Google’s New Application Tools for Maps, YouTube, and Assistant Put Privacy in the Hands of Its Users

Image Source: www.iStock.com/IngusKruklitis

Just in time for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant were recently announced to have new tools related to user privacy and security. The new updates to these applications give users more control over what data Google can retrieve, and even gives the option for users to delete already collected data such as within Google Voice Assistant. 

Google Maps has now included an incognito mode to keep the application from tracking which places you search for and where you travel to, this thus giving its application users more control over privacy. Incognito mode also helps to keep users’ personalized recommendations from including any locations that would otherwise be irrelevant. Android and iOS users are expected to have this feature available to their Maps application this month.

Image Source: Google | https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/keeping-privacy-and-security-simple-you/

 

YouTube is receiving an update as well, with users now able to choose when the app will automatically delete accumulated history. You can choose to keep your watch history for three or 18 months, or just choose to keep the data until you delete it manually.

Google Assistant is also getting an update that allows users to delete any saved voice data. By saying phrases like “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you,” or “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week,” to your device, Google Assistant will delete its “Assistant Activity”. Deleting voice data from a while back would require you to go into account settings.

After it was revealed that actual people could listen to voice recordings for the purposes of improving voice assistants, Google, Amazon, and Apple all took action to remedy the privacy situation. Alexa, for instance, was implemented with the option for consumers to choose whether recordings will be reviewed. Two months ago, Apple also stated the suspension of its Siri grading program which similarly recorded user audio. The company commented on how they would incorporate consumer participation choice in the grading program with a future update. 

Image Source: Google | https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/keeping-privacy-and-security-simple-you/

 

This Google Assistant feature is expected to be released in all languages by next month. The English commands will be available this month. 

Lastly, Google had released Password Checkup within its Password Manager tool. The Checkup feature notifies its users if their passwords have been compromised from a data breach, weak and need to be strengthened, or whether a password has been reused. Google will be adding this tool to Chrome soon, but users can still take advantage of the feature at passwords.google.com.

12 Apps You Should Download on Your iPhone in 2019

Choosing which applications to download from Apple’s App Store could be a frustrating and daunting task since there are about two million apps available. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 12 useful applications you can download for free today on your Apple iPhone!

1. Citizen: Ever wanted to know what’s going on around your neighborhood? This app shows you where there are crimes near you. It alerts you with emergencies and keeps you informed with crime and safety notification updates.

2. Duolingo: Ever wanted to learn a new language? Duolingo makes it fun and easy! Every lesson is personalized to your level of mastery, and you can even have a conversation with a brainy bot. 

3. Google Duo: Always wanted to FaceTime a friend, but they don’t have an iPhone to do so? The Google Duo app allows you to video chat with non-iPhone users.

 

4. Foursquare City Guide: This application helps you find the best places to eat, drink, and shop nearby. You can keep track of all the places you’ve visited or bookmark them for later!

 

5. Google Keep: Ever had something on your mind and wanted to jot it down really quickly? Google Keep helps you jot down notes and make lists. It provides many types of note-taking tools without the need for pen and paper.

6. Google Photos: Need more storage for your photos? This app provides unlimited space to upload your photos. It also offers automatic backup and sync for your photos.

7. Libby: Need help finding and renting books? With this app, you are able to rent books from a library nearby.

8. Marco Polo: Marco Polo is an entertaining video chat application that allows you to use filters and doodles. It makes video chatting amusing!

9. Mindbody: If you’re ever looking for fitness classes near you, Mindbody can help you find classes for yoga, boxing, cycling, etc. This app can also help you locate any wellness services–like spas and salons–nearby!

10. MTB Project: For those who need to find more biking trails to explore on, this app helps you both locate and navigate on trails while you are either hiking or biking. MTB Project works even when you’re offline.

11. MyFitnessPal: This app helps count daily calorie intake. It tracks your diet and motivates its application users to exercise.

