#238 Roblox Founder Worth $4.6 Billion

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#137 New Smartphone Hack Ruining Lives

Time for another Friday Special, this time we take a look at SIM-swapping. Something you might want to keep an eye on, for your own security…

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Google Home Can Now Handle Up To Three Queries

Three Queries Can Now Be Handled By Google Home At Once

Google Home can now handle up to three queries at once.  It has gained the ability to multitask with added support for a feature called “multiple queries”.

Google Home’s “Multiple Queries” Ability

The “multiple Queries” ability of Google Home allows you to combine two requests into one voice command.  This ability was first introduced in November.  Today, Google Home is getting even smarter about multitasking.  It is now able to handle not two, but three queries at once.

The new feature was announced on Google’s Twitter account.  But users quickly discovered its limitations.  Unfortunately for Google’s global customer base, multiple queries is available in the English language for the t[me being, in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

How The Feature Works

The feature works by combining voice queries with the word “and” in between them, to separate the different requests.  Each command must  be the sort of thing Google Assistant can respond to, on its own, without further input or clarification.

You have to be specific and give out detailed requests so it does not need to ask a follow up question.

The Beginning Of Google’s Multitasking Ability

Google’s multiple queries was first rolled out in November 2017 with a little fanfare.  In February, Google Assistant gained support for Routines as well, which allow you to create custom workflows with a single voice command.

The company formally announced multiple queries for Google Home at Google’s I/O developer conference in May.  It was then referred to as “Multiple Actions”.  The announcement was done along with a other upgrades for Google Home Actions. It included Routine Suggestions.  This allow voice app developers to prompt users to add their app’s Action to a Routine.  It also included Action Notifications, which allows voice apps to alert users to new features and content, and more.

Update and inform yourself with the latest technology.  Learn more about the latest innovations and other informative news which you can use and apply.  Visit this link and be one of its patrons https://www.patreon.com/technewsgadget.

 

 

IFTTT: Applets That Increase Security, Productivity and Fun

IFTTT, a free web-based service is an acronym for “If this, then that”. It is perfect for people like me who don’t know how to code but want a better integration between Internet-enabled apps and services running on a variety of gadgets. Some portals like Slack now play “nicely” with Google Drive but NOT everything runs as smoothly as this. For instance, we have both Dropbox and Google Drive for downloading photos yet because these two don’t communicate, what we download on one isn’t automatically uploaded on the other.

Applets bring your favorite services together to create new experiences. — IFTTT

IFTTT is one of the popular productivity apps popular for Android devices – in fact, it already installed on mine. iOS version is also available. With the number of productivity apps easily downloaded for free, it is easy to get trigger happy and download more than what’s of practical use. Between business, personal, and social apps, it can be confusing and time-consuming. With IFTTT, simple tasks can be automated and since its launch in 2011, applets had been created to do just that.

In 2014, IFTTT was already valued at $170M and with over 600 apps that work with popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, Slack, Telegram, Facebook, Dropbox, Spotify, YouTube, Google Calendar, Evernote, Skype, Salesforce, MailChimp and more, on IoT devices (Alexa, FitBit, Android etc), a buy-out by Google, Amazon, or Apple may be in the offing soon. In fact, Microsoft has already developed “Flow” and it already has a major competitor, Zapier.

Each applet has a trigger and a resulting action. For instance, if you like a photo on Instagram (trigger), this can immediately be sent to your Dropbox account. A few of the popular things it can do through its “trigger-and-action mechanism” are:
  • Automate web application tasks like posting the same content on various social media accounts.
  • Track mention of companies in RSS feeds.
  • Automate switching on the light with detection of motion.

IFTTT enables you to have better control when using Alexa (Amazon) or Google Assistant while keeping you informed about news feeds and weather forecasts. You can be alerted on your chosen search words and even back up “files, contacts, photos”.

Among the many ready-to-use Applet collections on the IFTTT site are:

  • Applets for Google
  • Applets for iOS
  • Applets for Android
  • Applets for Voice Assistant
  • Applets for Photography
  • Microsoft Applets
  • Applets for IoT
  • Applets for Cars
  • Applets for News
  • Applets for Weather
  • Applets for the home (keeps you comfortable, safe, secure) and more.

However, the paradox of choice from such an extensive array is paralyzing so IFTTT has provided shortlisted Applets for:

  • Marketing
  • Small Business Owners
  • Shoppers
  • Educators and
  • Bookworms.

