We’re not used to seeing so many hardware announcements from Google at once, which made the major event earlier today all the more special. It’s not going to be something we’ll fondly remember eight years from now (ahem, Google Senior VP), there were several needle-moving products unveiled. Let’s see which ones are hot, and which are not.
HIT: Google’s first real crack at smartphones
This is a given. When you’re willing to kill off your signature device lineup, the replacement has to be worth the sacrifice. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL stand as the new role models for all things Android, and it’s not just because of the high-end specs.
Their real highlight is the introduction of Google Assistant, which is Google Now on steroids. By using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand your every move, the virtual companion is a lot more intuitive than Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri.
Another highlighted feature is their shared camera. While it doesn’t stand out for its features — there’s only a single lens and no optical image stabilization — the shooter gets lots of praise for topping the highly respected DxOMark rankings for smartphone cameras.
MISS: No Pixel tablet in sight
It was a bit of a long shot, but we were expecting an Android tablet to be announced alongside the Pixel phones. Rumors have stated that there’s going to be a Huawei-made slate in the works under Google’s guidance, yet not even a hint was made during the event.
Having a new Google-designed tablet to erase the memory of the overpriced Pixel C would be great. There’s a possible theory why the announcement was pushed to a later date; we’ll discuss that in the next miss.
HIT: Daydream View is the VR headset we’ve been waiting for
With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive already available and Sony’s PlayStation VR headset coming out soon, virtual reality in our homes is finally a thing. Sadly, it’s an expensive thing. And even though Samsung offers a cheaper alternative in the Gear VR, the exclusivity with top-shelf Galaxy handsets prevents mass sales. Daydream View will sort of change that.
Emphasis on sort of, because a smartphone has to be Daydream-compatible to work with Google’s stylish headset. As of now, only the Pixel handsets and a handful of other smartphones are ready for Daydream. It apparently takes a lot of guts to handle Google’s pumped-up Cardboard.
What makes this a hit for us is the design and price. Fork over $79 when it goes on sale in November, and you get the comfy-looking headset bundled with a motion-sensing controller that has a touchpad and two buttons. It’s a complete solution for anyone wanting to dive into mainstream VR without spending too much. Oh, and it works with eyeglasses on!
MISS: No Andromeda operating system yet
This one disappointed us the most. We were spoiled by the news from last week, only for it to fly over the event without even a squeak. We’re talking about Google’s rumored Andromeda operating system, which is expected to merge Android and Chrome OS.
Introducing a mobile system catered to convertible notebooks would definitely shake up the crappy battle for market dominance between Windows 10 and iOS. Neither of Microsoft or Apple’s operating systems truly fit into the convertible mold, and are better off in desktops and tablets, respectively.
By putting together an ecosystem based on Android and Chrome OS, Andromeda could eventually fill in the gaps for ever-evolving convertibles. Although fragmented, Android still does a decent job of working fluidly across thousands of varied smartphone and tablet hardware, and an open-source Andromeda could one day do the same for hybrid laptops.
The delay in announcing Andromeda probably explains why Google didn’t bother introducing a flagship tablet or convertible, as mentioned earlier. The Nexus 9 tablet is too old for showcasing a fresh OS, and the Pixel C is better left forgotten.
HIT: A collection of home products
Google isn’t just after your pockets (as in putting its Pixel phones in your pockets, not taking your money — but the latter makes sense, too), the search giant also wants to take over your home, and will do so with Google Home, Google Wifi, and Chromecast Ultra.
Google Home is the company’s answer to Amazon’s Echo, letting you communicate with your connected devices through voice commands. With it installed at the center of your place, you may control your music, make it stream movies for you, and even have it answer questions about everyday things. It’s good at knowing what you need, thanks to Google’s intelligently adaptive Assistant. It’ll cost only $129, and will ship beginning November 4.
Google Wifi does what you’d expect, but better. It’s a router that makes use of multiple access points to cover all the dead spots in a house or office. Everything still connects to one central internet host, and it’s smart enough to optimize your wireless connection depending on where you’re staying. It also has a price tag of $129, and will be available some time in November.
