Skype for Windows Gets Real-Time Voice, Text Translation for All

Skype for Windows Gets Real-Time Voice, Text Translation for All

Popular video calling and instant messaging service Skype has announced that it has built the Skype Translator tool into its Windows desktop app for all users. The announcement comes a few months after Microsoft launched Skype Translator Preview for Windows, six months after rolling it out to general mobile users, and a year after the introduction of the preview on mobile .

Microsoft announced in a blog post that the Windows app of the service offers voice-to-voice translation in seven languages: Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. For users who prefer texting, the app supports 50 languages including Hindi and Urdu.


Launched in beta in late 2014, Microsoft announced in June last year that it would bring the real-time translation technology into Skype’s Windows client. The end goal is to break language barriers between people and have them succeed in communicating even if they don’t speak a common language. The feature uses machine learning. Microsoft said that over the testing period, the feature has gotten better as more people use it.

The company noted that as of currently, French to English is the most popular language pair. It added that the number of calls per day has increased 400 percent since launch.

The app supports Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. If you have the updated version of Skypefor Windows on your computer, you will now see a globe button in the top right-hand corner. The feature, sadly, is currently only available on the Windows app of Skype for now. The company added that is working on adding support for more languages and bring this technology to other platforms.


Uber to Launch Carpool Service in Kolkata

Uber to Launch Carpool Service in KolkataAfter Bangalore and Delhi, taxi aggregator Uber would launch carpool service Kolkata this year, offering at least 30 per cent lower fares to those who share cab rides as part of efforts to check rising pollution.

“In 2016, we are going to start carpool service in Kolkata. This is keeping in view of the high pollution levels which are choking the various metros of the country by bringing down the number of cars on the roads,” GM (east) of Uber India Systems Ashwin Dias said.

Passengers can take advantage of sharing rides in the same direction which would help them to reduce their individual fares by at least 30 percent, Dias told PTI.

For this, Uber would have to develop a Kolkata-specific app which would contain entire data relating to traffic congestion and traffic behaviour in the area where its GPS would operate.

The other app-based aggregator Meru Cabs had already started carpooling services in the city.

Dias said that Kolkata has been one of the fastest growing markets for Uber internationally.

“We started our service in August 2014 and the response was terrific. People who were used to the yellow taxis have moved over to app-based aggregators as it provided them convenience and the drivers got flexibility,” he said.

Asked about the number of cars which Uber was aggregating in Kolkata, Dias said as per international practice that number could not be divulged.

To abide by the West Bengal government guidelines, Dias said that Uber would apply for the for On Demand Technology Transportation Aggregators (ODTTA) licence soon.

Dias also said that Uber would also make efforts to take advantage of the state government’s Gatidhara’ scheme.

“The scheme entails that any unemployed youth of the state would get a subsidy of Rs. 1 lakh for purchase of a commercial vehicle”, he said.

This is a great opportunity for us to get more drivers in our fold, he said.

Regarding security and safety issues, he said that Uber was now doing a pilot project with Bidhan Nagar Police Station for GPS tracking of the vehicles.

“This will be implemented in other police stations as well,” he said.


GrabTaxi, Asia-Based Uber Competitor, to Open Tech Centre in Seattle

GrabTaxi, Asia-Based Uber Competitor, to Open Tech Centre in SeattleGrabTaxi, the on-demand ride service and Uber competitor in Southeast Asia, is opening a technology centre in Seattle, marking the company’s first physical presence in the United States.

GrabTaxi said on Wednesday the new centre will work on cloud computing and data projects to support the smartphone app its customers use to hail rides in a car or motorbike.

GrabTaxi said it hired Raman Narayanan, a former Microsoft engineer, as technical adviser to the centre and to lead recruitment efforts. The company plans to hire a full team over the next year.

Seattle is home to e-commerce giant Amazon as well as a growing startup scene. Microsoft is located in nearby Redmond, Washington.

The Seattle centre will complement GrabTaxi’s engineering centres in Singapore and Beijing.

GrabTaxi is the leading ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, serving Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Its services include private cars, taxis, carpooling and deliveries.

Created in 2012, GrabTaxi says it has 185,000 drivers and up to 1.5 million bookings a day.

While the Seattle centre is GrabTaxi’s first physical presence in the United States, the company has a budding relationship with San Francisco on-demand ride service Lyft.

The two are part of a ride-hailing coalition created last month that also includes China-based Didi Kuaidi and India-based Ola that will allow passengers to use all platforms to hail a ride as they travel between the United States and Asia.

Seattle lawmakers last month approved an ordinance that gives drivers for on-demand ride companies, well as taxi and for-hire drivers, the right to collectively negotiate on pay and working conditions.


Google Chrome to Get Native Cast Support

Google Chrome to Get Native Cast Support

Google is working on a way to build a casting service inside the Chrome browser. Until now users would have to download and install Google Cast Chrome extension to stream music, videos, and other webpages from the browser to their Chromecast-connected TV.

Francois Beaufort from the company’s Chrome division on Tuesday posted that the Chromium team is “currently experimenting in Beta Channel with casting tabs without the Google Cast extension installed thanks to the new Media Router.” This will let users simply right+click on any page in Chrome browser and then select Cast to stream it to a nearby Chromecast-connected TV without using the extension.

As per Beaufort, the new feature has not yet arrived in the general release of Chrome. However, beta users can try it by enabling the “Media Router” feature at chrome://flags/#media-router.

Google at CES 2016 announced a slew of companies it’s working with to expand the reach of Android TV and Google Cast. Google says that more Android TV-supported devices will be available from Arcelik, Vestel, RCA, Hisense, TCL, and Bang & Olufsen around the world sometime this year.

Chromecast Audio released last year, and promises to replace all your speakers around the house with “smart” speakers. Google Cast for Audio, which is the core underlying technology that also enables multi-speaker and soon multi-room setups, will soon get devices from B&O Play, Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, and Raumfeld.

Google with Chrome 47 for Android last month introduced download ‘snackbar’ at the bottom of the screen. The app version also brought the ability for developers to add splash screens to Web apps when a site is launched from the Android home screen. Chrome 47 for Android also featured support for theme-colour attribute without merging tabs and apps.

With Chrome 47 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google removed the desktop notification centre. Google in October announced its plans to remove the Chrome desktop notification centre because not many users utilised it, and some had even disabled it. It was introduced in 2013. The feature however, is still present in Chrome OS for now. On iOS, Chrome 47 adds support for more hardware keyboard shortcuts along with support for 3D Touch for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models.