Gmail Updates Its App On Android

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Google has updated its Gmail app on Android and the new update brings along more app shortcuts to the app on Android 7.1 Nougat and later versions. Apart from the app shortcuts, the search giant has also added support for Exchange Tasks to the email client on Android.

Previous to this update, there was just one app shortcut available that permitted users to compose a new mail message, as pointed out in a report by 9to5Google. Even though this shortcut still exists, now it is accompanied by shortcuts for up to three email accounts. The app shortcuts can be hauled to the home screen and therefore make it easier to gain access to different mail accounts.

Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding

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As Yahoo’s embattled email service agonizes through a slew of bad news, with a hack that compromised more than 500 million accounts, some users are finding it hard to leave. Automatic email forwarding was disabled at the beginning of the month, numerous users told The Associated Press. While those who’ve set up forwarding in the past are unaffected, some who want to leave over recent hacking and surveillance revelations are struggling to switch to rival services.

“This is all enormously suspicious timing,” said Jason Danner, who runs an information technology business in Auckland, New Zealand, and is trying to quit Yahoo after 18 years with the email provider. Yahoo Inc. originally declined to comment on the recent change beyond pointing to a three-line notice on Yahoo’s help site which says that that the company temporarily disabled the feature “while we work to improve it.”

Do You Know Google’s Promise on Google Chrome 55?

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Google Chrome is a notorious resource hog. It’s been known to guzzle up all the free RAM on your system and drain your battery at an alarming rate. Come December, and all this is set to change.

Chrome 55, which debuts on 6 December, will seemingly use an updated JavaScript engine, reports CNET. Google says that the updated engine uses much less RAM and that the benefits can amount to 50 percent more free RAM.

As far as most of the web-browsing world is concerned, however, they’d rather be using Chrome than any other browser. There are those who’ll stick to the default browser, be it Safari or Internet Explorer (IE) or even Edge, but those folk are doubtful to care about things like RAM consumption and battery life.

WhatsApp Introduces Snapchat Style

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WhatsApp just updated the application with extra features for chatting and sharing multimedia. WhatsApp has introduced stickers used by Twitter and Snapchat. The sticker set is called Twemoji, made by Twitter Open Source and is accessible for use by anyone under an MIT and Creative Commons license. The stickers can be slapped on to videos and images. Text can be added on top of the multimedia shares as well, with options to change the font and colours.

Users can draw directly onto the image as well, in various colours. Multiple stickers can be layered onto an image, along with the drawings. The stickers can be dragged around, rotated and the pinching gesture can be used to resize. There is a color gradient offered that can colour the stickers and text, and these have more colours on offer than Snapchat. Additionally, WhatsApp permits users the option to use speech and thought bubbles as well.

Facebook Launches Messenger App

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Facebook Inc launched a stripped down version of its popular Messenger app for emerging markets on Monday as it seeks to expand its international footprint.

Messenger Lite, which uses less data and is designed to work in areas with slower internet connections, will roll out in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. Facebook said it will develop to other countries in the coming months.

Facebook has mainly saturated Western markets, including North America and Europe, and has set its sights on developing countries, in part by rolling out “lite” versions of its main Facebook app and now Messenger, which have fewer capabilities than the main apps.

Users with Android phones will still be able to use the core features of Messenger, including the capability to send text messages, photos and links but will not be able to make video or voice calls or make payments.

Facebook Announces Marketplace

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Facebook has announced the launch of “Marketplace”, an online extension of social network experience wherein people can join with each other to discover, buy and sell items. This provides a more efficient approach for people to quickly list the products that they want to sell or are interested in buying.

The discover suggestions are focused on the community while taking into account the distance to the seller. The service is presently limited to Android and iOS users over 18-years-old of age in USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The company has announced a gradual rollout of the service to additional countries as announced on the Facebook Newsroom post.

Marketplace offers an instinctive design to make posting items for sale easier. To add an item to market for sale, you just have to click or upload the image of the item, add product name, description and price including the location and category of the listing. The company is now working on the desktop version of the Facebook website, and it will reach in coming months.

Facebook to Appeal German Order on WhatsApp Data

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Facebook has said it would request against an order by a German privacy regulator to stop collecting and storing data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp and to delete all data that has already been forwarded to it.

