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Indian-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveils ‘Google Assistant’

Google recently unveiled their answer to Apple's Siri in the form of ‘Google Assistant’, a two-way conversational assistant

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco: Google CEO, the Tamil Nadu born Sundar Pichai recently unveiled their answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana in the form of ‘Google Assistant’, a two-way conversational assistant that helps with all tasks from coordinating a dinner with friends to searching movie timings to setting the oven timer.

Pichai also unveiled ‘Google Home’ – a voice-activated product that brings Google Assistant to any room in your house, a new messaging app called ‘Allo’ and video calling feature ‘Duo’ as the company kicked off ‘Google I/O,’ its annual developer conference in Mountain View, California.

“It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.

“The Assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google’s help no matter where you are or what the context. It builds on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions,” he added.

Google Home lets you enjoy entertainment, manage everyday tasks and get answers from Google – all using conversational speech. With a simple voice command, one can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer for the oven, check your flight, or turn on your lights.

Related article: Google for India

“It’s designed to fit your home with customisable bases in different colors and materials. Google Home will be released later this year,” Pichai informed.

The messaging app Allo comes complete with the Google Assistant so one can interact with it directly in their chats, either one-on-one or with friends. Allo includes ‘Smart Reply’ which suggests responses to messages based on context and comes with fun ways to make your chats more expressive, including emojis, stickers and the ability to get creative with photos.

“Because the Assistant understands your world, you can ask for things like your agenda for the day or photos from your last trip. If you’re planning a dinner with friends, you can ask the assistant to suggest restaurants nearby, all in one thread,” Pichai further wrote.

Duo is a companion app for one-to-one video calling. “With Duo, our goal is to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower network speeds. We also introduced a feature called ‘Knock Knock’ which gives you a live video of the other caller before you answer,” the Indian-born executive posted.

Best of all, both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number, so you can communicate with anyone regardless of whether they’re on Android or iOS. Both apps will be available this summer.

“We are sharing details about what’s coming in Android N, including better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption and storage, background downloads of system updates, and streamlined notifications so you can power through them faster, and updated emojis including 72 new ones,” Pichai said.

On top of Android N, Google has built a new platform for high-quality mobile virtual reality (VR) called ‘Daydream’. “Together with Android manufacturers, we’re working on upcoming phones and sharing designs with them for a VR viewer and controller that will be really immersive, comfortable and intuitive to use,” Pichai added.

Google also previewed ‘Android Wear 2.0’, including a revamped user experience and stand alone apps that run right on the watch, no matter where your phone is or even if it’s off.
“Finally, we’re introducing Android Instant Apps – which let you run Android apps instantly, without requiring installation,” he said.

Source: IANS

  • Pritam Go Green

    I wonder sometimes where are we going. From a traditional society to a fully automated life. Well i must admit the fact that already google smart watch is doing wonders and now this !!!!! #GoogleHome
    I think the level which Google possess this is going to be a big challenge for SIri and Cortana. Brace yourselves people !!! cz some serious automata is about to enter in ur lives !!!!

  • Pritam Go Green

    I wonder sometimes where are we going. From a traditional society to a fully automated life. Well i must admit the fact that already google smart watch is doing wonders and now this !!!!! #GoogleHome
    I think the level which Google possess this is going to be a big challenge for SIri and Cortana. Brace yourselves people !!! cz some serious automata is about to enter in ur lives !!!!

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Google launches three new apps for photography

The new photography applications are "Storyboard" (available on Android only), "Selfissimo!" (available on iOS and Android) and "Scrubbies" (available on iOS only).

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44th Anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop

San Francisco, Dec 12: Google has introduced three photography apps which are part of a new series that it has dubbed as photography “appsperiments”.

“We’re launching the first installment of a series of photography appsperiments: Usable and useful mobile photography experiences built on experimental technology. Our ‘appsperimental’ approach was inspired in part by ‘Motion Stills’,” the company wrote in a research blog late on Monday.

“‘Motion Stills’ is an app developed by researchers that converts short videos into cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilisation and rendering technologies,” Google added.

Google apps
Google introduces photography apps

The new photography applications are “Storyboard” (available on Android only), “Selfissimo!” (available on iOS and Android) and “Scrubbies” (available on iOS only).

The “Storyboard” app takes video clips and automatically pulls out six frames that it lays out in a comic book-style template.

“Selfissimo!” is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a black and white photograph each time the user poses.

“Scrubbies” lets the user easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces and replay moments.

The tech giant has also urged users to try out the new apps and provide feedback via the in-app feedback links. IANS

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Google gets the better of Facebook as top referral source for publishers

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

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Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017
Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017. VOA
  • Google webpage traffic increases considerably
  • Facebook went down by 26% in January as compared to last year
  • Video publishing feature might has add up to the Facebook traffic

San Francisco, Dec 12,2017: Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers’ main source of external page views over the course of 2017, a new data showed.

Google used to be the main source of referral traffic for web publishers. Then Facebook eclipsed it, ReCode reported late on Monday.

According to digital analytics company Parse.ly, Google sent more traffic than Facebook to publishers — Facebook sent 25 per cent less traffic to publishers in 2017, while Google increased its traffic by 17 per cent.

In January, Facebook provided nearly 40 per cent of publishers’ external traffic which is now down to 26 per cent.

Google web traffic
Google AMP feature has helped it to add up to the web traffic

Google, which started the year at 34 per cent, generated 44 per cent of the total traffic.

Parse.ly pointed out a number of factors for this turnaround.

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

Also, Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature, where the service hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to send more readers to the original site as well, has declined in importance, the analytics company found.

Since users can now publish videos directly on Facebook, this might have affected how many links to web stories publishers put on their Facebook pages.

Google’s “accelerated mobile pages” (AMP) feature, which also hosts publishers’ content directly on Google’s servers, became more important over the year.

AMP stories – typically from news publishers – are surfaced at the top of mobile search results as “Top Stories,” which drives clicks. (IANS)

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Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter Join The Trust Project to Help Users Combat Fake News

In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project"

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To Combat Fake News
To Combat Fake News Facebook, Twitter , Google have joined 'The Trust Project'. PIxabay.

San Francisco, Nov 19: In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed.

When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations’ ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.

“Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a” news, opinion, analysis or advertising,” the university said in a statement.

Each indicator is signalled in the article and site code, providing the first standardised technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work.

“Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism,” the university said.

German press agency DPA, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Republica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with “Trust Indicators” this month.

The Institute for Non-profit News has developed a WordPress plug-in to facilitate broader implementation by qualified publishers.

“An increasingly sceptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on,” Lehrman explained.

The eight core indicators are: Best Practices; Author Expertise; Type of Work; Citations and References; Methods; Locally Sourced; Diverse Voices and Actionable Feedback.

New organisations like the BBC and Hearst Television have collaborated in defining the “Trust Indicator” editorial and technical standards, and in developing the processes for implementing these.

“Quality journalism has never been more important,” said Richard Gingras, vice president of news products at Google.

“We hope to use the Type of Work indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as Best Practices and Author Info in our Knowledge Panels.”

“The Trust Indicators will provide a new level of accessibility and insight into the news that people on Facebook see day in and day out,” said Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook.

A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months, with a second phase of news partners beginning implementation work soon. (IANS)