Take a Look at a Leaked Version of Cortana for Android

Microsoft announced in May that it will roll out its personal assistant, Cortana, to Android and iOS. As the official launch is getting closer, so are the leaks it seems. Word is that a pre-release version of Cortana has cropped up last weekend on various websites.

It is said that the standalone Cortana app is already running smoothly on devices and is compatible with Android 4.1.2 and later OS versions. There have been some problems with getting it to work on some handsets, but that is bound to happen as it is a leaked version and not the official app. However, you can at least try it out before you decide if you actually want to get it for your Android handset.

People who had a chance to test it out say that it performs “as expected” and if you got a chance to test Windows 10 Preview for PC or Phones, then you most likely are familiar with what Cortana can do on Android or iOS devices too. There are some minor differences, like Cortana not being able to get content from emails or listen for music, but there were bound to be some restrictions in place. Compared to the integrated version on Windows Phones, the standalone Cortana for other OS’ requires permission to get access to pretty much everything, so if you don’t have a way to provide it, the app will not be able to use the external information.

Microsoft plans to launch Cortana for iOS and Android next week. They say it will hit the US, UK, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish markets at first, followed by Canada and India in the following months and then the rest of the targeted markets by the end of the year. The company chose this approach due to the fact that it also wants to personalize the user interaction with Cortana. For example, the Japanese market will feature Cortana bowing by default to show signs of politeness, while the UK market will house a Cortana that expresses the well-known British humour.

You can download the leaked version of Cortana for Android from APKMirror. I already have a Windows Phone device, so if you have an Android handset and choose to test it out, don’t forget to share your thoughts with a comment below!

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PCkoloji

Tumblr TV Is the Latest GIF Video Player on the Web

Tumblr just added a GIF search engine earlier this month and it now launched yet another GIF dedicated feature, namely Tumblr TV. From the looks of it, the feature aims to be a 9GAG.tv service, but for GIFs.

Unlike its GIF search engine, users don’t have to be logged into Tumblr to use the feature. Users will see that the player automatically starts in full-screen mode, but it’s not that great since GIFs tend to have a low resolution.

The feature is called ‘TV’ because it lets users pause, play and navigate to the previous and next GIF. With it, Tumblr says it wants to give users more ways of fiddling with its GIF feature. However, the social media platform doesn’t have integrated sharing options, which means that GIFs cannot be shared on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.

It’s a shame to see Tumblr miss out on further promoting its service through third-party sharing features, but Tumblr hopes this will attract more users to one of its popular ‘exclusive’ features, namely GIFs. The feature is now available on the web, but Tumblr hopes to bring it on the mobile version soon as well. You can view the feature and what it has to offer by clicking the following link.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Tumblr

Microsoft Killing off Facebook Integration

Microsoft have taken a strange move in their plan of development.

The business giant, Microsoft is killing off one of the key selling points of the Windows Phone operating system. Facebook integration. Microsoft first launched the Windows Phone operating system in 2010 as the first to feature deep integration with Facebook contacts and the news feed. It was a unique feature, but due Facebook updating their Graph API, Microsoft have now been forced to shut down all of their Facebook Connect features.

Microsoft note that Facebook contact integration in Outlook.com, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone will now no longer work. “Contact information for the Facebook contacts shown will no longer be updated with information from Facebook,”Microsoft state. The changes go even further than just the much loved Facebook contacts integration though. Microsoft’s social connector for Outlook 2013 is now rendered useless, and the company’s Office 365 Outlook Web App will no longer pull in any Facebook information.

I can imagine a lot of Windows phone users will have a lot to say about this rather dramatic and un forewarned change. I know several Windows phone users and they all love the facebook contact integration feature. I highly suspect they will not be best pleased with the change.

Thanks to TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of wallpapers111

Tinder Adds Instagram Support so You Can Share Your Most Private Videos with Strangers

Tinder made quite a bit of progress lately, especially on its subscription side. However, the Facebook integration doesn’t seem to be enough for the company, which now aims to roll out a new update that adds Instagram support to its growing ‘swipy’ world.

The latest Tinder update is said to let you swipe through Instagram photos, with support of up to 34 photos and videos for each account. The company has even integrated so as to redirect you to the person’s Instagram profile upon tapping a picture, providing he or she has the profile public.

Instagram is said to provide Tinder users with a better overview of how socially connected you are to the person you are about to swipe. Up until now, the Facebook integration showed you the friends you have in common with the person you are viewing, but it wasn’t enough to get you a match. Tinder aims to bring a more detailed feature that lets you have a glimpse of who that person is and hopes to bring better matches in the future.

Tinder has also announced that the integration will be available for both free and pro subscribers, so if you either use the app just for a laugh or hope to find your other half, you can still fiddle with the company’s latest feature. But let’s be honest about it, who uses Tinder as a professional dating app? Do you?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of The Verge and image courtesy of Business Insider

Google’s Web Designer Updated with Animation Tools and More

It’s been almost a year since Google introduced us to their HTML5 Web Designer, a free tool for all major platforms created to make it easy for any one to create interactive HTML5 sites and advertising. We’ve only seen a couple minor patches and updates since then, but now Google is ready with the first big one.

According to the DoubleClick blog, ad impressions from HTML5 grew 140% in the first half of 2014 compared to the second half of 2013. Ads build with the Web Designer have gained 2.5 Billion impressions since launch and over 20% of the user-base is said to be returning.

While the main focus of the Web Designer always has been the creation of advertising, there is nothing holding you back from using it to create anything else your imagination might spark. There are however many features that are build just for that, like the new direct integration to the DoubleClick Studio where those ads then are automatically tagged with the right account, advertiser and campaign information for publishing.

