Google Introduces New Features For Gmail Users

Google has introduced new features for Gmail users which includes several new features designed to increase productivity and more security.

Google made this known on its official blog (blog.google) on Friday.

According to Google, among the newly implemented features on Google are smart replies and snooze feature in the inbox.

It said that the smart reply would provide suggestions to quickly reply emails.

“While the snooze feature lets users temporarily remove emails from their inbox until a certain time and also avoid certain email threads until a later time.

“This can be done by hovering over a message in the Gmail inbox.’’

“The new design also features a new sidebar where users have the option of using Google’s calendar, a note-taking app and perform other tasks side by side with your email,’’ said.

It says the new Gmail also provides three new layouts to choose from which includes a default view that highlights attachments like documents and photos.

Others are a comfortable view that does not highlight attachments and a compact view that increases the number of messages one can see on a single page.

Google said the feature referred to as the display density also allows users to collapse the left side panel.

Matthew Izzat, the product manager for Gmail said Google’s redesign was done with the intent of “ making people safe and more productive’’.

Izzat said “ Google is not removing any Gmail features in its redesign, it’s just an addition.’’

“It’s going to be an invitation to users to opt into the new design rather than just being available right away,’’ he said

“Another good feature of the new Gmail is the new confidential mode where the sender of an email is allowed to set expiry dates for the emails, and this can prevent recipients from forwarding or copying them.

“In this feature, the sender is in charge of how long the other party can access the message,’’ it said.

It says on the new Gmail, Google introduced high priority notifications where it makes use of artificial intelligence to select emails that are of top priority to a user and this has helped to filter and cut down spam messages.

“One helpful additional feature is the one-tap unsubscribe prompt for newsletters a user may have signed up for and may no longer be interested in,’’ it said.

The last interface design unveiled by Google was back in the year 2014.

NAN

Facebook Makes $3Billion Profit In 3-Months

Despite the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Facebook has made a profit of $3 billion in three months.

The social network giants’ quarterly sales rose by over $3 billion despite influential tech companies closing down their accounts. The company said that revenues rose to $11.9bn in the first three months of the year, compared to $8bn previously.

Founder, Mark Zuckerberg said: “despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018. We are taking a broader view of our responsibility and investing to make sure our services are used for good. But we also need to keep building new tools to help people connect, strengthen our communities, and bring the world closer together.”

Facebook said that its advertising revenue rose to $11.7bn in the three months to the end of March, compared to $7.8bn in the same period a year ago. First quarter profits also grew, reaching $4.9bn compared to $3bn last year. Facebook said the average number of daily active users over March had risen to 1.45 billion, a 13% increase year-on-year.

The average number of monthly active users for March also rose by 13%, to 2.2 billion, and the number of staff saw a steep 48% increase to 27,742. Facebook had in March faced a controversy over yielding millions of users’ data to Cambridge Analytica which reportedly manipulated it during U.S President Donald Trump’s electioneering in 2016.

Reasons Why Your Smartphone May Become Slow By Ozioma Ubabukoh

You just bought a new smartphone; you can’t seem to control your excitement. However, few months down the line, your beloved smartphone becomes slow and unresponsive over time. There are many reasons why this happens. According to Jumia Travel, here are five of these reasons;

The OS upgrades

If you bought your device a few years back, it may be running on Android KitKat or iOS 7. From time to time upgrades of these apps are released with a certain set of hardware specs, which may not be compatible with your phone. This may affect the speed of your device.

Apps running in the background

Background apps can also cause your phone to slow down because the running apps are taking space. Hence, make it a habit to close your apps if they are not in use.

Memory degradation

Smartphones run on a flash memory. When the phone memory is full, your phone gets slower. Do not forget to clean your phone memory.

Higher expectations

Sometimes, after looking at several high-end smartphones, we expect our phones to perform better. You can’t compare Galaxy S3 with Galaxy S8. Therefore, we should learn to manage our expectations or simply buy another device.

App updates

Apps can be transformed from lightweight to heavyweight over time due to updates. Developers are constantly releasing updates and every new update brings new features, which ends up taking most part of your RAM and CPU.

Google Unveils First Gmail Redesigns Since 2013

The first Gmail redesign since 2013 has been unveiled by Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday.

According to reports it will include offline functionality and resemble Microsoft Outlook.

It is Google’s most extensive update to software in its G Suite workplace bundle.

It is accelerating efforts to steal business from Microsoft Corp’s dominant Office workplace software suite.

Previously, G Suite added instant-messaging and spreadsheet features.

With Gmail, Google said it restructured email storage databases, unified three-dueling-systems for syncing-messages across devices and upgraded-computers underpinning the service.

That shift to Google’s self-developed Tensor processing chips enables smart-assistant features such as “suggested replies” to messages and “nudges” to respond to forgotten emails.

“This is an entire rewrite of our flagship, most-used product,” said Jacob Bank, Product Manager Lead for Gmail, which 1.4 billion people use each month.

Unreliable offline access to email has long discouraged would-be customers.

Meanwhile, recent high-profile corporate data breaches have increased desire to lock down email.

Analysts estimate G Suite generated about $2 billion in revenue last year, 10 times behind Office.

