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Big Tech

  • Miss the old Google News? This website could be the answer

    Judging by this article's comments section, people are really, really not warming to Google News's redesign. But don't ditch the service just yet. There is hope if you prefer the old layout. A website dubbed "The Old G News" is seemingly reviving the old version of Mountain View's news aggregation tool. And it's almost as though nothing as changed. According to a Reddit post by a user claiming to be the site's owner, the service is "more like a http proxy" than a complete Google News remaster. "I get your request and I forward it and give it back to you. No...

  • Google employee’s anti-diversity memo targets women’s ‘biology’

    A Google employee has come under fire for releasing a ten-page-long document on why diversity in the workplace is dangerous. The document, which was first reported by Motherboard, was circulated internally at Google before being released publicly by Gizmodo. In it, the author outlines how men and women differ biologically -- and how the company's diversity efforts should be examined in regards to its "costs and benefits". They argue that women are more people-oriented, anxiety-prone and less ambitious, and conclude that the workplace should not be made more comfortable for them because male employees would suffer. The document also claims that there are notable IQ differences between different groups of people...

  • Google Play Store will no longer suggest ‘lower quality’ apps in search

    Google Play Store has made it easier for users to spot the "lower quality" apps on its platform from the genuinely useful. According to a new blog post, the company is actively focussing on privileging apps that exhibit stellar stability, and penalising those that show "excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes". "As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we recently enhanced our search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality," Google Play's product manager Andrew Ahn explains. Google Play rewards well-built apps by pushing them further up search listings "This results in higher quality apps...

  • YouTube Red and Google Play Music to merge into one streaming service

    YouTube's head of music Lyor Cohen has confirmed that YouTube Red and Google Play Music will be merging into one streaming service, according to a report from The Verge. Speaking at a panel in New York, Cohen acknowledged that the services provide similar offerings and that it was important to combine them. YouTube's streaming services are complicated. YouTube Red costs US$9.99 a month, and includes an ad-free experience, offline watching, and access to original Red content. It also provides access to Google Play Music. Google Play Music offers ad-free music streaming, the ability to make playlists, and offline listening. It costs the same, and a...

  • Black Coffee will host his own show on Apple’s Beats 1

    South Africans are slowly taking over the US entertainment industry. First Trevor Noah's big gig on The Daily Show, and now Apple's Beats 1 has recruited Black Coffee to host a radio show on its platform. The news broke early Wednesday, but only began impacting South Africans later that evening when the DJ formally announced the move on Twitter. Subsequently the hashtag (and name of the upcoming show) #Beats1BlackCoffee began trending. He becomes the first South African to host a show on Apple's live streaming radio service which launched in mid-2015. I'm the newest @Beats1 host. Hear the sounds of global underground...

  • Google implements SOS alerts for nearby crises

    Google has launched SOS Alert for search that provides information on ongoing emergencies. The SOS Alerts pop up whenever someone searches for the name of an event or location. It provides information like maps of the damage, top stories, and even statements from local authorities when available. If the user is close by, the Alert will provide emergency numbers. Users may even be sent a notification if their Google app is up-to-date and location is on. For those removed from the situation, information on where to donate might be provided. Google says that both natural and human-caused emergencies will be included The feature has also been implemented...

  • Alphabet shrugs off $2.7bn fine, still makes stacks of money this quarter

    Google's parent company Alphabet isn't having the smoothest year on record thus far, but that hasn't stopped it from making even more money this quarter. The company today revealed its latest quarterly financial figures for Q2 2017, a quarter that has seen another marked increase in numbers behind dollar signs. "With revenues of $26 billion, up 21% versus the second quarter of 2016 and 23% on a constant currency basis, we're delivering strong growth with great underlying momentum, while continuing to make focused investments in new revenue streams," the company's CFO Ruth Porat told investors in a letter. For comparison, the company...

