Perhaps, 2016 can be summed up as a great year for Microsoft, bearing in mind some key announcements, and the fact that Windows 10 hit the ground running for the year, and the company has got the desktop computer market in a stranglehold.

While Microsoft's Home Hub and HoloLens were heralded with the rather splash factor as new developments that have the potential to alter the world for years to come.

Microsoft announced it’s new AI & Research division, which has given rise to a plethora of new bot tools to help build online conversation, on the idea that conventional user interfaces are hard to understand, instead allowing people to talk with computers.

The company went on to develop intelligent bots along with its virtual assistant, Cortana, making available an open source Bot Framework to make it easier for developers to build automated voice-enabled apps to drive the conversational partners.

For developers, there are lots of new developments from Microsoft, even as two of the key tools for developers (Visual Studio and PowerShell) have gone cross-platform in the past year, the company rebranded Xamarin Studio as Visual Studio for Mac, making the integrated development environment for Windows available for Mac for the first time.

And PowerShell for Linux was also launched, allowing developers who are used to that command line to avail the new set of tools to work outside the confines of Windows.

Now, what’s next for the company in 2017? With AI and bots all poised to remain key parts of its strategy, haven fully embraced open source going forward?

Year in Review: Microsoft's biggest Milestones and Epic Comebacks in 2016

In the spirit of the season, Google Assistant is about now ready for Santa’s arrival, as the virtual assistant spots a fun-loving new look for Christmas, with handful of seasonal expressions to go along with it.

While, it's likely that the virtual helper might be able to provide the specific location of Santa Claus on the night before Christmas with the Google Santa Tracker that will also come alive on the eve, albeit, just for a dose of fun.

Google had always extended its holiday's expression across its products, and this time too, the seasons pun is also available across all instances of Google products like the virtual assistant, Allo app, and Google Home.

Meanwhile, you can join in the fun by asking Google Assistant to tell you a "Christmas joke", as its got doses of holiday puns one-liners when prompted with either “Christmas joke” or “Santa joke.”

Again, it’s pretty nice of Google to extend the seasons expressions to all its products through Android phones to Allo app, and Google Home.

Google Assistant wears Christmas theme with a Santa tracker

Coming on the heels of the U.S. elections surprised victory by Donald Trump, citing widespread social media engineered smear against the opposition, Facebook has been widely criticized for its role in spreading demonstrably false stories ahead of the presidential election.

While initially shrugging off the idea that fake news influenced the election, the social network has now vowed to “take misinformation seriously” with outlined plans to combat it.

Facebook has stated that it's working with fact-checking groups to identify bogus stories — and to warn users about any story that has been reported as fake.

It will also allow users to report a possible hoax by clicking the upper right hand corner of a post and choosing one of four reasons to flag it — "It's a spam" or "It's a fake news story."

Albeit, Facebook users can still choose to ignore the warning and share the post, even as users who attempt to share the fake news will receive warning that the article's accuracy has been disputed by third-party fact checkers.

The new feature which essentially is tackling the fake-news issue through crowd-sourcing, will rely more on users help to flag a story as potentially bogus, "along with other signals."

And ultimately, the flagged stories will be rejected if anyone tries to turn it into a promoted ad on Facebook.

How Facebook intends to tackle fake news through crowd-sourcing

Microsoft revealed during the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) conference in Shenzhen, China that Cortana would be coming to IoT devices via Windows 10 IoT Core as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update.

While Windows 10 IoT core is designed primarily for smart home and devices such as smartwatch, robots, with the Anniversary Update haven arrived during the Windows 10 November Update in 2015, on both PCs and IoT devices.

The new Windows IoT Core already has inspired many Cortana-powered smart speakers from third parties, albeit, Microsoft itself doesn’t seem to be interested in making smart speakers at present.

Microsoft, however, have continued to improve on its Home Hub project, even though it appears to be backing away from hardware.

The Windows IoT Core features that are needed for a Cortana-powered speaker to be possible is already available, as the company has implemented far-field speech communication and wake-on-voice functionality to Windows 10 IoT and the PC version of the Creators Update.

And the first Cortana-powered IoT devices are expected to roll out in late 2017 around the holiday shopping seasons, perhaps.

Microsoft's bringing Cortana to Smart Home and More IoT Devices

Google launched PhotoScan as a standalone app from Google Photos on iOS and Android back in mid-November, to cater for those old prints that are still treasured memories, such as photos of grandma when young, or that hairstyle you adorned while growing up, by digitizing them.

PhotoScan gets old pictures digitized in seconds - it detects edges, straightens the image, rotates it to the correct orientation, and removes glare.

While the scanned photos can be saved in just one tap to Google Photos, and fully searchable, to organized, and can be safely shared, been backed up in the cloud at high quality — all for free.

And all looks employs machine intelligence to complement the content of your photo, and choosing one is just a matter of taste. With advanced editing controls for Light and Color which allow you to fine tune your photos, including highlights, shadows, and warmth.

To see how the PhotoScan technology works behind the scenes, checkout this video from Nat & Lo.

Google PhotoScan: Digitize Old Photos with scanner from the future

Microsoft continues the push into smartphone prominence with its virtual assistant, Cortana for iOS and Android, which also got a facelift and launching in the UK on non-Windows platforms, with quick access features to common actions.

While the biggest improvements include the quick action buttons and voice-enabled control, that let users choose common actions, such as viewing the calendar, reminders, or checking the weather forecast.

Microsoft's Cortana support for iOS and Android will be rolling out in the UK, after the U.S. first point of call, aimed at making it more useful for users in that region to avail the virtual assistant capabilities.

The company attributed the slow roll-out of support for Cortana to more geographic location to incompatibility with local norms and restrictions.

The virtual assistant app is a key part of Microsoft's strategy, even as Windows smartphones remain an extreme minority compared to the dominance of Android and iOS devices, with its larger ambitions around powering interactions on these devices that completely dominates the market.

In terms of performance, the app is now faster than its previous version, and the design sport a purple gradient background replacing the stark black, white, and blue color scheme.

The update has rolled out to Android devices this week, while the iOS app will be updated in the coming weeks.

Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana gets a facelift; launches on non-Windows platforms

Facebook's year in review wasn't quite that terrible for Niantic Labs, developers and publishers of Pokémon Go, the augmented reality mobile games. As early forecasters had called it "declaring 2016 a truly terrible year", Facebook released its Year in Review that reveals the most-discussed topics around the world on the social network.

Pokémon Go is the no. 3 most talked about global topics in Facebook’s 2016 Year in Review, measured by how frequently a topic was mentioned in Facebook posts made between January 1 and November 27, 2016.

While it probably comes as no surprise that the list includes some sad and controversial topics after another, Pokémon Go came in as a bright spot in the year’s pool of misfortunes.

The new phenomenon in mobile gaming recorded millions of people walking around outside, albeit almost losing their sense of direction — as a result of the exposure, just to catch a Pokemon.

And for once, it’s worth noting that discussion by people on Facebook cuts across numerous issues of real substance, as opposed to the usual social media chatters, except of course, there was a deliberate weeding out of fluffy topics to make the list a bit more logically consistent.

Pokemon Go makes the list in Facebook's Year in Review

While at the office, sometimes we take a sneak at the news, and some just gossip, even as some find other odd stuff to wile away time. It'd go unnoticed to many that Google has actually hidden a number of Easter eggs across their products in the same way they’ve revolutionized search.

These Easter eggs are one of the most addictive games you can find, designed especially to let you wile away the minutes.

The infographic below shows such hidden gems as Atari Breakout and Pac-Man (for the old-school gamers), a fiendishly difficult, Flappy Droid game hidden in your Android phone, a simple but addictive platform game you can play in chrome when offline and some great games hidden in Google Maps and Google Earth.

We hope you find the guide interesting and don’t lose too much time playing the Pac-Man! This infographic is brought to you by Euroffice.

Fun Hidden Games on Google

INFOGRAPHIC: Fun Hidden Games on Google

The old fashioned CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) which is currently used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human has received many criticisms, especially from people who feel that their work is ostensibly slowed down, as it takes approximately 10 seconds to solve a typical CAPTCHA.

And CAPTCHAs based on reading text — or other visual tasks — prevent blind or visually impaired users from accessing the protected resource.

With reCAPTCHA, Google is trying to ease the CAPTCHA procedure by introducing an undetectable new system, which uses algorithm to determine whether you're human or bot.

While this isn't the Internet giant's first attempt to ease the user identification procedure, as it had earlier introduced "No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA", a system that only requires a user to tick a box next to "I'm not a robot."

No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA in contrast to the CAPTCHA system that tasks users with solving a puzzle or typing a word, employs Google's Advanced Risk Analysis engine that "actively considers a user's entire engagement with the CAPTCHA - before, during and after - to determine whether that user is a human."

reCAPTCHA was originally developed by Luis von Ahn, Ben Maurer, Colin McMillen, David Abraham and Manuel Blum at Carnegie Mellon University's main Pittsburgh campus and was acquired by Google.

If you're interested in using Invisible reCAPTCHA for your web-based resource, you can sign up on the Google reCAPTCHA website.

Google prepping Invisible reCAPTCHA to ease Identification process

Against the backdrop of steady fall that climaxed at the beginning of the year, Microsoft's Windows 10 is back on winning ways, which according to U.S. analytic provider, Net Applications, Windows 10 gained 1.1 per cent points of user share last month, ending with about 24% for PCs worldwide.

Which stats translate to 26.1% of all Windows machines, considering the different user share of all PCs and those running Windows, from the fact that Windows powered only 91% of all personal computers.

Now, Windows 10 powers more than a quarter of all Windows PCs for the first time, as Net Applications data has revealed.

Albeit, the analytic company measured the Operating System usage share by counting devices OS's through browsing stats recorded from websites on Net Applications’ infrastructure.

The rise is attributed to multiple factors, but majorly as a result of new PC purchases which usually accelerate in the tail-ends of the year as consumers and businesses open their wallets for seasonal shopping.

But obviously, Microsoft's persistent resounding of the new update-early warning: touting tighter security provisions in the new edition, is perhaps the longstanding marketing tactics that has worked pretty well for the company.

Microsoft records 26% rise in Windows 10 adoption for the previous months

While many users are obviously concerned about Microsoft's aggressive data-collection in the all new Windows 10 platform, even though enterprise users have better control than consumer-edition users, enterprises need to be careful about turning off Windows 10 intermittent data collection because it can reduce the effectiveness of Windows 10’s security features.

Microsoft maintains that Windows 10 doesn't collect the user’s personal data, but rather anonymized data sets that is necessary to improve overall Windows functionality for better user experience.

As Microsoft increasingly embraces SaaS (Software as a Service) may mean more frequent updates to the Windows platform, and it will require such data to understand how people are actually using Windows applications.

With such data used to understand how to prioritize changes to existing Windows components and know exactly what new features are needed.

Albeit, Windows 10 telemetry levels do affect IT administration and security, administrators' can control what is sent back to Microsoft using group policy objects. With the Privacy option that allow administrators choose one of three telemetry levels: Basic, Enhanced, and Full.

And the Security level that sends the least data, available only to admins, which collects only technical data about Windows’s Connected User Experience and Telemetry component settings, the MSRT (Malicious Software Removal Tool), and Windows Defender to keep Windows, Windows Server, and System Center secure.

However, it has one setback: MSRT is disabled as Windows Update is not running, and the update installation processes isn't collected at the Security level.

Therefore, it obviously require lots of IT involvement to keep the systems secure if the telemetry level is set to Security.

How Microsoft's data Collection aids Windows 10 Security?

Google has implemented the ability to convert handwriting into text to the update of its note-takers app, Keep. The new version of the app which is now on its way to the Play Store adds the subtle new feature for note-takers, which is more akin to the optical character recognition it uses to pull text out of images.

Albeit, there isn't any guarantee it will be able to decipher all users' scratches — but it's definitely going to be a nifty tool for the old-fashioned note-takers.

Until the new update arrives in the Play Store, then will you find a new Grab image text option in the top-right menu, which on a simple tap when you’re done drawing, will attempt to convert the words to actual text.

And if you can’t wait for the actual launch date, you can side-load the Google-signed APK from APKMirror to give it a spin.

