WhatsApp Helps Teens?

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Mobile messaging service WhatsApp helps teenagers connect better and to openly express themselves with their peers than in their classrooms, a study has claimed. The findings showed that WhatsApp groups permit teenagers to express themselves in ways that they cannot at school, helping them develop closer and more open relationships with their classmates.

“The group chats are based on trust among the members of the group, and this improves the possibility to be in contact,” Arie Kizel from the University of Haifa in Israel, was quoted as saying.

“The discussions on Whatsapp enable the development of a social environment that is warm and human,” Kizel added. In order to observe the way teenagers experience this virtual space, the team included two groups of eight youths aged 16-17 and two groups of eight youths aged 14 to 15.

Google’s New Addition!

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Aiming to help people find what they are looking for, Google has added a “Personal” tab in search results to show content from private sources like Gmail account and Google Photos library. “Similar to the Images, News and Maps tabs, the Personal tab narrows down search query and shows results from your Google accounts instead,” technology website reported.

The “Personal” tab can be found behind the “More” menu and will surface results like Gmail messages and calendar events from users signed-in accounts. For photo searches, users can either directly open an image result or click through to do a deeper search in Google Photos.

Facebook to sell advertisements?

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Facebook will host a conference in June that is dedicated to health and aims to sell ads to the pharmaceutical industry, a media report said. According to a report, the invitation-only summit is part of an initiative for advertisers called “Facebook Health”, run by a small team reporting into former Google Director Meredith Guerriero.

The summit mainly emphases on gearing marketers in the pharmaceutical industry. “It is expected that Facebook Health may unveil tweaks to the ad product, so pharma companies can more simply plug themselves on the platform. It could focus on mobile video, as that’s been a major focus for the team,” the report quoted an anonymous source as saying.

Microsoft Expects to Start Storing Data in DNA?

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Microsoft is planning to start storing its data on strands of DNA within the next few years, the company’s computer architects have revealed.

Microsoft expects to have an operational storage system using DNA within a data centre by the end of the decade, according to a report in MIT Technology Review.

Currently, one of the best and cheapest ways to store a lot of information in a small space is magnetic tape which is rugged enough to hold information for up to 30 years.

But as the data generation has reached an exploding stage, even magnetic tapes seem to be of little use.

New Google Tool?

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Google already monitors online shopping – and now it’s keeping an eye on physical stores to try to sell more digital advertising. The internet company said that a new tool will track how much money people spend in merchants’ brick-and-mortar stores after clicking on their digital ads.

The analysis will be done by matching the combined ad clicks of people who are logged into Google services with their collective purchases on credit and debit cards. Google says it won’t be able to inspect the specific items purchased or how much a specific individual spent.

But even aggregated data can sometimes be transformed back to data that can identify individuals, said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute privacy research firm.

Google’s New Family Sharing Feature

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After showcasing a number of cool machine learning-friendly features scheduled for Google Photos at I/O, the search giant has once again streamlined the way in which family members can share with one another using its services.

The handy new feature essentially permits family members to share everything from ideas to photos to appointments using Google Calendar, Keep and Photos services. Google already has a family sharing plan for Play Music and starting today the company also throws in YouTube TV as well. Six members get their own cloud DVR for $35 a month and can stream live TV from a variety of networks.

Facebook’s Deals For Its Upcoming Video Service

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Facebook Inc has signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to make shows for its upcoming video service, which will feature long and short-form content with ad breaks, according to some sources familiar with the situation.

Facebook is planning two tiers of video entertainment: scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which it will own; and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes, which Facebook will not own.

Instagram Rolls Out New Features

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Instagram is rolling out a new “archive” feature that will allow the users hide any of their posts from everyone else but keeping them safe to look at in private and/or restore to visibility. When Instagrammers do not get the traction they want from their posts, they delete the content which also deprives Instagram of monetizable content. The company is now launching this feature “to keep you locked into the service.

“We are always testing new ways to improve the Instagram experience,” a company spokesperson said. He said the “archive” option creates a private space for the personal viewing of old posts. The company will expand the availability of the archive option over the next few months as it continues to iterate on it. To use the “archive” option (if you have access), a user needs to tap the “…” button on any of his/her posts and select to archive it.

Microsoft Makes the Surface Pro Official

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There hasn’t been much of a buzz for the new Surface Pro perhaps because Microsoft wasn’t planning on launching it on a grand scale. At a small event in Shanghai, the Redmond based company announced the next generation of the Surface tablet which is simply called the Surface Pro.

We had seen the device leak a few days back and got a fair idea that it will be more of a refresh. It looks like its predecessor but of course there are fine changes. The tablet offers somewhat rounded edges, a revamped hinge that can almost fold flat and a new keyboard color options.

WeChat’s New Mini-Apps

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In a cluster of refurbished Mao-era industrial buildings in Guangzhou, developers at China’s top messaging app, WeChat, are redesigning key parts of its product to spread its tentacles to just about every aspect of Chinese life.

Around 1,500 developers, mostly twentysomething males, have been tasked with increasing user engagement through new ‘mini-programs’ on WeChat that look and operate much like apps on Apple Inc’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems – but are far less data-intensive.

WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings, says it’s not a direct challenge to the dominant mobile platforms, but some analysts and developers say the new business could eat into that of iOS and Android app ecosystems.

Facebook New Feature – Order Food

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Facebook is rolling out new option “Order Food” to a select users in the US which will let them order food directly from its app, without having to open the restaurants’s dedicated app or website.