There are even Applets for Weddings and Music Lovers! With IFTTT, it’s different strokes for different folks – something ultra handy when you are dying for seamless integration between home and office. If you hate to drop the ball on anything (especially work-related tasks), IFTTT is a true GIFT. But beware since some users have found out that performance is less than ideal – it does crash on occasion. But for those who have made it work, it quickly becomes the indispensable interface between your apps and smart devices in your connected life.

Want to create your own Applet, here’s how!

 

Google Home : Some Funny Commands That You Could Try

Try Google Home’s Funny Commands

Funny commands may be given to your Google Home. Let us talk about some of them

About the Device

Google Home is a device used at home if you want to know the latest news, or updates on weather, and more. But if you want to show it off to your guests, I do not think they would want to hear about those stuffs. You can give funny commands to it in order for you to entertain your guests.

Fun Things You Can Ask Your Google Home

You can ask your device to entertain you. Commands like “Okay Google, I’m bored”, “Okay Google, let’s party”, or “Okay Google, tell me a joke” will get funny answers from your Google voice assistant. Repeating the commands will get a variety of answers.

You can also let it tell you stories. Just say “Okay Google, tell me a story”. And story-telling it is. Current events and facts may also be asked on your device.

Other Commands

Other commands which can entertain you and your guests, if you have some, are available. Your Google Home can sing, rap, beatbox, or even impress you with general knowledge and words of wisdom. The only thing that your device cannot do is dance.

It can do all that you command it to do. That is, only if you give commands which are found on your Google Home’s program. Naturally it will not do commands which it cannot follow.

Basically, the device can provide your “party” and get-togethers with total entertainment, except dancing, of course. But you can command it to play music of your choice and you can do the dancing.

Your Google Home can be a stand-up comedian. As it can tell jokes when given the command. All these entertainment package can be found on it. And what is good about this is it’s free. No charges, no talent fees.

So make the most out of your Google Home. Do not stick to conventional commands. Try giving it commands to perk up your life and have more fun.

Google Teams Up with Retail Giants on New Shopping Program

Google launches Shopping Actions in the US

Have you ever needed something, had no idea where to get it and went straight to Google to type “where do I buy xxx” or “xxx where to buy”?

Well, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are doing this and the tech giant is banking on that to make even more profit.

They are now teaming up with big retailers such as Home Depot, Target, Costco, Ulta and Walmart under a new program that lists their products directly on Google Search, on the Google Express shopping service and of course, on Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices.

In exchange, the retailers will have to shell out a certain portion of each purchase to Google. However, this is not to be confused with Google ads which is an entirely different thing.

Daniel Alegre, Google’s president for retail and shopping, said in an exclusive interview with Reuters that over the last two years, the amount of people on Google asking where to buy products rose by 85%. Currently however, this searches most often result to Amazon purchases.

Under Google’s new Shopping Actions, retailers such as Walmart and Target can now compete with Amazon in influencing shopper’s purchasing decisions and help them get more purchases made from their mobile phones and smart home devices through voice searches.

But how does this work exactly?

A shopper can search for let’s say, some new curtains on her way home and adds it to her Google Express cart. When she gets home, she realises she also needs cereals so she searches for them using her Google Home and adds them to the cart and purchases all at once. Easy-peasy.

Currently, the new Shopping Actions is available to retailers in the United States. We’ll have to wait to see if they will also implement this worldwide.

Tech Feud: Google, Amazon Head For Consumers Lose?

The feud between Google and Amazon is now escalating. The two tech giants have decided to implement decisions that put consumers at the losing end.

For one, Google has announced that it will pull out its YouTube from Amazon devices. This means that users will not be able to access YouTube from Amazon’s Fire TV. Not only that, Amazon Echo device users will not be able to access the Google’s online video portal because of the escalating feud.

Google is pulling YouTube from Amazon’s smart speaker and video streaming devices © Dreamstime

Furthermore, you might be wondering what pushed Google to do this unexpected move. The escalating feud has triggered Google to block access to YouTube. The reason, according to Google, Amazon has reportedly refused to sell Google Products.

These products include Google’s streaming device Chromecast which is the counterpart of Amazon’s Fire TV, Google’s Home which is an internet-connected speaker, a rival of Amazon’s Echo.

According to Google, the lack of reciprocity pushed the company to retaliate against Amazon, the biggest online retailer.

Lack of reciprocity

In a Techcrunch report, a Google spokesperson said that there were several attempts to reach the biggest online retail store to give consumers access to all their products and services.

“But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products,” the company’s spokesperson said.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV,” Google said, adding that it is expecting to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, Google has still high hopes that it can actually pressure Amazon to sell several Google products. If no agreement will reach, Google’s YouTube will not be working on Amazon’s Fire TV effective January 1.