Google's video/game streaming service, YouTube Gaming now packs in a bevy of new features in channels and location selection, including: landscape mode, new chat layout, and other nifty improvements.

While, the ability to use the app in landscape mode remains the most remarkable of the new features, YouTube has made it a lot more easier for users to stream contents online.

Albeit, watching YouTube videos has always been that way, now you can also navigate all around YouTube Gaming using your phone or tablet turned sideways.

Starting from YouTube Gaming app version 1.5, there is the new feature to reformat chat, allowing comments overlay while watching videos in landscape mode.

And now, the button to minimize the action is now more obvious, as you may want to keep a video going while heading over to the notifications to read a message.

YouTube watch history has been toned up, with the ability to save for offline access or to add to a “watch later” queue from the overview button.

Also, you can switch location to view videos from settings with options to select any country, including United States, the UK, Sweden, or elsewhere if you want to find out what games are topping the chart in that part of the world.

The service, however, isn't as cool as the live-streaming of Twitch, Google still have a long way to go to catching up with the popular online streaming service.

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Outlook mobile app users should be familiar with "Focused Inbox", a feature that prioritize emails, holding all of a user’s important emails, while the "Other" folder contain everything else.

Microsoft is rolling out Focused Inbox to Outlook on Mac and Windows, bringing the new Outlook app feature to the web version.

And the system can be trained by moving email to and from the Focused Inbox, and establishing rules about certain titles and addresses.

Focused Inbox is an attempt to help mitigate the problem of overstuffed inbox by more effectively prioritizing important emails against irrelevant ones, and moving the later to a separate inbox.

At the point of receiving new messages into the inbox, a banner will display at the top of the list of "Focused" messages for users to know the status of any new message in that section of their inbox, along with a select list of addresses.

It's pertinent to note that "Focused Inbox" employs machine learning, thereby learns from a person’s pattern, and will eventually replace Outlook’s existing Clutter folder, which also separates important from unimportant emails.

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How Wi-Fi only mode for Google Maps cut back on data

Posted by John Onwuegbu | July 26, 2016 |

Google Maps is getting Wi-Fi only mode and mass transit delay notifications as new features from a server-side switch that could help users cut back on data and the daily frustration from commuters.

While Google Maps has been notorious for data consumption, the Wi-Fi only setting will be handy to save users from running out of their data plan’s limits.

Surprisingly, you might not have even noticed that the Maps application uses data, after all, it's supposed to be a GPS service, right?

Albeit, Google Maps have an offline mode (which also help save on data), the Wi-Fi only mode offers a better experience.

The roll-out of the new feature that brings the option to make Maps data primarily over Wi-Fi is still underway, you can give the feature a try by downloading version 9.32.1 of Google Maps from the Play Store or APK Mirror.

Take a peek and add your suggestions for how you’ve saved more offloading data from Wi-Fi when available.

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Netflix recently launched Flixtape, a new feature which lets you make playlists of six movie or TV titles shareable with friends, and it can be created to fit a mood, send a message or focus on any particle theme.

The Flixtape can be based on a genre or theme of some sort, and can be shared with friends or family over text message, email or social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

While Flixtape is free, you’ll need a Netflix subscription to watch the videos in the playlists you’ve created.

Netflix describes the new service as a mixtape for movies and TV shows, but unfortunately, has placed a limit to the number of titles that can be added to each Flixtape.

Albeit, a “mixtape” isn't supposed to include endless entries, the artificial limit Netflix has placed on it could inhibit the possibility to create a long-standing collection.

And the provided options to pick a list of canned mixes (“Made for You”), or click the “inspire me” button to see some suggestions is perhaps too spooky given the limited inventory in Netflix’s library.

But notwithstanding, Flixtape is fun to use, and even more useful as it offers way for users to share more personal, word-of-mouth recommendations. Unlike Netflix’s recommendation system that doesn’t effectively tap into social connections.

As mixtapes are meant to be personal and customizable, also with Flixtape, you’re able to customize the “cover” with title, doodles and even add the name of the person the Flixtape is to be shared.

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Google has launched a new Natural Language API under its cloud developer tools, aimed at helping developers create applications that understand human language. Which natural language processes enable developers to build apps with voice recognition capabilities essential in building intelligent digital assistants.

The Natural Language API is based on the research used to create Parsey McParseface, an open source parser for English text, which Google released earlier this year.

The API is already in public beta alongside Google's Speech API, which enable applications to take in recorded voice clips and return text translations, making it possible for developers to build apps capable of listening and understanding human voice commands.

The API can also provide information about a block of text, including the context of a write-up with analysis of the structure of the sentence.

Along with the capability to identify entities mentioned, including people, organizations, locations, events, and products.

Google's push to increase its relevance in the public cloud is indeed evident as it continues to face fierce competition from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, which are all introducing intelligent capabilities in their cloud platforms also.

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Google haven revealed the winning Android name, Nougat, at a playful ceremony at its campus in the Silicon Valley, Mountain View, California - have now gone ahead to release the final preview build, Developer Preview 5.

While no official date has been fixed for the final release of Android Nougat, it's expected that an over-the-air (OTA) updates for supported Nexus devices will probably be available later this summer.

If you're wondering what new features are coming to your smartphones when they get the Android Nougat update, then read on. So what's new in the latest preview build?

Below is  a quick rundown of what’s included in the final Developer Preview of Nougat:

  1. An emulator that you can use for doing the final testing of your apps to make sure they’re ready  
  2. System images for Nexus and other preview devices 
  3. Latest bug fixes and optimizations across the system and in pre-installed apps
  4. And the final N APIs (API level 24) and latest system behaviors and UI


This latest preview gives developers the near-final system updates for all of the supported preview devices.