Even though Keep remains one of the most underrated apps, Google still hasn't ignored it altogether, as it's focused on delivering unique features to that seemingly small segment of its audience.

Google's note-taker app, Keep can now decipher Handwriting into text

Facebook has launched a new HTML5-based platform, dubbed Facebook Instant Games, that eliminates the need to download the Gameroom app for that quick game-play experience, as it now embed games right inside the News Feed and Messenger.

It's rather a re-organizing of its erstwhile online gaming experience, whereby users are required to dig them out from the left-hand sidebar which have hitherto been a constraint for smartphone and tablet users.

The Facebook Instant Games platform debut with initial seventeen games — including the iconic Pac-Man, Space Invaders and the more modern games like EverWing and Frenzy — which can now be launched directly from the News Feed and Messenger.

Also, in-app games can now be launched within both the Facebook mobile apps as well as Messenger, without the need for separate apps.

While for the Messenger, there's a new game controller icon just below the box where users type message, and an “Instant Play” button will allow you to launch the game.

Meanwhile, the new Instant Games isn't replacing Facebook Gameroom app, rather it's complementing the app, even as the name suggests, the new platform is about quick access and play experience.

It's currently available in 30 countries, according to Facebook, and requires a smartphone with either iOS 8 or higher, and Android 5.0 (“Lollipop”) or higher.

Facebook Instant Games brings gaming right inside News Feed and Messenger

The "micro-blogging" social network, Twitter allow users to have snippets of conversations or short posts that can be seen by everyone else on the network. And it's often a fun place to be for most people, especially for humor mongers and sheer gossips.

While Twitter has become home for groups of attackers who target people for whatever reason, there isn’t previously much tools to take-on such harassment or abuse.

But lately, Twitter has rolled out a variety of tools, which can keep the service usable even when you're a direct subject of attacks.

First on the list, is the filter tool which allows you to select topics you’re not interested in, like sports events or any specific team.

Albeit, Twitter’s filtering and blocking tools doesn't do much to categorize messages, such as using machine learning to group tweets by subject or hash tags, but it's obvious that Twitter analyzes all the messages that pass through its systems, as it offers data derivable from such analysis.

Also, the new Quality Filter uses “signals,” like mentions to recognize those people who have passed through Twitter’s verification process of proving that they’re both who they say they are and have a reason to protect themselves against impersonation.

Twitter mute option in contrast with blocking a user (blocked user can’t follow you, like or retweet your messages or see your tweets) still permit muted account to follow you and engage in other behavior, but you’re not notified of any of it as they don’t show up in notification or timeline.

Additionally, the Twitter website and its official mobile app, allows you to use a variety of ways to report an account, a tweet or even a Moment.

What's the use for Twitter mute, report, and filter tools?

While in 2014 the overriding idea was all about how the U.S. consumers would soon be paying at checkouts using a smartphone, and mobile payment or e-wallets were getting all the hype. And most financial institutions, payment networks, retailers, wireless operators and startup tech companies immediately took to mobile app services that could be used at a point-of-sale terminal to pay digitally.

Now, fast forward to 2016, whereas in-store mobile payments accounts for just 0.6 percent of the roughly US$ 4.65 trillion in sales for 2016, according to a report by eMarketer.

The U.S. consumer adoption of mobile wallets has developed at a much slower pace than most industry experts had predicted, and it's growing sharply off of a low base in recent years.

Then, one may be forced to ask, why mobile wallets and mobile payments have not taken off?

In some ways, mobile wallets were the solution to a problem that never existed: POS terminals using magnetic stripe cards (and later smart cards) were perfectly efficient.

The main reason that mobile wallets have not taken off, is that none of the mobile wallets on offer have succeeded in delivering a real value proposition to consumers, especially as regards checkout speed and/or financial incentives, such as discounts.

And given the proliferation of mobile wallets, there were confusion at checkouts, as many merchants are not equipped to accept them all.

Albeit, there was no clear financial benefit that would outweigh the costs of accepting card payments, which include interchange fees and the costs of installing POS terminals.

Finally, the consumers are now more aware of cyber risks, and not all are convinced that enhanced security features such as tokenization offers sufficient protection against attacks.

Why has Mobile Payment not taken off as envisaged?

Before now, Pokemon Go dedicated hunters have been crying for help in tracking their favorite pastime, as its tracking system wasn't any good, leaving a host of third party trackers to gain popularity on the platform.

While Pokemon Go shutting out of those trackers, have resulted numerous users quitting the game altogether.

Niantic Labs, the company behind the Pokemon Go, have now switched on a tracking system for Pokemon Go - and just in time for the Thanksgiving weekend bonus XP event, as there's an ample chance that lots of people will be playing the game this weekend.

If you check the list of nearby Pokemon you'll see the Pokestop photo nearest to each of the Pokemon on the list, you just need to tap a Pokemon and then the footprints to be shown exactly where the Pokestop is and have it tracked on the map.

And the footstep icons are back, so maybe that will do more than just show the closest Pokestop when you're in areas with high density Pokestop action.

The new Pokemon Go tracking system, however, seems to be having some obvious problem, as users are reporting that the Pokestop tracking isn't showing up in some areas. Albeit, it correctly flag how exactly individual tracking works and may be limited to those high density cities for now.

Now Pokemon Go shows exactly the Pokestop and trackable on the map

Back in September, Google announced a new system called Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT), an end-to-end learning framework that learns from millions of examples, and thereby provides significant improvements to Google Translate quality.

While Google Translate already boasts of great accuracy in language translations thanks to the built-in engine that can translate between any two languages, now the new improved system is even more dexterous in translation, able to render one language to another even if those two weren't paired previously.

It uses a “token” at the beginning of the input sentence to specify the required target language, which in addition to improving translation quality, enables “Zero-Shot Translation” — translation between language pairs never seen before by the system.

For instance, in a trained multilingual systems of Japanese to English and Korean to English samples, GNMT is able to translate between these four different language pairs, even though the system has never been taught to do so before.

And the need to translate between multiple languages at the same time forces the system to better utilize its machine learning power.

The Multilingual Google Neural Machine Translation system is already running for all users, and according to Google, this is the first time this type of transfer learning has worked in Machine Translation.

