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With its iPad Pro devices, Apple took the iPad experience we've come to know and love from the consumer space and planted it firmly at the feet of business workers and creative professionals. With Smart Keyboards (reviews of the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models) and Apple Pencils, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are exceptional work tools.

Partly it's due to the exceptional hardware, and partly it's thanks to the ultra-lightweight iOS operating system. Apple's hardware and software ethos make a formidable tool that's light enough to hold like a notepad, and creatively powerful.

Of course, all of this also depends on some incredible apps. Since the first, larger iPad Pro launched, there has been a steady stream of new apps created for business professionals. Here we're looking at some of the best business and productivity apps for the iPad Pro models.You'll also like:Best iPad & iPhone apps

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel

It's to Microsoft's credit that it bit the bullet and threw itself wholeheartedly into developing its Office suite for iOS. Microsoft Word and Excel don't get enough credit among iOS users; these are exceptional tools with desktop-class strength.

Those working with Excel spreadsheets will value the ability to edit, create and manage documents without having to transfer them through third-party apps.

Microsoft's apps are slick, too, but it's a shame you have to have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription to use them on the iPad Pro. Regular iPad devices are still free.

Evernote

Evernote

Evernote is something of a perennial favourite on business lists, and when you start using it, you'll soon discover why. The ability to collect notes from anywhere, on almost anything soon works its way into your life.

Like many apps, Evernote has come to life on the iPad Pro thanks to the Apple Pencil, and the ability to add sketches to notes with the Apple Pencil is invaluable.

Penultimate

Penultimate

Penultimate is another app to add alongside Evernote. It features a range of papers to work on, and is great for handwritten notes.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

When it comes to to-do lists, we're somewhat torn between Wunderlist and Things. While Things is the more Mac-centric list, you have to buy the app for iOS and OS X to get the most from it.

Wunderlist is a free app, and it has a web interface so you can investigate your to-do items on the move. That sold it for us.

Parallels Access

Parallels Access

  • RRP: £14.99 per year, US$19.99 per year
  • Buy from App Store

When it comes to remote access from your iPad to a Mac computer, nothing is as feature-complete as Parallels Access. It automatically resizes app windows, so they display full-screen on the iPad. The closest you'll ever come to having a touchscreen Mac (for now, at least).

Roambi Analytics

Roambi Analytics

Microsoft Excel is fantastic for creating charts and tables, but they can look a little dry. Business experts are increasingly working in data-driven environments, and they need better-looking charts to stay ahead of the crowd. Roambi Analytics is an exceptional app that accepts data from Excel (and other sources) and turns it into incredible-looking charts.

PDF Expert for iPad

PDF Expert for iPad

If you ever have to work with PDF documents, then this is the app to get. PDF Expert makes it easy to sketch over PDF documents, add notes, highlights and approve or reject design changes. It's another one of those areas where having the Apple Pencil makes a real difference.

While it's possible to add signatures inside iOS using Markup tools, the functionality is a lot slicker inside PDF Expert, and it's our preferred way to add signatures to documents.

LiquidText

LiquidText

While PDF Expert is our go-to app for editing and approving PDF documents,LiquidText is where we go if we just want to read them. More than any other app it's easy to skim through text, and add sections and paragraphs to a bookmarked area. You can pinch text together, which makes it much easier to compare text from different section.

Scanner Pro

Scanner Pro

Scanning documents with the iPad's camera and converting them to flat documents is a trick many iOS users overlook. While you can take a photo with the camera, an app like Scanner Pro automatically detects the edges of the document and flattens it out. The end result is that you get a scanned document without having to use a scanner. There's a few apps out there doing the same trick, but Scanner Pro is our favourite.

Paper

Paper

Like its namesake, Paper is just that: paper for your iPad. This is our favorite sketching app. Perhaps because it has so few features, Paper makes it easy to sketch out ideas without getting distracted by clutter. There are few tools, but a comprehensive range of pencils and a neat ruler tool that draws lines, arrows and shapes from your doodles.

MyScript Calculator

MyScript Calculator

Unlike the iPhone, the iPad doesn't have a built-in calculator app. Nevermind, there are lots available on the App Store.MyScript is a favourite of ours because it enables you to draw your calculations on the screen, as if you were sketching them out on paper. Only it magically arranges the numbers and does the maths for you. Calcbot is the one to get if you really want something more traditional.

Workflow

Workflow

A relatively new addition to my digital bag of tools is an app called Workflow. Think of it as the Mac's Automator feature, but for iOS devices.

The app makes it possible to automate mundane tasks such as annotating, then deleting screenshots in your Camera Roll, or more complex tasks such as converting a YouTube video to an MP3--without you doing more than tapping a couple of buttons.

Pythonista

Pythonista

I also use Pythonista to automate parts of my daily work routine. Taking a different approach than Workflow, Pythonista requires you to code actions in Python. I've found the list of scripts in the app's forums to be more than sufficient to get started with. I get the most use out of Pythonista when it comes to creating consistent screenshot layouts for posts. Additionally, it cuts down the amount of time it takes me to process screenshots.

