Tuesday March 19, 2019
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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.

Also Read: Google Bring Peer-to-Peer Payments Service to ‘Google Play’

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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New Zealand Firms to Pull Ads From Facebook, Google

Spark's move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site

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

A collective of some of New Zealand’s biggest companies is set to pull ads from Facebook and Google in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosques shootings in which the gunman live-streamed his massacre of 50 people.

Using a GoPro camera, the gunman broadcast extremely graphic footage of him shooting people at the Al Noor Mosque via Facebook Live. The livestream was available to watch on social media for hours after the attack.

Besides being livestreamed on Facebook, the video, lasting 17 minutes, was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, before being removed by the social media giant.

The New Zealand Herald said on Monday that the collective, including ASB Bank, Lotto NZ, Burger King, Spark, has come together to take a stand against the harm caused by unmoderated content on the Internet.

At this stage, it is still unclear how extensive the pull-back will be or for how long the companies are likely to pull their digital ads.

Other brands have also acted independently, The New Zealand Herald reported.

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Facebook: The platform allows for different types of content, which makes it ideal for diverse, interactive and entertaining content.

Kiwibank suspended all digital advertising on March 15 shortly after the carnage took place at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid that also left over 40 others injured.

On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she intended to ask Facebook how the gunman was able to livestream the massacre.

Facebook has on its part said that as many as 1.5 million videos of the attack were removed from its platform in the first 24 hours.

Also Read- Here’s How Motorola Lost its Grip in India

This is not the first time New Zealand companies have pulled ads from these platforms.

Earlier this month, telecom company Spark pulled all its advertising from YouTube over concerns about paedophilic content.

Spark’s move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site. (IANS)