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Google India Launches an App to Solve Local Queries

To use the app, type or use your voice to answer your neighbours' questions

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To help people find local answers in their neighbourhood, Google India on Thursday announced the beta launch of a new app called “Neighbourly” in the country.

“The beta version is available today in Mumbai. If you’re in a different city, join the waitlist,” Google India tweeted.

“With ‘Neighbourly’, we’re finding new ways to move forward on Google’s mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Josh Woodward, Group Product Manager on Google’s Next Billion Users team, said in a statement.

The app will help users answer queries like ‘find out which is the safest park for my kids in an area’ or ‘any affordable Maths private tuition available near me’.

“In big cities across India, it’s getting harder to get good answers to these questions because cities keep changing, including the people who live there,” read the app’s description on its website.

Google India Launches an App to Solve Local Queries
Google Device, Pixabay

“That’s why we built ‘Neighbourly’, an app that helps you ask your neighbours questions, be a local expert, and keep up with your neighbourhood,” it added.

“In our research, we’ve found that most of life happens within a 1km radius of where you live, so we wanted to create a new experience for neighbours to benefit from the collective knowledge inside their neighbourhoods. And, when that happens, we hope neighbourhoods everywhere will start to feel even more neighbourly,” Woodward said.

To use the app, type or use your voice to answer your neighbours’ questions.

Also Read: #SummerWithGoogle: Google Rolls Out Summer Campaign For Kids

Swipe to keep up with everyone around you. Tap the star to follow what matters and get updates as your neighbours answer. Ask and answer questions without sharing your private details.

“With ‘Neighbourly’, your questions get routed to the right neighbours instantly, and then they can write back with the most up-to-date, relevant and accurate info,” the app’s description said. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)