• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

Big Tech

  • Google Allo will shut down in March 2019

    Google has announced that it will be shutting down its smart-messaging service Allo which it launched just over two years ago. The decision comes after the company “paused investment in Allo” earlier this year, and brought its features to Messages -- Google’s SMS-based messaging service for Android. “Given Messages' continued momentum, we’ve decided to stop supporting Allo to focus on Messages,” the company explained in the announcement. Features such as desktop support, GIFs and Smart Reply have already moved from Allo to Messages. “We've learned a lot from Allo, particularly what’s possible when you incorporate machine learning features, like the Google Assistant, into...

  • Google’s Santa’s Village features Santa tracker, Elf Maker

    Google’s educational “holiday hub” called Santa’s Village is back in swing for the 15th year and you can play more interactive games, learn about different regional Christmas traditions, and track Santa’s whereabouts. One of the hub’s new features comes in the form of Elf Maker, a tool where you can make your very own elf to play with. “Choose an outfit, accessories, hairstyle, and even facial hair to add some flair to your little friend,” Google says on its blog. The Santa Tracker is also back, which you can access via Maps or the Android app. “In the days leading up to Christmas,...

  • Microsoft Office is getting brand new icons

    Microsoft has redesigned its Office program icons five years after its previous update. The company believes that with the fast paced and diversified digital world in the present day, Office has evolved into a “collaborative suite”. “As a signal to our customers, we’ve evolved our Office icons to reflect these significant product changes,” said Microsoft in an announcement. While the colours remain true to their corresponding Office programmes, the hues are described as “bolder, lighter and friendlier”. “Our design solution was to decouple the letter and the symbol in the icons, essentially creating two panels,” the company explains. Indeed, the new icons feature a...

  • Google Translate on web gets UI refresh

    Google has refreshed the UI of Google Translate's web portal, giving it a brand new look and feel. “The site’s new look is now consistent with other Google products, and updated labeling and typography make it easier to navigate,” said Google in an announcement. The new look is still simple and clean like before, but with a more modern layout, making it easier to find certain features like saved documents and your history. “We’ve added labels to each saved translation, so if you speak multiple languages, you can sort and group your translations with a single click,” the company noted further. The update...

  • Google’s Smart Compose will now suggest genderless pronouns

    According to a report, Google has removed gendered pronouns from Smart Compose. This means that words like him, her, he or she will no longer be suggested when typing in Gmail. Smart Compose is an AI feature that helps Google users complete sentences by assuming the next word or phrase. Unfortunately, the company noticed that some of these assumptions were gender biased, offering him in places where the user may be referring to a her. Speaking to Reuters, Gmail’s product manager Paul Lambert said that the company takes gender quite seriously, calling it a "a big, big thing". He also explained that after many...

  • You can now view the messages sent to businesses in Google Maps

    Google has revealed a new tool that will allow users to view messages in Google Maps. The feature will display conversations people have had with Business Profiles on Google. “Sending messages to businesses gives you the opportunity to ask questions without having to make a phone call,” says the company. “Now you’ll see your messages with the businesses you connect with via Business Profiles within the Google Maps app.” If you have contacted any business online via Google, you will now be able to view these chat threads in your Maps app. Originally the ability to messages Business Profiles on Google was...

  • Gboard now uses AI to suggest the perfect emoji

    If all you ever wanted from a mobile keyboard is, well, a mobile keyboard, you're going to hate Gboard's latest update. Google's keyboard, from today, will now suggest GIFs, emoji and stickers to users during your conversations using AI. "This makes it faster and easier to share your #feelings and your glowing personality with whoever you’re chatting with," wrote Angana Ghosh, Gboard's product lead, on Google's Keyword blog. The suggestion feature is triggered when keywords are typed into conversation. This can include overused single words like "awesome" or multiple common phrases like "I'm sleepy". The feature uses Google's AI engine, but it emphasises...

  • Google Chrome 71 could ad block your entire website

    Google has revealed a new plan further to protect Chrome users against abusive ad content. “Starting in December 2018, Chrome 71 will remove all ads on the small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences,” says the company on its blog. This means that entire sites could have their ads blocked if Google flags them for containing abusive ad content. Google notes that harmful ads still affects users despite its current efforts to block ads that have bad intentions, with over half of the offensive online content still slipping through. “These ads trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system...

  • You can now create custom emoji stickers on Google’s Gboard

    Google has revealed a new feature on its mobile keyboard app that lets you create your own personalised emoji stickers. “Today, we’re introducing emoji style Mini stickers for Gboard, designed for those who may have stared into the eyes of emoji and not seen yourself staring back,” said Google on its blog. The stickers, which are created by taking a selfie, are the same as your everyday emojis, they just happen to come in three customisable variants – emoji, bold and sweet. While emoji is a given, the company explains that bold is “for when you might be feeling a little extra,...

  • This app shows kids where to get candy this Halloween

    One of Google Maps' third party partner apps Nextdoor is hosting its annual Halloween Treat Map for those in the US just in time for the spooky holiday tomorrow. With the Halloween Treat Map, Nextdoor users can add their homes and what they’re offering kids in their suburbs for Halloween on to their neighbourhood map. Google explains that neighbours will be able to “mark their homes with a candy corn icon if they plan to pass out candy, a haunted house icon if they plan to give their neighbours a spooky trick, or a teal pumpkin icon if they plan to...

  • If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, it’s Google Maps’ new game

    Earlier this year Google made it possible for game developers to design games that can be played in the real world using Google Maps. Today the company has revealed one of those games, and in true October style, it's Ghostbusters. “With Ghostbusters World, the newest game built with Google Maps, you can grab your virtual proton pack and bust ghosts—all as you explore a game world built on the Google Maps you know and love,” said Google in the announcement. This means Google Maps will not only help you get to your destination, but also aid you in the battle against ghosts...

  • You can now ‘follow’ your favourite places on Google Maps

    Forget following people and hashtags, Google Maps will let you follow your favourite locations. When you select a place or business, a follow button will be available below its star rating, journey time, and business type. Simply tap the button to follow the place of interest. When following businesses, the app will keep you updated on the latest news at your regular hang out spots and frequented shops.. “Once you’ve followed places, news from them -- like events, offers and other updates -- will appear in the For You tab,” said Google in the announcement. Google Maps will also list businesses for up...

  • Google brings 4K upgrades to Google Play Movies & TV

    Google has revealed upgrades for Google Play Movies & TV that will allow users in the US and Canada to watch content in 4K. According to the announcement, all movies you have already bought will now be streamed in 4K -- that is four times the resolution of Full HD -- while you can buy new titles in 4K at lower prices. “We think watching in 4K should be a no brainer, so we’re continuously...

  • You can now share your Google Maps ETA on iOS

    Those who use iOS devices, like the iPad and iPhone, can now enjoy the ETA feature of Google Maps. The feature, which hit Android devices earlier this year, allows you to share your route with others while you’re travelling, keeping them abreast of where you are and your expected time of arrival. “After you’ve started navigating to a destination, tap on the ˄ button and then on ‘Share trip progress.’ From here you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favourite contacts,” Google explained in the announcement. The update also includes improvements to the feature as...

  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died after a long batter with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65. Allen was a childhood friend of Bill Gates, and the two of them founded Microsoft back in 1975. Though Allen left Microsoft in 1983, his contributions to personal computer technology were revolutionary, and many consider him a great visionary for his investments and donations over the years. He founded multiple research companies for science, biology and technology, including Vulcan Inc. which confirmed Allen’s passing in an official statement. “It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and...