Thurrott Daily: December 10

Thurrott Daily: December 10
This isn’t the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me. But it’s close.

Good morning. Here are some more tidbits from around the Internets today.

12/10/2015 11:43:05 AM

Skype Translator now supports Brazilian Portuguese

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Skype announcement:

Starting today, Skype Translator will include Brazilian Portuguese as one of its seven spoken languages offered for speech-to-speech translation.

With Brazilian Portuguese as one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, today’s news is yet another step in Skype’s mission to help people connect through conversation simply and easily, regardless of where you are in the world, and what language you speak.

12/10/2015 11:34:50 AM

Google Photos gets a shared albums feature

I love Google Photos and it’s been very interesting watching this service just get better and better. Today, Google announced a new feature, shared albums.

Today we’re introducing shared albums in Google Photos—a fast and simple way to pool your photos and videos that makes it easier to bring everyone’s memories together.

With the launch of Google Photos in May, we made it simpler to share images and albums by sending links over SMS, email, or messaging apps. With today’s launch, you can now make the albums you send collaborative. People receiving the shared album can join to add their own photos and videos, and also get notifications when new pics are added. You can even save photos and videos from a shared album to your Google Photos library, so that you can hold onto them even if you weren’t the one holding the camera.

There’s no setup—select photos, make an album and then send the link off to whomever you’d like. And it works no matter what device your friends and family are using—tablet or laptop, Android or iPhone.

Shared albums is rolling out today on Android, iOS and the web.

12/10/2015 11:22:43 AM

Microsoft reportedly will let Cortana “float around” Windows 10 in future update

As the Verge reports.

Microsoft is experimenting with having Cortana float around Windows 10.

This floating mechanism would allow Cortana to appear on top of documents, contextually, and provide information and assistance. We’re told it’s more of a powerful search tool, than an annoying animated character like Clippy. If Microsoft pushes ahead with its Cortana plans then the digital assistant will be able to control even more Windows features, like the ability to mute all incoming notifications quickly.

Tom doesn’t use Android, so he neglects to mention that this is clearly a ripoff of the Android “badge” feature, which lets apps (like Facebook and OneNote) pop-up little circular UIs onscreen, and outside of the app.

Microsoft ships big updates for Groove and Movies & TV on Windows 10 Mobile

I don’t normally cover individual app updates because that’s a waste of your time, and I’m not into just cutting and pasting Microsoft blog posts. But these two app updates will be interesting to fans of Microsoft’s entertainment apps.

The Groove update is huge, so I won’t list all the improvements here. But some of the big ones include the ability to sort songs and albums by date added, swipe access for the hamburger menu (ideal for one-handed use), press-and-hold to reorder songs in a playlist, download progress in the title bar, and better Continuum support.

Movies & TV picks up cast and crew information on movie and TV show details pages, an improved download experience and error messaging, and automatic queuing of the TV episode for purchased TV series.

Wal-mart is entering the mobile payments business

Everyone’s favorite mega-retailer is getting into mobile payments, the New York Times reports.

Walmart is jumping into the crowded mobile payments business with a service called Walmart Pay, the retailer’s bid to gain the upper hand from the tech giants Apple, Samsung and Google in the next generation of consumer convenience.

Walmart Pay will be integrated into its existing smartphone app.

“Soon, customers can leave only with their keys and smartphone to shop at their local Walmart,” said Neil Ashe, Walmart’s e-commerce chief. “It’s fast, easy and secure.”

One thing they won’t leave with, of course, is their dignity.

Tim Cook disses Chromebook

Which means, of course, that Apple will market a Chromebook-like device in about two years, if history is any guide.

From Buzzfeed:

Google’s Chromebooks have overtaken Apple products as the most popular devices in American classrooms, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will not be following the search giant’s approach to the education market.

Cook [called] the cheap laptops that have proliferated through American classrooms mere “test machines.”

“We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no,” Cook said. “We create products that are whole solutions for people — that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.”

Sure. But this little fact is perhaps more pertinent:

By the end of 2015, according to Google, there will be more Chromebooks in schools than all other devices combined.

And I like that Buzzfeed contradicts Cook’s assertion too. The guy comes off as some southern gentlemen, but he’s really just a marketing guy.

Testing alone does not explain the surge in popularity of Chromebooks, which had just a 1% share of the education market in 2012. They are less than half as expensive as iPads. And they integrate seamlessly with Google’s Apps for Education.


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