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Big Tech

  • 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...

  • Samsung Pay is now available in South Africa

    Samsung Pay is now officially available and live in South Africa. The contactless payment service, which has been available in other territories since 2015, can now be downloaded from Samsung's Galaxy App store. The app itself is around 105MB. There's a catch however. Credit and debit cards linked to ABSA and Standard Bank can only be used. FNB, Nedbank and Capitec cards are not yet accepted. For those who use supported cards, more than one can be added and used on the service to pay for content using contactless payment terminals across South Africa. Samsung Pay also supports cards from other providers, including...

  • Here are the coolest new emoji coming to Android Pie

    With Google’s recent launch of Android 9 comes Emoji 11.0 and a bunch of new, expressive and politically correct, emojis for users. Though the entire list is 157 new characters long, here are some of our honourable mentions. The Hot Face This emoji looks like it just ran a marathon it didn’t train for, and is so relatable to everyday life. I can imagine it being used to describe anything from a terribly hot day, to disappointing food and even just the general fatigue of daily life we all suffer from. The Pleading Face Admittedly the so called pleading face looks more like the face...

  • Google Maps now shows the Earth as a globe

    Google has likely offended scores of flatearthers this past week after the company added a new update to Maps that displays planet Earth as a globe. Previously the app displayed the planet much like a massive map on its Maps interface. Now, when users zoom out, they'll be greeted by a bulbous ball in space. Why the change? For Google, it believes that it's a better way to represent relative sizes of countries and continents. While Greenland may look the same size as Africa on a flat map, on a globe, its much smaller. Thank you for showing the real size of Africa....

  • Google Assistant’s latest change adds Now-like information cards

    Google Assistant is this week receiving a new lick of paint from one of Google's older services. "This week, we’re rolling out a new visual overview of your day when you open the Google Assistant app on your phone, with proactive suggestions and personalized information to help you stay on top of your day," the company's Deniz Binay writes in a release. Notably, the tweak to the virtual voice assistant has hints of the original Google Now app -- the company's now defunct dashboard that displayed information snapshots. "The new visual snapshot provides curated, helpful information based on the time of day,...

  • 5 interesting Google Search blips after the World Cup semi-finals

    So... my World Cup predictions are out the window. France will play Croatia in the final after the teams beat Belgium and England respectively. The latter was quite the cracker, with Croatia scoring just a few minutes into the second half of extra time. England simply had no reply. But what the win also gave Croatia is the largest search spike on Google than any of the other semi-final teams this past week. We look at this, and more search anomalies, in the below piece. Croatia sees biggest search spike after England triumph Within the week of the semi-finals, Croatia saw the largest global...

  • Microsoft is finally updating Notepad in new Windows 10 build

    Microsoft Windows' often used but even more often forgotten text processor Notepad is getting an update. In the latest build of Windows 10 marked as 17713, Notepad is earmarked as one of the programs receiving a new lick of paint. "With Build 17666, we introduced extended line ending support for Notepad. We’re excited to share that today’s build has a few more surprises in store based on what you’ve been telling us!" the company writes in an update. Firstly, users can zoom text in Notepad similarly to Microsoft Word. There's a new menu option available, while the CTRL and MouseWheel combo will...

  • 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...