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Big Tech

  • Siri’s definition of ‘mother’ is beyond spicy

    Want to hear Siri swear at you and your beloved mother? Ask her for the definition of your favourite parent. She'll initially reply with a common definition, but she also offers another slightly more suspect explanation. "Do you wanna hear the next one?" she asks, and if you innocently reply "yes", she provides a brief suggestion that it's, uh, "short for motherfucker". This little bug or Apple employee inside joke was discovered by Reddit this past weekend. And it seemingly works with all versions of Siri, from MacOS to iPhones as old as the 5 and as new as the X. It's extremely...

  • Google Play Music dies in 2019, according to YouTube Remix rumour

    While you were transfixed on Google's swanky new Gmail redesign, news emerged that it may pull the plug on another service. According to Droid Life's "reliable source", Google Play Music -- the company's music streaming service competing against the likes of Apple Music and Spotify -- will be canned, in favour of a service dubbed YouTube Remix. Users currently on Play Music will also be herded onto Remix as early as 2019. It's not a new rumour though. There's been plenty of talk about Google's plans to mash its Play Music offering with YouTube. In December 2017, the company was reportedly set...

  • Gmail’s spewing out spam, and nobody seems to know why

    All the hype surrounding Gmail may be thanks to its first redesign in some seven years, but not all is well with Google's mail service. According to a number of reports, Gmail users on Sunday found a number of spam messages sent from their accounts. "My email account has sent out 3 spam emails in the past hour to a list of about 10 addresses that I don’t recongnize," wrote one user on Google's Product forum. Changing passwords didn't help this particular user either, nor did marking the mails as spam. "Please help, what else can I do to ensure my account...

  • Chrome 66 kills audible autoplaying content by default

    Chrome 66 now blocks autoplaying content with sound by default. The new version of Google's web browser was granted stable status this morning and brings a host of changes and tweaks for developers and users alike. But the autoplay filter addition, initially scheduled for Chrome 64's release in January, is the most relevant for casual netizens. According to Google Chrome's autoplay policies, muted content will automatically load and play, but content with sound will not, unless certain conditions are met. "As announced earlier autoplay is now allowed only when either the media won't play sound, after the user clicks or taps on the site, or (on desktop)...

  • Google Go now available in South Africa

    If the standard Google app is proving too bloated for your device, the company has today made its lightweight Google Go app available in South Africa, and other African territories. Google's Go apps -- much like Facebook Lite and Twitter Lite -- require less storage space on device and can function more efficiently on slower networks. Although Google Go has been available on Android Go devices for a while across the world, from today anyone can download the app for standard Android versions newer than 4.3 Jelly Bean. "Users come to us to experience the web and access accurate information quickly. Unfortunately...

  • Google Photo’s Lens can now recognise the breed of your furry friend

    In the most important tech news of the year, Google has announced that Lens can now identify the breed of your dog and cat. Google Lens was recently made available across all Android devices, but its usefulness was limited. Users could scan business cards to add them to their phone books, or take photos of famous paintings to get more information on them. But now, "when you take a photo of an animal -- like a cute cat or dog -- you can use Lens to help identify its breed and get more information," the company writes in an update. A number...

  • Google Chrome extensions will no longer mine crypto using your PC

    In case you had no idea, before April Fools Day, Google allowed developers of Chrome browser extensions to mine cryptocurrency using your computer's resources. The company deemed it acceptable provided users of said extensions (read: you) were made "adequately" aware of the behaviour, and that the extension was not bundled with "unrelated functionality" like email notifiers or additional downloadable files. But the big G has now completely changed its stance. Citing the abuse of its lenient guidelines, Google will will now cull Chrome extensions that mine cryptocurrency in any capacity. "Existing extensions that mine cryptocurrency will be delisted from the Chrome Web Store...

