Google plans to bring ‘Smart Reply’ feature to all messaging apps

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Image Credit: Techcrunch

Smart Reply is an artificial intelligence (A.I.) powered technology that automatically creates responses to a user’s inbound messages. It made its debut in Google’s email client inbox around two years ago, eventually reaching Gmail, Android messages on Project Fi, and finally, Allo. In the latest development, Google’s internal incubator Area 120 is attempting to bring this feature to all chat applications.

This current project is titled “Reply” and its availability will initially be restricted to Android users. It will offer suggested responses to questions like “Are you at the restaurant?,” or “When can you be home?” To come up with these suggestions, ‘Reply’ will take into consideration the user’s current location and the time it will perhaps take in going from one place to another.

Notably, Reply won’t be exclusively for Google’s own messaging apps. Going by the statement made by Area 120, the plan is to offer support for Reply within numerous mainstream chat apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Hangouts, Allow, Twitter DMs, and Skype, among others.

“One of the many projects that we’re working on within Area 120 is Reply, which suggests smart replies right in notifications from various chat apps,” a Google spokesperson said. “Like all other projects within Area 120, it’s a very early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.”

Sources: androidpolice, digitaltrends

Random Crash Issues Plaguing Google Chromecast Users’ Experience

Numerous Google Chromecast users have claimed to face random crashes on their WiFi networks. The router vendors have acknowledged the pressing issue and are in the process of pushing out patches to ensure seamless user experience. The aggravating issue seems to affect Google Home devices in addition to Chromecast. The problem’s origin lies in Google’s ‘Cast’ feature.

According to NDTV Gadgets 360, TP-Link engineers in an FAQ listing have elucidated that the issue is faced due to multicast DNS (MDNS) packets. High volumes of MDNS are broadcasted, via Google Chromecast and Home, in a short duration of time at tremendous speeds. Conventionally, the MDNS packets get sent out in 20-second intervals. The broadcast is executed when the device is brought out of ‘sleep mode’. This process could possibly surpass over 100,000 packets in a short duration. The size of the packet burst is directly proportional to the amount of time the device is in ‘sleep mode’. This predicament might ultimately cause a router’s prime features to cease from functioning, including wireless connectivity

As per NewsEleven, apart from TP-Link, Netgear and Linksys have also moved forward to release beta firmware updates that mend the connectivity mishaps as a result of Google’s Cast feature. The recent network issues have had more compelling negative consequences. Users on Reddit have confirmed erratic disconnection of the network on all devices connected to the wireless hub that powers their Chromecast. An identical outcome has been discovered with Chromecast Audio as well.

Google Product Forums’ users were initially convinced that the problem occurred particularly with networks powered by the Archer C7. However, TP-Link’s analysis debunked these conclusions with the constructive information they offered.

Sources: NDTV Gadgets 360, NewsEleven

Amazon Alexa to hit the business market

Amazon’s Alexa is your new assistant at work. The device takes your command with the help of your voice. The increasing popularity has made the device to enter office spaces. Amazon is on a mission to give Alexa much more power by competing with Apple or Google.
The question that ponders is not the purchasing of Alexa but whether the businesses and conference rooms may trust the device with sensitive information. “Without a doubt, privacy and security is the number one issue,” said Geoff Blaber, analyst, CCS Insight.” Arguably that is more important than the functionality.” he adds.
To start off and understand the effectiveness, Alexa would be used for mundane and basic office activities like printing papers before doing anything confidential. Alexa is expected to turn tables with the new Amazon’s product. Its cloud computing software will allow businesses to create customised skills for the device. Specific business related questions, directions, travel and expenses for corporate offices include some of them.
A device like Echo is supposedly told to reduce the stress and overload of tedious tasks at work like, managing calenders, handling conference calls, checking availability of meeting rooms and so on. Alexa sell out has been 11 million already within a year after its launch. Reaching office spaces is the next logical step for the device, as Blaber says.