12. Shazam: Have you ever heard a song in a department store and wanted to find out what song it is? This application helps you identify the song that you are hearing. Just click on the Shazam homepage, and the app will identify the song in about 10 seconds.

Original Stitch Has Made Digital Tailoring a Possibility

Remember all those times you’ve ordered clothing online and it came out to be the incorrect fit? Blouses and shirts that are too big or too small, or pants that are too unshapely–we’ve been through it all. Thanks to Original Stitch’s new Bodygram service, precise measurements can now be taken to avoid any size mishaps, as users can create custom shirts and order their clothing in confidence.

Bodygram has the ability to scan your body through front and side photos provided by the user. With just two photos, the application gives you accurate measurements in a report sent within minutes, according to CEO Jin Koh. “In the sizing report you will find your full body measurements including neck, sleeve, shoulder, chest, waist, hip, etc. Bodygram is capable of producing sizing result within 99 percent accuracy compared to professional human tailors,” as he further explains.

Source: TechCrunch

With Original Stitch’s technology, sizing uncertainties become a problem of the past. While tailoring may be one solution, the measurements can affect the clothing cut style. As of now, Koh explains the Bodygram team offers free returns to customers if custom shirts don’t fit to the buyer’s liking. What is even better news: you can skip the Spandex onesie that most other body-scanning technologies require you to use.

Jin Koh goes more into detail about how Bodygram stands out from the rest of the competition:

“Bodygram is the first sizing technology that works on your phone capable of giving you highly accurate sizing result from just two photos with you wearing normal clothing on any background,” said Koh. “Legacy technologies on the market today require you to wear a very tight-fitting spandex suit, take 360 photos of you and require a plain background to work. Other technologies give you accuracy with five inches deviation in accuracy while Bodygram is the first technology to give you sub-one-inch accuracy. We are the first to use both computer vision and machine learning techniques to solve the problem of predicting your body shape underneath the clothes. Once we predicted your body shape we wrote our proprietary algorithm to calculate the circumferences and the length for each part of the body.”

Koh’s technology gives hope to a reduced rate of consumer returns. Clothing return rates already reach a high of 40-50 percent, with apparel clothing sales being the lowest in online shopping due to buyers being wary of clothes ordered in the incorrect size.

Bodygram’s body-measuring technology can even go beyond clothing size needs, as the system can help collect health and weight data.

The app is expected to launch this summer for both Android and iOS users. The company is to license the body-measuring technology to other providers/manufacturers that can create custom fit clothing with just the use of photos taken by the user.

Say goodbye to those too tight or too loose clothes, and say hello to your best fit!

For more information or to view the original article, please click here.

Uber Experimenting with Deliveries

The Uber app conveniently allows users to page drivers in their network to pick them up within minutes.  It’s perfect for a night on the town without a designated drive and is much cheaper than calling a cab. After having raised over $260 million in funding and expanding into China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and other Asian countries, the company has officially announced it will be experimenting with deliveries.

uber app

Chief Executive Travis Kalanick states, “Today we are in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. Once you’re in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, there are a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes.” Uber has tested delivery with goods like ice cream, roses, and even Christmas trees in partnership with the Home Depot.

Uber Tree

Uber has faced issues dealing with other ride sharing campanies, taxi services, and even foreign governments. A new venture in deliveries is sure to ruffle even more feathers. If Uber can manage to deliver goods as fast as it delivers cars, it would be a great option for delivering food and other perishable items.

Adopting the SoLoMo Strategy

Use of search engines to find local businesses spurred interest in SEO, but now that consumers are becoming more mobile in their online activity, a Social-Location-Mobile strategy (SoLoMo) is becoming more popular.

For example, let’s say you’re hungry while traveling in an unfamiliar area. On Groupon’s mobile app, a tab labeled “Nearby” shows what deals are available within a given radius. You can buy a deal on your phone and grab lunch using your purchased coupon. To make it more social, your deal is free if three of your friends purchase it too using an assigned link given after check out. Groupon’s app is is made to promote sharing (social), the results displayed are found using geolocation (local/location), and the app is made for smartphones (mobile); SoLoMo.