Google declined to specify costs associated with the redesign.

But parent Alphabet reported on Monday that first-quarter capital expenditures nearly tripled year-over-year to $7.3 billion.

Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, told analysts that half of the spending resulted from hardware purchases to support expanding use of machine learning.

This expansion describes automated programmes that can, among other things, identify spam and predict which emails users would find most important.

 

Facebook Releases Rule Book For Users

Facebook Inc on Tuesday released the most detailed rule book in its history for the types of posts it allows on its social network on subjects ranging from drug use and sex work to bullying, hate speech and inciting violence.

Facebook for years has had “community standards” for what people can post.

But only a relatively brief and general version was publicly available, while it had a far more detailed internal document to decide when individual posts or accounts should be removed.

Now, the company is providing the longer document on its website to clear up confusion.

The company wants to be more open about its operations, said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of product policy and counter-terrorism.

“You should, when you come to Facebook, understand where we draw these lines and what’s OK and what’s not OK,” Bickert told reporters in a briefing at Facebook’s headquarters.

Facebook has faced fierce criticism from governments and rights groups in many countries for failing to do enough to stem hate speech.

It is said to have not prevent the service from being used to promote terrorism, stir sectarian violence and broadcast acts including murder and suicide.

At the same time, the company has also been accused of doing the bidding of repressive regimes by aggressively removing content that crosses governments.

It is said to have proved too little information on why certain posts and accounts are removed.

New policies will, for the first time, allow people to appeal a decision to take down an individual piece of content.

Previously, only the removal of accounts, Groups and Pages could be appealed.

Facebook is also beginning to provide the specific reason why content is being taken down for a wider variety of situations.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has become a dominant source of information in many countries around the world.

It uses both automated software and an army of moderators that now numbers 7,500 to take down text, pictures and videos that violate its rules.

Under pressure from several governments, it has been beefing up its moderator ranks since last year.

Angola’s First Geostationary Satellite Dead

The first geostationary satellite of Angola (Angosat-1) is dead.

This was disclosed at a news conference by Angolan Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies Jose Carvalho da Rocha on Monday saying that there had been disturbances in its operation since the official launch.

Meanwhile, the minister also announced officially the construction of a new satellite, expected to be completed within one and half years.

Built in 2012, following an agreement signed between Angola and Russia in 2009, Angosat-1 cost over 300 million dollars.

The communications satellite was launched into orbit on the night of Dec. 26, and scheduled to work for 15 years

 

Bill Gates Supports Use Of Technology To End Malaria

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has supported the use of technology to help put an end to malaria.

This was disclosed while on Wednesday while speaking at the Malaria Forum conference in London saying that it should not jeopardise exploration of tools such as CRISPR gene editing and so-called “gene drive” technologies.

“I’m very energised about the potential of gene drive. (It’s) the kind of breakthrough we need to support,” Gates said.

“It may prove critical here.”

Gene drive technologies alter DNA and drive self-sustaining genetic changes through multiple generations by overriding normal biological processes.

CRISPR technology enables scientists to find and modify or replace virtually any gene. The techniques are being explored across science – from human medicine to livestock- and crop-breeding.

In mosquitoes that transmit malaria, genetic alterations can be used to induce infertility to reduce populations, or alter the insects’ ability to carry and pass on the malaria parasite. The technologies can be extremely powerful.

However, they are also controversial, since such genetically engineered organisms released into the environment could have an unknown and irreversible impact on the ecosystem.

Asked in a interview with the Media about that controversy, Gates said there were understandable concerns about safety and efficacy that would need to be addressed in research and trials.

But he countered: “Malaria itself is quite controversial – it kills about 400,000 kids a year. So we’re definitely not on the side of malaria.”

He also noted that at their summit in January, leaders of the African Union endorsed gene drive research as part of the fight against a disease that continues to kill their people.

“They spoke out to say that, for them, getting rid of malaria is worth using innovative science,” Gates said.

The WHO warned late 2017 that global progress against malaria had stalled and could be reversed if momentum in the fight to wipe it out was lost.

The disease infected around 216 million people in 91 countries in 2016, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year.

It killed 445,000 people, about the same number as in 2015, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in babies and young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gates told the Forum that his almost 20 years of involvement in global efforts to beat malaria had been both gratifying, in terms of progress, and tough, in terms of suffering he witnessed.

He described seeing a child in a hospital in Tanzania convulsed with seizures due to cerebral malaria.

“With the state of science and the wealth of the world, that really should be an affront,” he said. “We really shouldn’t accept that this disease can continue.”

Gates said that ending malaria for good would take many years and a range of tools both new and old – from bednets and mosquito traps to a new vaccine and next generation gene tools.

He said he thought it unlikely that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes would have a major impact on the wider ecosystem.

His reason is so because it would only target a few species and suppress their populations for a period of time.

“None of these (gene technology) constructs will actually wipe out the species,” he said. “It will evolve back. After all, evolutionary pressures always push back.”

Dramatically reducing mosquito populations with such technologies could give a window of opportunity to help limit the human-reservoir-of-disease so that transmission of the disease among people is stopped, he said.