  • Google now owns GIF platform and search engine Tenor

    Here at Memeburn, we love a good GIF. And it seems Google does too. The company on Tuesday announced its purchase of GIF platform Tenor -- the service that doles out moving images to users on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google's GBoard keyboard app, and others. Google's reason behind the purchase -- of which the sum remains undisclosed -- seems entrenched in improving Google Images, especially as "mobile devices changed the way people search." "Most people now use Google Images to find more information about a topic, and to help them communicate and express themselves -- case in point, we see millions...

  • Google Maps is now available in isiZulu, Afrikaans and Swahili

    Mountain View internet tech Google has added 39 more languages to its Google Maps product "spoken by an estimated 1.25-billion people worldwide." For Africans who rely on the service daily, it's a massive update. Afrikaans, isiZulu and Swahili have been included in the refresh, alongside a slew of Eastern European and Southeast Asian dialects. Users can now switch to one of these languages within Google Maps on the web or the iOS and Android apps. The interface and place names will then be translated accordingly. The addition of new languages to Maps comes after the company improved the service's UX for wheelchair users....

  • ‘Offensive language’ may get you banned from Microsoft’s Skype, Xbox Live

    From 1 May 2018, using "offensive language" on Microsoft's online services could get you banned, this after the company updated its Services Agreement. Although the change was implemented on 1 March 2018, civil rights advocate Jonathan Corbett spotted the change this week. "In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited," Microsoft wrote in a brief summation of the changes. Further digging into the actual change, explains that users are not allowed to "publicly display or use the Services to share any inappropriate content or other material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography,...

  • Google Play Instant lets you try games on Android without installing them

    When Google Play Instant launched on the Play Store last year, users could experience apps without installing them to their devices. It's a novel idea, and saves users the time and space usually needed when installing apps. But now, the feature just got even more useful. Google this week announced that Google Play Instant is now available for a select number of games listed on Google Plays. "With Google Play Instant, you can just tap and try a game without having to download it first -- whether you’re looking to storm a castle on Clash Royale or become a wordmaster with Words with Friends 2,"...

  • Google Maps now highlights ‘wheelchair accessible’ transit routes (but not in SA just yet)

    If you've been wondering why Google Maps asks you about places and their wheelchair access, you finally have an answer. The company this week announced that it will highlight wheelchair accessible routes within the Google Maps app's transit navigation screen. "To access the 'wheelchair accessible' routes, type your desired destination into Google Maps," explains Rio Akasaka, Google Maps' project manager. "Tap 'Directions' then select the public transportation icon. Then tap 'Options' and under the Routes section, you'll find 'wheelchair accessible' as a new route type." And notably, the data Google asks from you adds to its public transit knowledge base. The company is...

  • Google Lens is now available on iOS via Google Photos

    Last week, Google slapped its AI-powered camera feature Google Lens onto all Android phones running its Photos app. Now, the company is peeking over the fence towards Cupertino, and giving its rival platform some of the augmented reality love. Google Lens is now available to "preview" on the Apple iOS version of Google Photos, the company announced in a tweet. "Starting today and rolling out over the next week, those of you on iOS can try the preview of Google Lens to quickly take action from a photo or discover more about the world around you," it wrote. Starting today and rolling...

  • Google Home speakers now pop location-based reminders to your phone

    Location-based reminders can now be requested through Google's Home devices, its Assistant-powered smart speakers. How is this news? For one, location-based reminders only worked when requested via Assistant on a phone. Now it works with Google's Home range too. And secondly, this means you can absentmindedly (and without touching a device) set a reminder while, say, cooking or working on the car. Users can now tell the speaker to "set a reminder to buy milk when I'm at the grocery store", and Assistant will pop through a reminder to your smartphone when requirements are met. If you hate being tracked on your...

  • Polony, football and The Oscars: SA’s biggest Google searches this week

    According to internet giant Google, polony, football and The Oscars were the most searched-for subjects in South Africa this week. Taking a break from land reclamation and President Ramaphosa's fitness regime, netizens turned to sport. The Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates saw more than 100 000 searches on Saturday alone. Notably, that's more than five times the volume Google saw for any other term on the day. But football played second fiddle to polony as the week broke, and after the source of the listeriosis outbreak which has left more than 180 people in South Africa dead was...