Pixelmator

Pixelmator

There was a time when editing photos on the iPad was mostly clunky and inconvenient. Then Pixelmator for iPadhappened and the iPad became a legitimate photo editing platform. Perhaps I'm overselling it a little bit, but really, this app is easy to use, powerful and has near feature parity with its OS X counterpart. I just wish iCloud Drive played nicely with my RAW image files.

iA Writer

iA Writer

iA Writer is my preferred writing app due to its Markdown integration and distraction-free writing interface. Best of all, it's not just for those who often stare down a blank screen with a blinking cursor. One of its lesser-known uses is creating and sending HTML-formatted email.

Editorial

Editorial

Editorial is the complete opposite of iA Writer, with buttons and information all over the screen. Editorial enables users to create workflows such as spell-checking text, Googling synonyms for a word, and finding and replacing text, just to name a few. It even offers a built-in browser for quick research, eliminating the need to leave the app. Think of it as a text editor on steroids.

Email+

Email+

Email+ is an app with the main goal of making it easier to create emails to large groups. The interface is intuitive, and the sharing extension makes it possible to share documents (such as Google Docs) with contacts from nearly anywhere on your device.

Google Docs

Google Docs

  • RRP: Free

The combination of Google DocsGoogle Sheets and Google Slides is the best setup for sharing and working on the same document with people both inside and outside of your company. If you find yourself having to work with other people a lot, these three free apps are a must.

DocuSign

DocuSign

Printing, signing, scanning, and thenemailing important documents can bring a morning's productivity to a screeching halt. DocuSign's interface is a bit confusing at times, but overall it gets the job done. With a few swipes and taps I can place my initials and signature on a document and send it back without ever leaving my desk. Not to mention, I get to do my part in saving the planet due to not having to print out lengthy contracts.

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 is one app I'd be lost without.

Fantastical makes entering an appointment or reminder nearly painless with its ability to turn "Lunch with John tomorrow" into a scheduled appointment. But my favorite feature is that it combines iOS Reminders and your Calendar into one app, making it easy to manage both types of entries from the same place.

1Password

1Password

With the number of leaks and hacks surfacing seemingly daily, having strong passwords is more important than ever.1Password is the app I use to create and manage my passwords. My favorite feature of the app is its integration with iOS 8. Using extensions, I can access my vault directly within Safari on my iPhone or iPad and log into accounts without having to bounce around between apps. The app is free, and the Pro upgrade is via in-app purchase.

This article was published on macworld.co.uk by Lucy Hattersley

Categorized in Others

Many school administrators love Chromebooks, precisely because Google's stripped-down operating system is like a pair of rubber training wheels for children who can't be trusted to drive a full-fledged OS. Microsoft is banking on schools purchasing laptops with Windows 10 S installed, because the company's new operating system severely limits which apps users can install while giving IT administrators fine control over your system.

Unfortunately, Windows 10 S also locks users into Microsoft's ecosystem, forcing you to use Edge as your browser and Bing as your default search engine while preventing you from installing a number of really important apps that don't appear in the Windows Store. If you're an educator, the lack of choice should give you pause and, if you're buying a laptop for yourself or your child, these training wheels are probably a deal breaker.

If you want to use Chrome, Firefox, Opera or pretty much any browser other than Edge, you should not get a laptop with Windows 10 S. In its support FAQ, Microsoft writes that:

"Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Microsoft 10 S. You are able to download another browser that might be available from the Windows Store, but Microsoft Edge will remain the default if, for example, you open an .htm file. Additionally, the default search provider in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer cannot be changed." (emphasis mine)

I just checked the Windows Store, and I can't find any other major browsers there (or even minor ones). There's an entry for Opera browser, but when you install it, you just get a window with a download button which directs you to opera.com to actually download the app.

Opera App

Perhaps some day, Google and Mozilla will get their browsers into the Windows Store. However, even if that happens, Edge will still be the default browser which opens any time you click a link in an email, a chat app or anywhere else in Windows 10 S. And every time you search by typing a query into Edge's address bar, you'll get results from Bing, with no option to change it to Google.

Now, to be fair, many people like using Edge browser, which is fast and has a clean UI. However, if you need any kind of browser extension to make a website work, you probably won't be able to use it on Edge. At present, Edge has only 32 extensions and, unlike Mozilla and Google who let anyone publish an extension, Microsoft hand picks the few developers that can do it.

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Some web services just can't work with Edge right now. For example, at work, we use a single sign-on service called Okta, which requires a plugin to work, a plugin which isn't available for Edge. A number of conferencing apps, including Bluejeans and Zoom, require either plug-ins (which Edge doesn't have) or downloadable apps, which aren't in the Windows Store. My mother is a college professor who sometimes grades standardized tests on the weekends, and the online tool she is required to use will only work on Chrome or Firefox.

