Google Endows Assistant with More App Smarts
Google today announced a comprehensive update to the Google Assistant. Most of the changes are meant for developers, but everyone will benefit from Assistant's improved ability to interact with third-party applications. To start, Assistant will help people find apps in a more seamless and natural way. For example, updates to the app directory will surface trending sections that change over time. New subcategories are on deck, as well, which will break down directories to provide more fine-tuned results. Google says it is able to do this by using the description developers provide for their apps and keyboard match that text with spoken voice queries made by end users. Finding apps will be aided by implicit discovery, as well, or the ability to connect with an app using contextual queries, such as "fix my bike." Developers will have access to badges that call out family-friendly apps, as well as expanded international support thanks to the addition of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Other changes target how apps use Assistant to interact directly with people, such as transferring phone calls from the Google Home to a smartphone. Apps will have new powers for handling the end of conversations, such as providing polite or informative farewells, cancelling requests, and finding the right time to suggest account linking. Last, Google wants to ensure developers and their Assistant-powered apps are engaging with users. Moving forward, apps will be able to provide daily updates, gentle suggestions, and push notifications (thanks to a new API.) For example, Google says developers will be able to send alerts via Assistant about upcoming sales or discounts to those who've expressed interest. Google is encouraging developers to put these new tools to use within their Assistant-connected apps. Google hopes the end result will be more useful and informative apps for end users that are discovered and accessed via Google Assistant.
Apple Says iOS 12 Will Be Faster, Work Better On Older iPhones
Jun 4, 2018
Apple today announced iOS 12, its next-generation platform for the iPhone and iPad. Apple says it spent time improving the performance of the operating system, which in claims will work well on iPhones and iPads that went on sale as far back as 2013.
Facebook Makes Sweeping Changes to Data Collection Policies as It Admits Cambridge Analytica Breach Impacted 87M
Apr 4, 2018
Facebook today made significant changes to its platform as it continues to deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica breach. To start, the company now believes Cambridge Analytica was given improper access to the data of as many as 87 million people, mostly U.S.
Apple Reveals iOS 10 Features
Jun 13, 2016
Apple today showed off iOS 10, what it calls the biggest release of iOS ever for both end users and developers. To start, the platform changes up the lock screen, making it easier to access the camera, notifications, Control Center, and widgets.
Apple Announces iOS 11 with Person-to-Person Apple Pay
Jun 5, 2017
Apple today debuts iOS 11, its next-generation mobile operating system. Starting with messages, iOS 11 introduces improved discoverability for stickers and emoji.
Facebook Tweaks Trending News and Expands Fundraising
May 24, 2017
Facebook updated several of its offerings today, including how it handles trending news and supports fundraising campaigns. Facebook says it has redesigned its trending news function with the goal of surfacing higher-quality content in the news box.