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said Facebook was trespassing data protection law and had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million users in Germany. “After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly guaranteed that data will not be shared between them,” commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Microsoft Partners Up

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Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have joined forces on a project to use blockchain technology to make trade finance transactions faster, cheaper, safer and more transparent, the companies said. The two multinationals said at the Sibos financial services conference in Geneva that they would build and test the technology and create a blockchain-based framework that could eventually be sold to other businesses.

Blockchain works as an electronic record-keeping and transaction-processing system that permits all parties to track information through a secure network and requires no third-party verification. Proponents of the technology, which creates from digital currency bitcoin, say that it will make all kinds of transactions faster, more consistent and easier to audit because it does not require manual processing, nor authentication through intermediaries.

IoT Devices Used To Spread Malware and Botnets?

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Cybercriminal networks are taking advantage of security shortcomings in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to spread malware and generate zombie networks, or botnets, without the knowledge of their device owners, cyber security firm Symantec has found.

Symantec’s Security Response team discovered that cybercriminals are hijacking home networks and everyday consumer connected devices to help carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on more profitable targets, usually large companies.

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service inaccessible by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.

More than half of all IoT attacks originate from China and the US, based on the location of IP addresses to launch malware attacks.

Renault Partners With Microsoft

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Renault SA’s carmaking alliance with Nissan Motor Co is partnering with Microsoft Corp to improve cloud-based services for cars, a step toward the group’s plans to build self-driving automobiles by 2020.

The services, based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, will comprise advanced navigation, predictive maintenance and over-the-air software updates.

Renault and Nissan plan to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology by 2020. In January, the alliance hired former Nokia executive Ogi Redzic to lead its connected car efforts.

The alliance said last week it would buy French software development company Sylpheo to offer new services with ride hailing and car sharing.

Microsoft Partners with Adobe

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Tech giants Microsoft and Adobe today announced a major partnership to endorse the use of each other’s cloud-computing tools among their mutual customers. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, called the deal a “massive milestone,” in the presence here with Shantanu Narayen, his Adobe counterpart. The deal follows a pact last year that linked some Adobe products to Microsoft’s customer relationship management tools.

Cloud-computing, a growing business in which companies progressively turn to rented, web-based infrastructure to run their software instead of their own back room servers, has a been a showcase of Microsoft’s newfound willingness to partner with erstwhile competitors. Under the new deal, the maker of Photoshop will use Microsoft’s network of on-demand data storage and processing power to run its web-based digital media and marketing software.

Google Launches Community Moderation Program

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YouTube just launched a program that rewards volunteers for enlightening the YouTube community in various ways.

Participating in the community gains users reward points, and there are five tiers of heroes. Points are awarded for flagging videos as part of the YouTube Trusted Flagger program. The Trusted Flagger program is invite only, and gives select users more advanced flagging tools. Users can sign up for the Trusted Flagger program here.

Points are awarded for adding subtitles and captions to any videos. This makes the videos available to more people, including those who cannot use speakers, or those who cannot hear. Helping out other users and responding to queries on the YouTube Help forum also awards points to Heroes.

Tinder Launches Stacks for iMessage

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The swiping gesture is a defining experience in Tinder. Tinder is now bringing ‘Swipe to like’ gesture to iMessage users with the new app called Stacks, by Tinder. To install the app, users have to navigate to the iMessage App Store, and search for Tinder, not Stacks or Tinder Stacks. The Tinder app shows the Stacks logo. The app is available in India.

Users are then prompted to start a stack. A Stack is a collection of photos, where each image is called a Card. Once a Stack is created, they can be shared with contacts. The friends then have to swipe to vote on each Card in the Stack. Users can swipe on their own Stack of photos too. Each swipe counts as a vote.

Once all the votes are in, users can review the results for the stack. Votes for ‘no’ get counted next to a pink cross, votes for ‘yes’ get counted next to a green heart. The feature is meant to contain friends in the decision making process of choosing between alternatives. It can be used to choose a particular set of glasses, an image to use as a display picture or a dress for a night out.

Do You Know the Number of Registered Domain Names In Internet Today? Check Out

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Nearly 7.9 million domain name registrations were added to the internet in the second quarter of 2016 globally — a growth rate of 2.4 percent over the first quarter — global domain and internet service provider VeriSign Inc. said on Wednesday. It brings the total number of domain name registrations to approximately 334.6 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of June 30 this year, according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief.