Microsoft says that Windows 10 S will work with every app in its Windows Store. However, nearly two years after the store launched with Windows 10, a lot of the most important programs aren't available in the store. Here are a few of the many apps which weren't available when I wrote this article:

  • Visual Studio Community / Professional / Enterprise -- Microsoft's own development tool is not in its store so forget about teaching kids to program Windows apps on their Windows 10 S computers.
  • Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Premiere -- You can get the lightweight Adobe Photoshop Express and Photoshop Elements, but forget about the professional versions of Adobe's creative suite.
  • Notepad++ -- My favorite text editor is great for coding and building web pages. You won't find it in the store. There are other text editors in the store, though.
  • Android Studio -- Kids who want to learn how to build apps for Android phones and tablets won't be able to get Google's official development kit.
  • Google Drive -- You can visit Google Drive in your browser in Windows 10 S, but none of the Google client-side apps, including Google Drive, are in the store.
  • Slack / Hipchat -- The two popular group chat apps aren't available in Windows Store.
  • OpenVPN -- There are VPN apps in the Windows Store, but not this popular freeware program.
  • WhatsApp -- Lots of kids chat with this, but they can't on WIndows 10 S.
  • iTunes: Need to interface with your iPhone or download some media from Apple's store? Get a different Windows.

Hopefully, the developers of these apps and others will work with Microsoft to get into the Windows Store. It's almost certain that Microsoft will move its own apps (ex: Visual Studio) into the store at some point too. However, as of this writing, there are so many gaping holes in the store coverage.

For some schools, Windows 10 S's restrictions may initially be a strength rather than a weakness, but if those institutions want to use an education app that's not in the store or a web tool which won't function with Edge, they could have buyer's remorse. Fortunately, Microsoft is going to offer its EDU clients free upgrades to Windows 10 Pro, which I can imagine many of them using.

For individual users who are considering purchasing a Windows 10 S-powered computer like the Surface Laptop, Windows 10 S makes no sense at all. Would you really want to limit what apps and browsers you can use, right out of the box? Isn't the main benefit of Windows over Chrome OS the wide variety of software and services that you can use?

If you've been following Microsoft for a few years, you'll remember Windows RT, a failed version of Windows 8, which also only ran special Store apps. RT failed because of its lack of apps and Windows 10 S faces most of the same challenges. There's just one major improvement: any Windows 10 S user can pay $49 to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, which can run every Windows program in the world and any browser you want. I expect a lot of people to pay that fee.

This article was  published in laptopmag.com by Avram Piltch

Categorized in Others

 

YouTube might be getting a lot more social and conversational in the near future.

TechCrunch reports the Google-owned video platform is currently testing a new in-app messaging feature on iOS and Android that will allow users to exchange clips, texts and links without ever having to leave the app.

But there’s one catch: The functionality is solely available in Canada for the time being. Google product manager Shimrit Ben Yair told Canada’s Financial Post the decision to run trials on Canadian soil has to do with the fact that it’s the country that shares videos more than anyone else in the world.

The messaging platform is pretty straightforward and has no specific video-centric features. Still, the move towards in-app messaging could have much larger implications for the future of YouTube.

A few months back, Google toyed around with the idea of giving certain channels the option to send direct messages to their audience. It also briefly tested with in-app messaging last year in May.

As our own Justin Pot remarked back then, the move was likely aimed at encouraging creators and fans to interact more on YouTube itself, rather than resorting to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

While it’s unclear whether Google has any plans to roll out the feature to all users in the future, the experiment is a strong indication that the company hasn’t quite given up on turning YouTube into more of a social network.

In case you want to sneak a peek at YouTube’s new messaging feature, get one of your Canadian friends to add you to a conversation – that should give you an early preview.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of how the messaging platform looks like.

Source : thenextweb.com

 

Categorized in Social

Google discovers an Israel made Android App which can snoop on your phone calls, text messages and spy on you

Google has recently revealed that it has unearthed a new spyware that can track information of calls, messages and internet history as well as spy on people through their smartphones’ camera and microphone – making it possibly the most dangerous smartphone malware ever made.

Made by an Israeli Company

Researchers on the security front at Google and Lookout have come across the spyware that has the ability to spy on users by hacking their smartphones’ camera and microphone, as well as track calls, messages, internet history and more – christened Chrysaor. The spyware appears to have some link to Pegasus – a program that was known to be targeting iPhone users back in 2016. Pegasus was developed by an Israeli firm NSO Group technologies.

Google and Lookout announced their discoveries last week. The app is not available on the Google Play store. Yet, it has been detected on 36 devices – mainly in the country of Israel followed by Georgia, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya & others. NSO Group Technologies has been accused of developing Smartphone hacking software and selling them to spy agencies all across the world – as they did with Pegasus.

“To install Chrysaor, we believe an attacker coaxed specifically targeted individuals to download the malicious software onto their device,” said Google.
“Once Chrysaor is installed, a remote operator is able to surveil the victim’s activities on the device and within the vicinity, leveraging microphone, camera, data collection, and logging and tracking application activities on communication apps such as phone and SMS.”

Reason it has stayed hidden

Chrysaor has also been found to have a self-destruct mode.  “If it feels like it’s going to be found, it removes itself,” said Lookout mobile security researcher Michael Flossman. This can explain why the researchers took so long to detect the malware. This could also mean that the spyware has been around for much longer than Pegasus and could’ve infected many more than the 36 devices currently known. Lookout and Google have acknowledged that though the samples are from 2014, there was evidence the spyware was still working on some victim Android phones when discovered in the last few months.

Though the probability that your smartphone might be infected with such malware is very small, it is still recommended to stay cautious. Do not install software from sources you don’t know about & always update your phone with the latest security patches.

