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Big Tech

  • Amazon’s S3 outage temporarily killed some of the internet

    The last time the internet literally lost itself was October 2016, when global DNS giant Dyn suffered a DDoS attack. That was bad, plunging a vast majority of the internet and the services we use everyday into an inaccessible mire. Roll on four months, and now Amazon is the culprit. For S3, we believe we understand root cause and are working hard at repairing. Future updates across all services will be on dashboard. — Amazon Web Services (@awscloud) February 28, 2017 Amazon Web Services division announced yesterday that its S3 cloud service -- which allows some of the internet's biggest websites and services...

  • Google Keep is now a G Suite app, gains Docs integration

    In a bid to integrate its products into everything (even within its other products), internet giant Google has announced that its Keep note-taking app will now become an official G Suite app, alongside Sheets, Docs and Slides. "Starting today, you can capture your ideas for work: Keep is now a part of G Suite. You can also take your ideas and notes from Keep and easily add them to Docs for easier brainstorming," explains Google Keep's product manager, Mario Anima. While that sounds grandiose, the integration will be much simpler. Users will be able to drag and drop notes from Keep into...

  • New Google Doodle honours NASA’s latest discovery

    It's not often mother Earth discovers long lost relatives in outer space, but that's largely what NASA has announced this week. The space exploration association shed some light on a new planetary system circulating a distant star called Trappist-1. It's a big discovery, especially since some of these planets are Earth-sized and could harbour life. But that's a bit of a hope more than a certainty for now. Nevertheless, internet giant Google just couldn't resist celebrating the achievement with a Doodle. Earth to #TRAPPIST1...we read you loud and clear. Thanks @NASA for this cosmic discovery! #GoogleDoodle pic.twitter.com/EDh6sDjKIQ — Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) February 23, 2017 On...

  • Microsoft’s Skype Lite Android app launches in India

    An interesting counter-trend is emerging among the world's most popular apps. With Facebook launching the likes of Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite last year to cater for emerging markets, Microsoft is following suit debuting Skype Lite this week. Like its Facebook counterparts, Skype Lite will be available for low-cost Android devices, and cater exclusively (at least for now) to the Indian smartphone market. Overall the Hyderabad-developed app is said to be more usable on low-speed networks, use less battery and works with India's Aadhaar identification number system to streamline signups and identification. Skype Lite is a direct competitor to Facebook Messenger Lite...

  • Skype’s new preview beta adds a touch of Snapchat

    Remember Skype? The video conferencing tool is a product we haven't covered in a while, and that's largely because its feature set hasn't changed radically since Microsoft bought it from eBay in 2011. But that's about to change, at least judging by this week's news. Skype's mobile app, available on Android and iOS, is set to receive a number of updates to bring it in line with the other instant messaging apps of this world. Skype Chat will now boast a "Find Panel" which will allow users to "easily find and share links, news, sports results, restaurants, the weather, videos and more...

  • Google’s Sundar Pichai responds to the cutest job application ever

    If you were the CEO of Google, would you reply to a seven-year-old's job application? No? Then you're clearly not Sundar Pichai. He did exactly that, receiving an adorable but heartfelt plea from a little girl to join the company. According to her dad, Andy Bridgewater, it's the allure of the company's office decor that prompted her to write the letter. "After seeing images of Google offices with their bean bags, go karts and slides my 7 year old daughter decided to write to Google to see if they would give her a job," he explains in a LinkedIn post. The letter itself...

  • Amazon wants to take over the boardroom, silence Skype with Chime

    Internet behemoth Amazon has announced a new workplace messaging and conferencing facility. Dubbed Chime, the product is billed as a "communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust". According to the company, the Skype-rival works across multiple devices, much like the service its going up against. "You can use Amazon Chime for online meetings, video conferencing, calls, chat, and to share content, both inside and outside your organization," Amazon adds. The company claims that a number of features makes its offering unique, including a meeting facility that calls you when a meeting begins. There's also...