  • New Google Feed will delve even deeper into your data

    Google has taken control of its knowledge of you to personalise its mobile app even further with the launch of the new Google Feed. Replacing what was once Google Now, Google Feed will use even more complicated algorithms to present users with news it thinks they will enjoy. These algorithms know which of your interests you've cultivated for years, and which are passing phases. "For example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that," engineering VP Shashi Thakur writes. The interface will remain much the same -- the few changes include articles being headed by their...

  • These new Apple emoji will hit the iPhone before 2018

    In honour of World Emoji Day, Apple has announced a bunch of new emoji coming to its major operating systems before 2018 makes its presence felt. These operating systems include the iPhone and iPad's iOS, Apple Watch's watchOS and macOS, running on its laptops and workstations. "With thousands of emoji available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac, there are many ways to add personality to every message," the Cupertino company notes in a press release. As for the new emoji, there are over 15 heading for users' devices, including a number of completely new icons. A breastfeeding emoji, a woman with headscarf...

  • Google Maps gives you the best time to leave for your destination

    Google Maps now helps you pick the best time to leave your your destination, thanks to a nifty new feature. Previously Google Maps would direct, and estimate the time of travel based on route and traffic along said route. But now the app (at least on Android) provides users with a graph on estimated travel times throughout the day. Google will also highlight the best time to leave -- which is ironically well before the time most companies let their employees go. Go figure. The feature is currently available on Android, but not yet available on the web or the iOS version of...

  • Google News redesign unsurprisingly angers everyone

    Google News has been redesigned, and its interface is sleek, clean, customisable and universally hated. One of the main features Google News is touting is news from "diverse perspectives" -- meaning that related articles will now feature news from both sides of the aisle. These articles are then grouped together in a card format. How do I know something has changed? Google News is usually 100% #NeverTrump. Today, not one negative article. https://t.co/MEXO3SuNWq — Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) June 25, 2017 But it seems this isn't the biggest gripe users have with the change: many think the layout is slow, wastes space, and makes it more...

  • Google fined €2.42-billion for abusing market dominance

    The European Commission has fined Google €2.42-billion (R35.32-billion) for abusing its dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service over others. According to the Commission, Google was unfairly promoting Google Shopping while demoting rival comparison services, such that even the most prominent rival service was only appearing on the fourth page. This practice is a violation of the EU's antitrust rules. It says that dominant companies have a responsibility not to restrict competition in any markets. The judgment comes after seven years of investigation, and is the largest antitrust fine ever handed out by the European commission. It was calculated based on...

  • Google will no longer scan your Gmail emails

    Great news for those vested in Google products. The company has announced it will no longer be creepy and scan consumers' Gmail email account content for its advertising purposes. "G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalisation, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service," Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud confirmed in a blog post. "Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalisation after this change." This move is to better align the consumer Gmail offering with the already scan-free business offering and other...

  • This Google Doodle lets you create calming musical animations

    Today would have been Oskar Fischinger's 117th birthday, and Google is using its latest doodle to celebrate his abstract animations. The German-American was notable for his abstract musical animations long before computer graphics and the concept of music videos came into play. In 1936, Fischinger and his wife fled Germany when it became clear he could not pursue his art under Hitler's regime. When he arrived in the US, Paramount Pictures offered him a job. He went on to animate sequences for Disney's Fantasia and Pinocchio. The artist's work was largely created between the 1920s and 1940s -- and the lack of digital technology meant he often spent...

  • Google’s adorable Doodle celebrates the summer (and winter) solstice

    Google's doodlers really know how to capture a moment in an adorable GIF. And what might the latest moment be, you ask? The summer and winter solstice, of course. Depending on which side of the equator you're on, you'll today experience the longest day of the year (north) or the longest night of the year (south). Much like these two mice in Google's GIF. Celebrating the new season—in both hemispheres!—with a #GoogleDoodle for summer and winter solstices. https://t.co/ioInwGI6Fv pic.twitter.com/cZvjSOE0os — Google (@Google) June 21, 2017 "Today’s Doodle celebrates the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere," Google explains. "As the longest day of the year, solstice...