Source : techworm.net

Categorized in Search Engine

Discover and Watch TV Shows and Movies from Multiple Apps in One Place

Cupertino, California — Apple today introduced the new TV app, offering a unified experience for discovering and accessing TV shows and movies from multiple apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. The TV app provides one place to access TV shows and movies, as well as a place to discover new content to watch. Apple also introduced a new Siri feature for Apple TV that lets viewers tune in directly to live news and sporting events across their apps. Watching TV shows and movies across Apple devices has never been easier.

apple-tv-app-2.jpg

Explore Apple’s curated collection of trending shows and movies from a variety of genres.

“Using apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad has become the primary way for so many of us to watch television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The TV app shows you what to watch next and easily discover TV shows and movies from many apps in a single place.”

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New features allow users to easily access favorite video apps and resume watching where they left off.

Key features within the TV app include:
  • Watch Now: Watch Now is where viewers will see their collection of available shows and movies from iTunes and apps. From Watch Now, viewers can then go to Up Next or Recommended to choose what to watch. 
  • Up Next: Users can enjoy the shows and movies they are currently watching, including recent iTunes rentals and purchases — all presented in the order they are most likely to watch first. For example, when viewers finish an episode, the next one will automatically appear at the start of the Up Next queue, as will any new episodes as they become available. At any time, users can simply ask Siri to continue watching a show and immediately pick up where they left off. 
  • Recommended: Viewers can explore a great selection of curated and trending shows and movies, including collections handpicked by Apple’s curators, and dedicated categories and genres such as kids, sci-fi and comedy. 
  • Library: Viewers can access their entire collection of iTunes movies and TV shows that they have rented or purchased on iTunes. 
  • Store: If users are looking for something new, they can check out the Store to discover great new content across video services that they have not yet downloaded or are not yet subscribed to, along with the latest releases on iTunes. 
The TV app will be available for Apple TV, iPhone and iPad and always stays in sync so that when users begin watching on one device they can easily continue where they left off on their Apple devices.

Live Tune-In with Siri

apple-tv-app-4.jpg

New Siri capabilities offer immediate access to live events with single voice commands.
 
Siri continues to gain powerful new capabilities, including making it really easy to tune right to live news and sporting events on Apple TV. Siri is now aware of live sporting events across apps so users can simply say things like, “Watch the Stanford game” or “Which games are on right now?” Siri knows additional details of the games, can provide live scores and can take viewers directly to the live stream within the app that’s carrying it. Viewers can also tune directly to live video by just saying the name of the app, for example “Watch CBS News” without having to navigate to the live stream from within the app.

Single Sign-On for Pay-TV Apps

In addition to the new TV app, customers in the US will have a simplified way of enjoying their pay-TV video apps by using single sign-on. Starting in December, subscribers to DIRECTV, DISH Network and more will just sign in once on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad to enjoy immediate access to apps that are part of their pay-TV subscription.
Since its introduction just a year ago, the latest Apple TV has revolutionized the experience in the living room with 8,000 apps, including 2,000 games and 1,600 video apps, across categories such as sports, news, fitness, education, kids, lifestyle and more.

Pricing and Availability

TV App and Single Sign-On

Available in December as free software updates for Apple TV (4th generation), iPhone and iPad customers in the US. For more information, please visit Apple.com. Features are subject to change and only apply to participating apps. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

Siri Live Tune-In 

Available today. For more information, please visit Apple.com. Features are subject to change and only apply to participating apps. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.
Source : Apple.com
Categorized in Others

We were gifted with another stellar week of game releases on the App Store yesterday. Not only do we get a free mobile version of the popular Dynasty Warriors franchise, but we also get a new open-world game from Gameloft, the team behind Asphalt, Brothers in Arms and Modern Combat. Also, if you’re anxious for baseball season to start, you should MLB Tap Sports a try. Really fun one-touch game.

Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed

Dynasty Warriors is the legendary ultimate high adrenaline battle experience in Action Combat games. Celebrate the return of your favorite heroic characters, massive battles overflowing with onslaughts of relentless enemies wrapped in a timeless epic saga to unite the three kingdoms. Your elite warriors and cunning strategies are forces to be reckoned with. Promote your generals, build your armies and, battle to the death as you strive to fulfil the vision of your ancestors.

  • Survive massive battles against unyielding hordes of enemies
  • Choose Wisely: 48 legendary characters from the Dynasty Warriors series!

– Each officer has their own unique skills and abilities
– Create powerful officer teams to conquer every mode

  • Strengthen your officers with the signature weapon system!
  • Dynasty Warriors comes to mobile with a variety of game modes!

– Skirmish: Battle in real time with up to four players
-Boss Fight: Jump in and raid the boss with your friends
– Raid: Steal fragments from your opponent
– War Supply: Occupy mines and acquire resources
– Conquest: Compete with other players to take control of the map

[Download Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed free on the App Store]


Final Shift

1 ship, 5 lanes & a ton of objects in your way.
How fast can you shift when you are speeding down the fast lane and obstacles are in your way?

Collect gems and unlock all 15 space ships.

[Download Final Shift free on the App Store]


Gangstar New Orleans

The gold standard for open-world action-adventure series is back, in the fascinating city of New Orleans. With hundreds of vehicles, an outrageous arsenal, and complete freedom to roam this vast city, you have all the tools to become a criminal legend.