  • Pangolin love: Google’s Valentines Day Doodle is utterly adorable

    While you might be planning an intricate dinner, a beach getaway, or perhaps even a Netflix and chill session this Valentines Day, spare a thought for the poor endangered pangolin. That's at least what Google wants you to do. In its latest Google Doodle celebrating the 14th of February, the company has gone to impressive lengths to highlight the scaley mammalian's flight for survival using a novel mobile-like browser game. "On a sunny morning in Ghana, the ingredients for pangolin love are falling into place," Google explains its Doodle. "Don’t let its hard outer scales fool you: inside, our friend Pangolin is...

  • Google, H&M wants your phone to design your next dress

    While our favourite garments aren't as unique as we believe them to be, how we combine these pieces defines our individual style. But can style be determined by the likes of technology? That's what Google and H&M hope to discover. The Android app, designed by both Mountain View and H&M's Ivyrevel fashion house, wants to use your daily habits to design a bespoke dress for your needs. At the heart of the app is Google's Awareness API, which "enables apps to be aware of all aspects of a user's environment" through a device's available sensors. Google and H&M's new Android app will...

  • Google Maps for Android has just become a lot more useful

    Google Maps' latest Android update is introducing a little context and information tab at the bottom of the app's screen. The app, which still displays what its name suggests, now also serves users context-rich information. Thanks to the update, Google Maps will now display a number of places you can possibly visit, from restaurants to petrol stations. Frequent tasks and locations are now just a tap away. Your destination? As close to a tap away as we can get you. https://t.co/pHtEJGXq3b pic.twitter.com/2lUxATZwAo — Google Maps (@googlemaps) February 6, 2017 Google will also prompt users with the traffic conditions and calculated travel time to...

  • Apple sells 78m iPhones in quarter, record revenue in tow

    Apple didn't have the greatest fourth quarter results last year, but the new iPhone has done massive business for the brand. "The company posted all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4-billion and all-time record quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.36. These results compare to revenue of $75.9-billion and earnings per diluted share of $3.28 in the year-ago quarter," read an excerpt of the Q1 fiscal year earnings report. The firm added that 64% of their revenue came from international markets. "We're thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way....

  • Microsoft to cut 700 jobs this week – report

    Microsoft is expected to cut 700 jobs this week, being part of a group of 2850 cuts announced last year, it has been reported. According to Business Insider, citing "someone familiar with the matter", Microsoft will conduct the layoffs when it reports its quarterly results on 26 January. The website's source said that most of the 2850 cuts have already been made, adding that it won't be limited to any specific group. Cuts are apparently set to affect divisions such as human resources, engineering, finance, marketing and more. Business Insider also reports that the cuts were made to "update skills" rather than with the...

  • Is Vitality’s Apple Watch deal worth it? Cape Town blogger finds out

    Discovery Vitality's Apple Watch deal is undeniably tempting. You buy Cupertino's latest wearable packed with swanky tech, and exercise to drop the eventual price. It sounds like a complete steal in many ways, but is it really? That's what Capetonian and SwimGeek author Joe Botha set out to discover. While he does note that the offering itself is a mixed bag -- the deal will be beneficial and cheaper to different people -- it's definitely not as clear-cut as it seems on paper. "It seems you just have to assume you will get to a 900 points per week goal very soon...

  • Ookla debuts Speedtest desktop app for Windows, Mac OS

    Great news for those of you too lazy to open a web page. Ookla, the company behind popular internet benchmarking tool Speedtest, has this week announced a new Desktop app for Windows and Mac OS users. The company explains that the app's existence is thanks to today's modern world of "text expanders, ordering buttons and digital assistants". The app simply aims to make checking your internet connection speed as quick and easy as this. "By embedding Speedtest on your desktop (and skipping all that typing), we can save you almost all the effort of figuring out your download and upload speeds,"...

  • Marissa Mayer to step down from Yahoo board

    Yahoo is shaking up its board and name several months after Verizon agreed to buy parts of it. The company is selling off much of its operations to Verizon, but the sale won't include its cash pile, Yahoo Japan operations, Alibaba or its 3000 patents. Now, a regulatory filing has revealed that the remaining company will be called Altaba Inc. Yahoo CEO and president Marissa Mayer will be among several people stepping down from the board, the filing also revealed. A name change and board shakeup is set for Yahoo, following its deal with Verizon "In light of the fact that following the closing...