Another Thanksgiving is upon us, as Americans stuff their bellies with turkey and vittles, before falling asleep during the afternoon football game. It's the day of family feuds, too much food, and setting the mood for the holiday season ahead.
We also count our blessings and give thanks for the year behind. I got to wondering what Google can be grateful for and compiled a short list for you. Perhaps you would like to add to it in comments or lash out at my lack of sensitivity on this special day. Please do. With that brief introduction, I present 5 things for which Google can give thanks, served in no particular order of importance.
Digital assistants such as Siri are billed as great time-savers, and there's no denying that Apple's voice-activated feature can be a real help. But security experts at Trend Micro warn that it also poses a serious privacy risk for iPhone owners.
Even if your iPhone is protected with a PIN or passcode, it could still be possible for someone else to use Siri to learn personal information about not just you, but your relations and other contacts, as well as details about your schedule. Described by Trend Micro as a 'flaw', Siri actually acts as a backdoor that enables anyone with physical access to your phone to bypass security features.
Voice control is becoming increasingly common with the eager adoption of Siri and Cortana. Google has been in the game for some time as well, and today announces that the Google app is growing in intelligence, enabling it to 'understand' ever more complex questions.
Google's ability to recognize the context in which questions are asked is not new, but it has now evolved even further. Rather than just doing simple searches based on keywords, Google believes that it is "starting to truly understand the meaning of what you're asking".
OK Google, Siri, and Cortana all make it possible to control a phone simply by speaking to it. In the case of Google, what you might not be aware -- it's hardly something the company shouts about -- is that recordings of every command, question, and request are stored online.
Listening back through these could well be interesting, embarrassing, perhaps even nostalgic. You can step back in time and remind yourself of trips abroad, fun nights out, and the like, but you might also be concerned about privacy. If you would rather these recordings were not stored online, you can delete them; here's how.
Google is so ubiquitous that it has become much more than just a company. It is a verb, an ecosystem, a way of life. But just as with anything that you experience every day, it's easy to take it for granted or overlook what's under your nose.
With your Android smartphone in your hand (or an iPhone for that matter), the Google app is a portal to a wealth of information; all you need to do is speak to your phone. It's easy to forget just how helpful the app is -- but Google is here to remind you that it is more than capable of taking on Siri and Cortana. The company has released a trio of videos highlighting what the app can do for you. And you know what? They're actually pretty decent.
Apple has sent out media invites to an event on 9 September. Widely expected to see the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the event takes place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco at 10 am PDT.
The invitation itself gives little away, but it does include artwork that will undoubtedly feature on the big day, as well as the intriguing tagline 'Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint'. So does Siri have the answers? Tell us about the new iPhone!
The future is here. Apple is now preparing to launch a voicemail service that will use Siri to transcribe your messages. And since we all know what a pain it is to listen to those voicemails again, you will then receive a message from iCloud of the transcribed voicemail, although this is due in 2016.
Here’s the theory that Apple is using: people like to leave voicemails because it is much easier to leave an oral message as opposed to typing it all out in a text message. But, on the other hand, people don’t like to receive voicemails because it is much easier to read a message, than go through all the voicemails someone has left.
Siri has become known for providing amusing answers to certain questions and today a new one has taken the internet by storm.
When asked the question "What is zero divided by zero?", Siri responds in a witty yet comical manner, citing Cookie Monster’s cookies as an example.
This week, I had opportunity to use Apple Watch, making it third of the modern smart variety that I have experienced (the others being LG Urbane and Moto 360). The differences between the platforms are quite startling and worth highlighting. They begin with diverging design ethics derived from the fruit-logo company's app-centric heritage and Google's place in the cloud.
For people who use either Android handset or iPhone, existing device really determines what watch platform you choose, if any—that is for now. Down the path you go. But where it leads is somewhere else, not the same destination. One platform is more responsive to you in varying contextual situations. The other requires more direct interaction, but gives other benefits.
I have some advice for the European Union Competition Commission: Lay off. You don't need to reign in the Google monopoly. Apple will correct the market around search and mobile. That's one of two related takeaways from Monday's WWDC 2015 keynote. iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan up Apple's push into search and proactively-delivered information in big ways. That is if delivery is as good as the company promises.
The other takeaway harkens back to what I told you last week about Tim Cook's piracy rant against unnamed Facebook and Google alongside the friggin U.S. government -- plural if thinking beyond the Feds: It's BS marketing. Apple prepares a major competitive assault against Big G, hitting where damage can be severe: Perception and profits. I cannot overstate Google's vulnerability, which ironically is where the search and information giant exploited Microsoft during this Century.
Google voice search is awesome; I use it every day in the car or at home. If I want to know the weather, I just ask and it tells me. It helps me find the phone numbers for my favorite pizzerias and Chinese food restaurants, and when I am lost, I just say "take me home" and it does!
Like I said, it is awesome, but apparently, teens are using it more than adults. According to a new Google study, 55 percent of teens in the USA are using voice search; these young people are often the barometers of the next big thing. The search giant should be elated that this important demographic is embracing voice search; however, the study does not only include Google, but also Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana.
The advert wars continue with comparative ads aplenty fired at each other by the big tech giants, and the latest one extols the virtues of Microsoft's voice assistant compared to Apple's effort.
The "mirror mirror" commercial (spotted by the Verge) tries to promote the natural voice and manner of Cortana, and contrast it with Siri, which is made to sound clipped and robotic in comparison.
Most of us are used to asking Siri where the nearest pizza place or supermarket is. He/she has become an almost indispensable part of some iPhone users' lives. But would you ever ask Siri how to hide a dead body? That's exactly what one Florida man did two years ago.
Pedro Bravo, 20, is currently standing trial accused of kidnapping and strangling his friend Christian Aguilar in September 2012 after an argument started over Aguilar dating Bravo's ex-girlfriend. One of the key pieces of evidence used by the prosecutors is a record of Bravo telling Apple's famous digital assistant: "I need to hide my roommate".
Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.
Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.
Coming from Android or iOS, Windows Phone 8 is an eye-opening smartphone operating system. It sets the bar pretty high when it comes to looks and performance -- the design is simply beautiful and refreshing, and the software responsive and fluid -- but it never really manages to outshine its main rivals. After living with the HTC Windows Phone 8X for a while, I can't help but notice glaring oversights in an otherwise solid proposition. The package is not complete.
You see, being pretty and going fast does not cut it among the fierce world of Android and iOS. Microsoft needs to take a good look around and take charge by solving the shortcomings of Windows Phone 8. Fact is, it's easy to pick faults with the immature app selection, like many journalists do, but that's more of a chicken and egg problem. What the software giant has to do is build on the current platform by offering better basic functionality, functionality that's necessary for a greater user experience.