Google Sheets Can Now Make Charts on Request Using Machine Learning

Google Sheets Can Now Make Charts on Request Using Machine Learning

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The updates are already available on Android and iOS
  • Explore feature was added to the app last year
  • Update adds support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the Web version

Google Sheets is already a useful productivity tool but the search giant has now updated it to add some more machine learning features. While users could already ask questions from Sheets to get data-related responses using Explore feature, machine learning now allows the app to create charts demanded by the users.

With the latest update, if users cannot see a chart that they need for their project or presentation, they can simply ask the app to create it for them. “Instead of manually building charts, ask Explore to do it by typing in ‘histogram of 2017 customer ratings’ or ‘bar chart for ice cream sales’. Less time spent building charts means more time acting on new insights,” the search giant said in its blog post.

google sheet story2 Google Sheets Story 2

Notably, users could already ask Google Sheets queries like “what is the distribution of products sold?” or “what are average sales on Sundays?” to get responses from the Explore feature, which was added last year.

Further, the giant has made it easier to keep your tables updated as users can now copy and paste data from Sheets to Docs or Slides and tap the “update” button to sync their data.

Apart from these updates, Google has also added the support for spreadsheet shortcuts to the web version of the app. The latest update is already available on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded through Google Play store or the App Store respectively.

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Codo Is a Pocket-Sized Washing Machine That Costs Only Rs. 3,999

Codo Is a Pocket-Sized Washing Machine That Costs Only Rs. 3,999

When Haier reached out to tell us about its new portable washing machine, we figured that there was some sort of mistake. It turns out though, that you really can make a pocket-sized washing machine that doesn’t empty your wallet either. The term washing machine – while literally accurate – is probably a little misleading, since it conjures up images of a drum you load clothes into.

The Haier Codo is a small, cylindrical device that can easily be carried in one hand. On one side, it has a water nozzle that is also a piston, and agitates the clothing it is applied to. You just hold it on top of a stain, and move it around a little to clean up any marks.

But how effective is a cleaning system that is smaller than a 500ml bottle of water? We got the Codo handheld washing machine a week ago, and have been trying it out in a number of different situations ever since. It’s not perfect, but there were some times where it really impressed us.codo_in_hand.jpgWhat’s it for?
The Codo isn’t really useful if you want something to was your clothes on an everyday basis. After a whole day’s use, you’re going to need a real washing machine to keep your clothes fresh. But think of all the times you’ve spilled a bit of food while eating, or you’ve been working and managed to spilled some coffee on your shirt.

We’ve all done it, and then instantly rushed to the washbasin to try and wash the mess off quickly before it ruins a shirt. Of course, as you probably remember, doing this is both difficult, because you’re probably trying to wrangle an entire shirt into the basin, and also inconvenient, because you’ll end up getting the whole shirt wet while trying to clean a few spots off.These are the problems that the Codo is trying to solve, and we have to say, it does a really good job of it.codo_in_box.jpgHow does it work?
The Codo is powered by 3 AAA batteries and weighs just 200gms, little over the weight of your smartphone. The batteries give it enough power for around 50 washes, depending on usage, and according to Haier, it can take between 30 to 120 seconds to clean up stains, depending on their nature and severity.

The top part, houses the batteries, and the power button. The lower part of the device is a water reservoir, which is capped by a small tube, which has several small holes. To fill the 200ml reservoir, you can unscrew the cleaning tube and then just hold the Codo under a tap for a few seconds. When you hold it up and press the power button, the tube starts to piston up and down, with small amounts of water coming out as well. You can either put liquid detergent into the Codo’s reservoir, along with the water, or just put a little detergent powder on stains directly.codo_cleaning_nozzle.jpgEssentially, this allows you to apply water without getting the whole piece of clothing wet, and the piston moving up and down agitates the cloth (at 700 beats per minute, Haier says), brushing the stain out. Basically, it’s like putting some water on your shirt, and then rubbing it by hand, only much easier, more effective, and less messy.

And… does it work?
Our testing process of the Codo started a little unexpectedly when a bit of dal from dinner wound up on a t-shirt. Without even taking it off, we were able to use the Codo to quickly remove the dal stain. It left a small wet patch on the T-shirt of course, but it was really easy to do and took less than a minute to completely clean the spot. The amount of water is minimal too, so it dried of quickly, and there were no marks or stains left.

