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Learn something about Google’s new Duplex feature today

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Google announced all kinds of technological advancements at this year’s Google IO, and one of the most interesting was Google Duplex. You might’ve missed it, while you were thinking and searching on Google about when you’ll get the awesome new Android P (that’s unlikely to happen unless you have a pixel device). But, don’t worry. We got you covered.

It’s an add-on to Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence that can make phone calls for you. And we don’t mean dialing the number. We mean it has actual conversations with real-life people.

If you haven’t already seen the demo, please watch it below:

Let me clear out this one thing for you, Google Duplex isn’t designed to replace humans altogether. It’s designed to carry out very specific tasks in what Google calls “closed domains”. So, for example, you wouldn’t ask Google Duplex to call your mum, but you might ask it to book a table at a restaurant.

Initially Google Duplex will focus on three kinds of task:

  • Making restaurant reservations
  • Scheduling hair appointments and
  • Finding out businesses’ holidays and opening hours.

An intimate question that may come to your mind, “Why does it sound like humans?”
I think, it’s party because Google reckons it’s the most efficient way to get the information, especially if there are variables and interruptions, and partly because if you got a phone call from “The Terminator” you’d probably hang up.

The full details are over at the Google AI Blog, but here’s the executive summary: Google Duplex enables you to get information that isn’t on the internet.

Google Duplex is the missing link between the Google Assistant and any business because it enables the Assistant to get information that isn’t available digitally. For example, you might want to know a business’s holiday opening hours but they haven’t listed it on their website, or you might want to know if a shop has a particular item in stock and it doesn’t have online stock availability.

So Duplex does what you’d do. It phones up and asks for the information it needs.

From a tech perspective, Google Duplex uses a recurrent neural network (RNN) built using TensorFlow Extended (TFX). There’s a really good introduction to RNNs here. What RNNs like the one powering Duplex can do process sequential, contextual information, and that makes them well suited to machine learning, language modeling and speech recognition.

When you make a request, the Google Assistant will hand it over to Google Duplex to carry out; if it’s within Duplex’s abilities it’ll get on with it. If it isn’t, it will either tell the Assistant it can’t do it or refer the job to a human operator.

Duplex talks like a normal person, and that makes it a natural – and natural-sounding – extension to the OK Google functionality we already know. Let’s stick with our restaurant example.

With Duplex, we could say “OK Google, find me a table for Friday night” and the Google app would then call restaurants on your behalf. Not only that, but it would have conversations – so if you wanted a table for around 7:30 but there wasn’t one, it could ask what times were available and decide whether those times fit your criteria. If not, the Google app would call another restaurant. Similarly, if you wanted to arrange a meeting with Sarah, the Google app could call Sarah (or Sarah’s AI) to talk through the available time slots and agree which one would be best.

The key here is that this is all happening in the background. You tell Google to do something and it goes and does it, only reporting back after the task is complete.

Alright, another interesting question now, “Will it be creepy?”

It’s a bit creepy!

It is a bit, and it’s prompted some discussions online already: should AIs tell us that they’re AIs when they phone us up?

What’s the legal situation if your AI makes a deal with my AI without asking either of us first? Will there be a version with a croaky voice we can use to call in sick? More worryingly, what if someone hijacks your account and uses it to impersonate you?

“How can it be beneficial?”

The benefits for people with hearing difficulties are obvious, but it can also overcome language barriers: you might not know the local language, but Google Assistant does – so it can converse in a language you don’t speak.

And it can be asynchronous, so you can make the request and then go offline while Google Duplex gets on with the job: it will report back when you’re online again. That’s useful in areas of patchy connectivity, or if you’re just really, really busy.

And now, as to when you can get it. Google is set to start testing the feature in a public beta via Google Assistant at some point in the summer, although an exact release date or the regions it’ll be available in have yet to be announced.

I’m pumped about it!!

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How to turn off conversation view in Gmail for Android and iOS?