Google’s AdWords service has also switched to HTML5 now, and any Flash ads that are uploaded will be converted to HTML5 automatic. This is of course to support  HTML5 ads created in the new Web Designer.

The new animation tools are however what will get most people excited. With the new reworked animation timeline with features like animation scrubbing, timeline events and auto key-framing, it’s never been easier building HTML5 based animations. A couple new 3D features have been added as well.

Since this is Google, we’ll of course also get an integration with Google Drive to make it easier to share our Web Designer files with friends and co-workers. The text editor CodeMirror also got a direct integration now.

You can watch the video below to get a visual presentation of the updated Google Web Designer or you can just head over to Google, download it and start creating your very own HTML5 animations.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTfJFf8f5eg[/youtube]

Thank you DoubleClick for providing us with this information

Image and video courtesy of Google

Cortana Personal Assistant Integrated in Skype for Windows Phone

Microsoft has announced some new features coming to Skype for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1, namely the Skype 2.19 update, which includes video improvements, fast app resume, increased language support and improved notifications.

The most interesting feature in the update however is the Cortana personal assistant. The personal assistant was first rumoured earlier this year, followed by the official presentation of the feature at Microsoft’s BUILD conference alongside Windows Phone 8.1.

Cortana is said to bear deep roots inside the Windows Phone platform, therefore its integration into Skype makes sense, since the application is currently owned by the same company. However, people might be skeptical about its usefulness in Skype, but there are ways users can enhance their interactions with the application.

For example, users would be able to start video and audio calls by interacting with Cortana by simply stating “Cortana, voice call on Skype.” or “Video call on Skype.”. Though it might sound appealing to some, there are some limitations to this, having Cortana currently available only in the US and on Windows Phone 8.1.

Nevertheless, Microsoft did state that the personal assistant along with the Windows Phone 8.1 update will eventually roll out to the rest of the world. In the meantime, the company apparently has made the application available for download in the Windows Phone store.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Worldwide Bitcoin Regulations Still Unclear, Law Library of Congress Survey Reports

There were many questions on how can the Bitcoin be taxed, having more and more countries coming up with different ways on how the cryptocurrency could be treated. While countries such as Germany do not consider Bitcoin a legal tender and cannot be considered as taxable income, Canada was pro-taxing Bitcoin incomes.

“At the moment, we’re studying Bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it,” a spokesperson for the Bank of Indonesia told the Jakarta Globe in December.

Law Library of Congress has surveyed 40 jurisdictions and the European Union to see what laws have been implemented for the Bitcoin all around the world. They found that China has declared it illegal to use Bitcoin as a currency, while Brazil has successfully adopted and made regulations for it, having been adopted under Law No. 12,865. And while the U.S. is the place where most Bitcoin makers and users are, the New York State Department of Financial Services are said to be in talks to consider Bitcoin-specific regulations.

While we see most countries accepting or letting Bitcoin have its way for the moment ( and of course China that bans just about anything that looks democratic ), the U.S. might be preparing something to take a bite out of every profit made through Bitcoin, especially having more and more companies starting to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Driver Avoids Fine For Glassing While Driving

Cecilia Abadie with her pair of Google Glasses

The first case with probably many more to come regarding driving whilst wearing Google’s Glass has been thrown out of a San Diego traffic court. Cecilia Abadie is a software developer and one of the 30,000 people lucky enough to be able to try out Google’s latest piece of technology before it get a main stream release later this year. Abadie was driving on a San Diego free way in October of 2013 when a California Highway Patrol officer saw that she was wearing the device while driving. The Patrol officer handed her a citation which is usually given to those operating and watching a dash mounted TV or Video player.

However Abadie pleaded not guilty to the charges handed down to her, with San Diego Traffic Court Commissioner John Blair throwing the case out, by ruling that Cecilia Abadie was not guilty citing that the offence she was charged for required proof that the device was on and in operation. The California Highway Patrol has declined to comment on the case, however they released a statement saying that anything that takes the driver attention away from the road is dangerous.

Legislation’s in three states of America have been made that will ban driving with Google Glass, these being Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia. Google has released a statement on their website which contains an advisory to those looking at getting the Google Glass when it becomes available to the public;

“Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you are following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road”.

Thank you The Australian for the information provided 

Image courtesy of The Australian

Wink And Snap A Photo With Google Glass

Google Glass has updated software in its internet-linked eyewear to allow users to snap pictures by winking. The new feature, which promises to escalate privacy concerns already being voiced about the hi-tech gadget, came as one of an array of improvements. Google Glass posted on its Google+ social network page;

“We have got a new setting that lets you quickly and easily capture the moments you care about with a simple wink of the eye. We are starting with pictures, but just think about what else is possible.”

Notions put forth included Glass wearers some way paying for cab rides by winking at meters or paying for something in a shop with a blink. Other updates included letting owners lock eyewear so it can not be used unless a person knows the “handshake” of swipes and taps. The “Glassware” code powering the device was also modified to allow uploads directly to the Google-owned video sharing site YouTube.

“Glass is about helping you look up and experience the world around you without getting bogged down by technology,” Google said.

The hi-tech accoutrement lets wearers take pictures, record video, send messages or perform other tasks with touch controls or by speaking commands. It connects to the internet using Wi-Fi hot spots or being tethered to smartphones. Facebook, Twitter and major news organizations have already tailored apps for Google Glass, which has only been made available to developers and a limited selection of “explorers” who paid $1,500 each for the hi-tech eyewear. Envisioned uses range from practical tasks such as shopping or delivering local weather reports, to sharing real time video streams or playing augmented reality games, in which the world would be the board or platform.

Google has not made an announcement for a public release date for Google Glass, however speculation is that it will arrive around early 2014.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EvNxWhskf8[/youtube]

Welcome to Google Glass, an insight on Google Glass’s settings and functions

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of AP