A more formal testing process followed, which involved a few old handkerchiefs, and various different foodstuffs. Ketchup and sriracha sauce both proved to be tenacious opponents, but they were soon bested. Oil stains are more tricky, and if you managed to drop some deep fried stuff onto your shirt, then the stain isn’t going away as easily. Eventually we were able to get a satisfactory result, but it didn’t disappear completely.codo_washer.jpgThe gravy from chicken Manchurian was the second easiest stain to remove, but dal in particular proved to be no match for the Codo. Coffee, like oil, was hard to remove and a small mark remained even after using the Codo for a few minutes. Ink stains from a leaky ball pen defied all attempts at removal, and if you’re unlucky enough to get a pen that leaks in the middle of a business trip, you’ll just have to try and make up a funny story to tell everyone you get into a meeting with.

Should I get this?
Well, that depends. Sure, the Rs. 3,999 price tag you have to pay for this device is pretty reasonable, particularly if you’re frequently traveling for work, and consequently worried that spills and stains could seriously limit your wardrobe. If you’re someone who likes fancy gadgets and considers the price to be purely disposable, then don’t even think about it, just get the Codo because it is really effective.

For most of us though, it’s a little more money than you’d spend on just a whim. If you’re a stickler about how you present yourself, then it’s definitely worth getting the Codo. Spills are going to happen; once we ended up dipping our tie in a bowl of soup. It was a nice tie, and it ended up in the trash. The Codo could help in situations like that one.codo_box.jpgMore realistically, when you’re traveling, you won’t be carrying so many clothes, and even a small splotch on a formal shirt can leave you looking slovenly and unprofessional in meetings. It’s in these scenarios that the Codo could really shine; couple that with the fact that it uses AAA batteries which are easy to get anywhere in the world, and the Codo starts to look convenient for frequent travellers.

The Codo is also pretty easy to use, and since you’re only getting the spot where the stain was wet, you can go to your room, take off your shirt and clean it, and get back to wearing it in just a few minutes. We’re not sure how many people really need something like this, but we can see quite a few finding it convenient and useful nonetheless.

The Haier Codo is available via Snapdeal. The Codo has been launched at Rs. 3,999 but this will change to Rs. 4,999 after one month.

Tags: Codo, Haier, Haier Codo, Haier Codo Washing Machine, Household Gadgets, Portable Washing Machine, Washing Machine,White Goods
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HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business

HDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings BusinessHDFC Red CEO on How Drones and Machine Learning Can Improve the Real Estate Listings Business
HIGHLIGHTS
Builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology
By 2020, the digital natives, will be buying houses
Machine learning has the potential to be a real game-changer
The startup-within-a-big-company is a narrative that’s becoming increasingly popular, but Sohel I S, CEO of the property portal HDFC RED, feels that six years on, the mindset genuinely applies to his organisation, where the average age of the team is still 28.

“We’re able to make decisions quickly and don’t have to go through so much hierarchy and we’ve had to be very fiscally responsible,” Sohel tells Gadgets 360. This also helped the company have a relatively narrow focus from the beginning, something he says helped a lot.

While many of the best known companies in the property space in India got their start in the rental market, HDFC RED stayed out of that segment, focused instead on the buying and selling of private homes from the beginning.

Last year, Housing.com announced layoffs and shut down its rentals; visit most of the other popular sites and the first option you now see is “Buy”. In some ways, RED was ahead of the time when it launched and Sohel sees the current trend as a validation of its business model.

“When we were getting started we talked about what all we should be doing, and we were clear that we aren’t going to try and do everything at once,” he says. “The problem with rentals is that there is a lot of demand, but the supply is very erratic. You’re spending money to acquire each listing, but that money is only good for about three weeks. In that much time, any house which is in a decent condition, where the rent is reasonable, goes off the market.”

“On top of that, the listing will be there on a dozen sites, and you’re all spending money to improve the quality of the listing and bring information,” he adds. “It’s just not really practical.”

On the other hand, the supply side for selling houses is a lot better, he explains. For one thing, builders are ready to pay to be on the platform. Additionally, you’re capturing the data for an entire project and not just a single house. And of course, the listings are live for a lot longer, so the money that is spent on getting and maintaining them is a lot lower in the long term.