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Google introduced the conversation view for its desktop and mobile Gmail clients as a way to easily manage a string of emails- as conversations. 

However, there were polarizing reactions on this move by Google. Some people liked the idea of converting their emails into conversations arranged as heaps on top of each other, while some didn’t. Albeit, a significant share of people went on to birth an online petition against this scrimping implementation. 

This forced Google to hence, offer this feature as an option that users can turn on in Gmail’s settings. However, this discharge was only for the desktop version of Google’s notorious email service. Mobile users were indeed left out of this mini-referendum. Since then, the Gmail app for iOS and Android had gone through many changes, especially after the update that introduced the conversation view for an email thread.

But, no changes surfaced pointing towards the conversation view, that is, until today, as the Gmail app for iOS and Android is finally rolling out an option to disable the conversation view.

All the Gmail app users on iOS and Android are being updated with this feature as of now. So if you ever wanted a more simplified user experience on Gmail, you now have the freedom to do so. 

I don’t see how people who deal with tons of emails per day would prefer to go through the shambles that are unsorted email replies, especially since they have already got a taste of the conversation view. But, if you’re someone who gets one important email per week which you don’t even care glancing through once, it won’t matter if the feature is switched off or on. 

Nevertheless, you can disable conversation view by tapping on the account name in the settings menu and looking for the “Conversation view” checkbox. Now you won’t have to worry about seasonal mood swings aimed at the avidity to enable or disable conversation view. Well, that’s a thing!

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Android ‘Pie’ released for Pixel phones today

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Google has officially made the next iteration of its Android operating system available for Pixel phones to install. And, it’s a “Pie.”

After almost 3 months of beta testing then known Android P, Pixel phones are set to receive the latest iteration of Google’s OS today. Other Android OEMs are expected to get the “pie” treatment soon. And beta testing indicates that this time Google will make sure smartphones other than the Pixel get the latest OS, as several manufacturers involving Sony, Xiaomi, Nokia, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential partook in the beta program. 

In a blog post today, Google said it’ll update the devices in a uniform timely manner:

“Devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall! We are also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.”

Google

Most notable features of Android Pie include a revamped user interface, a “digital well-being” feature (similar to Apple’s Screen Time), an adjusted status bar for notched devices, and a new gesture-based navigation system. 

However, some of these features are not readily available in today’s update and will be officially added in the fall. For instance, the “digital well-being” feature was announced at Google I/O held from 8th May to 10th May but isn’t readily available in the update today. However, Pixel users can sign up for its beta program and enable the feature right away.

It’s a “Pie!”

Another missing feature from today’s update is ‘slices’, which allows developers to inculcate their app’s crucial functions directly into search. That feature as well will launch in fall this year. 

Apart from the missing stuff, Android Pie contains many more advancements, though, tiny. However, among those tiny advancements, there’s one that clearly sticks to the mind: an improved battery with the help of AI. Text selection has also significantly improved with a virtual magnifier scrolling along the rhythm of your fingertips.

Android Pie also sports some under-the-hood features. One, for instance, restricts access to the sensors, microphones, and cameras when the phone is idle- a move towards providing better privacy. Also, phones with dual cameras will be able to click better quality images with Google’s multi-camera API that developers can embed in their apps in Android 9 Pie

Additionally, a better auto-fill feature enables fluid and effortless logins, and much more.

As The Verge notes, initial betas of Android Pie weren’t as fluid as they have become over time. They felt choppy and laggy. But, that’s what betas are for. Further, the gestural navigation system blatantly copied from Apple also isn’t as favorable as the set-up on an iPhone X. But, again, we could see those issues resolved in further “point-updates.”

Having said that, Google calls Android P as “Android 9 Pie” and not just “Android Pie.” This is the first time Google has gone with a slightly technical name. Even Android 9 Pie’s page has a URL that contains just the “9:” android.com/9

Over the air updates are expected to roll out today and will gradually reach your device, that is, only if you have a Pixel.

