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Big Tech

  • Apple’s struggled to make money from iPhone sales in Q2 2017

    While Facebook and Google make most of their money from advertising, Apple's in an altogether different boat. The company published its Q2 2017 financial results Tuesday, revealing its rises and falls in bank balance over the previous three months. "We are proud to report a strong March quarter, with revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued robust demand for iPhone 7 Plus," Apple CEO Tim Cook states. "We’ve seen great customer response to both models of the new iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition and we’re thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for...

  • Samsung’s Bixby disses Apple’s Siri in voice assistant rap battle

    Samsung just couldn't resist taking a swipe at Apple's Siri using its own smart voice assistant, could it? Bixby, which launched this weekend in South Korea on the Samsung Galaxy S8, hides a rather innocuous diss within a command. Asking Bixby to "please rap" or "beatbox", the voice assistant drops rhymes that would put Pitbull out of work. But more interesting still is the message hidden within one particular rap. Users on the Samsung subreddit noticed that when the first letters of a rap's lines are read vertically, it spells out the sentence "I am better than Siri". That's rude, Samsung. Also, dope...

  • These are the nominees for 2017 Google Play Awards

    The first Google Play Awards took place last year, highlighting a number of innovative and/or popular games and apps. So we're glad to see the event come back this year, with Google announcing its list of nominees this week. Who are the nominees then? Check out the full list below -- you might find a few gems. Standout Indie - Reigns, Kingdom: New Lands, Mars: Mars, Causality, Mushroom 11. Standout Startup - Hooked: Chat Stories, Discord: Chat for Gamers, Castbox: Free Podcast and Audio, Simple Habit Meditation. Best Android Wear - Lifesum: Healthy lifestyle app, Runtastic Running and Fitness, Foursquare City Guide, Bring!...

  • Samsung’s Wemogee app uses emoji to bridge language gap

    Samsung's latest app puts the world's love affair with emoji to good use. And no, not just for the memes either. Dubbed Wemogee, the app is specifically developed for those suffering from aphasia -- the inability to understand written language or speech -- to better converse with loved ones. Because of this language and communication barrier, conversing with aphasia sufferers isn't an easy task. But that's exactly what Wemogee is trying to change. Wemogee uses a logical string of emoji that can be understood as a sentence On the surface, the app displays a logical string of emoji that can be understood as...

  • Google Maps remembers where you parked even if you don’t

    There are two problems with parking in any city (especially Cape Town). One, finding a parking, and two, remembering where it is you parked. Google Map's latest feature update ensures the latter comes a bit more easily. "Now, Google Maps for Android and iOS will not only help you get where you’re going, but it’ll help you remember where you parked once you’ve arrived," Google Map's project manager Jeff Albertson announces in a blog. For users who engage with Maps regularly, simply tapping the blue location dot with bring up a menu with "save your parking" an a new option. "You’ll see a...

  • Google doesn’t want you using adblockers, so its building its own

    Google's wildly popular Chrome browser could soon feature its own adblocker, according to sources quoted by the WSJ. "People familiar with the company's plans" suggest that this adblocker, built by Google itself, won't function entirely like uBlock or AdBlock Plus which allows users to block all ads on demand. Instead, it will filter ads that don't meet Google's specific criteria. The criteria, outlined in the Initial Better Ads Standards, deem around 12 current advertising systems and techniques to be unsuitable and downright annoying for users. Pre-content pop-ups, ads that just won't stop playing or shutting up, or ads that stick to...

  • Google Earth’s new facelift lets you explore the planet from your couch

    Google has redesigned Google Earth for Chrome and Android, with features meant to inspire you about humanity's "shared home." "Google Maps is about finding your way, Google Earth is about getting lost," a Google representative said. And it's not hard to see why. The most astonishing of the new features is Google Earth's 3D function. Whereas before views were restricted to aerial and street, now Google offers a full 360 degree view of any place on the map. This imagery is created by combining data from satellites, planes and depth maps to put together realistic 3D renderings. Another of the new features is the educational tool Voyager. Teaming up with...

