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Google

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Here’s how Facebook and Google plan to fight terrorism

    Both Facebook and Google have revealed how they are countering terrorist activity on their respective blogs this past week. These posts come after UK Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the internet for providing a safe space for terrorists to communicate -- and after Facebook itself dodged a lawsuit that claimed it was the reason Palestinian terrorists were able to kill numerous Israelis. Facebook revealed it is looking specifically at how artificial and human intelligence can work together, as well as partnering with other companies, NGOs and governments to bring an end to terror. The company is working on software that identifies when a user...

  • South Africa: here’s how to get four free months on Google Play Music

    Google Play Music now offers a four-month free trial for those subscribing to its service. The streaming music platform headed by the Mountain View company houses over 30-million tracks, and allows users to upload their own to the cloud, usually comes with a two- or three-month trial. But Google's seemingly feeling a bit generous this week. First spotted by Android Police last week, the deal is still ongoing at the time of writing. And yes, it's available to those within South Africa's borders too. Interestingly, it seems that the deal comes in tow with South Africa's addition to Google Play promo codes supported...

  • Google Docs’ latest phishing scam was bad news for journalists

    A Google Docs phishing attack, that paraded as a genuine link to a shared document, caused widespread panic on the internet Wednesday. On the same day that Facebook's WhatsApp was down for the count, some Google users (Fortune's Jeff John Roberts suggests that the scam was targeted at journalists) received an email with a seemingly normal Google Docs link. Closer inspection revealed a few oddities. The sender of the mail is the rather hilarious "hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com" but the consequences of clicking the mail aren't. Taking unsuspecting users to a faux OAUTH authentication page, suggesting that Google Docs requires authorisation to open the document. The...

  • 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!...