Finally, we have the Chromecast Ultra. If you’re familiar with previous Chromecast products, all you need to know is that the newest generation can now handle 4K streaming, HDR content, and Dolby Vision. Plus, it has an Ethernet port in case your Wi-Fi connection isn’t good enough. For those unfamiliar with Chromecast, it’s a little round device you can plug into your television to watch online content. It’ll retail for $69, and will come out in November, just in time for Google Play Movies’ 4K streaming debut.
[irp posts=”8314" name=”5 Reasons why I love Google Home”]
FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns
Taking social media by storm
FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.
Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.
Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp
Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.
After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!
Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.
You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?
Is our security compromised?
FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.
A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.
Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.
BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp:
Because millions of Americans have used it
It’s owned by a Russia-based company
And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data pic.twitter.com/cejLLwBQcr
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.
At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.
5 accredited Airbnbs you can book in Boracay
Life is always better at the beach
Boracay is one of the Philippines’ most beautiful islands. Every tourist dreams of seeing its majestic sunsets and enjoy its heavenly white sands.
After Boracay’s rehabilitation in 2018, the Department of Tourism of the Philippines has limited the number of tourists arriving in the island, hence, every traveler must present proof of booking from an accredited accommodation.
Most Airbnbs in Boracay aren’t accredited yet. Thus, we prepared a list so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Bianca’s Garden Apartment
If you’re looking for a safe haven away from the crowd, then you should stay at Bianca’s Garden Apartment! Located at the quiet side of Station 3, the apartment is situated on a peaceful hilltop side of Boracay. Despite being situated at a distance from the popular tourist attractions, it’s still just a few minutes away from the center.
Tropicana Ocean Villa
Families can enjoy this entire villa by Tropicana Oceana. It’s a home perched gracefully on a slope, offering a beautiful and panoramic view. In addition, it’s situated in Din-i-wid beach, ensuring a serene and relaxed atmosphere away from the typical Boracay buzz.
Apartment 3, Sheridan Villas
For those looking for a homey place, Apartment 3 in Sheridan Villas is the place to go. It’s suitable for groups, and it’s also just a few minutes away from the white beach area in Station 3. Furthermore, you can bring your friends and families to nearby restaurants and eat to your heart’s content.
Bamboo Bungalows Rest House
Bamboo Bungalows screams tropical and nature, adorned with a little bit of sleek and contemporary. Located at Station 2, this place might be ideal for couples wanting an oasis surrounded by lush greenery, but it’s also great for solo travelers seeking tranquility. Nonetheless, Bamboo Bungalows are best for those who want to take a retreat whilst still near all the adventures Boracay has to offer.
Marrakesh Resort: Ocean View with Balcony
Located at the picturesque Station 1, Marrakesh Resort offers a stunning view of the beach and breathtaking sunsets. It also lets you experience Morocco through its themed rooms, restaurants, and bar serving Mezze and delicious cocktails. Enjoy a romantic getaway in one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Friends is leaving Netflix for HBO Max
This is a huge blow to Netflix
Friends is officially leaving Netflix. Earlier this year, there were rumors that Netflix will lose Friends. It was officially confirmed when WarnerMedia — who owns Friends’ distribution rights — launched HBO Max as the new home for the well-loved TV series.
Along with Friends, titles such as Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air will be streamed when HBO Max launches in spring of 2020. The streaming service is positioning itself to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
The show won’t depart the streaming giant until later this year so you and your friends can still binge-watch until then. On the other hand, Netflix might take a huge blow from this since Friends is one of the most watched shows, according to research by Jumpshot.
More and more companies are capitalizing on video-streaming apps and services with paid video offerings. On a larger scale, this isn’t just a problem for Netflix but for the whole industry as well. Users might find it expensive to maintain multiple subscriptions and might resort to piracy instead. Sure as hell, we won’t pay three different subscriptions just to watch my favorite shows.
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