  • Burger King’s ‘Connected Whopper’ ad is genius, but Google doesn’t agree

    Burger King just couldn't let Pepsi and United steal all the attention this week, could it? The fast food chain published an advertisement this week, touting the "fresh ingredients" included in its Whopper burger. Sounds fair right? Sure. But as the employee notes in the ad itself, 15 seconds is hardly enough time to sell a product. Burger King solved this by using seven sneaky but utterly brilliant words: "Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?" This short line activated any Google Home devices within earshot of the ad, and read aloud the Wikipedia page for the burger. Some people labeled the ad intrusive...

  • Google AutoDraw is AI-powered autotune for your terrible doodles

    In November last year, Google launched its AI Experiments, a collection of simple AI software that allows anyone to play with the technology in hands-on ways. With the AIs that can emulate handwriting or even play the piano with you, Google has been encouraging coders and the average men alike to interact with AI software. And its latest may be the first to properly take off. AutoDraw is a piece of software from the technology that brought you QuickDraw (the AI that tries to be the best Pictionary partner in the world), and it is as fun as it is useful. Google Autodraw 'a new web-based tool that...

  • Windows Vista: Microsoft’s hated but daring OS is shutting down for good

    It's finally here. Today is the final day that Microsoft will support Windows Vista. From 12 April, Windows Vista will effectively be disowned by Microsoft, thrown out of the house by its parents, and forced to get a job of its own. "After April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft," the company writes in an ultimatum. "Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners,...

  • Google Trends charts the UEFA Champions League teams ‘winning on search’

    The UEFA Champions League quarter finals kick off this week, with the first matches taking place tonight. But who's going to win the most coveted trophy in club football? Well, that's a question we'll leave for the sporting buffs. Our interest though lies in a nifty visualisation published by the Google Trends team. "The map shows normalised search interest in each of the eight teams qualified to the Champions League quarter finals in every country," the company writes. Collating the swathe of searches on Google, the team has made it easy to see which Champions League team is currently the most searched-for...

  • Google accused of systemic pay discrimination by US Department of Labour

    Google has come under fire in the last few months, as the US Department of Labour seeks to prove that it systematically pays the women in its workforce less than men. In January, the DoL filed a lawsuit against the company, requesting that it release its salary data and documents to the government. And on Friday, the Department testified in court that it had significant evidence that proves Google is underpaying its female staff. "The investigation is not complete," Janet Herold, a DoL regional director, told The Guardian, "but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against...

  • Gen Z kids think Google is totally ‘lit’, Google’s study reveals

    How do you do, fellow kids? Google has released its study on what US Gen Z teens think is cool, and it comes as no surprise that it found teens are into Google. The study, cringily titled It's Lit: A Guide to What Teens Think is Cool, is meant to provide a glimpse into the lives of modern day teens and what they deem cool. "Cool is an indication of what people pay attention to, what gets them excited, and can often act as a manifestation of their hope and dreams," the study reads. According to Google, "cool" is anything Generation Z (born in the mid...

  • Google and Android partners reach patent peace

    Google and other major Android partners have joined an agreement that grants each other royalty-free patent licensing on all Android and Google Applications preinstalled on devices that meet Android’s compatibility requirements. The Android Networked Cross-License -- dubbed PAX, the Latin word for peace -- is meant to open the doors to innovation and healthy competition in an industry that doesn't benefit from patent wars. "This community-driven clearinghouse operations developed together with our Android partners," writes Google's VP of business and for Android and Google Play, Jamie Rosenberg, "ensures that innovation and consumer choice—not patent threats—will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem." Android...

  • Apple bars apps from promoting their prices

    If you're looking to put your free product in the iOS App Store, you're going to have to settle for the simple "Get" button Apple uses to denote a free app. For the past month the company has been rejecting all apps that advertise their price -- or lack thereof -- in their titles, VentureBeat reports. Apps with names like "Extreme Sail Simulator FREE" or "FREE Daily Meditation" are often called that so when users search for "free" apps, they appear higher up in the results. But now the apps will have to rely on the pull of the products' names rather than their prices. While Apple...