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Big Tech

  • Google Maps’ new updates makes commuting across your city much easier

    Google Maps is this week getting another update, specifically for people who travel across their city. The app will now feature a new "Commute" tab on the lower navigation menu, which "provides one-tap access to live traffic and transit information tailored to your commute". Said tailored info includes the average journey duration along your normal route, route deviations if there are obstructions, and notifications if there are disruptions to your normal commute. Google Maps doesn't just cater for drivers though. The company revealed that public transit modes are now also supported. "You can see helpful information about when to leave, and for each...

  • Google Maps debuts group planning feature for friends

    Google's trying to make picking a restaurant to meet up with friends a bit easier. The company today announced a new feature in Google Maps that allows friends to collaboratively plan a day out, all without combing through mountains of text messages and recommendations. "Starting today, you can use Google Maps to easily plan where to go as a group," Google wrote on its blog. Group planning makes use of the already established shortlist feature, which allows individuals to add places to a bucket list. "Simply long press on any place to add it to a shortlist -- the small floating bubble on...

  • Future Google Search will answer questions you haven’t even asked yet

    This year googlegle celebrated its 20 year milestone. Now it seems to be looking forward to the next 20 in the form of Google Search. “As Google marks our 20th anniversary, I wanted to share a first look at the next chapter of Search, and how we’re working to make information more accessible and useful for people everywhere,” says the company’s Search, News and Assistant Vice President, Ben Gomes in a blog post. According to him, there are three core shifts to what comes next. More than an answer Google won’t just provide you with answers for what you search anymore, but also...

  • Apple buys music recognition service Shazam

    Apple on Monday announced that it has acquired music recognition service Shazam for an undisclosed amount. The service, which was founded in 1999, allows users to identify the details of a playing track by using a phone's microphone. More recently, the service has also offered more integrated music discovery features, fitting in perfectly with Apple's growing content distribution ambitions. "Shazam has been downloaded over one billion times around the world, and users identify songs using the Shazam app over 20-million times each day," Apple explains in its release. Additionally, Apple has also confirmed that the service will be offered "ad-free for all users". Feature...

  • Google’s Science Fair competition is now open for entry

    Google Science Fair is open for submissions until 12 December 2018 for those between 13 and 18 years of age. The competition, which first took place in 2011, has been a place for global learners to share and develop their science initiatives, and possibly win exclusive prizes from Google and sponsors alike. The possibilities for African entrants are tangible too. The last grand prize winner, Kiara Nirghin, was born in South Africa. In a blog post about fair’s commencement, Google interviewed Nirghin, who designed a way to help alleviate the effect of drought on crops using fruit waste as water retaining polymers. Her...

  • Feed your wanderlust: 4 awesome ways foodies can use Google Maps

    Google Maps has become an essential for many commuters. The navigation tool has guided us through our daily travels, on both new and warn out routes, playing co-pilot wherever we go. Maps however, isn’t just a way to get from A to B anymore. In fact, the tool has evolved into much more, and is actually a pretty cool way to feed your inner explorer -- literally. This week Google outlined these new social features for Google Maps that are geared towards travellers and food lovers. Discover the bites around you Google Maps can suggest places for you to visit based on your...

  • Google’s killing its Inbox app in 2019

    Google's graveyard is about to get bigger by one more service. Following in the vein of Reader, Wave and Picasa, Google's Inbox email app will be killed off from March 2019, the company announced on Wednesday. Inbox, which debuted in 2014, is a radical redesign of Google's more tradition email management app Gmail. In an article covering its launch, we called it "a cross-breed between Facebook’s News Feed and Google Now, with highlights of your travel itineraries, pictures and the works; all looking colourful."Goo But from 2019, users will either have to find a new email management app, or use Gmail. This Google...

  • Cape Town’s the real star of Apple’s Watch Series 4 ad

    Apple may have been trying to showcase its new Apple Watch Series 4, but its one filming location in particular glimpsed within its new ad that piqued our interest. With "Hokey Pokey" playing in the background, the ad tracks the daily movement of people across the world, all doing what they seemingly love. However, if you look at little closer, you may spot a Table Mountain or two. A large portion of the advertisement was filmed in Cape Town. Bo-Kaap, the CBD, the Atlanic Seaboard, Hout Bay, and Camps Bay beach are all visible in the heavily-cut 60 second clip. "Apple Watch has...

