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Tech Giant Google To Shut Down Social App “Neighbourly”

Google said that it plans to learn the lessons from Neighbourly and utilise it to improve their other products

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The search engine giant unveiled the app in May 2018 as a test in Mumbai to let users explore their neighborhood with help from local experts. Pixabay

Google has announced that it is shutting down its Q&A social app Neighbourly on May 12, as the project did not take off as expected.

The search engine giant unveiled the app in May 2018 as a test in Mumbai to let users explore their neighborhood with help from local experts.

Later in November, it expanded its base to a few more cities in the country including Delhi and Bengaluru.

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“We launched Neighbourly as a Beta app to connect you with your neighbours and make sharing local information more human and helpful,” said the company.

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Google has announced that it is shutting down its Q&A social app Neighbourly on May 12, as the project did not take off as expected. Pixabay

“As a community, you’ve come together to celebrate local festivals, shared crucial information during floods, and answered over a million questions. But the app hasn’t grown like we had hoped,” it added.

Google said that it plans to learn the lessons from Neighbourly and utilise it to improve their other products.

ALSO READ: Facebook To Give $40 Million in Grants To Help 10K Small Businesses in USA

“In these difficult times, we believe that we can help more people by focusing on other Google apps that are already serving millions of people everyday,” it said.

Meanwhile, users can download content and data from Neighbourly till October 12 this year. (IANS)

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How to Build the Ultimate Ecommerce App with Builder.ai’s Studio Store

Businesses all over the globe have gone digital during the Coronavirus pandemic

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The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up. Pixabay

Not too long ago, NASDAQ predicted that by the year 2040, as much as 95% of shopping will be facilitated by ecommerce. Similarly, Shopify Plus estimates that by the year 2021, worldwide retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.9 trillion – a number that will now be amplified as a result of the recent events. The world of e-commerce is growing fast and businesses need to catch up.

For good or for bad, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have left businesses little choice but to go digital. Gone are the days when goliaths like Walmart would build ecommerce apps just to indulge a handful of customers. Today, it is either go digital or go home.  So, for all businesses looking for an ecommerce mobile app builder, Studio Store could be an interesting option.

Launched recently by Builder.ai with the goal of helping businesses directly impacted by COVID-19, Studio Store is a new range of pre-packaged apps – beginning with e-commerce and delivery – designed to bring businesses online faster and at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch. With Studio Store, Builder.ai is furthering its mission to democratize the software market by offering pre-built software for a fraction of the price, giving more companies than ever the opportunity to use technology to grow their business.

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Here’s how you can get an ecommerce website to flourish your website. Pixabay

So, if you’ve been wondering how to build an ecommerce app, then here are the key problems Studio Store solves with features that are most noteworthy:

  • Most apps take 6-9 months to develop, depending on the complexity. 

Unlike most ecommerce app builders, Studio Store ecommerce app by Builder.ai will serve the specific needs of businesses across e-commerce – such as flower shops, grocery stores and clothiers – and be delivered to customers in eight weeks.

  • Most app development journeys are complicated and take months of back and forth to just nail down basic feature sets. 

The Studio Store’s e-commerce app makes selling to an ever-mobile customer effortless, and retailers can showcase their goods with a scrollable carousel and offer a wide range of secure payment methods. The app includes features that will handle the soup to nuts of most e-commerce experiences.

  • For most ecommerce app builders, their job ends as soon as an app is handed over to the customer, with little to no customer service after. 

Studio Store by Builder.ai offers 3 months of free aftercare that keeps the app thriving and the cloud needed to run the app and scale the business.

  • App developers charge hefty down payments even before a project begins.

Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees (so you’ll only pay those charged directly by a payment gateway). Builder.ai only requires a one-month deposit at the beginning of the engagement.

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Studio Store is priced at a reasonable $500 per month and Builder.ai does not take any cut of sales or transaction fees. Pixabay

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  • With SaaS app builders, each customer gets complete ownership of their code.

The biggest drawback of SaaS applications is that the source code remains the same for all customers. In cases where new features are rolled out, they’re rolled out universally. But with Studio Store, the customer gets a copy of the code after 24 months.

All in all, if you are looking to build an ecommerce app online, then Builder.ai could be the best choice. You can check out the Studio Store for yourself by clicking here.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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McLaren Removes OnePlus as Partner For The 2020 F1 Season: Report

OnePlus removed from McLaren's partners' page

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MClaren has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season. Wikimedia Commons

OnePlus has released “McLaren Edition” smartphones for couple of years but now, a Reddit user reports that the British carmaker has not listed OnePlus as partner for the 2020 F1 season.

The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation that the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition will most likely not get a successor this year, reports XDA Developers.

OnePlus has been doing special editions of its phones for a few years now.

The OnePlus 5T was available in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Edition, and the OnePlus 6 was available in a Marvel Avengers Edition.

Both of these smartphones were available in limited quantities and in select regions only.

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The removal of the Chinese brand from the list of partners has resulted in the speculation. Wikimedia Commons

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The smartphone maker launched the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, with a new and distinct CMF (colour-material-finish), 10GB RAM and Warp Charge 30 charging technology, to expand the scope of these special editions.

