and upsets. Kalanick faced the ire of users for joining US President Donald Trump's advisory council, for allegedly facilitating a hostile and sexist work environment, for using greyball software to avoid law enforcement, for telling a driver it was...

  • Google app Datally to help us save while waiting for data to fall

    South Africans have long been clamouring for cheaper data and it often feels like our complaints are falling on deaf ears. But if you're anxiously awaiting the days data doesn't cost you your left kidney, Google's new app Datally could make your life a little easier. In essence, Datally helps you "understand, control, and save mobile data". How? First it lets you know exactly where your data is going and offers personalised tips on how to save more. It also offers a data saver mode that it describes as a "speedometer"; the mode blocks background data and tracks real-time usage while using apps. Google's new app Datally claims to help...

  • Amazon to produce ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV show

    Amazon has acquired the global television rights to adapt Lord of the Rings, based on the classic novels by JRR Tolkien, into multiple seasons. The series will not follow the beloved story of Frodo and his friends, but rather new storylines set in Middle Earth preceding The Fellowship of the Ring.  "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings," said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins. If all goes to plan, Amazon's deal will include the potential for spin-off shows. Peter Jackson's...

  • Google to announce merchant support on SA Play Store? [Update: yes]

    Update: It didn't take place on Monday, but Google nevertheless announced support on Thursday, issuing a press release. "Starting today, developers in South Africa can sell paid applications, in-app products, and subscriptions in Google Play, with monthly payouts to their local bank accounts," read an excerpt of the release. Original article: The Google Play Store might be popular in South Africa, but it's lacking one major feature in the form of merchant support for local developers. The lack of merchant account support means South African developers can't publish paid apps directly onto the Play Store. But that could change as soon as...

  • 10 things we learnt at #GoogleAfrica10

    It seems like Google has been around forever, but the company actually marked its tenth anniversary of opening an African office last week. The firm held the #GoogleAfrica10 event in Johannesburg to celebrate, while we also used the opportunity to interview country manager Luke Mckend. Here are a few details we managed to glean from it all. We have 170 new places on Street View in SA Today sees Google launching 170 new SA places on Street View, says Mich Atagana. #GoogleAfrica10 pic.twitter.com/HYQcfqQsjJ — memeburn (@memeburn) November 2, 2017 The company used #GoogleAfrica10 to announce that it's added 170 new places to Street View in South...

  • More of South Africa’s national parks, tourist hotspots available on Google Street View

    You can now explore even more of South Africa's famous landmarks, national parks and tourist attractions courtesy of Google's Street View and Drive South Africa. The two companies have captured "over 232 points of interest" across all 19 national parks and 17 nature reserves. Some reserves Google labelled as previously "untrekked". According to the company, over 200 volunteers trekked more than 900km across the country's wilderness areas with Street View cameras, officially named "Trekkers", fastened to their backs. "The Trekker camera is a 22kg custom-made backpack fitted with 15 cameras pointing in all directions," explained Andre Van Kets, one of Google South...

  • Google Trends uncovers America’s fascination with Halloween

    It's nearly Halloween, the time of year that dentists must absolutely love, and neighbourhood watch organisations absolutely hate. After all, how do you know if a criminal is dressing up for Halloween? Beyond these tough questions, the world -- and particularly the United States -- just loves preparing for the final day of October. The day has become as important as Thanksgiving and Christmas in the States (see below graph), and this year, Google Trends is shedding some interesting and spooky light onto people's habits taken from 3 October to the present. trends.embed.renderExploreWidget("TIMESERIES", {"comparisonItem":[{"keyword":"/m/03lq2","geo":"US","time":"today...

  • ‘Pay with Google’ simplifies mobile payments on Android

    Filling out forms completely suck, and even more so on mobiles. This is especially true when you just can't wait to part with your hard earned cash for that oh so cheesy pizza. But Google hopes to make this quarrelsome system a little simpler. Its "Pay with Google" service, previewed in May, is now live in the United States. The service should also be live in countries that support Google's Android Pay infrastructure. Replacing forms altogether, Pay with Google lists the credit and debit cards you've connected to your Google Account, or via its other services like Google Play or YouTube. During...

  • Google Play Store adding Instant Apps, more in upcoming update

    A number of changes are coming to the Google Play Store its parent company announced Thursday. Usually the unchanged bastion of the Google ecosystem, the Play Store will finally receive a much needed nip and tuck. As for an implementation timeline, the company remained as mum as ever. Nevertheless, sifting through the latest Google Developers Blog post, here are three standout interface and functionality tweaks heading to the Play Store sometime before the world ends. Revamped Editor's Choice Vineet Buch, author of the post and Google Play's director of product management, noted that a revamped version of Editor's Choice is now live in...

  • Got a cheap phone? Google now brings faster search to Africa

    Between the AMP project and data-saving features in Chrome, Google is providing a few solid solutions to data and speed constraints. Now, the search colossus announced the local availability of yet another solution in this regard. It announced that a faster Google Search experience is now available for most of the continent. It explains that nearly 40% of Android device owners on the continent could have a "slow or delayed" connection due to using devices with low RAM. So what does the solution entail, then? "Now for most of Africa, when you search on Google with a low RAM device via the Google...

  • Microsoft Edge hits Android, iOS because people asked for it (lol)

    Microsoft Edge represents a big improvement over the much-maligned Internet Explorer, but it's still a long way from threatening the likes of Chrome and Firefox (both critically and commercially). So colour us surprised to hear that Microsoft is bringing Edge to Android and iOS. And they're apparently not just doing it to test the waters, but because people wanted it. "One of the most common requests we hear from people who use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 PCs is 'we want our browser experience to move to our phones'. You spoke, we listened," read an excerpt from an official blog post. As for...

  • Siri thought ‘Despacito’ was Bulgaria’s national anthem

    For a brief moment on Wednesday, Apple's voice assistant Siri thought that the national anthem of Bulgaria was "Despacito". When asked "What is the national anthem of Bulgaria?" Siri responded with an info page for the Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee song, and the definitive answer: "The national anthem of Bulgaria is Despacito". The Verge's Tom Warren was among the first to notice the issue. Siri’s switch to Google went well then... pic.twitter.com/bbG5hI9hQA — Tom Warren (@tomwarren) October 4, 2017 While Siri wouldn't be far off judging by the song's viral popularity -- the video does boast over 3.9-billion views at the time of...