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Microsoft releases a news app powered by AI

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Everyone is trying to crack the automated news curation field using AI. First, there was Google News, then Apple News and Now Microsoft Hummingbird. Hummingbird is available in the US, and I was able to find the listing in Canada, but I am not allowed to download it. Reports suggest users in Germany, India are not able to download it either.

APKMirror has the APK available if you want to install it. Click here.

Once you sign in, you choose the categories you are interested in. Unlike Google news (however), you cannot select specific granular elements like sports teams, cities, etc.

This is the first attempt and will require some improvements.

You can download Microsoft Hummingbird from the Google Play store here.

Google to rebrand music service to Youtube Music

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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It seems not a week goes by without Google renaming, cancelling or somehow changing one of its services. Google will update its music service with the hope of dethroning  Spotify and Apple Music. 

Google will leverage its most recognized media brand to give music a fighting chance. So you will soon welcome YouTube Music into this world. 

On Tuesday, May 22, we’ll be changing that by introducing YouTube Music, a new music streaming service made for music with the magic of YouTube
— Elias Roman, Product Manager - YouTube Music


Early information suggests it will marry the substantial unique music of Youtube (live performances, covers, etc.) to advanced discovery probably powered by AI. 

This new service will (eventually) replace Google Music. Taking a page out of the Youtube and Spotify playbooks, they will offer a limited ad-supported free tier. Music lovers will be able to buy a $9.99 per month subscription to YouTube Music Premium which will offer ad-free listening. 

Youtube Music will firsts roll out to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. Once again Canada is a second-class citizen. Other key markets will launch "soon" including Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 

You can sign up to their availability tracker here music.youtube.com/coming-soon

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Source : Youtube blog

The best way to share your location with friends or family

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Let's say you are meeting friends at a large outdoor concert, how do you provide your location? A street address may get them to the entrance gate, then what? What3words has proposed a solution that solves the issue of finding exact locations on a map?

What3words has divided the entire planet into 57 trillion 3mx3m grids and assigned each grid a unique three-word "address".  

If I want to meet friends at the entrance of Union Station in Toronto, I can search for "Union Station" in Google maps, and it will take me to the building but not necessarily the front entrance:

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Or I can give my friends the What3Words address for the main entrance 3mx3m square which is: tens.listed.surviving

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The What3Words address takes them directly to the entrance where I want to meet them. No ambiguity and no confusion.

In most western countries, we have mailing addresses but these aren't always easy to find. The most accurate mechanism has been latitude and longitude (which would look like this 43°38'43.3"N 79°22'51.9"W). Obviously, the three-word descriptor is easier to communicate and remember than the latitude/longitude. 

The entire world is mapped using about 40,000 words (it is available in multiple languages including French, Spanish, Arabic and more). Obviously, great care has gone into choosing the words to ensure there is nothing offending and no double meanings.  They have assigned more common words to locations in major centers. 

What3Words claims their tech is being used in over 170 countries by dozens of organizations from delivery companies (Aramex) to disaster relief coordination in the Philipines by the Red Cross. 

The entire mapping can be downloaded for use offline and consumes about 10MB of space. They are partnering with companies to build this tech into third-party apps. 

I really think this is a wonderfully unique approach to a problem everyone experiences and I hope more companies start using the What3Words technology. In the meantime, you can download their free Android and IOS app to get started. You can find the What3Words location address or navigate to any What3Words address (using your favorite Nav app installed on your IOS or Android phone (Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze).

Android App showing the entrance of Union Station

Android App showing the entrance of Union Station

Once you enter a three-word address, you can click on the navigate app and it will send the exact GPS coordinates to the location to any GPS app installed on your device.

Once you enter a three-word address, you can click on the navigate app and it will send the exact GPS coordinates to the location to any GPS app installed on your device.

Once you enter a three-word adress, you can share the exact location using any messaging app installed on your smartphone (Google Messages, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc). 

Once you enter a three-word adress, you can share the exact location using any messaging app installed on your smartphone (Google Messages, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc). 

Google Home forced me to switch to Spotify

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Tech titans Google and Amazon chose Christmas 2017 to battle it out for your love and money. These smart speakers are designed to quickly provide access to each company's ecosystem and make your life easier. At least that is the promise. 

I am heavily invested in the Google ecosystem and have been for over ten years. In addition to using their free services, I pay for Google Music, storage, have an android phone (so I buy apps), etc. 

I signed up for the free Google Apps service in 2007 (predecessor to GSuite) when each domain was given 100 free user accounts. This was a great way to provide essential internet services to my family for my kiledjian.com domain (emails, calendar, etc.)

The Google home

These devices can answer questions about science, history and everything in between. Most buyers use these smart speakers as intelligent modern voice-controlled boomboxes. 

I have owned a Google home almost from its original release date and picked up a Google home mini for my bedroom. 

In addition to making money from the sale of these devices, companies like Amazon and Google hope to lock users into the ecosystem. Except...

The Google Home and Google's account issues forced me to move from Google Music to Spotify.

The music problem GSuite accounts

With an individual music subscription, I can only stream to a single device at a time. I can't listen to music on my smartphone in the gym while my kids listen to music at home. 

I tried to upgrade to a family account, only to be told by a support agent that GSuite accounts are not eligible. So if I wanted to enable on-demand commercial-free music on my multiple devices, I needed to move to Spotify, which I begrudgingly did.

Rant

There have always been irritants when using Gsuite (Google Apps) accounts with some Google services. Until now, all of my issues have been irritants for me, but have not affected Google, which may be why they have never solved this issue. 

This is a situation where their complacency has cost them subscription dollars (steady recurring income). I know that only a small minority of Google's millions of users are affected by this issue, but I receive a constant flow of complaints from my readers about it. 

This is the issue when dealing with giant faceless internet companies like Google. No matter how annoying some of their actions may be, there is nothing you can do as a customer. Your only option is to pick up and spend your money elsewhere. 

Google's FilesGo File Manager cleaner is now available as beta

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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TL;DR : Go here and download this app (while it's available).

Earlier this week, we saw FileGo leak on the Google Play Store but it was quickly taken down. FileGo is specifically built to help users (even novices) manage and clean files from their devices (duplicate photos, application cache files, etc).

FileGo also contains a function (similar to Apple's AirDrop) that allows Android users within close proximity to transfer files to each other. 

FilesGo is still beta software (aka it could still have bugs) but in my testing has been reasonably reliable and hasn't crashed yet (tested on a Nexus 6P and Note 8). 

Keep in mind that Google can change user eligibility once the app is officially released (may be limited to Android One users or restricted to certain regions) but right now it seems to be available to all users globally.