Additionally, Sohel continues, the builders themselves are very enthusiastic about adopting technology. It’s a cost effective way to grow, and in a market where buyers are often not purchasing locally anymore – buying property in their hometowns while living elsewhere, for example – technology becomes essential to finding homes.

“Also what’s happening is that the second generation of builders is now taking over, the ones who grew up around technology and have a lot more exposure to the world,” Sohel explains, “and this means that people who are much more comfortable with technology, are much more immersed in technology, are the ones who are making the decisions now.”
And this is bringing about a big difference in the way buyers and builders are using technology. “Six years ago, people were worried that you wouldn’t buy anything online,” Sohel continues. “But when I saw people start to buy clothes online, I knew that this was possible.”

“Today, we use video conferencing for discussions, VR tours of the building to give you a 360-degree view of the apartments,” he adds, “and it’s been stopped now, because there’s not much clarity on what you can and can-not do with drones, but we were doing some really great things, like using drones to shoot the view from every window on every floor of the building, so you can decide if the 15th floor is right for you or the 20th.”

But all of this barely scratches the surface of how technology has been changing the real estate business according to Sohel. The real game changer, he believes, is artificial intelligence. “Machine learning has been moving too slowly if you ask me, mostly confined to the lab, but it’s a real game-changer,” he says. “Right now, there is a lot of data. And not much of it is useful to everyone, and it’s presented in a way that makes it hard to find the information you require.”

“What we can do is improve on the presentation of data to help you find the houses you need more easily. The next thing we do is congruence, where we help you to fine tune the data and come up with a filtered list that suits you,” he explains. “Then there are recommendations, where we can actually say we know what you like, we know what you really want, and these are the houses you should look at.”

HDFC RED has applied for a patent for its recommendation engine, and it uses everything from social profiling, to demography-based suggestions, but he admits that this is one area where further improvements are required. “I mean imagine if we know the kind of music you listen to, and what music other people like,” he says. “Maybe if we know that you’re someone who likes to listen to rock music, you’ll be better off with neighbours who like it too, so they won’t complain about your music playing late, right?”

It’s a slightly far-fetched notion, as he quickly admits, but it does show some of the ways in which the real estate business in India is changing. “Things like having an app for your property to showcase it, which then becomes an internal social network once the houses are sold,” he adds, “or setting up a VR zone to demo houses instead of having people come to the project unnecessarily, this is moving from being high tech to just hygiene.”

“By 2020, the digital natives, the ones who grew up with the Internet, will be buying houses,” he says, “and right now, we’re taking care of the search part of the equation. By then, you’ll have to have solutions for site visits, negotiation, payments, and paperwork for these buyers.”

Tags: HDFC, HDFC RED, Property Search, Real estate, Housing.com

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Can a Machine Write a Sonnet That Is as Good as a Human’s? We’re About to Find Out

Can a Machine Write a Sonnet That Is as Good as a Human's? We're About to Find Out

Turing Tests in Creative Arts

Dartmouth College
Since it was devised in 1950, the Turing Test – named for Alan Turing, hero of “The Imitation Game” – has been the standard way of assessing artificial intelligence: Machines are judged on how well they exhibit intelligent behavior, usually in conversation or game-playing, that to a human listener or observer would be indistinguishable from that of a real person.Last summer, two professors at Dartmouth College proposed an imaginative variation: the Turing Tests in Creative Arts, challenging participants to submit algorithms that can generate human-quality art.

“Specifically,” Dan Rockmore (a professor of math and computer science) and Michael Casey (a professor of music and computer science) write in an essay that discusses the project, “we ask if machines are capable of generating sonnets, short stories, or dance music that is indistinguishable from human-generated works, though perhaps not yet so advanced as Shakespeare, O. Henry or Daft Punk.”

The competition has three parts: DigiLit, where the test is creating a New Yorker-level short story; PoetiX, where the product must be a 14-line sonnet in iambic pentameter; and AlgoRhythms, where the computer has to create a 15-minute dance set. In all cases, the software will be given a “seed” – a verbal image in the literary contest and a single track of music for the dance. Organizers will mix the entries in with human-generated work. A panel of literary judges will be asked to figure out which poems and stories were written by machines; for the music, the judges will be dance students. A winner is any computer entry that fools the judges into thinking its creator was alive.

The results will be announced May 18 at Dartmouth’s Digital Arts Exposition.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: AI, Artificial Intelligence, Machines, Science, Turing Test
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