Image c/o Siliconangle.com

 

For many small businesses, an app for customers isn’t always the best way to reach their audience. Whether this describes you or not, here are the basic guidelines to help your business in the SoLoMo age.

Social

Image c/o Be Transported

Most businesses should have a profile on social platforms, and if Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t appropriate for you, every business should still be on LinkedIn. There are many creative ways to keep your business relevant in the social media realm. You can promote check-ins at your location, offer discounts for liking your business, and even host contests with giveaways on all platforms.

Location

image c/o DigitalSurgeons.com
image c/o DigitalSurgeons.com

When using search engines, local listings on sites like Google Places, Yahoo, Bing, and Yelp are most likely to come up first on the results page. To ensure your business shows up, make sure you claim these listings (if they already exist, if not, create one) and update and improve them. Always include your web site, a short description about your business, and your business hours.

Mobile

Image c/o Google.com
Image c/o Google.com

With more people browsing on mobile, it should be a priority to make your site mobile optimized. Studies show that users expect mobile sites to load as quickly as desktop versions and will leave a site if they sense it is too slow. These users are looking for specific features like menus for restaurants, or an online order form. Keep it simple and mobile friendly. If a mobile version isn’t something you’d like to develop, at the very least, make sure your site is viewable on different devices. Any sites built on Flash can’t be displayed on iPhones, which means these businesses aren’t visible to half of all mobile users in the United States.

We could delve into each topic in a blog post series, but these are the very basics of the SoLoMo strategy in a nutshell. if you have any tips, advice, or different ways to approach SoLoMo that worked for you, please share and comment!

Ford Announces App Developer Contest

Ford has been pushing the technology and fuel efficiency of its vehicles, and now the automaker has announced a challenge for application developers to help customers make the most of these important selling points. Ford is looking for an app that will aid Ford customers in maximizing their personal fuel efficiency. The winning app will earn $50,000.

Ford-challenge

The contest opens April 24. Public voting will begin on August 22, and winners will be announced August 28. The app must either be web-based or mobile based. Developers must use data from the OpenXC platform. For more details on the contest, visit Ford’s challenge post page.

Is the iPad Fit for Enterprise?

Tablets have been part of the workplace long before they were popular for personal media consumption. We’ve deployed iPads for clients, but more clients use tablets like Dell Latitudes, Hewlett-Packard’s ElitePads, and Lenovo ThinkPads. Since most iPads are bought for personal use, it is somewhat surprising to see its popularity in the work place. This might be related to the rise of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend in many enterprises.

Image c/o Silicon Angle
Image c/o Silicon Angle

But is there a better way to integrate iPads into the workplace? The reason most of our clients use hardware with a Windows based OS is that they support the many tools and services of the Windows based enterprise. This includes VPN clients, credential managers, Active Directory, and many others. If you want iPads for more than checking emails, taking notes, and browsing online, you might need to develop custom applications. This can take some time, and for most smaller businesses the cost to create these apps may be more than the cost to train employees on how to use Windows based tablets.

c/o CNET.com
c/o CNET.com

Does this mean the iPad is unfit for your enterprise? Not necessarily. It all depends on what you plan to use it for and what industry you are in. The iPad can come in handy in different scenarios like when visiting clients, and some users prefer iOS because they are more familiar with the interface. We’ve actually found the compact iPad mini a better option for our work place. It is more convenient to carry than the full size iPad and more practical for basic needs like internet browsing, email, and note taking. If you are considering tablets for your business, take the time to weigh the importance of factors like Windows compatibility, the cost of custom designed applications, the specs of potential tablet models, the need and ability to expand the tablets, and the preferences of your end user. For more information on hardware solutions or advice on what options best fit your business visit our site.