Apps

Waze is shutting down offices in the Asia-Pacific region

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Through good times and bad, Waze has persistently helped the Philippine driving community in avoiding trouble spots and finding unknown detours. Unfortunately, the coronavirus-borne stay-at-home orders have significantly reduced the app’s usage. Naturally, the Google-owned navigation app is taking some drastic measures. Announced today, Waze is shutting down offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to an internal email acquired by The Verge, Waze CEO Noam Bardin has decided to significantly reduce operations in several departments and select regions. Most of the reduced roles come from the company’s sales, partnerships, and marketing teams. Geographically, the company is closing on-the-ground sales offices in Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia.

The decision aims to retarget the company’s focus towards “key markets that drive 93 percent of the revenue and carry 95 percent of the KMDs [they] sell in.” Moreover, the reduction confirms that, despite the intense usage in the country, the Philippines is not a key revenue area for the company.

Thankfully, Waze will still continue operations in the area “via increased investments in Waze Local Starter”. Currently, it is unclear whether the reduction will cause any tangible effects in the country. At the very least, the company is not completely leaving the country.

In today’s world, everyone is undoubtedly trading Waze for Zoom. Mobility services have suffered drastically from the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At this point, it’s inevitable that companies are taking steps to mitigate revenue losses. Besides laying employees off, Waze has also initiated new promotions and initiatives, including a partnership with DC Comics.

SEE ALSO: Waze gets a new look!

Apps

Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

Cheaper and exclusive to Siri

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With voice technology today, using an interface feels less of a necessity now. The tech world can now control their favorite apps completely hands-free with only the power of their voices. Is it finally time to ditch the user interface? Apple seems to think so. Apple Music has launched a new plan, allowing users to control the app using only their voice.

Subscribed to the new Apple Music Voice Plan, users will have access to the streaming platform’s gallery of over 90 million songs and Apple Music Radio.

To complement the introduction of voice-centric features, Apple Music is also getting a boost of new playlist and mood functions. Subscribers can use Siri to play music customized to specific activities and moods. Apple specifically mentioned examples like “Play something chill” or “Play a playlist for hiking.” Though obviously optimized for voice, the new feature is available for every Apple Music subscriber.

 

Currently, the new plan will launch for only a selected slate of launch countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Apple Music Voice Plan will cost US$ 4.99 per month. The regular individual plan costs US$ 9.99. Finally, the family plan (available for up to six accounts) sells for US$ 14.99.

SEE ALSO: Apple Music could soon support HiFi audio streaming

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iShop: One-stop solution for Brother’s products

Get those printers, sewing machines, and cartridges!

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Fans of Brother, assemble!

Brother Philippines has just introduced iShop — a new feature on the brand’s Customer Plus App serving as a one-stop solution for all Brother products.

The new feature puts together Brother’s available products. From inkjet and mono laser printers, label makers, sewing machines, to consumables like an ink cartridge. You can access iShop by tapping the shopping cart icon on the Customer Plus homepage, which will allow you to purchase products through Brother’s authorized dealers and partners.

Moreover, you can shop for Brother products on other e-commerce channels, which is also accessible from the feature. Furthermore, you can opt to reserve or purchase products from physical stores. So you can pick it up on your preferred schedule.

The iShop feature is now available on Brother’s Customer Plus App. The app can be downloaded on Google’s Play Store and the App Store.

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Pixel 6 will reportedly have a Magic Eraser feature

It can erase strangers from photos

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Taking photos at a crowded location is usually a problem for most tourists. Most of the time, you’ll end up taking photos with unwanted strangers in the background. In worse situations, someone might even bomb your photos on purpose. Luckily, with artificial intelligence now, getting perfect photos is easier. To show its power in AI technology, the upcoming Pixel 6 series will reportedly have a Magic Eraser feature.

Accidentally shared by retailer website Carphone Warehouse (and preserved through Wayback Machine), the upcoming flagship series will sport a flurry of camera features. Though the series will have the standard array of photography improvements, the most notable feature is an upcoming Magic Eraser which will “remove strangers and unwanted objects in Google Photos.”

To anyone familiar with photography software, this is already possible especially through Adobe Photoshop’s healing tool. However, getting the feature natively in a smartphone is a big step especially for tourists who might not have access to Photoshop.

Besides the feature, the accidental webpage reveals a lot of details about the upcoming flagship series. Of course, it’s not a big reveal anymore. Google itself has already shared more about the Pixel 6 series more than the leaks. The series will officially launch on October 19 in a launch event.

SEE ALSO: Pixel Pass bundles a Pixel 6 with a subscription service

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