The most recent McLaren Edition device from the OnePlus was OnePlus 7T Pro.

The company recently launched its 8 series smartphones, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. Both are powerful as well as expensive and the smartphone maker will have to find a new partner to give that a special twist worth paying more for. (IANS)

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Indian Workers Miss Office as Work From Home Becomes the New normal

Lockdown initially thrilled the people to work from home, but now they have started to miss the office environment

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Two months after working from home, Shweta Andrews, a digital editor at a publishing house, says she wants to head back to office because personal interactions with colleagues are important. (Photo Courtesy: Shweta Andrews). VOA

As she settled down to work from home when India announced a lockdown in March due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Shweta Andrews thought exultantly “this is the way to go.” After all she no longer had to do the grinding commute between office and home in the Indian capital that took up two hours daily.

Two months on, the digital editor of a publishing house is nostalgic about that ride. “I miss my colleagues and believe it or not, I miss travelling in the Metro. I miss the rush. I miss the crowd.”

The unprecedented experiment of work from home that began in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted some Indian companies to explore the possibility of scaling up remote work as they eye long term benefits such as smaller office spaces and lower rentals.

But at a time when a long, stringent lockdown has intensified social isolation, many are finding that an interactive office environment is hard to replace at home.

A New Delhi-based senior professional in a global company, Apoorva Bapna, dismisses the notion that remote work could be the “new normal” and points out that while flexi-hours are welcome, online connections cannot replace the energy generated by professional spaces.

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Apoorva Bapna says office spaces generate energy that cannot completely be replaced by online connections. (Photo Courtesy: Apoorva Bapna). VOA

“There is just that much of bouncing of ideas I can do on a video call or a phone call. Sometimes you just need to sit across the table and have that heated conversation or a debate or just exchange ideas,” says Bapna.

India’s Information Technology sector appears to be blazing the trail for adopting the work-at-home model as the industry gears up to have nearly half the country’s four million I-T workers operate remotely – up from an average of 20 percent before March. The country’s biggest technology company Tata Consultancy Services says that it will have 75 percent of its workforce operating from home by 2025.

Some companies that rely heavily on online work could make the shift much sooner because they found it to be an efficient model in the last two months.

“From a purely productivity standpoint, we have seen a fairly smooth transition in work from home,” says Raghav Gupta, managing director, India and Asia Pacific with Coursera, a U.S. based online learning platform. He gives an example. “If I would go to Bangalore and meet two sets of people in a day, I can do five meetings today by sitting at home.”

As India eases its stringent lockdown and offices begin to reopen with a much leaner staff onsite, the debate has begun heating up.

Some assert that the personal touch provided by an office environment cannot be overlooked, even in the IT sector. “You get ready for the day, it is a mental shift you make,” according to Abhimanyu Mukherji, a service delivery manager in New Delhi with a partner company of software organization, SAP. “Just walking up to someone and talking to my team has a different impact. Now there is a loss of human touch and social interaction which we all are so used to.”

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While it is possible to be productive even doing work from home, Abhimanyu Mukherji says walking up and talking directly to his team has a different impact. (Photo Courtesy: Abhimanyu Mukherji). VOA

While he and his team delivered to their clients’ satisfaction during the lockdown, he points out that working at home from living rooms and dining tables can pose challenges of the kind that some of his team members with young children faced.

“When the kids are at home, they expect a lot of attention from the parents and therefore they are having a lot of difficulty in actually concentrating on the job,” says Mukherji. “The children assume that you must be on leave so you should be giving them all the attention.”

There are also the constraints that living in small apartments or extended families throw up, especially in cities with expensive rentals.  “It is not easy for people who live in Bombay, in smaller homes with six to eight family members crammed up in two bedroom homes,” points out Bapna.

And work from home settings can be even more burdensome for women. “We do everything on the house front and we also manage our office work, which is fairly hectic,” says Bapna who was caught in the lockdown in Jaipur city where she was visiting her parents.

Amid the lockdown there have been no comprehensive surveys to indicate which way Indians would prefer going. But a recent survey by a Bengaluru based research firm, Feedback Insights, found that two-thirds of employees were concerned about personal wellbeing, a lack of connectedness with the team and overall anxiety about the job environment. They also cited frequent distractions at home as a key challenge.

Read More: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

However benefits such as savings for companies, less traffic on roads, less pollution and less spending on fuel and daycare will inevitably lead to a greater push for the work-at-home model in the post Covid world.

“By choice and also by planning we will say – you go to office two days a week, you may or may not have a dedicated desk, and the other three or four days you consistently work at home,” says Gupta at Coursera.

But shrinking office spaces, thanks to technology and the new emphasis on social distancing, is something many view with trepidation. Andrews draws an analogy with reading a book on Kindle – it does not replicate the original. “The feeling of holding a book in your hand, that touch, that smell, that personal feeling you get – it’s the same as personal contact in an office,” says Andrews. “So yes technology and computers and zoom and Kindle don’t work as well as interacting with a real human being does.” (VOA)