Google Translate switches to Neural Machine Translation framework

The Redmond behemoth, Microsoft haven carried out extensive research on Quantum computing for over a decade, now, the company is putting the theory to work in creating actual Quantum computers.

Microsoft is harnessing its extensive knowledge-base to build a working model of Quantum computer as it looks to the future of computing, on the model that Quantum computers can significantly outperform even today’s supercomputers.

The company has handed Todd Holmdahl, developer of Kinect, HoloLens, and Xbox, the lead role in the effort to create quantum hardware and software.

Microsoft has made available the Language Integrated Quantum Operations Simulator as a toolkit, while actual hardware will be released after a number of quantum computing issues, like: error correction, fault tolerance, and gating are resolved.

While, the overriding objective remains to create quantum computers that can conduct a wide range of calculations, the ability to run existing programs much like today’s computers, is quite necessary.

Microsoft Researchers have developed a working model on an entirely new topological quantum computer, which makes use of exotic materials to limit errors.

Albeit, many questions still remains about the viability of such materials and outcomes, as it could take a long time to make practical quantum circuits.

Microsoft's blueprint to create Quantum Computing hardware and software

VaultCard is perhaps the most advanced RFID-blocking device designed to protect your wallet from digital criminals who skim data from credit cards, passports and driver's licenses.

As most driver’s licenses, passports, and many credit cards rely on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), with embedded microchips and radio antennas that can track your location and send a unique identifying number to any electronic reader, RFID-blocking products make it more difficult for criminals with electronic readers to skim data from your cards or passport.

Albeit, RFID Shields aren’t bulletproof, Shielding attempts to block radio signals from reaching the tag by enclosing it within a container made of material that blocks electromagnetic signals in the RFID spectrum.

While there are other products similar to VaultCard, the peculiarity of this RFID product is that the card itself has the dimensions of a regular old credit card. And it's made to replicate those looks, complete with a serial number and hologram sticker.

Why is VaultCard Important for Card protection?

VaultCard's ability to protect RFID based smart cards information by giving you the legitimate RFID blocking security is unique as it switches on automatically when it senses the electromagnetic wave emitted by a RFID scanner.

It employs same principle used in military jamming systems, the stronger the signal of the scanner, the stronger the jam signal that VaultCard will generate. This way your information remain protected from even the most powerful scanning devices.

Availability & Pricing

The product's Kickstarter campaign recorded huge success and most orders where carried out on the platform, but now you can get one at the pre-order price of £24.99 on the VaultSkin website.

VaultCard in your wallet, will protect the smart cards inside from illegitimate reading of RFID chips at a distance using an RFID reader device, which attempts to download the card information.

VaultCard Review: Protection For RFID Credit Cards & Passports

Though pretty late to the party, WhatsApp is adding video calling to its apps. With the likes of Skype, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, and a couple of other services already offering video calling, the Facebook-owned company will be rolling out the new feature worldwide in the coming days.

WhatsApp's new video calling feature will be available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices (Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile).

While details on how the feature will work is still sketchy, but with the current norm of secured communication, the video calling feature on WhatsApp will definitely be end-to-end (E2E) encrypted.

WhatsApp haven already introduced E2E encryption for text and phone calls, and as with all other features from the service, video calling will be free too.

The video calling interface on WhatsApp will be similar to Facebook Messenger’s, and will be displayed as a video camera icon next to your contacts’ name when the feature becomes available.

WhatsApp video calling rolling out worldwide for iOS and Android

While virtual reality includes the technique in which artificial images or environment are created seemingly so realistic, and having you feel as if you're physically present in that environment. You'll not only experience the physical presence, but also interact with this artificially created space and objects.

The virtual reality comes as “a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment” created using software and hardware, allowing user to walk around or interact with things created with the help of this simulation.

It totally cuts the user from the external stimuli; therefore, the user focuses entirely on the digital world.

Albeit, the VR technology has gone far, and there seems to be no slowing down, yet no one is sure where it will lead us; we can only predict and imagine because we are limited only by our imagination.

And the utopian promise of Virtual Reality is that it will enable you to travel across the sunken ship in the depths of the ocean and it will let you climb the top of the snow-capped mountain.

The concept of virtual reality isn’t new; in the past, there were many efforts to develop it but all the efforts were doomed to failure.

The present is more promising; as there have been outstanding graphics and better head-tracking technologies. But very few people know about where actually virtual reality is actually headed.

We arranged a meeting with an expert and discussed all the aspects of the future of Virtual Technology; below are some highlights of this conversations.

Getting More Physical

Virtual Reality will get more and more physical. Anyone who has used the HTC Vive must be aware of the fact that there is some physical activity involved. And the Vive is equipped with sensors which allow you to play in an imaginary golf field, or using a Vive, you can move an imagined paintbrush. The physical activity is already introduced in the Virtual Reality devices; the endpoint is that it is going to increase considerably.

The first area in which Virtual Reality is going to improve is motion control. And the next step is the participation; you won’t just keep on sitting and observing things around you, you will become an active participant. You will take part in the football team and will play with them. The elements of wind and smell will be incorporated in the future devices.

While the current Virtual Reality devices make use of only two senses – sense of sight (visuals) and sense of hearing (Audio) – but in future, all the five senses will be incorporated and you will be able to smell, and touch as well, which will make this virtual reality more real than surreal. There are already many companies like Leap Motion and Startup Thalmic which are trying to incorporate these new changes. If you are interested in buying Virtual Reality devices, you can explore these on Groupon where you will get some discount as well.

VR Gadgets Improvement

The Oculus Rift will always be remembered as the first Virtual Reality device; but, if the Virtual Reality industry is really seeking some progress, it will take more than just a single device to introduce latest and unexpected changes. It is a combined effort of many companies.

Gaming industries development in the past decade and which was as result of the improvement in the chips made by well-known companies like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia. The same effort of these companies, games have become accessible on PCs and everyone is rushing towards the gaming industry. In a similar manner, no company can achieve progress in Virtual Reality without collective effort.