Biker gangs, crooked cops and even Voodoo priests prowl these streets and hide in the bayou. And you? You’re the least common criminal of all! Become a man on a mission to claim the Big Easy as your own criminal capital… by any means necessary.

– Discover an open world bustling with life… and crime!

  • Take on dozens of story missions through varied districts, each with its own unique flavor, from the French Quarter to the slums and even the mysterious bayou.
  • Enjoy the AAA graphics and soundtrack to experience the city’s fascinating atmosphere.

– Defend your Turf and raid others

  • Exclusive to Gangstar New Orleans, Turf Wars introduce new competition and excitement to your favorite series.
  • Claim your Turf and defend it from your rivals — the resources you’ll gain will come in handy when it’s time to craft new items.

– Make your own path!

  • Create a character in your image using lots of customization options!
  • Equip, fuse and evolve hundreds of weapons, vehicles, thugs and more to tailor your gangster skills to fit your personal style. From sniper to explosives expert, there are plenty of approaches — which one will you pick?

[Download Gangstar New Orleans free on the App Store]


KAMI 2

The calming yet addictive puzzle game is back!
With over 100 hand-crafted puzzles, Kami 2 takes you on a mind-twisting journey that combines logic and problem-solving.

Can you achieve perfection?
Flood each puzzle with a single color in as few moves as possible to claim a ‘Perfect’ sticker. But watch out for subtle new tricks and fiendish surprises.

Want even more?
Beat the global Daily Challenge, earn a winning streak and compare your scores to other players. Test yourself on thousands of user-generated puzzles, uploaded daily.

Get creative and take on the world.
Craft your own KAMI designs using the Puzzle Builder. Design and share your creations, send them to your friends and challenge the world to beat your score.

[Download KAMI 2 free on the App Store]


MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2017

Tap Sports Baseball 2017 now features the official MLB Teams and MLBPA Players

Play Major League Baseball 24/7

  • Play with official teams and players from Major League Baseball
  • Tap to swing with easy one-touch controls, anytime and anywhere
  • Enhanced graphics brings the Major League Baseball experience to life

Manage Your Team, Compete to Win

  • Build and level up your MLB roster to climb up the leaderboards
  • Compete for the greatest baseball legends in daily events and challenges
  • Swing for the fences in Home Run Battles mode

Play with Friends, Join Clubs and Tournaments

  • Compete against multiple friends in action-packed gameplay sessions
  • Play in weekly events and prove who possesses the ultimate team in head-to-head competitions
  • Join a Club or create your own to compete in exclusive events for top prizes

[Download MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2017 free on the App Store]

Source : bgr.com

Categorized in Others

Yandex, the Google of Russia, has built a voice-activated visual search engine for Facebook. Codenamed “Wonder,” the mobile app lets people ask what businesses friends have visited and what content they’ve consumed, sources confirm. The question is if Facebook will permit the app. Its policy prohibits use of its data in search engines without permission, and Wonder resembles Facebook “Nearby.”

I talked to multiple industry sources who’ve seen Wonder first-hand or currently have a build of it on their iOS device (though an Android version may have been developed, too). The logo you see above is my attempt at an artist rendition of what sources say an early version of the app’s logo looked like. One source said Wonder is “about more than Facebook” which means it could pull in more traditional search results, or just make use of data from the partners I detail below.

A Yandex spokesperson said Yandex “can’t confirm and can’t comment” on Wonder. However, they did admit that “Yandex is working on mining social data. We are building social products.” It also noted it would have an announcement to make on that front in the coming weeks or months, which could certainly be a reveal of Wonder.

Here’s a rundown of how an alpha version of Wonder worked, but note that some design and partnership details may change if it’s released.

Welcome To Wonder

Wonder users can search using voice for things such as “restaurants in Los Angeles my friends have visited.” A horizontal, tile-by-tile scrolling interface lets them view one at a time the restaurants where their Facebook friends have taken photos or checked in. Wonderers can also type to search instead of using voice, or ask to see where a specific friend has gone.

Clicking on a business shows a horizontal stream of photos and recommendations of that place posted by their friends. Another tap brings up Foursquare-powered venue info such as a map, address, and phone number.

Wonder isn’t just for local businesses like Facebook’s recently launched “Nearby” feature built by the acquired Gowalla team. Wonder can pull up music that friends have listened to, let you learn about artists thanks to Last.fm-powered profiles, or preview or buy songs from iTunes. There’s a news discovery component, too. You can see news articles recently read by all your friends or a specific friend and read them within the app through an internal browser.

Yandex’s Passport To The USA

Yandex Maps AppYandex has largely limited itself to Russia and Russian-speaking markets over the years — a market where it is currently the largest search provider. But its share in its home market has come down and been hovering around 60 percent in the last year with competition from Google and others, so it is turning to growth elsewhere.

Just as Google has extended into mobile to expand the potential footprint for its advertising network, Yandex has done the same.

Chief among those efforts have been Yandex’s moves in mobile. A little over a year ago, it bought a company called SPB Software, which develops cross-platform mobile applications and user interfaces.