Represented by a hamburger icon, the option lets Facebook users place food pickup and delivery orders from restaurants using Delivery.com or Slice. In October last year, the social media giant announced a deal with online ordering businesses Delivery.com and Slice. The new roll out is the development of the tie-up.

WhatsApp New Feature For All Android Users

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WhatsApp has officially rolled out new ‘pinned chats’ feature for all Android users. Previously the feature was spotted in testing earlier this month in WhatsApp beta. Now the latest WhatsApp update for Android is available to download through Google Play.

The new feature is very handy for those who find their WhatsApp swamped with random messages. With the new feature, users can pin up to three message conversations right on top of all WhatsApp chats. Once you have pinned a conversation in WhatsApp, it will come right on top, no matter what other messages are streaming in.

YouTube SuperChat Takes ‘Shout-Outs’ To A Whole New Level

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Google announced a number of announcements to YouTube and ‘SuperChat’ at Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, which was kicked off on 17 May, 2017.

The company announced a new SuperChat API which will activate actions in the real world. This means that during a live stream, the viewers can pay money to trigger actions set up by creators, like turning off the studio lights where the YouTube creator is broadcasting the live stream from, flying a drone and other such actions.

YouTube To Introduce 360 Degree Videos On Your Television

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So far, there have been few ways to consume 360 degree videos from YouTube. A mobile phone can be used in a VR headset, for an immersive stereoscopic experience. Alternatively, on smartphones and tablets, the finger could be used to swipe to look around the 360 degree videos. The second option allows for mono 360 degree videos. At the Google I/O 2017, YouTube announced plans to bring 360 degree videos to the biggest screen in the homes of users.

Watching 360 degree videos on television is a more immersive experience than smartphones, even if the video is available only in mono. The controls for looking around are linked to the arrow buttons on the remote. The facility will be available through the YouTube app itself, wherever it is available. This includes chromecast dongles, streaming devices, gaming consoles and Smart TVs. Sarah Ali, head of living room products at Google, introduced the new feature. The catalogue of YouTube live videos can be accessed through voice search where supported, but there was more.

WhatsApp Encounters Outage

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Instant messaging app WhatsApp on Wednesday encountered an outage with users across the globe reporting problems opening the service. Issues with the Facebook-owned app, which is used by 1 billion people worldwide, included sending and receiving messages and logging in, the Independent reported. According to monitoring website Down Detector, hundreds of people complained about the outage from Malaysia to Spain, which appeared to have started on late Wednesday evening.

Some users took to Twitter, threatening they would migrate to rival messaging services because of the second outage in as many weeks. “Around half of complaints (56 per cent) this time around were related to connection issues, while 32 per cent of those who logged problems with the site said they were having trouble receiving messages,” Down Detector noted.

Google I/O 2017: New Update For Google Photos

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At the first and exciting day of Google I/O 2017, we heard that Google Photos is becoming one of the biggest platforms. It has hit a big milestone and is now being used by about 500 million users every month.

To mark the achievement, Google announced a new update for Photos which includes a bunch of new features. One of them is a social feature called Suggested Sharing. This is step ahead of Google’s facial recognition mechanisms that have been around for a while. The app can now recommend photo(s) you should share with your friends and family.

The feature is similar to the one on Facebook’s standalone private sharing app, Moments. The Photos app will be able to recognize the contacts that are in your photos and will then prompt you to share your photos with them. This notification also pops up shortly after you take a photo and once you respond, it automatically shares the photo with the people that it has identified. In case they don’t have the Google Photos app, it can send an SMS notification.

Google Releases Version 2.0

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Google has released a version 2.0 of its Contacts app, that has hardly changed over the years. The new update brings better design with a cleaner UI and adds some developments in terms of usability for its Pixel and Nexus users.

You will not notice any changes in the regular contacts list, which is where all your contacts are displayed. The changes are a bit deeper. One of the most obvious changes is cleaner contact page.

While the earlier version of the app used a massive image (taking up the top half of the page) with the bottom half for details, the new one takes that massive image and turns it into a small circle with the name of the contact below it.

Disruption Continues! Ransomware Attack

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The world’s biggest ransomware attack steamrolled off in Europe, thanks to a pushback by cyber security officials after causing havoc in 150 countries, as Microsoft urged governments to heed the “wake-up call”. The cross-border police agency Europol said the situation was “stable”, easing fears that attacks that struck computers in British hospital wards, European car factories and Russian banks would spread further at the start of the working week.

“The number of victims appears not to have gone up and so far the condition seems stable in Europe, which is a success. “It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates,”.

Microsoft Announces New Features

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Microsoft at its annual Build 2017 conference announced some new updates for its Teams enterprise collaboration developer platform. The same would permit developers to bring new features to Teams in the future.

Developers will now be able to deliver their apps for Teams using the Office Store. These Teams apps will seen in a new “discover apps experience” section that should give them more visibility. There is now a new “compose extensions” in the preview that will let users add commands to draw information from integrated apps and service in the chat.

Twitters Deep Learning

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Making a transition from algorithmic timeline, micro-blogging site Twitter has started using deep learning, a trendy type of artificial intelligence (AI) to endorse certain tweets on its 328 million monthly active users’ timelines.

Twitter had introduced algorithmic timeline last year that ranked tweets based on importance instead of them being in reverse chronological order. Twitter has brought on people who are talented in this area through acquisitions of companies and it has open-sourced some of its deep learning software.