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Google Assistant is coming to more countries this year

Includes India, Philippines, and Singapore

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Google I/O came and went with an absurd flurry of new phones, apps, and everything in between. However, even if you watched the presentations, you might have missed this key announcement from the event:

Google Assistant is coming to more countries! Previously limited to select countries and devices, Google’s own voice assistant will operate in 80 countries by the end of the year. Particularly, the long list includes key markets in Southeast Asia.


At the event, Google Assistant’s VP of Engineering Scott Huffman showed off a massive map of countries that will have the software this year. While he doesn’t list them down one by one, the markers are noticeable.

Image source: Google

For example, by the end of 2018, the Southeast Asian region will enjoy Google Assistant support in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Huffman states that the global expansion draws from the incredibly positive response they got from an initial expansion to India. “Daily usage there has tripled since the beginning of the year,” he says.

Sadly, Google has not released a digital render of the map or a complete list of countries yet. Without a list, the video confirms only the countries that are big enough to see.

Additionally, Google will expand the Assistant’s available languages to 30. However, they have not listed any languages yet.

With the expansion, Google can replace the dated Google Now across the globe. Google Assistant depicts a friendlier and more efficient approach to Google’s voice control, in line with Siri and Alexa.

As of now, Google has not released a timetable of when the software will roll out. If you’re in one of the countries pictured, you can at least expect it by the end of 2018.

SEE ALSO: 6 awesome things that happened at Google I/O 2018

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8 career lessons I learned while playing Mobile Legends

The ingredients to winning in-game and in life

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This is the first of a three-part series. Watch out for the next two articles.

When people say games have nothing to contribute in your life, I honestly believe they’re wrong. Playing Mobile Legends isn’t something I do mindlessly. I think, strategize, and find a way to win. Throughout the whole match, I’m invested in my game. I focus up, even though to some, it’s just a “game.”


In between defeats and victories, I realized a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s what I learned that’s also applicable in your work and career:

People are the key to success

To rise through the ranks — just like in life — we need to deal with people no matter how much we hate it. If you know how to lead, follow, and go with the flow, you’ll succeed. Mobile Legends taught me that it can’t always be just you. To succeed in this world (and in team fights), we need to work and band together. One man’s failure is our failure, and one man’s success is everyone’s success. We just need to fight and bring each other up to victory.

You don’t always get to retaliate

During my defeats, I learned that life doesn’t give us a fair chance to fight back. Some circumstances in life tell us to just stop and accept defeat and take the lesson learned into improving the next fight. However…

You can still flip things around

If opportunities arise, you can retaliate and strike back. As long as you keep fighting and keep your people together, you can turn the tables and win. Life may throw us lemons, but we can always make lemonade out of it and drink it while we’re on our way to victory.

There are a lot of selfish people in the world

People will leave the match unexpectedly, do things on their own and refuse to cooperate or steal your buffs and kills. You will encounter a lot of greedy and selfish people not just in games, but also in life. It’s frustrating and annoying, but we always have a choice to outsmart them, to try to include them, talk them out of it, or just be kind, try to understand, and accept that some people are just selfish at their very core.

Not all battles are worth fighting for

When you’re running on data, every minute and every fight should be worth it. Just like in life, our time, energy, and resources are limited. A former mentor always tells me to pick my battles, and I find it accurate especially as I am getting older and taking on more responsibilities.

We can’t always win our fights, and when we see we’re on the losing end, we can always retreat. There is no shame in admitting that you lost. Humility goes a long way.

Don’t be arrogant and belittle people

Some people are just starting, and they won’t hit as hard as you do. However, life happens and people gain a lot of experience where they grow stronger and smarter. You’ll never know who will be a worthy competition or an important ally in the end game (or later in life). Choose to be kind, it doesn’t even cost a cent to do so.

We all have our own pace and potential

Some people shine early. They get promoted, recognized, and get awards early in their careers. Heroes like Cyclops, Selena, and Angela are always strong during the first part. Other people (and heroes like Gusion, Claude, and Roger) shine in the middle as they rise through the ranks and the tables start turning around.

However, some shine in the late game. People (and heroes like Hanabi, Irithel, and Lesley) hits harder when they are at their peak condition. I guess what I’m saying is take your time because you’ll shine when the time is right. All you have to do is grind and work on yourself for now.

Communication is key

You can’t expect people to read what’s on your mind (especially when you’re playing a MOBA game). Like I said earlier, teamwork (read: people) is the key to success. If there’s a problem, tell people what’s wrong and how they can be better. Take the initiative to call for backup or ask everyone to retreat when they’re in danger. Lead them when opportunities arise for your team to advance and take down your opponents. The main ingredient in winning in life (and in everything else) is communication.

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Even Microsoft listens to your Skype and Cortana recordings

Absolute privacy is a myth

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A couple of weeks back Apple admitted it listens to accidental triggers of Siri to analyze and improve user experience. They also added that none of the recordings are associated with the user’s identity. However, contractors tasked to listen to these recordings admit coming across clips that revealed personal data.

Now, even Microsoft admits it uses human contractors to review its users’ audio. The list of “listening” companies also includes Amazon, Facebook, and Google. If you want absolute privacy, going off-the-grid may be your only option.


Microsoft uses third-party contractors to listen to your voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana. The updated privacy statement says a human review is used to help build, train and improve the accuracy of its artificial intelligence systems.

Motherboard was the first one to come across the new updated policy and company pages for Skype Translator, Cortana, and Microsoft Support now also contain similar disclosures.

While other companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple have suspended these collections, Microsoft says it will “continue to examine further steps we might be able to take.” In simpler terms, “Screw you, we’ll continue doing it.”

The company also says the recordings may actually be subject to “transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors.”

Users are increasingly worried about online privacy since the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed. Technology companies have a huge chunk of our daily lives and many aren’t comfortable with it. Especially when privacy policies are complex and security loopholes are widely abused.

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Facebook will have dark mode for mobile

Things are looking bright for our eyes

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It seems Facebook is keen in joining the dark side, together with its fellow popular apps. Jane Manchun Wong, an app researcher, uncovered the tech giant’s plan to release the much-awaited dark mode.

Wong came across the unreleased dark mode for Android by looking in the code underneath, indicating that the tech giant has recently started implementing the feature. However, it seems that Facebook’s dark mode is still in its early stage of development.


While some users declared having it already on Facebook Watch, Wong emphasized that the dark mode is underway across the whole Facebook app.

There are no words yet from Facebook regarding dark mode nor its timeline for implementation. However, things are looking bright for our eyes that are hurt by bright lights should the tech giant implements the much-awaited feature. It’s only a matter of time before we embrace the dark.

See also:

Explaining OLED screens and Dark Mode
Here’s how you can enjoy Dark Mode on Facebook Messenger
Dark mode for Google Chrome is now available for Mac

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