Google Tez records 4 lakh active users within 24 hours of its launch

Google Tez, digital payment app launched in India touched the benchmark of lakh active users on within 24 hours. The app launched by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley on Monday saw a total of nearly 1.8 crore gross merchandise, a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google tez, an app which allows the users to make the digital payments free of charge from their Bank accounts is being designed on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and is being made to work on the smartphones in the country. With a view of supporting the agenda of Digital India, the app is being made available in English and seven major Indian languages namely Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telegu.

In the partnership with four major banks – Axis bank,  HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India Google has put a step forward to explore the potential in the field of Digital payments in a developing nation.

On the occasion of launch Arun Jaitley said that the idea of Tez was in talks with Sundar Pichai, CEO Google from Januay, 2017. D.D Mishra, the Research Director, Tez stated that “It is too early to say whether it can be a game changer as evolution in this business is going to continue, but yes it has the capabilities to bring some disruption as of now.”


Google sued over gender discrimination

California (USA), September 15: Three former female employees of Alphabet Inc’s Google have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant alleging discrimination in pay and promotions against women.

Kelly Ellis, a former employee of Google, has filed the lawsuit over discrimination against the female staff in salaries, promotions, and advancement opportunities as compared to men. Hired in 2010, Ellis was appointed at a college graduate level even though she had despite having an experience of four years.

The other plaintiffs, apart from Ellis include Holly Pease (hired in 2005), and Kelli Wisuri (hired in 2012) echo Ellis’ allegations of bias against women in promotions. Despite years of experience in their respective fields, the plaintiffs allege of starting their jobs in Google at lower levels as compared to their male colleagues. All of them stated their reason for resignation being “lack of opportunities for advancement for women”.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status covering women working in the largest search engine for the last four years. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit comes at a time when Google is already facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor in sex bias in pay practices.

Google had earlier made headlines when a memo written by a senior Google employee, James Damore criticized diversity programs, giving out the reason for the underrepresentation of women in Google as being biological. Google later fired him.

News Sources- BBC, Reuters

Google files an appeal to challenge 2.4 Billion Euro fine

Internet giant Google has yet another bone to pick with the European Union. On Monday, Google filed an appeal at a court in Luxemburg, challenging a whopping 2.4-billion euro fine slapped by the European Union anti-trust authorities, that accused the tech giant of favoring its own shopping services in its web browser search results.

A source from Google confirmed the appeal as per reported in EU had slammed Google in June for favoring its own shopping centers and had given the company 90 days to comply to the appeal.

However, the attempts made by Google to revoke the fine will not serve well. Google will have to invariably pay up.  Instead of which, it can put the amount in a blocked account until the final verdict. Last week, Google also notified EU that it would attempt to meet the demands of the appeal.

In 2009, EU had also filed a similar case to the tune of 1.06 billion Euros on the US chip producer Intel, alleging monopoly in the market by Intel.

This legal battle will extend the existing seven-year tussle with the EU, in addition to a failed effort to settle, that would perhaps affect the crux of Google’s business model.

In the future, EU is expected to develop another case against the tech giant Google for abusing its dominance of internet search to deliberate upon its Andriod mobile operating system.

News Source: ET, Business Standard

Image Source: ET

Walmart partners will Google for voice activated shopping

World’s largest retailer Walmart has joined hands with search engine giant Google to give its customers voice activated shopping experience.

It has been revealed that Google will soon start offering Walmart products to consumers who shop on Google Express which is the firm’s online shopping mall, reported the New York Times.

The partnership between the two firms was announced on Wednesday, August 23 and it is the first time that Walmart has made its products available online.  The news that has been surfacing along with this partnership is that it a testament to the mutual threat both the companies face from the online leader Amazon.

This is Google’s biggest retail partnership and along with offering highly personalised shopping experience, it is a direct completion to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo device with dominates this area.

Giving his comments on the same, Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce business said that voice shopping is becoming a more important part of everyday shopping behaviour. And with this personalised partnership people will be able to shout out generic items like milk or bread, and Google Assistant will know exactly what brand or quantity the consumer wants.

Walmart has claimed that it will be tapping 4,700 stores in the United States for this service.

Sources: NDTV and The New York Times