And for smartphone users, here are some note-worthy enhancements that will be coming to your devices in the eventual launch of Google’s next OS update.

  • Multi-window support: this feature makes it possible to run two or more apps on screen at a go. It works by pressing and hold the app that you want to run side-by-side with another from the Recent apps screen. Once you get a prompt, drag that app to the top of the screen. 
  • Smarter Quick Settings: Android Nougat will bring a dynamic quick settings, much smarter than what's available on Marshmallow.
  • Direct Reply: It will allow direct response to messages from your notifications window, and other notifications enhancements, new emojis and more.


Well, if want to try it out on your Nexus phone or tablet? It’s still in beta, and you'll find some bugs, so we wouldn't recommend installing it on your main everyday phone or tablet.

For any Android Beta program member, your devices will get the Developer Preview 5 update right away, no action is needed on your part.

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How Microsoft Edge defines future of the Web browser

Posted by John Onwuegbu | July 18, 2016 |

Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on all Windows 10 device classes, including Windows 10 Mobile, and Xbox One consoles, replacing Internet Explorer 11 and Internet Explorer Mobile.

It is designed as a lightweight web browser with a layout engine built around web standards, and optimized to take advantage of Windows 10 built-in capabilities, in providing the highest quality, most secure, and most power-efficient browser experience.

Find details on why Edge defines the future of web browsing and the technologies that make Microsoft Edge so much more efficient, below.

Convergence

Albeit, browser mobile web convergence was introduced by Google Chrome, Edge has redefined the experience with better performance, and a selection of extensions is now available for Microsoft Edge.

Stability

Microsoft Edge is reputed to have survived even the most callous browser-engineered attack in the crash Safari meme that engulfed the web, and Edge is the only browser that's stable enough to be exempted from the fiasco, as it loads the site immediately as if nothing was wrong in the first place.

Speed

The first thing that you will notice when using Edge is its blistering speed at loading up content. Microsoft Edge was also more than twice as quick as Chrome in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark tests.

Security

Edge is architecturally sandboxed off from the rest of the operating system, so if something goes wrong, no access is gained to the rest of the system. And cutting out support for legacy code that opened Internet Explorer up to attacks is also helpful in reducing the risks.

Performance

Microsoft Edge relies on DirectX video acceleration as well as “sophisticated graphics and UI compositing features” that offload video rendering. Edge also offloads audio stream processing, giving it an edge over other major browsers in rendering better quality, even as the company showed off recently that Edge was the most efficient browser through a benchmark test.

Additionally, Edge is optimized to use PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine’s Protected Media Path, whereas Chrome and Opera implement Widevine, and Firefox implements both Adobe Access and Widevine.

And with video efficiency, content protection in the platform and closer to the hardware can offer superior performance, as better the content protection, the better the video quality the service is likely to provide to the browser.

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Pokémon Go: Augmented Reality hits mainstream Gaming

Posted by John Onwuegbu | July 16, 2016 |

Pokémon Go, a free-to-play location-based augmented reality (AR) mobile game developed by Niantic, broke records on iOS and Android with millions of downloads within a week of its release.

The Google-incubated Niantic Labs developed, Pokémon Go, is published by The Pokémon Company as part of the Pokémon franchise, and was released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices.

While, the game allow players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, using smartphone's in-built GPS and Camera in a combo with AR to create a live experience of catching the Pokémon.

Albeit, Pokémon Go, is incredibly low-end, and basic demonstrations of what AR technology is capable, as today generation of smartphones can do little to dynamically make sense of the real world through computer vision or depth sensing.

Pokémon Go thrives upon Google Maps data to take advantage of local geography: these are typically located at public art installations, historical markers and buildings, cenotaphs and other memorials, public parks and fountains, places of worship, and other points of cultural significance.

And to its credit, Pokémon has done a great job of getting typically lots of dumb gamer off their feet and outside to explore the real world around them, albeit through a surreal world lens.

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Microsoft after years of neglect has released new Skype clients for Linux and Chrome, in a perceived move to get users of the open-source operating system to embrace video calling and messaging on Skype.

Skype already faces increased competition from apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts, all with voice and video calling capabilities.

With the new update, Chromebook users will be able to use web.skype.com to make calls from Google’s web browser and desktop operating system.

While, Skype for Linux app will allow users to connect with other people using the latest versions of Skype across many other platforms based on new technology that makes it incompatible with older versions of Skype.

And users will be getting a revamped interface, with emoticons, and file-sharing support, albeit, the Linux and Chrome clients are still in alpha, so there are likely to be bugs.

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In the wake of the heated browser wars, Mozilla's browser, Firefox has continued to dwindle as more and more users embrace Google's Chrome, and its worldwide market share dropping to 14 percent according to StatCounter.

The company is hoping to rekindle the interest and influence it once held with the next Firefox update by revamping its core, to speed up complex websites like Facebook, and also make it more difficult for attackers to gain access via the browser.

Foremost, is the implementation of a new component written in the programming language, Rust, invented by Mozilla.

With the initial Rust-build as part of the browser that handles video and audio files, which runs as fast as the C++ component it replaces, but isn't susceptible to memory problems that open security vulnerabilities.

The nonprofit organization plans to gradually replace more of Firefox code with Rust-built components.

The changes is expected to arrive with Firefox 48, albeit, Mozilla plans to rebuild all parts of the Firefox core using Rust through a project called Servo.

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