  • People are already trolling Apple over the iPhone’s new names

    Apple may as well have launched an iPhone XD, because the internet's heaping the hilarious hot takes on the company's new smartphone names. Leaked earlier today through its own website, Cupertino's three new phones will be called the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. Fans aren't warming to them. It’s official, iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR. I’ll get use to it, but those are awful names. — Michael Kukielka (@DetroitBORG) September 12, 2018 "XS MAX, I keep seeing 'EXCESS MAX.' It sounds a new Pepsi Beverage," wrote one Twitter user. "XrR sounds like a new model from Mazda." XS MAX, I...

  • Apple will livestream its iPhone launch on Twitter

    If you don't have a Mac, watching an Apple event live is always a pain in the ass. You couldn't use any other browsers besides Microsoft Edge and Safari, or you had to own an iPad, iPhone or Apple TV. But that's about to change (unless you don't use social media). The Cupertino firm will for the first time livestream its iPhone launch event on Twitter. Confirmed by TechCrunch, the company has previously asked users to "watch" the event on the social network not simply sign up, leading fans to believe that something was a foot. Yeah, I bet you didn't know Apple...

  • Google Chrome turns 10, celebrates with shiny new features

    Google Chrome is officially celebrating its 10th birthday. To commemorate the milestone, Google is releasing a brand new updated version of the browser. Chrome usually receives updates in six week cycles but for its 10th birthday, it’s a "bigger than normal" one. The announcement outlined four new features that are on its way to the browser: Overhauled UI A new look Chrome, which will be visible on multiple devices, employs "more rounded shapes, new icons and a new colour palette". These aesthetics have apparently been put into place for simplicity as well as to improve productivity. "We changed the shape of our tabs so that...

  • Microsoft admits Skype is complicated, announces simplified features

    Any user of Skype knows exactly how frustrating the communication software is. Apparently, so does its maker. Microsoft has announced that its bringing updates to its chat product in order to simplify the user experience. "Our passion for bringing people closer together through simple, seamless experiences that ‘just work’ is the foundation of Skype", says Peter Skillman, the company's director of design. Wherever this "foundation" went, it was certainly not on Skype itself. Skillman admitted that design changes were "explored" this year, specifically relating to calling and highlights. It was this that convinced Microsoft that it needed to simplify the voice, video...

  • Microsoft announces spades of incoming Office 365 additions

    Microsoft's OneDrive will soon be smart enough to transcribe your video and audio files using AI. In a statement this week, the company noted that the service will support more than 320 different video and audio file types. This is largely or organisations that share files constantly across its Microsoft 365 suite -- the online version of Microsoft Office. "While viewing a video or listening to an audio file, a full transcript (improving both accessibility and search) will show directly in our industry-leading viewer," the company adds, hinting that a transcript will appear automatically with timestamps alongside the video or audio playing. "Once...

  • Google searches for South Africa spike after Fox News video, Trump tweet

    Google Searches for South Africa has spiked after Fox News ran a segment, anchored by Tucker Carlson, addressing the country's land expropriation debate. The spike also comes after US President Donald Trump tweeted that Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, will investigate the issue more closely. (Read a full report on Trump's comments and reaction here). And while Twitter users have used all 280 characters to air their views, there is another way we can gauge internet sentiment: Google Trends. Looking at specific queries punched into Google's search bar, we can evaluate just how SA is perceived within the United States. And...

  • What exactly is Samsung Pay? A brief FAQ for South Africans

    Samsung's calling it a game changer. Banks are seeing it as a fresh avenue for payments. And users? Well, that remains to be seen. What exactly is Samsung Pay? For one, it this week launched in South Africa after years of waiting and testing. It's now available to users of a select number of Samsung devices, allowing said users to pay for products wirelessly and without swiping any plastic. But, there are a lot of questions we've been asked about the service. Here are a few answers to the most commonly queried FAQs. How many cards can I enroll? Seemingly as many as you...