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How To Safeguard Your Online Privacy..

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Nowadays there is a way for the ransomware and cyber-attacks. Many individuals, organizations, multi-national companies are victims of it. Also, there is a chance for a hacker to hack your device and steal your online data. Your personal online data and privacy are at a risk many times. So I will tell you the 10 simple and best ways that will help you to protect your pc or mobile phone’s online privacy from such attacks. Your online privacy is your matter of concern. So here’s how you can save it.

1.Software update

First one is as simple as you heard. It is the best and the easiest way to keep your device safe. We should keep our device up to date to the latest security patch. Software update keeps our device safe automatically from malware and ransomware attacks by installing the latest security patches. Also, make sure that your inbuilt antivirus software is up to date which guarantees your online privacy.

2.Data Encryption

Encryption of data is the one which blocks the third party to use your data. It is an end to end security system. Your sensitive data is totally safe with the encryption. But to encrypt the data, you must have to set a password and learn it. You can decrypt your data only through your password or directly through factory data reset. For window’s user, BitLocker is default encryption service. For an Android user, those who want to encrypt their mobile Go to settings> security> Encrypt phone and you are done.

3.Lock social media

Social Media are the very much accessible stuff of the hacker. See down to the information you are providing through your multiple accounts. Your birth dates, addresses are very strong evidence for the hacker to explore you. See that you share such information with the people you know well. Simply to know how much info you have provided publicly, type your name in Google’s search bar. You will come to know about yourself and then decide which info you have to hide from the world. Also, go through the links https://myactivity.google.com and https://privacy.google.com to remove or add your interests and to manage your privacy settings.

4.Create Strong Passwords

I know this is a bit weird but it’s true. Many of the users prefer the simple passwords and also use the same one for their different social media accounts. The reason is just simple, it is easy to remember.  But trust me; such passwords are very much pruned to be hacked. If a hacker got an idea of any password of yours, he will try the same for your different accounts. And it is very much simple for him to hack you. So build up your strong password today and be safe from hacker attacks.

5.Public Internet

While using the wireless internet connection at public stations, coffee shop, cafes, hotels, etc. your network is shared with other hundreds of people right there. Make sure that you had turned off the system data sharing option. At such time, make sure that you are visiting the website having protocol “https” where ‘s’ stands for secure. Also using VPN at such times is very handy and simple. VPN encrypts the traffic between your device and the other users and block your location from them and make your usage pretty secure.

6.Secure Messaging Apps.

Using a secure messaging app for your personal and social chaos is the matter of concern. The app or the software you use should be private and encrypted. The software such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram uses end to end conversation encryption policy and are safe to use. Using such apps is another step towards your online privacy.

 7.Block Cookies

First of all, what is a cookie?  A cookie is a message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. The main purpose of a cookie is to identify users and possibly prepare customized web pages for them. So to block them is a better option which will also block the ads coming with them. If you do not block them, they will appear on every device to which you sign in by the same account.

8. Don’t respond to fake links

Many forwarded messages assuring that they will provide you with online money or the mobile free recharge contains a link which floats on various social media. A criterion is such that we should provide our data such as name, contact details, address them. People give them their data blindly without knowing that their online privacy can be leaked and be sold for many purposes. So better not to respond to such links before reading their terms and conditions and privacy policies. And also see that you personally not share such links before inspecting them.

9. Don’t Use Third Party Apps

The third party apps are such apps which are not available in the play store and you have to visit an unknown website to download them. I will recommend not using such apps as they can bring malware and adware along with them. But if your need persists, go through their app permission and read their all terms and conditions neatly before using it.

10.Apps Permission.

The next two tip is for mobile users. Visit the app permissions settings on your device and see which permissions the app is demanding. For e.g., a certain app is demanding for the location and you know that app has nothing to deal with location. So uncheck the location option and see whether the app is working or not. If not, don’t use such apps as you don’t know where your location is been used.

So these were the 10 best and simple ways through which you can protect your online privacy.

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