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Google Rolls out ‘Morse code’ Support on Gboard for iOS

Gboard for Android lets you hook external switches to the device, so a person with limited mobility could operate the device

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Google unveils new shopping search features for Indian users. Pixabay

To help people with disabilities connect better, Google has rolled out “Morse code” functionalities on Gboard for iOS and improvements to “Morse code” on Gboard for Android.

Earlier this year, Google partnered with developer Tania Finlayson, an expert in Morse code assistive technology, to make Morse code more accessible.

“To help you learn how to type in Morse code, we’ve created a game (on Android, iOS, and desktop) that can help you learn it in less than an hour,” Google said in a blog post late on Wednesday.

“Morse code” is a method of sending text messages by keying in a series of electronic pulses, usually represented as a short pulse (called a “dot”) and a long pulse (a “dash”).

Representational image.
Google on a smartphone device, Pixabay

“Most technology today is designed for the mass market. Unfortunately, this can mean that people with disabilities can be left behind. Developing communication tools like this is important, because for many people, it simply makes life livable,” she said.

Born with cerebral palsy, Finlayson’s experience with the Morse code communicator led her to a partnership with Google on bringing Morse code to Gboard.

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Working closely with the team, she helped design the keyboard layout, added Morse sequences to the auto-suggestion strip above the keyboard, and developed settings that allow people to customise the keyboard to their unique needs.

The Morse code keyboard on Gboard allows people to use Morse code (dots and dashes) to enter text, instead of the regular (QWERTY) keyboard.

“Gboard for Android lets you hook external switches to the device, so a person with limited mobility could operate the device,” Finlayson added. (IANS)

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Google Planning to Develop a New Publishing Platform For Local News Publishers

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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Google creating publishing platform for local news publishers. Pixabay

To help small newsrooms overcome challenges in their strive to go digital, Google is creating a new publishing platform for local news publishers.

Google News Initiative has partnered with web development company, Automattic and WordPress.com — home to 30 per cent of the world’s websites — and has invested $1.2 million in its effort to create “Newspack”.

“Newspack” is a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms, Google said in a statement on Monday.

The new publishing tool will be made available to publishers globally later in the year.

“Newspapers with long histories have had to cut back on staff and reduce coverage and reporters who try to start new digital publications face an interminable struggle with technical and business problems,” said Jim Albrecht, Product Management Director, Google Search.

“Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems.”

Google, smart compose
The Google name is displayed outside the company’s office in London, Britain. VOA

While “Newspack” publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers.

“It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it aan opinionated CMS — it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t,” explained Albrecht.

Google said it will also advise on the “Newspack” feature set, based on feedback from its extensive contact with local publishers, and provide technical support on the integration of Google products.

Also Read- Study Reveals Melting Away of Antarctica at an Alarming Rate

Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age. (IANS)