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Big Tech

  • Here’s what we love and hate about Google Podcasts app on Android

    After Google announced plans to sprinkle its Play Music offering into YouTube's video cauldron to create YouTube Music, you'd think the company would continue the trend of rolling similar apps into singular entities. But you'd be mistaken. On Tuesday the company announced Google Podcasts, its app for Android phones and lovers of pods. It's a standalone app but uses the Google app's host of permissions. So if you're already letting Google Assistant do your bidding on a daily basis, you only need allow the app access to "Storage" to download episodes. Notably, you can also request Assistant to continue an episode you started...

  • GitHub could soon be Microsoft’s new baby, report suggests

    In a report published Monday, Bloomberg is notably confident that Microsoft is about to purchase code repository website GitHub. GitHub isn't a new social network, but the "world's leading software development platform" it self-exclaims. Founded in 2008, the site has become the largest host of source code on the planet, with more than 20-million users and 57-million respositories of code in April 2017. The Redmond-based company will reportedly announced its acquisition today, although the financial damage is not yet know. According to Bloomberg, GitHub was last valuated at US$2-billion in 2015. There's also no indication from GitHub that is has been purchased, however...

  • Google One lets families share up to 30TB of cloud storage

    If you pay for Google Drive storage, take note. The company this week announced "a simple plan for expanded storage that includes extra benefits" dubbed Google One. Coming to all paying customers of Google's cloud storage service, Google One sees an upgraded offering from 100GB to 30TB if you really, really have a lot of cat pictures to store. This however plays into Google's new family sharing scheme, allowing up to five members to use the wad of storage under a single account. And said family members will also be given a private slice of that storage pie too. Google One will...

  • The Google Assistant tweaks and new features you have to know about [I/O 2018]

    Google Assistant, the company's rival to Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, is being crammed into almost every Google product this year. The company announced big plans for Assistant at its I/O developers conference this week, and we're here to summarise it all for you into 11 tweetable bylines. Are you ready? Have at it. Google Assistant will be available in six new voices from today, with John Legend lending his rasp to the digital butler later this year too. "Continued Conversations" will allow users to converse with Assistant more fluently, negating the need for "Hey Google" to be uttered before every...

  • Windows 10 now runs on 700 million devices

    While most of South Africa was fast asleep late Monday, Microsoft took to the stage in Seattle to kick off its Build developers conference. Usually the highlights of its software and services announcement calendar, the firm announced a few notable tweaks to its range of products. It also revealed numbers behind its flagship OS product, Windows 10. To date, 700-million active devices are running Microsoft's latest OS, up from 500-million a year before. That's a significant gain, but in terms of market share, it still lags behind Windows 7. In March 2018, NetMarketShare revealed that the legacy OS still commands more than 44%...

  • 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,...