Apps

Facebook Is Building An AI Assistant, Named “M”

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Google has Google Now, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana — and Facebook has M. According to FB’s own David Marcus, M can do things that the aforementioned AI assistants can’t:

“Today we’re beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.

Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.

This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it’s an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives.”

Essentially, M can do things for you, on your behalf, including purchases (!). By tapping the icon inside of Messenger, the AI or a real person can pick up the task (the human comes in where the AI might not cope) and stay in touch with you to notify progress — like a real assistant, for instance.

Currently, M is available for a select few SF testers of Messenger, but the future roll out of the technology could prove to be very interesting, granted that it works as well as FB claims it can.

Via: Facebook

Google Publishes Hangouts 4.0: Redesign, Bug Fixes And Speed

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 7.32.54 AMIf there was one thing true about the previous Google Hangouts app, it’s that it was chock full of features, but not on speed even on the fastest of Android flagship phones. Today that changes with Hangouts 4.0, which is currently being rolled out from the Play Store (or is available as a signed .apk from the source link). Google is touting less battery usage from the app as well.

In it, users will find a complete redesign of the app catered towards readability and cleanliness, as well as speed improvements and bug fixes. Custom status messages, outbound caller ID, and replying to groups MMS are all new features that come as a part of v4.0 as well.

Oh, and there’s Android Wear support.

Via: Google, APK Mirror

Google Photos: Unlimited Picture And Video Storage, In 16MP And 1080p Resolutions

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 2.10.49 PMThe new home of photos, as Google puts it, is the new Photos app for web, Android and iOS. Unlimited picture and video storage uploads, preserved through time, subject, faces, and so on. Quality of images are preserved up to 16 megapixels or 1080p HD, and considering that those are excellent resolutions, the end result is that this is a viable solution for storing images — starting today.

Oh, and in case you wanted to find images, but still can’t sort them through despite the inclusion of multitouch gestures: searching in context is possible, and can generate accurate results.

Brillo And Weave Bring Google To The Internet Of Things

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 1.46.22 PMBrillo and Weave: two implementations from Google that have been announced at I/O 2015, bringing the company to the Internet of Things. Easily explained, Brillo is an “underlying operating system for the internet of things,” with a developer preview coming in Q3 of this year. Derived from the core of Android, it’s a polished version of its underlying parts.

Weave, meanwhile, is the common language that allows for communication between physical devices, phones, and the internet.

Integration of both technologies will be worked on by Google and partners this year, in an attempt to bring the world of objects together, seamlessly to your phone.

Microsoft Brings Cortana To iOS And Android As Companion App

cortana-android-iosIf for some reason you find it more satisfying to use Microsoft’s Cortana to Google’s Now and Apple’s Siri digital assistants, then you’re in luck: Cortana is coming to iOS later this year and Android in late June.

But will anyone use it? Most likely, yes — but it will be odd. It won’t be as powerful as the Windows version, but it will wield the notifications needed to make it a compelling app, alongw ith search queries and asking of questions, on both Android and iOS versions.

Video of it in action, after the break. Via: The Windows Blog

Ride-Share Apps

Ah, the ride-share apps. Such apps are designed to provide on-demand rides at the mere click of a button (er, swipe?), and are arguably putting taxi cabs out of business. Considering ride-share services offer clean vehicles, amenities such as bottled water, and better driving than cabbies, it’s no wonder people are favoring these services more and more.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular apps available today.

Soon, Google Wallet Will Be Pre-Installed On Phones With All Major Carriers

google-walletGoogle Wallet has been an on-and-off relationship, but now, Google seeks to turn the tables. Following the acquisition of Softcard (previously called Isis), the Wallet will be pre-installed on phones, running KitKat or higher, from the four major United States carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

It makes sense that Google would make this play: previously, Softcard was what prevented Google from having the default NFC wallet app monopoly, and with Apple Pay on the rise and Samsung planning a proprietary solution, a move like this keeps Google Wallet relevant, and competitive.

Via: Softcard, Google