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Google Lens is now available on iOS

Scan all of the things!

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A master at recognizing images, Google is the go-to guy when you want to find out more about a photo. Last year’s launch of Google Lens packed the tech into a convenient app. Now, the former Android exclusive finds a home in iOS.

Launched late last year, the image recognition software followed in the footsteps of the Google Goggles from years ago. Back then, Google Goggles was just a playful way to see if Google knew what something is when you took a photo of it. Its novelty quickly ran out.

Of course, now we know that Google can really tell what objects in a photo are. Sorting images by subject is already a feature on Google Photos.

Google Lens promises similar features to its predecessor, powered by AI technology. It differs from the former by integrating Google Assistant when it recognizes an object. Did you just a take a photo of a Crowne Plaza? Well, Google Lens can reserve you a night’s stay with a few clicks.

When it launched, Google Lens was still an Android exclusive. Now, following an announcement on Twitter, Google will launch the tech on iOS over the course of the next few weeks. Some devices already have the app fully integrated into the iOS version of Google Photos.

Google only warns that users who want the feature should have the latest version of Google Photos (v3.15).

AI-powered image recognition is still an imperfect tool. It has its fair share of mistakes. However, at least, the move to iOS makes the tech available for a wider public.

SEE ALSO: Google announces three new photography apps

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LinkedIn launches its digital skills initiative

14 learning paths to choose from

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In this day and age, learning a new skill is important as the economy adjusts to a new normal. The Internet makes learning a new skill easy, with learners simply having to search Google to get started. However, it can be hard to gather the proper resources needed to effectively and efficiently learn a new skill.

To that end, LinkedIn has launched a new global skill initiative. It aims to easily and effortlessly bring digital skills to 25 million people by the end of 2020. To mark the initiative, the company has already launched 10 new learning paths for free.

LinkedIn based these paths on jobs that are in-demand for the economy of today and the future. These jobs also have the greatest number of job openings on LinkedIn, have the highest growth over the years, and pays a livable wage. Plus, most of these jobs rely on skills that can be learned online.

The 10 learning paths from these jobs are as follow:

The company is also launching four learning paths designed for professionals looking to expand on their soft skills. These paths include:

Other job-seeking features

In addition to these new learning paths, LinkedIn will also introduce three new features to help job seekers in these difficult times. The first feature is #OpentoWork, where job seekers can indicate that they are open to a new job through specific photo frames on their profile picture.

There’s also the second feature called offer help. LinkedIn members can indicate in a post that they’re willing to help other members in their network. Members can offer help ranging from connecting other people, reviewing resumes, or providing general job-seeking guidance.

Finally, LinkedIn is launching an interview prep. Through this feature, the company is offering its interview preparation tools including an AI-powered feedback feature for free.

Job seekers and employers can also gain access to some labor market insights from LinkedIn’s economic graph. These insights will help them find new jobs, other employers hiring for a position, and on-demand skills from over 180 regions across the world. It can be accessed through this link.

The current times call for an emphasis on cultivating skills that will be useful under the new normal. LinkedIn’s learning paths are a great way to start on a journey to learning a new skill. There are more learning paths and features that the company is offering which can be accessed by visiting this website.

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Grab kickstarts growth of digital economy in the Philippines

Here’s how Grab can help small businesses sell more

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For almost a decade, Grab affixed itself as a staple in Filipinos’ lives. The ride-hailing app’s advent revolutionized mobility in the Philippines, making living in the metro relatively convenient.

In 2020, Grab takes things a step further, launching Small Business Booster Program. Moreover, the company partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Grab is aiming to support local businesses in their transition to a growing digital economy. It seeks to bridge the gap between MSMEs and consumers relying on digital-based services. Furthermore, it kickstarted initiatives that are accessible to small business owners — particularly mom-and-pops or independent, family-owned businesses.

Transitioning to digital services

“Small, independent businesses are the backbone of our economy,” according to Grab Philippines Brian Cu.