No Wireless Rift or Vive Anytime Soon

There are two types of virtual reality devices at present: the first category includes portable devices like Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard, and the second category includes more immersive and expensive devices like Rift and the Vive. Both these categories have different functioning mechanisms: the first category works wirelessly – all you have to do is put your smartphone in it.

The second category devices function when you connect them to the PC because, for higher-end performance, they must be connected to the PC.

Many people believe that the high-immersive devices like Rift and the Vive may go wireless in near future. However, the problem is that the wireless technology and the VR technology aren’t developing at the same pace. Wireless technologies have many complexities and it will take some time to solve these complexities and make them compatible with the VR technology.

What's the Future Of Virtual Reality?

Google’s artificial intelligence is poised to drive its Smart Home ambition, while the new Google Assistant platform will enable voice commands for a variety of smart home and mobile app services.

It will enable you connect to your favorite apps and services simply by issuing voice commands, eliminating the day-to-day tasks of manual selection and clicks.

Google has announced a working model for developers, Actions on Google, which will be available starting next month, to enable them to create voice commands on Google Assistant for their apps and services.

The developers model comprises of direct actions, conversation actions, and the embedded Google Assistant SDK.

While the embedded SDK is for developers who want to put Google Assistant inside of their own hardware, meaning Google is open for it to be more widely available across different range of devices.

Albeit, Google intends to push it out with its own products first, as Google Assistant is at the center of it’s efforts to automate numerous aspects of users life, which eventually, will have supported apps and services and the Assistant built into several different smart home model and mobile devices.

Google Assistant as a Platform to power Smart Home and mobile devices

Web of Trust (WOT), a popular browser add-on, which rates websites based on their trustworthiness using crowd-sourced data, has been in the news over the debate if the company behind WoT properly informed users of data collection by the extension., a Germany portal claimed the popular browser add-on was selling its users’ browser histories to third-parties without properly anonymizing the data.

The report shows how easily data associated to specific persons and/or organizations with intimate details of their lives is given out at a price, which data comprises data set of persons in public service: police officers, judges and journalists, in addition to private users.

While these Web histories provide intimate secrets from the professional and personal details about ongoing police investigations, the Sadomasochistic preferences of a judge, life, internal sales figures for a media company and Web searches to diseases, prostitutes and drugs.

The Background behavior of every user is logged and the extension transmits data about surfing habit to a central server.

WOT, on the other hand had stated on the privacy policy that certain data is collected and shared with third parties, albeit anonymously, but research revealed over 50 samples of users whose personally identity, for example, E-Mail addresses, name, login, or other components of the URLs is accessed.

Mozilla had responded by removing Web of Trust from Firefox's add-on catalog, and WoT has subsequently pulled down its add-on from the extension libraries of all other major browsers, including Chrome and Opera.

How Web of Trust (WoT) supposedly Anonymized data "trust" was broken

The Uber mobile "app" allows users to submit a trip request, which the app then automatically sends to the driver nearest to the user, alerting the driver to the location of the user, while the drivers (denoted as "Uber partner drivers") make use of their own personal vehicles.

Uber services as at August 2016 is available in over 66 countries, including Nigeria and 507 cities worldwide.

But, recently in Nigeria there has been a spate of Uber partner drivers account deactivation, owing mainly to amassed poor ratings (given by riders), which ranges from 4 stars and below.

While the partner drivers are indirectly responsible for the poor ratings, there's really little they can do to influence favorable high ratings from riders to avoid account deactivation.

And for the partner drivers who have fallen victim already, there's hope to regain your account, and return to full service.

Uber has made it mandatory for every failed driver (partner driver with account deactivated) to undergo an online test, which can be accessed at the web address: and drivers are required to input their full name, with mobile number to match their Uber account details.

The online test comprises 7 different sections, and modules that covers general knowledge questions about the Uber Driver app, including the best practice for Uber drivers and safety procedures.

Without successful completion of a section you can't move over to the next, and precision in answering the different questions is rewarded with a higher percentage, whereby if a correct answer is attained in one attempt results a higher percentage mark.

And overall, if any driver fails to attain an accumulated 90% score in the test, no certificate will be issued, but you're allowed a-one-section resit (usually, only section 7) to try to recoup up to 90% to pass the test.

If successfully, the 90% mark is attained, you'll have to wait for only 24hrs to have your Uber driver account restored.

Uber Driver App: Is your Account Deactivated; Steps to get it restored

Microsoft’s obnoxious reminders which were presumably rested on Windows 10 deadline, is back again, as pop-ups reminding users to sign up for Microsoft Rewards in using Edge, the Windows 10 default browser.

While many users are already irritated by the rather infiltrating ads, reporting it on Microsoft feedback system, insomuch as even removing Edge from their toolbar.

Albeit, the popads don’t appear frequently, Microsoft’s sneaky promotions for Office products since Windows 10 launch, which many users had turned-off via settings, was reset with its Anniversary update, dashing the hope that Microsoft’s obnoxious popup reminders had finally been laid to rest.

To turn off the notifications, however, you can follow the settings option to turn those Windows 10 ads off if you don't wish to see them. Simply head to Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen and turn off the box that reads “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.”

Though Windows 10 remains “free,” there’s obviously a price for claiming your no-cost upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 - Microsoft's sneaky ads designed to coax you to buying into their apps or using other Microsoft services.

What's the heck about Microsoft's Windows 10 Pop-up ads?

Microsoft’s woes continues, as over 39 million users have moved from using its browsers, according to web analytics report by Net Applications, which for October, recorded a fall of 2.3 percentage points, the second-largest ever for Microsoft’s browsers, behind only May’s lose of 2.7 points.

The report pegged the combined user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge at 28.4% for October, while IE has shed 20.2 percentage points in 2016 alone.

Microsoft’s bane, surprisingly isn't Chrome, rather Mozilla’s Firefox has usurped its usage share by nearly 2 percentage points, to 11.1%.

Firefox has wiped out a year's losses in just two months, and recovered almost all the losses it incurred during the past year, with the increase for September and October pretty unprecedented.

Albeit, Microsoft deserters had previously ended up as gain for Google’s Chrome, the gains has slowed the last two months, as Chrome upped six-tenths of a percentage point to its share in October, over a third of the average for the last 12 months.