Gates also said that genetic information and data, gathered in the field and transmitted swiftly to sophisticated surveillance systems, is allowing scientists to identify evolving strains of malaria parasites.

They are also tracking drug and pesticide resistance, helping them stay one step ahead of the disease.

 

Taxify Gives Users Access To Emergency Calls

Taxify has upped its game to provide adequate security for its drivers-partners against violence, car-jacking, robbery and any other situation that requires immediate attention.

The SOS button works by triggering a distress call to the Lagos State Emergency Response Agency. The integration of the SOS button comes on the back of Taxify’s plans to further utilize technology to keep drivers safe on the roads.

The introduction of this safety feature comes at a critical time for Taxify, where the competition in the ride-hailing space is stiff and players are heavily competing for both drivers and riders. According to Operations Manager, Uche Okafor, “Over the last few years we’ve led the way with technology-based safety features such GPS tracking of every trip and our two-way rating system.

“We recognize that we can utilize our technology even further and now that we have integrated the SOS button into the Taxify driver app, we look forward to applying this additional layer of safety to further strengthen driver safety while on the platform.”

Taxify was founded by Markus Villig in 2013. It’s one of the fastest-growing ride-sharing platforms in the world, focusing on Europe and Africa.

#ZuckerBowl Without A Clear Winner As Facebook Hearings End

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg emerged largely unscathed Wednesday from two days of high-stakes hearings that saw US lawmakers grill the billionaire over how the online giant feeds users’ data to advertisers and chide him over privacy rights.

The marathon 10 hours of questioning was one of the biggest spectacles in Congress in recent memory, followed blow by blow on social media under the hashtags #ZuckerBowl and #ZuckUnderOath.

Channelling public anger over data privacy lapses — including most spectacularly the leak of personal information from 87 million Facebook users to a political consultant — lawmakers in both House and Senate raised the spectre of regulations to bring online firms to heel.

The 33-year-old CEO conceded that some regulation of social media companies is “inevitable,” while offering a laundry list of reform pledges at Facebook and vowing to improve privacy and security.

But he stiffly defended Facebook’s business model — specifically the way it uses data and postings from the 2.2 billion users of its free platform — calling it necessary to attract ad revenue the $480 billion company depends on.

In the wake of the massive leak of user information to Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Zuckerberg reiterated that the company had shut down the pipeline that allowed data — including his own — to slip without consent into the hands of third parties.

A day earlier Zuckerberg took personal responsibility for the data breach.

Yet in his testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he was also steadfast in arguing that Facebook’s users themselves are choosing to make their data available and that the company’s “opt-in” provisions offered them sufficient control.

“Every time that a person chooses to share something on Facebook, they’re proactively going to the service and choosing that they want to share a photo, write a message to someone.”

“Every time there is a control right there,” Zuckerberg said.

AFP

It Was My Mistake, And I’m Sorry- Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken sole responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, apologizing for not taken preventive measure to protect the network from hate speech, interference with elections and data privacy.

Zuckerberg described Facebook as an idealistic company that is focused on connecting people. The social network has given 2 billion people around the globe powerful new tools to stay connected with the people they love and rally around social causes, raising $20 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, he said.

“But it’s clear now we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well,” Zuckerberg said. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook. I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

In his formal remarks, Zuckerberg described how the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information about millions of Facebook users through a Cambridge University researcher who had extracted those details through a personality quiz app. He described the steps Facebook is taking now to prevent future abuse.

Zuckerberg also addressed Facebook’s awareness of Russian cyber threats leading up to the 2016 election and the disinformation campaign run by the Internet Research Agency, which tried to manipulate people in the U.S., Europe and Russia.

Zuckerberg’s comments comes ahead of two days of Congressional hearings, which began at 2:15 p.m. yesterday, April 9,  with a joint session of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees and resume at 10 a.m. on Wednesday before the House commerce committee.

 

Facebook To Offer ‘Bounty’ For Reporting Data Abuse

Facebook said Tuesday it would begin offering rewards to people who report misuse of private information from the social network, as part of an effort to step up data protection in the wake of a firestorm.

The new program “will reward people with first-hand knowledge and proof of cases where a Facebook platform app collects and transfers people’s data to another party to be sold, stolen or used for scams or political influence,” product security chief Collin Greene said in a statement.

Greene said the new offer was inspired by the “bug bounty” offered by Facebook and other online services to reward people who find security flaws.

The reward will be “based on the impact of each report,” Greene said, with a minimum of $500 for verified cases of abuse affecting 10,000 people or more.

“While there is no maximum, high impact bug reports have garnered as much as $40,000 for people who bring them to our attention,” he added.

The announcement comes with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg set to begin testimony at congressional hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on abuse of private data collected by the social network.

Facebook is under fire in the United States and around the world following disclosures of private data hijacked by the consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“We’ll review all legitimate reports and respond as quickly as possible when we identify a credible threat to people’s information,” Greene said of the new program.

“If we confirm data abuse, we will shut down the offending app and take legal action against the company selling or buying the data, if necessary. We’ll pay the person who reported the issue, and we’ll also alert those we believe to be affected.”

AFP