Believing that supporting government initiatives will help these businesses rejuvenate the economy amid the pandemic, the Small Business Booster Program strives to provide digital support to businesses, such as GrabMerchant.

This all-in-one platform helps business owners augment their customer base efficiently. Some features include Insights — providing analytics to a merchant’s sales, marketing campaigns, and its customers’ profile and buying behavior.

There’s also an ads creation tool, which allows merchant-partners to create their own advertisements and track performance in Grab’s platform.

GrabMerchant is available to existing Grab merchant-partners as an app. A web portal is already in the works, which will roll out by the end of August 2020. Currently, there are over 78,000 merchant-partners onboarded in the Grab app across Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, Grab recorded almost 12,000 merchants between March and June 2020, with small businesses seeing at least 57 percent growth in their online revenues. Interested merchants can sign up through this link.

Photo by Grab Philippines

Free, personalized ads

Aside from GrabMerchant’s Ads creation tool, Grab is committed to supporting Filipino merchants with advertising solutions. Most merchant-partners saw up to 300 percent return on ad spend, after placing an ad on GrabFood’s homepage.

Through its “Homegrown Heroes” initiative, Grab will create personalized ads for over 1,000 merchant-partners, featuring their businesses for five weeks on the most prominent spaces within the app. Costs and resources required to produce materials will be covered by Grab.

An easy way to receive payments

If you’re a social seller, take advantage of Grab’s Offline to Online (O2O) Merchant Support Program. Businesses with no online presence can set up their online stores, and utilize an integrated GrabPay checkout for virtual payments through a landing page on Grab.com.

Since the lockdown, people turned to social selling for sustenance. However, online selling plies with tricky payment methods. Grab aims to ease purchasing and receiving payments through its Remote GrabPay link solution, where sellers can hand out URLs to their customers.

These links will allow customers to make direct payments from their GrabPay Wallet, which sellers receive easily. Access the service through this link.

Connecting rural entrepreneurs

Grab is also leveraging its leadership in technology and innovation to help expand livelihood opportunities to Filipino farmers across the country.

It has been actively working with local governments in helping traditional ecosystems maintain their presence in a growing digital economy. Together with the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita program and the Department of Tourism’s Philippine Harvest Initiative, Grab seeks to create an avenue for Filipino farmers to earn through the Grab platform. More importantly, their fresh produce will be delivered to customers across Metro Manila.

To learn more about Grab’s response in the COVID-19 impact, check their social report, Grab for Good through this link.

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Indian telco launches a Zoom rip-off and it’s free

Definitely worth giving it a shot!

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Jio, India’s leading telecom operator has recently been in the news for a lot of reasons. The company has more than 30 percent of the telecom market in India and it intends to pivot, unlike any other telco we’ve ever seen.

The company has launched a Zoom alternative called JioMeet. The video conferencing app is expected to get a lot of traction amid calls to increase self-dependence and reduce the consumption of foreign products. However, it seems like the Jio team took too much inspiration from Zoom and thought of just directly mimicking it.

The app looks almost identical to Zoom’s offering, except for the minor color change here and there. The app is one of many in Jio’s portfolio.

However, the app offers a lot of high-end features like unlimited free calls in HD and supports for 100 participants in one go. Additionally, JioMeet does not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration.

On Zoom, you’d require a premium account to disable the 40-minute restriction on calls. Thankfully, the app is available on the Play Store and App Store for download directly, and no coupons or invite links are needed.

For security and privacy reasons, all its meetings are password protected. The host has the control to send the uninvited guests to the “Waiting Room” to ensure no gatecrashing. Obviously, standard features like screen sharing have also been included.

For desktop usage, the service can also be accessed through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. On its official website, JioMeet claims all the meetings are “encrypted”.

In the last two months, the telecom operator has raised billion in funding from global investors like Facebook. The company also owns JioSaavn music streaming service and has its own entertainment unit that offers movies, shows, as well as live TV.

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