The .com and .net TLDs experienced aggregate growth in the second quarter of 2016, reaching a combined total of approximately 143.2 million domain name registrations in the domain name base. This represents a 7.3 percent increase year over year. New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.6 million during the second quarter of 2016. In the second quarter of 2015, new .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.7 million.

Apple In Talks McLaren Supercars?

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Apple has been linked with a shock £1.5bn deal to buy McLaren Technology Group, the Formula One team owner and supercar maker.

A deal between Apple and the British company would intensely shake up the technology and automotive industries. The California-based company’s interest in McLaren Technology Group highlights its ambition to develop technology that could be used in an electric and driverless car.

Apple has approached McLaren about a takeover but could also make a planned investment in the company, the Financial Times reported.

McLaren denied that it was in talks with Apple, but it said: “As you would expect, the nature of our business means we often have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, and they need to remain so.

“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.”

Apple said it “does not comment on rumors or speculation”.

Google Maps Acquires City Traffic Data Analytics Startup

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Urban Engines is a data analytics startup that focuses on tracking the movement of people and vehicles in urban areas, and churning that data into actionable insights to progress mobility. Urban Engines products use some of the same techniques available to make navigating the web faster, and more personalized, to real world cities. The movements of vehicles and people are tracked, and the flow of traffic analysed.

This can be used by corporations to plan better trips, by city planners to anticipate and make for heavy traffic events, and by consumers to intelligently plan routes. Urban Engines products can also handle what if situations, where different flows and traffic patterns are emulated based on known data. This is a accurate, and more advanced form of traffic modeling as seen in the city building game, Sim City.

Twitter Eases Its 140-Character Limit

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Twitter announced today it was easing its 140-character limit on tweets, implementing a policy announced in May to no longer factor certain add-ons including pictures into a message’s length. “Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now,” said an official tweet from the social network, which is seeking to widen its appeal.

The new policy frees media attachments such as photos, videos and polls from the character limit, as well as tweets that are quoted in a retweet. The move comes as Twitter’s efforts to surge its user base and engagement have been sputtering, raising questions about its growth trend. Amid reports that Twitter may be seeking ways to cut costs or even sell itself, the San Francisco-based service has been adding new features including live video.

Google Acquires Api.ai

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Google has just acquired conversational user interface provider Api.ai. Api.ai software is used in chatbots, wearables, apps, smart cars, home automation kits and smart TVs. The user interfaces are both text and voice based. Chatbots using Api.ai technology are on Slack, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Skype, Slack, Telegram and Microsoft Cortana, among other platforms. Over 60,000 developers are using Api.ai to deliver conversational interfaces.

Api.ai was launched in 2014, and its adoption has been enthusiastic since then. Api.ai offers text recognition, speech recognition and natural language processing in 14 languages. There are knowledge packages included, which permit looking up weather data, flight schedules, news events and encyclopedias. There are preset domains that allow agents to process requests. These include shopping, home automation, notes, maps, sports and taxi searchers, among others.

Plan Your Vacations with Google Trips App

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Google claims that its next mobile app will just make planning vacations easy. Aptly named, the Trips app will be made available for both Android and iOS.

The app is being described as a travel guide and itinerary maker that will pull up all the information like flight itineraries, hotel reservations and so on from your Gmail. You just need to tell the app, where you have to go, download the guide for offline use and it will start planning.

Oracle Predicts: 80% Global IT Spending Will Be On Cloud

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Oracle Corp has predicted a sharp drop in the traditional IT spending of businesses across the globe over the next decade, making way for cloud services and leaving more room for innovation than hardware and software maintenance. The forecast comes even as Oracle Corp has acquired a US-based cloud security start-up founded by two techies of Indian origin, Rohit Gupta and Ganesh Kirti.

“By 2025, 80 percent of IT budgets will be spent on cloud, and not on traditional IT. Almost all of the new applications will be on SaaS (Software as a Service) applications by 2025,” Oracle Corp CEO Mark V. Hurd told reporters here. “The spending on cloud infrastructure will continue to accelerate. It will not again be linear. It will be geometric in terms of the speed by which it will move,” Hurd said at the Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Conference here.