Some of projects SPB may have helped Yandex with include apps discovery for musicbusiness listings, taxi services (similar to Uber, with a very popular app in Moscow) and more (this Google Play list includes apps for movie listings, ecommerce, Yandex’s Dropbox-like app Yandex.disc, and Yandex.market for ‘personal shopping’ ). In fact, you could think of these as a composite for some of the features of Wonder.

Perhaps most important of all, are Yandex’s location-based and mapping efforts. Yandex’s maps have replaced Google on iOS devices in Russia, and it also provides the search (but not native maps) on Windows Phone devices in the country. These location-based services might just be Yandex’s passport out of Russia (or so it hopes).

Yandex’s Dream, Facebook’s Nightmare?

So Wonder sounds great, especially compared to Facebook’s internal search engine, which is glaringly deficient. There’s no way to search for news read by friends, searching an artist’s name in the music category returns zero results, and if you figure out how to use the Places tab to search for restaurants, you’re met with standard-looking search results. Finding photos or recommendations of businesses from your friends is tough.

Facebook Search Results Places
Facebook tried to fix some of this with Nearby, and did a pretty good job with the business search. Built into a tab in Facebook’s primary mobile apps, Nearby shows you places friends have been, Liked, or recommended. It took a browse-by-category approach to minimizing mobile typing, in contrast to Wonder’s focus on voice commands. However, Nearby doesn’t surface photos taken by friends at places yet, and it might be better off as a standalone app rather than being buried in Facebook for iOS and Android’s navigation.

The problem is that Yandex’s Wonder may be a bit too great and employ too much of Facebook’s data. In May, Facebook updated its Platform Policies to include the statement “You must not include data obtained from us in any search engine or directory without our written permission.” Facebook tells me this was designed to keep your friends from volunteering your private information to public search engines. But Wonder could definitely be interpreted as a search engine, especially considering its built by Yandex, and the policy doesn’t only apply to private data.

facebook-nearby-map TitledIn fact, Facebook apparently learned that Yandex was developing Wonder around the time it changed its policy, and the line could have been added to protect Facebook’s future endeavors in search from invaders like Yandex. Therefore, Wonder might get its public Facebook data access shut down if it doesn’t have permission, and I’ve heard Yandex is actually worried this will happen pre- or post-launch.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself explained at TechCrunch Disrupt SF that Facebook is getting into search:

“Search is interesting. I think search engines are really evolving to give you a set of answers…’I have this specific question, answer this question for me’. Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have. ‘What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York in the last six months and Liked?’ These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else. And at some point we’ll do it. We have a team working on search.”

Facebook Nearby, since it launched, could answer that sushi question, but so could Wonder thanks to Facebook’s data. With local business discovery comes lots of opportunity for monetization through sponsored placement and other channels. Facebook may not want some other company cashing in on this.

There is hope, though. Facebook struck a status update licensing deal with Yandex in 2010 to allow public posts from Pages to appear in the Russian search engine. In exchange Facebook got a widget on the Yandex home page that helped it sign up Russian users when it was still fighting off local social network VKontakte. Russian news outlet Ria Novosti also reported that Zuckerberg visited Yandex’s headquarters in Moscow in the Fall and held talks with management there.

Perhaps Facebook and Yandex could come to some sort of partnership around Wonder, such as a revenue share or allowing it to use Facebook data in exchange for more promotion of Facebook on Yandex. Other possibilities include Facebook buying the app from Yandex, cloning it the way Facebook copied Snapchat to build Poke, or working out a larger deal where Yandex assists Facebook with its search strategy. If Facebook was really feeling generous, it could just give Yandex permission to use the necessary data in Wonder.

No matter the outcome, sources say Yandex has proven there’s wondrous potential for Facebook in mobile search.

Author : Josh Constine

Source : techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Google is subtly experimenting with new ways to surface its countless tools and services—starting with Search.

What is Google? It’s the impossibly large, sprawling infrastructure company. It’s a search bar, sure, but it’s Docs, Hangouts, Doodles, the Play Store. It’s also countless products and services that we never see unless Google sends us to them.

But now, Google is changing the way that we discover exactly what Google can do. How? It’s basically deconstructing Google Search itself into a bunch of mini apps.

[Image: Google]
Just look below the Google.com search bar in a mobile browser—or inside the iOS and Android dedicated Google apps—and you’ll notice the update.
 

Now, the page includes what Google is calling “shortcuts,” which are tappable icons that can take you right to the weather, sports scores, or restaurants around you, all without making you type.

“Getting up-to-the-minute info is as easy as a single tap,” promises Google in the feature’s announcement. And sure, at first glance, it’s a sheer time-saving play. Say 20% of people come to Google for just a few common topics like movie times and sports scores. Why not link those topics as tappable queries, rather than forcing us to type it all out again and again?

However, Google’s Search page is the crown jewel of the company. While it’s optimized for maximum speed and efficiency—consider how Google autocompletes the question you ask before you ask it—changes aren’t made to it casually, meaning these four app-style icons are a very big deal to the company and likely signal important design strategy within Google, especially as these icons are essentially opposite of the strategy it’s been following for years—predictive AI.