While Net Applications’ data for browser user share puts the collapse of IE and Edge in terms of millions of users, as at the end of October, IE and Edge have approximately 466 million users, down by 40 million from September’s 506 million.

The data may perhaps represent an adjustments for Firefox’s performance, and thus the steady decline it previously portrayed for the year, which since January 1, IE and Edge have lost about 331 million users.

Net Applications: Microsoft Edge & IE decline by 2.3 per cent

The Internet is replete with spectacularly failed social networking sites, even the almighty Google isn't immune to this fate, as Google’s social networking track record to date is rife with failed attempts, with projects that never lived up to its potential, caused needless angst for its users, and never quite took off at all.

Linda Ikeji, arguably Nigeria's most popular blogger, recently launched an eponymous social network,, albeit it mimics Facebook in some design aspect, the overall architecture is perhaps weak given the already plentiful complaints from early adopters.

While almost every Facebook clones had been startlingly less successful, Linda Ikeji Social may perhaps break from the norm as it already has a cult-like following and ready-made contents from Linda Ikeji’s blog.

Linda Ikeji's model as infused with contents from her blog, and also users can submit stories for a reward, may move beyond mere social networking site to a publishing platform.

But, how does mere local following (from a country of a little over 160 Million population, with about 86,219,965 internet users) translate to social networking success, even when Google+ commanding something above 100 million members, is still trailing the line of failed social networks?

Again, isn't running on the best architecture and the technology team most probably picked up the source code from Github.

As even response times for the social site are much slower than what's obtainable with modern networking sites, which puts a question mark on the host provider, whereby the likes of Facebook are self-hosted or running on own-server.

Another interesting area is Social Networking security, how would the site handle online security challenges like: Self-XSS, clickjacking and survey scams which is even a major issue for established players like Facebook with huge security portfolio.

The fact that Nigerians are taking it seriously rather than squawking and mocking, is perhaps a bit of a breakthrough, though.

Failed Social Networks: How Linda Ikeji Social can avoid the impending fate?

Twitter feature that aims to help users catch up on the best tweets from people they follow, rather than the norm of real-time update to timeline, has finally arrive to Apple's mobile platform after over a year on the Android.

The Highlights is update to tweets in reverse chronological order, and based on your previous behaviors (reply, Retweet, or like), present the feeds you’re most likely to care about at the top of your feed.

While the Highlights feature presents conversations and popular tweets within your network as well as topics and events that are trending in your location, it learns more as a user interact with the tweets, meaning the more you use it, the more accurate the suggestions get over time.

The rolling out of the Highlights feature requires users on Apple's iOS devices to opt-in to the feature, which Twitter will notify you through push notification twice a day to let you know your Highlights summary is ready.

And to enable Twitter Highlights on iOS, simply tap on the gear icon, go to settings, tap notifications and then mobile notifications.

Twitter Highlights for quick access to best tweets comes to iOS platforms is perhaps the biggest classifieds website in Nigeria and a reliable marketplace, which can completely change your understanding of online shopping. Items like shoes and clothing, phones and laptops, even "tokunbo" cars – can be bought, all in one place, as well as to find a new property and a job.

The marketplace already serves about 600,000 ads, and 5 new ones appear every minute with a staggering traffic stats of 15 million visits per month and 4.6 million regular users.

While low prices without additional charges and confirmed real sellers, whom you can communicate directly for no extra fee, stands it out from the competition, with the convenient search mechanism and sophisticated security systems in place.

What do buyers get:
  1. Hundreds of thousands of items, special offers and sales
  2. New and used items in stock
  3. The lowest prices on the market
  4. Easy reachable sellers and direct communication 
  5. Detailed information about items, including photos 

What do sellers get:
  1. Chance to sell fairly used stuff instead of throwing it out 
  2. Opportunity to make money and start their own business
  3. Special terms and packages for promoting their ads 
  4. Potential buyers everywhere – from Lagos to the most remote corners
  5. Membership in a great community, where everyone is happy

Meanwhile, with the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices, is very much in line with the trends, as its app is amazingly coded to be fast and easy to download and install.

And it doesn’t directly interfere with the functionality of your Smartphone, with low data and traffic usage, the app which is obviously free offers huge selection and numerous search options, while occuping just a little space.

To start enjoying benefits right now, download the Jiji App and experience the shopping convenience on your mobile device.

Shopping with & Advantages of the mobile App

Android Police has revealed a lot of works underground to bring Rich Communication Services (RCS) to Google Messenger, while the released version 2.0 sports a number of changes to cleanup the interface and prepare for better messaging experience.

The Messenger currently supports GIFs, stickers, photos, videos, and all the regular Emoji supported by Android smartphone.

The released version 2.0 has got a revamped icon, with a white message bubble inside of a dark blue circle, with several other improvements to the overall interface.

With the conversations grouped more closely together, it improves on the previous release version to allow it fell more like no space is wasted. And the group MMS feature allows you to message frequent contacts in a group, placed at the top.

And the action button and “send” arrow that's floating is a better match for the background color.

Albeit, RCS remains a messaging feature for the future, which ultimately Google is already trying to bring to the fore, as there’s a big chance that Google could work directly with the carriers to integrate RCS into the Messenger.

Google Messenger to support Rich Communication Services (RCS) and More

PayPal, the online payments company has now integrated tools for cross-border money transfers, with the ultimate goal of becoming a larger part of users' payment processes across the board.

The new money-transfer features are made possible through Xoom, a digital money transfer or remittance provider that allows consumers to send money and pay bills within the United States and 52 other countries, including China, which PayPal acquired last year.

The company on Thursday announced the integration of Xoom's functions to its online services, allowing PayPal's over 85 million U.S. users to send money or remittances overseas.

While some new countries that PayPal users can send money to overseas, includes: Mexico, Brazil, China and India.

Albeit, these new features haven't altered PayPal's main services, rather it has beefed it up to becoming a far more vital part of mainstream payments. Even as the money transfer service is seen as an effective means for PayPal to grow its influence and make additional revenue.

Xoom have also added a feature that allow users overseas to request a remittance, bill payment or reload of mobile airtime.

The payment service will employ Xoom and PayPal's risk management, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering systems, to ensure the security of all transactions.

