Google Launches Music Lab

Google cites the decreasing focus on music education in the United States as the reason behind Chrome’s newest program, Chrome Music Lab. In celebration of Music in Out School Month, it will launch the program, which is described as “a collection of experiments that let anyone, at any age, explore how music works.” “You can play with sound, rhythm, melody, and more,” wrote coder Alex Chen in a blog post, encouraging people the try out to program. Chrome Music Lab uses 12 interactive programs that integrate bright colours, fun animations and abstract art to demonstrate chords, arpeggios, harmonics and strings.

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Google Launching Hands Free Payment App

Paying for credit or debit interactions with your smartphone is becoming the norm thanks to systems like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Now Google is taking a leap forward with its introduction of Hands Free, an app that allows you to make electronic payments without even having to take your phone out of your pocket. The app, which works on both Android and iOS, is currently being tested by McDonald’s and Papa John’s in the South Bay area of San Francisco. It works by identifying your face and location. First you have to tell the cashier at participating locations that

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2015 Was a Big Year for the Internet

2015 was a big year for the Internet. Reports show that the number of people online rose 6.7 percent, to 3.2 billion humans with Internet access. That is roughly 200 million in 2015 alone. While this number seems like a lot, 4.1 billion people or 57 percent of the world population is still not connected. Companies like Facebook are pushing to increase connectivity worldwide. It has called governments, corporations and non-profits to action, encouraging them to increase connectivity in rural communities, developing nations and impoverished regions. However, the question remains of whether or not this goal is even possible to

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Google Computers Could Be Legal Drivers

Self-driving cars took a big step forward this month, as the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it will update its rules classifying the computers as drivers. This process could take some time, but is looking positive for companies like Google that are investing in this technology. “If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving,” wrote Paul A. Hemmersbaugh, chief counsel to the NHTSA, in a letter to Google. The current federal rule states the driver

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Alphabet is the World’s Most Valuable Company

Google parent company Alphabet has officially become the world’s most valuable company, knocking previous titleholder Apple down a peg. This is mostly due to Alphabet’s growing digital advertising business. In the past year Alphabet has made a $4.9 billion profit, up from $4.7 billion from the year before. Its stocks have skyrocketed in value and the company itself is worth about $570 billion. Apple, in comparison, is worth around $535 billion. Like Alphabet, Apple’s past quarter was record breaking. However, it is also faced with dwindling smartphone sales, as less people have been buying iPhones in the past months. In

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Google Donating to Syrian Refugees

Google.org wants Syrian refugees to be connected as they start life in their new homes. Donating a grant of $5.3 million to non-profits in Germany, the Internet giant is helping provide Chromebooks to the newly settled Syrians in that country. The initiative is called Project Reconnect. “As they [the refugees] make it through a dangerous journey, the first thing refugees need is to find shelter, food and access to care,” wrote Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, in a blog post. “But soon enough, they have to learn the local language, acquire skills to work in the new country, and figure

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Chatbots Coming to Google’s New Service

Rumor has it Google’s new chat service will answer user questions. In a move that sounds similar to Facebook’s digital assistant “M”, The Wall Street Journal says that automated “chatbots” could be added to Google’s Hangouts and Messenger within an undisclosed amount of time. The chatbots answer questions about the app itself. Facebook tested its version, “M” – which can answer questions, book travel and set appointments – earlier this year and is expected to roll it out in the near future. Google’s chatbots are likely an attempt to take on Facebook in the instant messaging world. Facebook owns the

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Google in Review 2015

A look at what people have Googled over the past year can say a lot about 2015 – a scrapbook of sorts. So what does 2015 say about us? Apparently, that we love looking up other people. 2015 has shined the light on not only athletes and celebrities, but the presidential candidates and other political stars. The Top 10 most Googled people this year include Lamar Odom, Caitlyn Jenner and Ronda Rousey in the first three positions, followed by Donald Trump, Ruby Rose, Charlie Sheen, Brian Williams, Rachel Dolezal, Adele and Josh Duggar. The balance between celebrated starlets and controversial

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Google Launching Family Play Music Plan

Google is combatting Apple Music’s success by offering its own family plan for its Play Music service. That means the only advantage Apple Music had over Google Play Music is gone. Now, a $14.99 monthly subscription will support up to six Google accounts. Like its major competitors – namely Apple and Spotify – Google Play Music offers access to 35 million titles, all ad-free. Subscribers can access these tracks through the Android or iOS apps, or from the Play Music website. The new family plan, in the style of Netflix, will allow family members to keep their playlists separate. Google

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smart reply

Google Introduces Smart Reply

Of all the small things that might make your day a little bit longer, replying to a series of unessential emails could be on the list. Google has an answer for that: Smart Reply. This new tool has the ability to generate simple responses like “thanks” or “will do” to emails you’d rather not deal with. Smart Reply launched Nov. 5 as an update to Android and iOS’s Gmail Inbox application. The software will scan emails to understand the overall gist of what is being said and suggests three likely response phrases. You can then select the best option at

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