Take Google Now. For those who haven’t used it in the Google App or integrated on Android, Google Now is essentially a list of index cards, always updated by AI, that tries to be proactive in offering what information it thinks you need to know (rather than the reactive offerings you get from Search). Google Now can be downright psychic in what it suggests. It will pull the scores of your favorite teams without you specifying them, and scan your morning commute for traffic down to the time you usually leave. Learning from your patterns and preferences, Now offers the information you’ll probably want without you even asking for it.

Google’s new shortcuts are a different approach to the exact same thing. Whereas Now would let you know traffic, weather, and sports through predictive AI magic, shortcuts break out these topics into buttons. And while the information looks pretty much the same, Google is having the user ask for the information instead of supplying it before they even make a query.

But why? Why hide the answer Google already knows we want to ask behind an icon? It seems that Google is capitalizing on habits we users have been learning since Apple launched the App Store. Specifically, rather than Google using AI to give answers before we ask the question, Google is offering the “app” to find the answer we want, before we ask it.

Perhaps consumers prefer the agency involved in tapping or searching to get information, rather than Google just serving it up algorithmically. We’ve already been trained by iOS and Android to click an app when we have a question: “What are my friends doing?” is Instagram or Facebook, while “what is the news?” could be CNN or Twitter. “What should I eat?” is Yelp or Grubhub, and “what should I do?” becomes Netflix or CandyCrush. 

In the mobile world, the app is the answer to your question. And as a result, it makes sense for Google to translate its deep list of products into the language of apps across its mobile search platforms.

However, there’s another benefit to Google’s new approach, and you see it more clearly in its more robust Android app version of shortcuts. There, Google lists out not just your go-to weather and dining options from Google Now, but several other categories of information, including “Tools” like Google Translate, a rollable set of dice, a coin flipper, and a virtual level.

Sure, there’s a novelty to some of this, but Google has essentially broken out many of its esoteric services into an entire page of Google “apps,” full of functionality you might never know existed any other way. It’s a problem the app industry calls “app discovery,” and for Google, which has web apps that aren’t even in any formal app store, it’s an even greater problem.

It’s very easy to imagine how Google could combine the two approaches to leverage its AI prediction models with these shortcut apps, making them even more integral and adaptive to your life. Shortcuts could (theoretically) be displayed at just the right time to solve more specific, complex problems in Search. For instance, that Google level is kind of cheesy with no context! But imagine if you were hanging pictures, Google recognized this, and as you went to search for some sort of solution, the level was right there—just waiting for your finger press. (It’s not total science fiction. iOS already guesses the apps you’ll want at certain times of the day, and offers them under Siri App Suggestions. And Google Now already knows when you’ll be taking the train home each day and might want Google Maps handy.)

Google will always be a company with too many tentacles to count, meaning consumers will never know what its services can really do. And the world already has too many apps to count, spread across countless icons on our screens. But maybe, when you smash these two problems together, it’s a workable solution—at least until our brains are simply hardwired into the Googleplex.

Author : MARK WILSON

Source : fastcodesign.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Android phones come with a lot of handy apps out of the box, but that’s just the start. With the right apps you can may your phone faster and better. You can also start making changes to customize the device to your liking and really get into the nitty gritty of customizing. For that, you’ll need the right apps. Here are 10 essential apps for the Android power user to get you started.

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If you need to know what's going on inside your device, System Monitor is the way to do it. This app has live graphs of CPU activity, storage, network activity, and battery usage. It even has floating monitors and widgets to keep an eye on things. There's a free trial and a full version that $3.99.

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If you've ever wanted you phone to do something on its own, Tasker is what you need. This app has a steep learning curve, but you can automate actions like placing calls, changing system settings, modifying files, and more than 200 more.

These can be triggered based on time, location, charge state, and dozens of other things. The learning curve is steep, but Tasker is incredibly powerful. It'll cost you $2.99.

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There are numerous cloud storage providers, and you may very well have files in more than one. Unclouded offers a way to easily manage all of them in a single app. It supports Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, BOX, and MEGA. Just log into your accounts and all your files are accessible. It's free to try and costs $3.29 to unlock permanently.

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Tinkering with Android means you'll need a good file explorer, and there isn't a more powerful one than Root Explorer. As the name implies, it has specific features for rooted users, but you can use it as a regular user-space file explorer if you're not running a rooted device. It costs $3.99, but it's a worthwhile investment.

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The stock home screen on your Android device is probably fine, but it's guaranteed to be lacking in features. The most powerful home screen replacement for Android is Nova Launcher -- it has gestures, custom icons, better control over the grid layout, and much more.

You can test it for free, but all the features require a $4.99 upgrade.

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Android's "open with" dialog lets you choose the app you want to use when opening a particular link, but it's annoying to tap every single time. Setting defaults means you can't pick at all, though. Better Open With gives you a nice middle ground. By setting this as the default, it can show you a quick list of options, then it'll go ahead and complete an action with your chosen app if you don't make a different selection. It's clever and totally free.

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AirDroid runs a server on your phone that can be accessed by a desktop web browser. This gives you full remote access to your device for phone calls, messaging, notifications, and even data backups. It looks like a desktop operating system,

but it's running on your phone. It's free to try, but some features like large file transfers and remote camera access are restricted to the monthly $2 subscription plan.

