Google Says G’day to Australian Twang, Slang

Google Says G'day to Australian Twang, Slang

Internet search giant Google has added Australian slang and language recognition to its applications, addressing complaints that its software had difficulty in understanding thick local accents and complex place names.

Long accustomed to having their distinctive slang misunderstood, Australians can now substitute “footy” for football, “arvo” for afternoon and find directions to Mullumbimby or Goondiwindi, a spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

The extended vocabulary came after Google, which is now part of holding company Alphabet Inc, added an Australian accented voice to its Google Maps and search applications last week.

“People are starting to talk to their phones much more regularly now. Mobile voice searchers have doubled in the last year,” Google Australia spokesman Shane Treeves said.

“Particularly all those tricky Aussie place names, they just sound much better in an Aussie voice that can get them right.”

Google and its chief competitor, Apple Inc, have saturated the United States and Western Europe with their devices, leaving foreign language markets as some of the prime places to grow.

In December, Apple released a version of its virtual personal assistant, Siri, for Arabic speakers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Google’s Android phones’ search function already offered some support in Arabic.

Google’s Android operating system was used by roughly 54 percent of mobile devices sold in Australia in December, placing it ahead of Apple iOS at 38 percent, according to data published by research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

The addition of Australian language features to Google’s software could carry with it a sense of vindication for local users, who have long groused about its inability to understand them.

In 2004, Google bought mapping company Where 2 Technologies, which formed the basis for its hugely popular Google Maps software. The company was based in Sydney.


Snapdeal Unveils Revamped Android and iOS Apps

Snapdeal Unveils Revamped Android and iOS Apps

Snapdeal’s new redesign, codenamed Phoenix2, has been rolled out to its Android app on Google Play, and is expected to be released to the App Store for iOS on Saturday.

The design-focused Snapdeal app revamp redesigns the search and listings section, with each search title optimised for clear pricing and discounting indicators. The app has a new category navigation grid and a new colour palette to accentuate products, to aid with discovery and ease of use.

“The conversation was built around what an incredible Snapdeal app would look like today, knowing what we know about consumers, what would we do. Specific considerations included having a tighter colour palette which accentuates products in a clean and organic way, and have an improved category navigation for better ease of use,” said Anand Chandrasekaran, Chief Product Officer at Snapdeal, adding that the redesign follows up on the company’s UI revamp in July 2015 to build the best customer experience in e-commerce in the country.

The product information page has been reworked with a simplified information architecture. “The offers and merchandising widgets have been retouched, keeping navigation and personalisation in mind. Search and listings have been revamped with pricing, discounting and product information clearly indicated, so that decision making is much easier.

“In the shopping cart, we’ve presented a cleaner way of carting, where the user can remove and shortlist options. As you scroll down the home screen, you will see a new and improved typography, it’s focused on aesthetics and readability,” Chandrasekaran said, emphasising the company’s efforts to create a platform for discovery and creation of user-generated content.snapdeal_redesign_body2.jpg“This is the update on which we will be doing our entire set of annual launches and you will now see a better post-order customer experience that rolls out on this, along with a lot of personalisation, design changes. Large sums of our design thoughts have found expression, but more of that will find their way into the app in the coming weeks.” He said.

Snapdeal’s app boasts features like Visual Search, which let users pick a colour or pattern from a photograph, and apply it to a range of fashion categories, including men and women’s clothing, footwear, and watches. The app also features cashback offers and integration with the FreeCharge wallet, along with a referral program.


Atari Launches Pridefest to Celebrate ‘Fun and Colour’ of LGBTQ Pride Parades

Atari Launches Pridefest to Celebrate 'Fun and Colour' of LGBTQ Pride Parades

In what is going to be interpreted and scrutinised many times over and for all kinds of reasons, a new game that intends to celebrate the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community has been released by Atari.

Pridefest, as it is called, sounds like a pride-infested simplified version of Sim City from its description which brings “the colourful atmosphere and inclusive spirit” of pride parades that take place every year around the globe.

“Pride is only one small portion of the diverse LGBTQ culture and community, but it is one centred on freedom of expression, the pursuit of equality, and shared celebration. Pridefest was designed to celebrate progress the LGBTQ community has made toward equality while working to emulate the spirited and celebratory atmosphere of today’s real-world parades,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a statement.

He added that parades are the core gameplay mechanic, and pride would be using as an all-encompassing theme for the in-game elements. Pridefest puts the player – he, she or them – as a mayor a city that has lost its sense of fun, and the player’s primary aim is to infuse joy and colour back into their city. You can achieve the same by switching store-fronts and bringing in pride flotillas into town.

pridefest_device_shot.jpg“While creating a fun, inclusive game members of the community and allies can enjoy was an important goal, we hope that Pridefest also serves as a platform for members of the LGBTQ community to connect in a safe, supportive atmosphere,” said Chesnais.

Initial reception from the community and beyond has been mostly negative, with people lamenting its “tacky free-to-play” structure and misappropriated understanding of LGBTQ issues. Like other free-to-play mobile games, in-app purchases in Pridefest run anywhere between Rs. 70 and Rs. 6,800 to assist you in infusing “fun” quicker.

“While rainbows and the word ‘pride’ have become analogous to the support of LGBTQ rights, turning that into ‘the spread of colour’ completely undermines the history of bigotry and harassment LGBTQ people have overcome (and still struggle with),” said Chelsea Stark, writing for Mashable.

She went on to point out that games such as Undertale and Dragon Age: Inquisition have done much better in the past when tackling similar topics. While Atari’s effort is commendable, it does come across as capitalising on a movement and feeling that brings people together.


Yahoo to Shut Down Its Offices in Argentina, Mexico

Yahoo to Shut Down Its Offices in Argentina, Mexico

Yahoo plans to close its offices in Argentina and Mexico, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The company will maintain its Latin American operations through its teams in Brazil and Coral Gables, Florida.

Yahoo declined to specify how many jobs were affected, but said the offices were “small sales-focused”.

Technology news website TechCrunch first reported the closures.

Earlier this week, Yahoo performed its yearly spring cleaning, overhauling the Yahoo app for Android and iOS, as well as its desktop and mobile websites, with a focus on bringing better tailored news and video content alongside improving discussions with a more easily accessible comments section. The Internet giant, which is looking to recapture its former glory, has also rolled out a bunch of updates for its Android and iOS Mail apps, adding several new features including custom swipes and the ability to share recent attachments.

“We’ve made it easier to discover and create conversations with a community around engaging content and follow the latest developing stories in a nearly infinite news stream,” said Simon Khalaf, Senior Vice President, Yahoo in a blog post on Thursday, detailing the changes to the Yahoo app and home page.

As a part of the update for the Yahoo app and home page, users can now scroll through related stories in-line, instead of opening each article in a separate tab. The company says its algorithms now show tailored story articles on the news feed, based on what users are interested in. “The more you use the app and homepage, the better your experience will be,” says Khalaf. Users will of course have to sign in. The update also shows comments directly in-line below the story.