Meanwhile PayPal users can now use their accounts to log in to Xoom, and a beneficiary doesn't need to contact a sender every time money is transferred.

Is PayPal going mainstream with its cross-border Money Transfer service?

While Google Photos latest update has been taunted to do much of the work for you as regards fixing images, finding memories, or even making animations you’ll want to share with friends. The app now notifies you about pictures that need adjustments, and enables you to fix them all at once.

Google Photos can pull moments out of your videos and turn them into an animation, which you are not able to select segments, however, as it's totally powered by AI (artificial intelligence).

The artificial intelligence also makes it easier to find past images through basic sorting, making Google Photos an excellent option for saving all of your pictures.

Google has assured on regular notifications on recent photo highlights which will have special appeal to those involved in creative works, who'll need frequent updates about all of those moments.

And all the new stuff will be coming to the app for iOS and Android, and also the Web version of Google Photos.

Albeit, enabling human-powered editing could be helpful in some cases, as Google hasn't quite ruled out its eventual implementation in subsequent updates.

How AI enhancements to Google Photos can aid Creativity?

Amazon has rolled out Amazon Music, a streaming service with millions of songs, which the company tagged as "Unlimited", but with a rather complicated pricing structure.

While owners of Amazon's gadget, Echo can tune in to Music Unlimited at a far lower price; the rumored $5 subscription for Echo users is obviously incorrect, as Amazon is giving out an even bigger deal.

With Amazon Tap, Echo, and Echo Dot owners, subscription starts from a mere $4 per month, as against the regular service’s $10 standard price.

Albeit, the $4 price tag only works with a single Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap, so if you wish for Amazon Music Unlimited on more than one device, you’ll need to pay a standard subscription instead.

The voice controlled smart speaker, Amazon Echo lets you speak out commands like “Alexa, play Green Day’s new song,” or “Van Halen from the 1970s” to get the party started hands-free.

And the company has overhauled its app (Amazon Music) for iOS, Android, and the web to support Music Unlimited.

The steep price slash and voice controls available for Echo is perhaps Amazon’s bait to use Music Unlimited to entice users even more deeply into it’s bevy of services, and to topple the likes of Spotify.

How Amazon Music blows out Spotify with the Unlimited challenge

Google has hinted to partners under the "Google Mobile Services" on its plan to replace Hangouts as one of the pre-installed options on future Android devices. Apparently, all devices with the Google Play Store installed are classified as “Google Mobile Services” licensees, while devices that have their own app stores are not under the Services agreement.

Albeit, the Android Open Source Project is distinct from this, enabling the Google services means agreeing to a license with Google that your device will include its bundle of apps.

The company is dropping Hangouts from the list of apps that must be bundled on upcoming Android devices, with Duo to replace it within the suite of core GMS apps, while Hangouts become GMS Optional for telephony products, according to Android Police.

What it actually means is that OEMs may opt to stop including it on smartphones released in 2017, so users would need to download it from the Play Store.

The change to the core GMS package (AKA gapps) for telephony-enabled Android devices will take effect from December 1, and Google will no longer require Hangouts to be bundled with new hardware.

Ironically, Google feels video calling is pretty important to give a push at the moment, something that's limited on most third-party apps, thus will be giving Duo a real chance of success.

Google's Duo to replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps

Amazon has been on the march to get its virtual assistant "Alexa" into as many homes as possible, while harping on the power of its voice-controlled cloud interface, along side its smart speaker, Echo.

Amazon Echo, a smart speaker developed by, is capable of voice interaction, making to-do lists and setting up reminders, with streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other realtime information.

The device which also comes with a manually and voice-activated remote control can be used in lieu of the wake word, Alexa, albeit this "wake word" can be changed by the user to either "Amazon" or "Echo".

It's voice recognition capability is based on Amazon Web Services and the Amazon common voice platform from Yap, Evi, and IVONA (a Polish-based specialist in voice technologies acquired by Amazon).

Echo performs pretty 'good' in low latency Internet connection which minimizes processing time due to communication round trips, streaming response time and Geo-distributed service endpoints.

While the project has been in development within its Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts since at least 2010, now it's widely available in the United States.

Why Amazon's virtual assistant "Alexa" really matters?

Google over the weekend announced a name change for its hugely popular cloud-based productivity tool, Google Apps, which going forward is to be known as G Suite. It comprises a set of intelligent apps: Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more — with real-time collaboration for easy sharing and communication among business employees.

While Google claims the new name better reflects its mission to help people everywhere work and innovate together, so businesses can move faster and go bigger.

With G Suite, information can flow freely between devices, apps, people and teams, so great ideas never get left in the margins, according to Google.

Albeit, the company has made it clear to potential enterprise users that G Suite is a unified collection of tools and not just a set of individual offerings.

Google has tapped into its expansive machine learning architecture, which is already working in a variety of other products, including Smart Reply, instant translation, and photo recognition, to enhance the new G Suite’s products.

Starting with Google Drive, the company will be bringing machine intelligence to more services.

With Quick Access in Drive on Android which offers 50% improvement from the average time taken to get to the right file, by eliminating the need to search for it.

Other improvements which have benefited from machine learning include: Google Calendar’s Smart Scheduling feature and Explore feature in Google Sheets.

Google is also introducing a new product called Team Drives, a Google Drive offering that focuses on content management: ownership and sharing at a team level, with new roles that allow for more control over the content.

What's new in G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work)?

Microsoft has announced a new version of the Office 365 App Launcher, which will provide improved discoverability for new and recently-used apps, with additional customization options and search across all the services and applications used in the Cloud.

The new App Launcher provides a Windows 10-like interface for corporate users of Office 365, the software-by-subscription program.

It allow users access to various Office 365 applications and services, while the launcher is a square grid of identically-sized icons, and accessible with only a click away at the upper left of the user's Office 365 page.

With the app or service icons, dubbed "tiles" - which can be moved, resized and/or pinned in place.

Albeit, the company-specific apps added by IT will no longer be segregated to a secondary screen, as the tiles can be placed in front and center if required.

Microsoft plans to add access to recently-retrieved documents to the App Launcher, and working to enable greater control for Office 365 administrators.

