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Big Tech

  • 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...

  • You can now ‘follow’ your favourite places on Google Maps

    Forget following people and hashtags, Google Maps will let you follow your favourite locations. When you select a place or business, a follow button will be available below its star rating, journey time, and business type. Simply tap the button to follow the place of interest. When following businesses, the app will keep you updated on the latest news at your regular hang out spots and frequented shops.. “Once you’ve followed places, news from them -- like events, offers and other updates -- will appear in the For You tab,” said Google in the announcement. Google Maps will also list businesses for up...

  • Google brings 4K upgrades to Google Play Movies & TV

    Google has revealed upgrades for Google Play Movies & TV that will allow users in the US and Canada to watch content in 4K. According to the announcement, all movies you have already bought will now be streamed in 4K -- that is four times the resolution of Full HD -- while you can buy new titles in 4K at lower prices. “We think watching in 4K should be a no brainer, so we’re continuously...

  • You can now share your Google Maps ETA on iOS

    Those who use iOS devices, like the iPad and iPhone, can now enjoy the ETA feature of Google Maps. The feature, which hit Android devices earlier this year, allows you to share your route with others while you’re travelling, keeping them abreast of where you are and your expected time of arrival. “After you’ve started navigating to a destination, tap on the ˄ button and then on ‘Share trip progress.’ From here you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favourite contacts,” Google explained in the announcement. The update also includes improvements to the feature as...

  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died after a long batter with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65. Allen was a childhood friend of Bill Gates, and the two of them founded Microsoft back in 1975. Though Allen left Microsoft in 1983, his contributions to personal computer technology were revolutionary, and many consider him a great visionary for his investments and donations over the years. He founded multiple research companies for science, biology and technology, including Vulcan Inc. which confirmed Allen’s passing in an official statement. “It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and...

  • This Google AI-powered tool can help detect breast cancer

    Google AI, an artificial intelligence research and development division of Google, has developed an algorithm to assist in the detection of breast cancer, referred to as the LYmph Node Assistant or LYNA. In a blog post this week, the company explained that detecting cancers such as breast cancer in lymph nodes can be a tedious and delicate task. That’s why, in order to better treat such a cancer, being able to detect it on minute scales is important. According to the post, published findings in two research papers suggest that the “pathologist assistant tool” LYNA can effectively help detect cancerous cells...

  • Bye bye Reply: Google is burying yet another promising app

    When Google isn't launching phones with enormous notches, or leaking internal memos of its struggles with censorship, it's killing promising apps and services that heaps of users love. The latest victim? Reply. A lesser known app in the Google stable, Reply was a smart notification app that could either respond to messages itself, or prompt the user to select from a number of AI-enriched and contextually aware replies. It was particularly useful for travellers, as Reply could sense when its master was in a car, walking or cycling and notify the messager accordingly. It didn't just serve Google messaging apps either. WhatsApp,...

  • After complaints, Microsoft plans release of new October update for Windows 10

    After pausing its latest update for Windows 10 due to file disappearances, Microsoft has announced that it has investigated the matter and that the company is now testing a new version of the update. The version 1809 October update for Windows 10 had been affecting users personal files upon installation last week, causing them to disappear. Now, just a few days after the initial pause, Windows Insiders are already getting to try out a new version. “We will carefully study the results, feedback, and diagnostic data from our Insiders before taking additional steps towards re-releasing more broadly,” the company explained. Microsoft also released a new...

  • New emoji are heading to Apple’s iOS 12.1

    The iOS 12.1 update is still in its beta phase, but soon it will be available for all compatible Apple devices, bringing with it Emoji 11.0 and over 70 brand new emoji. “Emoji are used by people all over the world to communicate. iOS 12.1 brings even more characters to the keyboard that better represent global users,” said Apple on its website. While new characters will include the red, grey, curly and bald people that were originally promised, there are also some culturally diverse additions coming too such as “moon cake, red gift envelope and nazar amulet”. Even sports is getting more...

  • Google Assistant has a new look

    Google has given its Assistant app a makeover. “With a new makeover to the Assistant on phones, we’re making it even easier to get things done regardless of whether you prefer to use your hands, your voice, or combination of the two,” said the company in an announcement. Google claims that this redesign is a mix of “text and talk” meant to provide accurate information on demand. The new look includes “bigger visuals”, “new controls and sliders” and “interactive messaging”. These changes are meant to make navigating the app easier, with the latter allowing you to use touch to edit messages. On Android...