It wasn’t that long ago that Google Hangouts Meet became simply Google Meet. We talked about that transition and what it likely means for the remains of Hangouts across the board already, so we’re not here to talk about that. Instead, the news of the day is that Google is making its G Suite Enterprise and Education video chat service – Google Meet – available for the general public over the next couple weeks. For free. For everyone.
Up to this point, Google Meet has been a product that was built for Enterprise and Education users, giving them a secure, flexible video meeting platform that flat-out delivers. We’ve internally used Google Meet for quite some time and I’ve even transitioned most group meetings I’ve had in quarantine over to Google Meet. As long as I have a G Suite account, I can invite and admit whoever I choose, with or without them having a Google account. The stability and security of this platform has been great and there has been no time limit on calls, so it has worked far better for my needs than competitors like Zoom.
Google is now rolling out the ability for any Google user to spin up a Meet call with all the same security and stability that G Suite users currently enjoy. This means calls of up to 100 users can last as long as needed on a platform that requires no downloads, no extensions, and can run completely in the browser. Google touts this as a far more secure approach to video conferencing, and the sheer number of users flocking to the service evidence that. They are reporting a 30X growth in peak daily usage since January, hosting a staggering 3 billion minutes of video calls per day. Oh, and they are adding a cool 3 million new users a day, too.
Seeing this growth and knowing they have a superior product that has been built out over time in a controlled environment, it seems Google is ready to finally get this superlative service out to the masses. As more and more of us are moving to video chats for everyday things, Google needs to move quickly on this. Zoom has captured the collective public mind share for video chats, but as we’ve highlighted prior, its just not the best platform for it. Up until now, Google didn’t really offer an alternative. Duo is great, but it is for small groups and really tailored to one-on-one calls like Facetime.
<!– –>While Zoom has its flaws and is working hard to fix them, they left the door open for Microsoft and Google both to respond, and both are doing so. While Microsoft can leverage its Office Suite muscle to push users to Teams, Google is now doing the same with its Gmail dominance, making Google Meet a baked-in part of the Gmail and Google Calendar experience as this all rolls out. Users ready to start or schedule a meeting will be able to do so from inside Google’s already-existing products and this will help adoption happen even faster.<!– –>
If you’ve not used Google Meet before, here’s a quick rundown on how it will work. Google will require the initiator of the meeting to have a Google account; that much is not going to change. All the other participants won’t be required to, but there has to be one Google account to get things started. You’ll be able to schedule a Google Meet in Gmail or in the Calendar and then either send out invites to other users or simply send the URL for the meeting. For those who are explicitly invited, they can simply enter once the meeting starts. For those who have the link, they will need to be granted access by default. No ‘Zoombombing’ here. Inside the meeting you can chat, present your screen, and change layout preferences. Newly added is the ability to see a Zoom-like grid as well.
<!– –>What’s been probably the most impressive part of Google Meet, however, is the stability and usability of the platform. With nothing to install or download, it is easily the best quality video chat we’ve used. Now that it is free for everyone to leverage, I imagine it will really skyrocket in its use. From our time with it up to now, that is only a good thing. Look for Google Meet to begin showing up in your account over the next few weeks and, when it does, give it a spin. You’ll love it.
<!– –>SOURCE: The Keyword
Apple buys machine lelearninganing company to improve Siri – Macworld UK
According to reports Apple has purchased a company that will help with its development of Siri – Apple’s voice control operated virtual assistant.
Apple took over machine learning company Inductiv in April 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.
Apple confirmed the takeover of Iductiv with its standard statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans”.
Inductiv has developed a technology that can detect and eliminate errors in large amounts of data. According to Bloomberg: “Having clean data is important for machine learning, a popular and powerful type of AI that helps software improve with less human invention.”
One of the co-founders Ihab Ilyas is a University of Waterloo university professor with interests in the fields of Big Data, machine learning and data curation. He is also the co-founder of a similar startup called Tamr, which deals with data cleansing. The other co-founders are also machine learning experts: University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor Theodoros Rekatsinas and Stanford University associate professor Christopher Re.
Three Inductiv employees (Josh McGrath, Mina Farid, Ryan Clancy) have changed their LinkedIn profiles to state that they have been with Apple since April 2020.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.
Toronto-based duo create custom puzzles
A duo of award-winning Toronto-based creatives has found a unique way to support local businesses while providing hours of engagement to fill Canadians’ increased downtime.
Paddy Harrington, creative designer and founder of Frontier, and Rich Pauptit, celebrated printer and president of Flash Reproductions, are teaming up with independent Canadian businesses and artists who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to create custom thematic jigsaw puzzles.
“Puzzle sales have skyrocketed as people look for engaging things to do at home,” explains Harrington. “We believe that people would prefer to do puzzles of their favourite local spots, while also supporting those businesses–and PieceTogether was born.”
Each 300-piece PieceTogether puzzle features an image from a local business and sells for $35, with $15 from every puzzle sold going directly to the business. Customers are able to offer additional donations at checkout.
Since launching on May 27, PieceTogether has partnered with local businesses like Rosalinda Restaurant, Dora Keogh Irish Pub, The Cameron House, Renya, Shacklands Brewing Co., and Stackt market.
According to sources like Calgary’s Castle Toys, puzzle sales have increased by as much as 370 per cent in the last year, and while those numbers are likely to decrease as the Canadian economy gradually reopens, PieceTogether can continue to provide a valuable revenue stream for businesses and artists as they attempt to adjust to the new landscape.
“Even as restrictions ease, many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss; it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” Pauptit adds. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down. With PieceTogether puzzles, you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses. Plus, it’s a special keepsake that people will enjoy for years to come.”
Independent businesses and artists from across Canada can participate by setting up a profile and uploading an image to create their own custom puzzle.
Source: – Eat North
Now you can buy puzzles of Toronto businesses – NOW Magazine
In Toronto, puzzles have become an increasingly popular pandemic pastime. Seemingly endless time indoors means we’re all partying like it’s 1799, with local gift and game shops having a hard time keeping puzzles in stock.
A new Toronto startup wants to combine our newly-minted jones for jigsaws with the opportunity to help out struggling small businesses. PieceTogether is a new project that creates jigsaw puzzles featuring images of beloved local businesses – and gives $15 from every $35 sale directly back to the business.
“Even as restrictions ease many of these smaller businesses will still have to operate at a loss, it’s going to be difficult for a long time,” said co-founder Rich Pauptit in a release. “It’s just devastating to think that some of our favourite neighbourhood places to visit may have to close down.”
By buying a puzzle, he adds, “you get something fun to do at home as well as an easy way to support these vital independent businesses.”
Among the first wave of puzzles available for purchase: The Cameron House’s iconic exterior, the leafy cocktail bar Reyna, a cool bottle of beer from Shacklands, and a bird’s eye view of Stackt, with even more on the way. Check out the full lineup here.
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