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Most web browsers on Android take up the whole screen, but not Flynx. This app lets you load links in the background as bubbles, then you can tap to open a pop-up view. It also supports multiple bubbles at the same time. Flynx is free and very useful.

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IFTTT connects your device to the world of connected things. It lets you create event triggers based on all sorts of variables like your device's location, the time of day, or a myriad of events on other connected devices. It supports products like Hue lights,

Google Assistant, and Google Drive. You can think of it a little like Tasker, but less for your device specifically. It's free.

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Pushbullet is one of my most used apps. This app and the associated online service lets you push text, links, and files between your devices (Android, iOS, and desktops). It also mirrors notifications on your desktop and gives you full access to SMS at your computer or tablet. Most of the features are free, but if you want unlimited file transfers or desktop SMS, you'll need the monthly $5 subscription. It's spendy for an app, but Pushbullet is so, so useful.

Author : Ryan Whitwam

Source : https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/243535-10-essential-android-apps-power-users

Categorized in Others

The penetration of mobile phones wasn’t fast enough in rural India during the early mobile days over a decade ago. However, the limited users of the handhelds were prompt enough to get carried away with the allurement of the web of free information. For them –long before they could figure out the technicalities of browsers –the gateway to connect with the universe was largely search engines especially Google. The iconic Google search --one of the classic examples of ‘humanisation of tech’, never ceased to entice its users all along. 



The scenario, however, has changed today. From an obtrusive shift in googling habit to domain-based search to an app culture, much has changed since then. People are more onto their apps than on web or online search. And the clear victim is Google. The universe of web –that people used to access primarily through Google Search, is gradually getting scrappy. The dark matter, which Google can’t crawl, index and present on search queries that users conduct, on the other side is gradually swelling at an astonishing pace. 

With 80% of the world information generated over the last two years alone, the web of crawlable information should have more diverse and democratic. However, the information entombed under social networks, single page architectures and most importantly the ever-growing apps is not only growing but also ushering in a new era where much of the information is getting locked for public access. 

With over four petabytes of data being generated by Facebook alone and over five lacs of new users joining the platform every day, the information appearing in search engine result pages (SERPs) isn’t in commensurate with the volume and variety of data being generated today. What happens when platforms such as Facebook and Twitter decide to be inaccessible to Search? After all, why would a reader conduct a web search when there is an app to do just that?

The threats to iconic Google Search

Dark Matter defeats the whole mission of Google which aims to put straight the world’s information and make it handy for everyone. On the flip side is the rise of domain-based search. 

The artificial intelligence team of Facebook has been working hard to ferret out the best search tactics for their platform. Lumos visual search system, developed by Facebook recently, can detect objects, scenes, animals, places, and clothes that appear in images or videos – and return relevant search results for users. 



With over 500 million tweets and 6,000 tweets every single second that are sent every single day, Twitter too has come up with several measures to filter out the noise and get the most relevant information you want. 

Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon, compared to 13 percent who started their search from a traditional search site. 

ComScore found that product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year, while shopping searches on Google have been flat. Indeed, when it comes to search and overall web traffic referrals, Google is still the top referral source. 

Facebook is now the top referral source for digital publishers. All this translates to severe implications for Google which is increasingly failing to catch up with the change recently. 

The search behemoth makes hundreds of changes in its search algorithm to improve search results for 1.2 trillion searches per year globally. Ironically, some of its major search enhancements were directed towards promoting its own products . The search giant has bought millions of its own ads to display their products atop search results, over those of ad-buying customers. On the business side, too, Google Search revenue saw a decline for the first time in 2016. 



From the usability perspective, the nature of ‘online search’ has changed. But Google search per se is still stuck with Blue Links –despite initiatives such as Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph have been largely useful for users. 

The big fight to be the king of app search

Mobile search and YouTube are still driving Google’s growth and most these revenues derive from mobile. The mobile era is ruled by two giants –Apples’ iOS and Google’s Android. However, with Apple marking a move into web and app search, the big challenge ahead for Google is to prove its relevance in mobile search. 

Apple, which did a revenue sharing agreement with its rival in 2014 and received $1 Billion, is now trying to get more app results in their search tools. Google’s desperation showed up when it released a series of enhancements to embolden search for mobile, including in-App indexing. 

Between October 2013 --when the search giant released app indexing for a limited set of publishers, and August 2016, the company released over 13 enhancements to augment the visibility of app content in search. But is it enough for Google to survive in the app era? Probably not! 

The last words: Is it time to reimagine search?

Amit Singhal –the then chief of Google Search, in an interview with Recode said, ‘Google will not only survive the transition to mobile apps, but will thrive in it.’ However, the story looks different today with new approaches of search coming up.Jelly Search --created by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and recently acquired by Pinterest, reimagines search as a social network which gets you answers from real people. 

When Google first launch semantic search, it was a major search breakthrough which was not only competent enough to decipher complex queries, it also helped users find the most relevant information. 



Can Google turn the tide for one more time before companies like Apple or any other disruptor makes a serious entry? Because ‘search’ will continue to flourish, even if there is no Google! 

Author : Mastufa Ahmed

Source : http://www.in.techradar.com/news/internet/web/whats-wrong-with-the-iconic-google-search/articleshow/57556216.cms

Categorized in Search Engine

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