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India has been a very very strong market for Google Maps and growing very strongly over the last several years as well. Pixabay

By providing inspiration to numerous innovations, India has contributed greatly to improving Google Maps, a top executive said on Thursday.

There are at least eight India-first features that Google Maps boasts about. While the “two-wheeler mode” introduced first in the country shows trip routes that use “shortcuts” not accessible to cars and trucks, the “Stay Safer” feature alerts and notifies users travelling using public transport when their vehicle goes off-route, and also enables them to share the live status of their trips with friends and family.

“India has been a very very strong market for Google Maps and growing very strongly over the last several years as well,” Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President, Google Maps, told reporters here via video conference from Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

“It’s a country we are focused on. One of the things that we appreciate is that the insights that we have received from users in India have not only helped us build products there but also in many many other parts of the world as well,” she added.

There are several other India-first features like “Maps in Local languages”. So based on the location, Google Maps displays points of interest, local listings, and road names in two languages. Dual labelling is available in 10 local languages including Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Nepali.

Voice navigation is available in seven Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. “Bus travel times from live traffic” feature enables commuters to know how long the bus trip will take, by factoring live traffic conditions. The feature is now live in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, Mysore, Coimbatore and Surat, Google said.

With the “Live train status for Indian Railways trains, Google Maps can now help users know when their train is going to arrive by indicating the real-time live running status. The feature was developed in partnership with the Where Is My Train app, which Google acquired. With the “Auto Rickshaw mode”, Delhi commuters are able to view suggested routes for their ride, as well as the estimated auto-rickshaw fares, making it easier for people to plan their trips and pay the correct fare.

In India, Google Maps also allows landmark-based navigation as it shows major landmarks on the route so that users can more intuitively navigate to their destination. This is especially useful for two-wheeler users as the additional context frees them from checking the phone on the go.

By providing inspiration to numerous innovations, India has contributed greatly to improving Google Maps, a top executive said on Thursday. Pixabay

The “dining deals” on Google Maps enables users to find great dining deals, and claim them at restaurants across 11 Indian cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Hyderabad.

There are several other India-inspired features such as “Offline Maps” which enables users to get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places ? like hours of operation, contact information and ratings — all without an Internet connection. All one needs to do is downloads the map they need. “We do have ads on the Google Maps experience – ads are there in the search context and we are promoting pins on the map which we are doing in few other formats as well,” Fitzpatrick said.

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“When we introduce these ads into the maps experience, we try to make sure that we do that in a way which is deeply respectful of the user experience experience and useful addition to the users in the maps,” she added. (IANS)



When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

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It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.

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Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards.

Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.

Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.

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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin

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