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Programs & Apps

  • Google Maps’ For You tab is now live in South Africa

    Google Maps' For You tab is rolling out to a select number of iOS users, and almost all Android users around the world. “Today, the For You tab is making its way over to Google Maps in over 40 countries on iOS and 130+ new countries on Android,” the company explained on its blog. The tab in a new addition to Google Maps that helps users find things to do, based on their searches and visits. If you follow a particular establishment, its details will now be visible in the For You tab too. “The For You tab is designed to be a...

  • The best iOS and Android apps of 2018, according to Apple and Google

    Within a few days of one another, both Apple and Google have revealed their best performing apps and games of 2018 on their respective app stores. Both companies had several categories to fill. Google took inspiration from a “Fan Favourites” voting poll over on its store to determine what users liked best on the Play Store. Apple listed its top performers using "a global collection of top charts and selects from our editors" and awarded winners in each category for both iPhone and iPad. We’ve narrowed it down to the best apps and games overall. Have at it below. Best Apps Google Play Store Google’s...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • iOS update allows you to use Google Assistant through Siri

    A new update to the iOS version of Google Assistant now allows users to add Google shortcuts to Siri. This means that the two voice assistants can work together, and users can access Google Assistant features such as “Hey Google” via Siri. Previously, Apple users would have to choose between the two virtual assistant options. With the addition of Assistant shortcuts for Siri however, Google is growing its prevalence on iOS devices. Feature image: Appstore

  • Netflix’s iOS app update adds a gaggle of Android features

    Streaming platform Netflix has updated its iOS app to include a few simple features that are already standard with the Android version. Apple users will now have access to the 10 second forward/rewind feature, as well as the “Next Episode” button. “Enjoy bigger controls like play/pause, with labels to quickly select Episodes or turn on Audio & Subtitles,” the company also adds in a media update. The Netflix update requires devices running iOS 11.0 or newer. Feature image: Netflix

  • 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...

  • 3 Android load shedding apps for South Africa

    Load shedding was a buzzword, albeit a much maligned one, during the early years of this decade. But according to every South Africa's favourite provider of electricity, Eskom, it may make a sudden return. A report by Moneyweb on Monday revealed that a number of Eskom's coal power stations have just 10 days of reserve stock remaining. "In the meantime, the power utility is using costly diesel plants to supplement the power generated by its coal-fired fleet," the report by Antoinette Slabbert continued, further suggesting that loadshedding may come sooner rather than later. Because it's always better to be prepared (someone please...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Messenger 4 is a simpler, more colourful version of Facebook’s chat app

    Facebook has announced a simpler version of Facebook Messenger, called Messenger 4, will begin rolling out globally. “We believe Messenger 4 delivers the closeness and authenticity that you’ve been asking for — through simplicity of design and powerful features,” the company said on its website. Messenger 4 will feature a simplified UI with just three tabs to navigate through, as opposed to the current nine. Chats, People and Discover In the Chats tab, you'll find private and group messages along with the app’s camera feature. In the People tab, you can find your contacts and view their Facebook Stories. The Discover tab is “where you can...

  • 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...