The organizations that have registered with the Office 365 First Release track will receive the update later this month, while others will be getting the new updated user interface (UI) in October as Microsoft rolls it out in stages.

App Launcher: Windows Mobile Office 365 UI Start menu clone

Barely six weeks left to the U.S. presidential election, Google is assisting millions of users to the ballot box with its Monday doodle. And depending on your state, you can register to vote online, by mail or in person.

Google's doodle turns letters into voters, mailboxes and computers, and leads you to a page with instructions on how to register based on your state of residence.

With comprehensive guide outlining voting requirements and registration deadlines, Google is reminding Americans to register to vote.

The Doodle was created to celebrate National Voter Registration Day, which falls on the fourth Tuesday of every September.

While the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are the leading favorites, voters can also vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson.

Google to assist millions of U.S. voters to the ballot with its Doodle extension

Google's new AI-driven chat app, Allo brings the full power of Google Assistant, incorporating Google Now to provide a rather give-and-take offering of automatic generated responses called Smart Replies and other computer-generated suggestions, but ironically, it's all at your privacy trade-off.

Google believes that its AI-driven chat app, Allo can do a better job, thereby leaving it up to users to delete their own messages.

And as you may already know, Google Assistant isn't quite a big believer in privacy, been that the app is tied to your Android phone, it request for the usually expected permissions: the ability to access your contacts, and more.

Which data will be kept by them indefinitely, or at least until you manually delete them, instead of keeping it on their servers for only a brief period of time.

The company initially considered keeping messages in a "transient" mode, but testing Allo revealed that the Smart Reply technology worked better if it had a history of user messages to learn from.

Albeit, Allo provides an Incognito Mode, which offers end-to-end encryption, meaning data remain scrambled and unreadable when they pass through the company servers, but it has to be enabled by a user.

Facebook owned WhatsApp, and Apple's iMessage, have taken a different approach, and doesn't leave it up to users to delete messages or choose to enable encryption, as messages are encrypted end-to-end by default.

How Google's AI-driven chat app, Allo is a Privacy trade-off

Microsoft will be adding support for Google Drive and Facebook photos to its webmail service,, along with a fresh “attachments view” in conversations in the coming weeks, and will be listed as an option under the attachment icon, which features have already been made available for the Outlook app.

While the Outlook app for Android and iOS have had Google Drive integration for some time, the new integration to the webmail will work the same way as OneNote integration does on

And the first time you use the Google Drive integration you’ll have to sign-in and authorize Outlook, after clicking on the “attachment” icon and then choose the service to use, you see a pop-up window showing your files.

Microsoft will also be adding a new “attachments view” for message threads, so when a user views a long message thread there will be an attachment icon at the top with the number of attachments that have been included in the thread.

The company also announced Dropbox and Box integration for earlier in the year.

Albeit, these functionalities that integrate other web services to is great for users, Microsoft's aim is to migrate all users to the refresh new interface of

Access to Facebook photos and Google Drive documents coming to

While Apple had earlier made its hugely popular programming language, Swift, available as an open-source, and now it has also made it easier to learn, and to help that process, the company is set to launch an app, Swift Playgrounds on iOS to aid would-be developers into mastering the new convention.

Apple is set to release Swift Playgrounds on Tuesday on the App Store, albeit, it'll require iOS 10 and older iPads like the first-generation iPad Mini will not be able to run it.

Swift Playgrounds is rather a stripe down of the modern programming complexities with tools to provide guidance that gives people coding skills, and lets you learn by tinkering: making Swift Playgrounds the real deal for those interested in coding.

The app shows how a collection of commands are grouped into a single function that can be invoked over and over to control an animated character, Byte.

It comes with an introductory module and one that's more advanced, with Apple adding up new challenges periodically to make it engaging for students.

With "Get Started with Coding" workshops in English-speaking countries, Apple hopes to encourage uptake of the new learning convention this fall with more than 100 schools to offer Swift Playgrounds classes.

Swift Playgrounds makes learning the programming language as easy as a tap away

Pokémon Go, the adrenaline rush augmented reality game is finally coming to wearables, as revealed by John Hanke, the chief executive at Niantic Labs. According to him, Pokémon Go is coming to the Apple Watch 2, along side new feature that tracks how far you need to walk before your Pokémon “eggs” hatch.

While the new feature of the game involves hatching virtual eggs, which require you to walk a certain distance to hatch.

Apple Watch will enable you to track the progress of your eggs as you’re on the go, and will also alert you when a Pokémon is nearby.

Meanwhile, Apple Watch isn't the only wearable launching with the ability to play Pokémon Go, as Nintendo on Thursday announced Pokemon Go Plus, a wearable that will be released on September 16 in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The Pokemon Go Plus connects via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android device to allow you know about any nearby Pokemon or Pokestops.

Albeit, European availability is yet to be confirmed, Nintendo's official website stated that the wearable will be released in "most countries".

Finally, Pokémon Go is coming to wearables (Apple Watch 2 and More)

While Apple may be unveiling the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch 2 at tomorrow's event, it's pertinent to get familiar with the two software (iOS 10 and WatchOS 3) set to power the next devices.

Apple lifted the curtain on iOS 10 and WatchOS 3 earlier in the year at WWDC, with the major new feature in iOS 10 as the update to Messages, and the opening up of iMessage to third-party developers.

Developers can also use Siri to control third-party software, meaning Apple's virtual assistant may soon be used in sending messages on Whatsapp, or to help place a call on Skype.

Siri has also gotten smarter, and will be able to anticipate what you might be typing, and/or help out when searching for a phone number buried in your address book.

Other areas in which improvements were recorded in the new OS, is Photo, iOS 10 uses facial recognition to automatically sort your photos into albums of people, places and events.

Apple Maps has now got alternate routes, an Uber functionality, including traffic info and points of interest, and giving Google a close match up in the navigation game.

And for WatchOS 3, it now provides quick access to battery life and settings for Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb and more.

Albeit, it isn't just about software for mobile devices, as upgrades to tvOS for Apple TV and MacOS Sierra, the new version of its desktop platform are expected, Apple will be keeping more focus on the Watch and iPhone 7.

WatchOS 3 & iOS 10: Get to know the two Software set to power Apple's next devices