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Ensogo to cease all operations in Southeast Asia

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You may want to hold off from shopping on any of Ensogo’s marketplaces. The troubled ecommerce platform announced this week that it will cease all operations in Southeast Asia amid job cuts that halved its staff of 600 at the start of the year and accusations of delayed payments to its merchants.

In a statement to Tech in Asia, the Australia-based company said it “will no longer provide financial support to its subsidiary Southeast Asian flash sales and marketplace business units.” “These business units will be shut down. All staff have been informed and communications will be made to customers in the coming days,” Ensogo added.

The firm said the decision was made to preserve capital “for new investment opportunities.” Co-founder, Kris Marszalek, who was named CEO in 2014, has stepped down without a successor in place.

Ensogo started as a daily-deals website in 2010 but later pivoted from offering coupons and limited-time offers to selling all kinds of products. When business didn’t seem to be going well, it went from being a Groupon rival to being Amazon’s and Lazada’s. Ensogo has websites in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.

It remains to be seen what will happen to items customers have already bought and paid for, but it appears Ensogo will have a lot on its plate in the coming months. Customers in Thailand have already taken to Facebook to complain that some stores are no longer accepting Ensogo coupons.

[irp posts=”4968″ name=”Facebook Marketplace makes buying and selling online really simple”]

Source: Tech in Asia

Image credit: Retail News Asia

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Google’s Hold for Me feature will kill annoying delivery jingles

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If you were like us during this tempestuous lockdown season, you love (and still love) getting stuff delivered, whether it’s food or something new for the house. Unfortunately, despite our love for new things, one thing we still hate is an unending delivery hotline call. Yes, we mean those annoying-but-needlessly-catchy marketing jingles. (In fact, Sarah Geronimo’s Jollibee jingle is still ringing in my ears as I write this.)

Finally, Google has a solution for this work-from-home nightmare. Announced earlier today, the company is introducing a new functionality for calls on hold. The new Hold for Me feature will place Google Assistant in line for you whenever a hotline places you on hold. You don’t need to listen through 40 loops of hold music anymore.

Using Google’s Duplex AI, the Hold for Me feature will alert you — through a sound, a vibration, or a notification — when the call is ready for you. According to Google, Duplex technology can accurately detect if the hotline finally responds with either a recorded message or a human representative. Despite the need for AI processing, Google assures users that the company isn’t storing call data. All call data will remain inside the phone.

The feature is launching inside Google’s Phone app. Users can toggle the feature on or off through the Settings and activate it manually during calls.

For now, Google is launching the feature through an early preview in the new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G. Both smartphones will launch sometime in October and November.

SEE ALSO: Google is officially launching Android 11 today

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How to get NBA League Pass with your telco provider

There are two package options

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NBA action is in full swing. In fact, it has been since August when the season restarted following a shut down that was caused by the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic. As of writing, we’re in the thick of the Conference Finals series. If you want to catch all the action, here’s how you can get NBA League Pass through different telecomm providers in the Philippines.

It’s now easier than ever to get access to the games legally. All of Smart, PLDT, and Globe are offering the same price packages.

PhP 85 — Watch any three games of your choice
PhP 485 — 30-day pass for all games including live and on-demand

Here’s how to get the subscription for each provider.

Smart Postpaid and Prepaid
(Also works with TNT and SUN Postpaid)

  • Download the NBA app (iOS / Android /APKPure)
  • On the app, click on the icon at the top-right corner
  • Click sign-in
  • A banner on top of the page will appear for Smart, Sun and TNT subscribers
  • Click ‘Get Started’
  • Enter mobile number for verification and a one-time PIN which will be sent to your mobile number
  • Choose your provider: Smart, TNT or Sun.
  • Choose your NBA League Pass Package (3-game or 30-days) and enter mobile number
  • Confirm your payment by entering the one-time PIN sent to your mobile number
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

PLDT Home

  • Go to pldthome.com/nbaleaguepass
  • Select your preferred package
  • The amount will be added to your next bill
  • PLDT will give a voucher
  • Download and sign-in to the NBA app
  • Enter the voucher in the promotion code field
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

Globe

  • Open the GCash app
  • Go to Buy Load
  • Look for the PayTV tab
  • Choose your preferred package. (Note: The chosen package is valid for 90 days).
  • Confirm payment
  • Open the NBA app and enjoy!

As mentioned earlier, we’re no in the Conference Finals with four teams remaining. Dueling in the West are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile in the East, it’s a battle between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

A new NBA champion will likely be crowned in the next 30 days so now is the best time to subscribe!

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Twitter is probing its AI’s racial bias in picture previews

They’re working on improving it

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Twitter uses a neural network to show you relevant previews of all the pictures that are posted on the microblogging platform. If the image contains text, the area is prioritized for a preview. Similarly, human faces are also given preference.

The preview makes it easier for the viewer to get a gist of the tweet without the compulsion of opening the entire picture. Although, the feature isn’t up-to mark since a lot of users have complained about the AI’s racial bias.

Several users posted a picture that has both, a white man and a black man’s face. But the preview often shows the white man’s face only. Users noticed the difference after a similar anomaly was observed on Zoom, where the facial recognition technology failed to identify a black man’s face, but had no trouble when the skin tone was changed.

 

Liz Kelley from Twitter’s communication team said they had tested the neural system for bias, but didn’t come across gender or racial bias during testing. She also confirmed that they’ve got more analysis to do and shall be open-sourcing all the work for others to review and replicate.

Twitter’s Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis and Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal were quick to acknowledge the shortcoming and said they’re “investigating” the neural network.

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