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Samsung Digital Assistant Bixby Available Now In India

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Bixby
Source: Wikimedia Common

New Delhi, September 22, 2017: Samsung on Friday announced that digital assistant Bixby will now be available with voice capabilities in India that will help consumers interact better with their smartphones.

Bixby has been optimised to understand Indian accents.

The newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users can now enable Bixby’s voice capabilities (US English) by pressing the Bixby button, the company said in a statement.

Consumers can activate Bixby by holding the dedicated button on the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones, or by simply saying, “Hi, Bixby.”

“With Bixby, the phone adapts to you and not the other way around. It’s a smarter way to use your phone and get more done,” said Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.

“Keeping in mind the diversity in Indian accents and our commitment to ‘Make for India’, Bixby has been optimised to understand Indian accents,” he added.

The Bixby voice capabilities for the Indian consumers were developed at Samsung Research & Development Institute, Bengaluru (SRI-B) — Samsung’s largest R&D facility outside South Korea.

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Bixby comes with a Quick Commands feature that allows customers to easily create a custom voice command to use in place of a sequence of one or more commands.

For example, one can use the command “good night” as a shortcut for “Turn on Do-not-disturb mode, set an alarm for 6 AM and turn on blue light filter.”

Bixby understands the way you actually speak, ask questions and make requests.

For example, if you take a photo and then tell Bixby to “send the picture just taken to Mom”, Bixby understands cross-application commands and will know which photo you are referring to and will text it to your mom. (IANS)

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How safe are online dating apps?

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The study by global cyber security company Kaspersky Lab showed that many dating apps do not handle users’ sensitive data with sufficient care. (Source: File Photo)

Even as more and more youngsters use dating apps for fun or to find the love of their life, new research warns that these apps are vulnerable to hacks, putting the users at risk of getting their locations and real names revealed.

The study by global cyber security company Kaspersky Lab showed that many dating apps do not handle users’ sensitive data with sufficient care.

“That’s no reason not to use such services. You simply need to understand the issues and, where possible, minimise the risks,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement on Monday.

In a survey conducted in association with research firm B2B International, Kaspersky Lab found that people turn to online dating for a variety of reasons — 48 per cent do it for fun, 13 per cent are simply look for sex while some want more meaningful relationships.

People share information with others too easily when they are dating online, with a quarter admitting they share their full name publicly on their dating profile.

The experts studied nine popular mobile online dating apps — Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Badoo, Mamba, Zoosk, Happn, WeChat, Paktor — and identified the main threats for users.

The researchers discovered that four of the nine apps they investigated allow potential criminals to figure out who is hiding behind a nickname based on data provided by users themselves.

Using this information, it is possible to find their social media accounts and discover their real names.

“We informed the developers in advance about all the vulnerabilities detected and by the time this text was released some had already been fixed and others were slated for correction in the near future. However, not every developer promised to patch all of the flaws,” the experts said.

The researchers found that eight of the nine applications for Android were ready to provide too much information to cyber criminals.

“If someone wants to know your whereabouts, six of the nine apps will lend a hand. Only OkCupid, Bumble and Badoo keep user location data under lock and key. All of the other apps indicate the distance between you and the person you’re interested in. By moving around and logging data about the distance between the two of you, it’s easy to determine the exact location of the ‘prey’,” the researchers warned.

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Google Search becomes country-specific by default

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San Francisco, Oct 28 (IANS) You will no longer have to manually enter country code top-level domain names to avail country-specific services for Google Search and Maps on the web and the Google iOS app.

And this applies even when you travel from one country to another, for example from the US to India.

Country services used to be distinguished by the country code top-level domain names (ccTLD) such as google.fr for France or google.com.uk for England.

“Google wants to stop the practice of manually entering the top-level domain to get a country’s services,” according to a report in 9to5google.

“Starting today, country services will no longer be determined by domain. By default, you’ll now automatically be served the appropriate country service without seeing a change in Google’s ccTLD,” the report said on Friday.

Google’s other services such as Gmail, and YouTube are already functioning this way.(IANS)

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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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Whatsapp messaging platform
Image: IANS

San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)