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Google Launches Google Go, Android Oreo Go And Maps Update

Ramya GovindRaj

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Google, one of the worlds largest technology giants announced multiple new launches today at its annual “Google for India” event. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Google Maps Update
The technology giant launched a new feature in the Indian version of Google Maps for users traveling on motorbikes. The latest update, Motorcycle Mode, will alert users in the case on any roadblock or parking related issues near their destination.

The new feature is placed alongside the earlier alternatives car, foot, public transport and train. In order to show the Estimated Time Of Arrival (ETA,) the company is using the data collected exclusively from the riders and not the data collected from four wheelers commuting on the road. Google is also customizing routing and voice guided navigation for the Indian market and the update is being rolled out to the Google Maps app. The feature seeks to help bikers in the country find the route most suitable for their vehicles. In a country like India, where a substantial chunk of the country’s workforce travels on motorbikes, launching such a service will help loads of travelers.

Google Go
To give unified Google experience to Internet users with low end handsets the company also launched Google Go. The app will provide users access to multiple Google services such as Search, Voice Search, GIFs, YouTube, Translate and Maps. According to the company, there are nearly 400 million Internet users in India consuming over 4GB of data per month.

Speaking at the company’s third annual “Google for India” event, Google’s Vice President of South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan said, “There are 230 million Indian language users online on Google today and 170 million of them are using our messaging service. Yet, we have over 900 million Indians who aren’t connected to Internet. Our mission is connectivity for every Indian. We’ll stay focused until every single Indian is connected.”

Android Oreo Go
Google also revealed a new operating system for low cost smartphones, Android Oreo Go, to help improve the experience on entry level phones. Android Go will be available for any handset with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. The new update will be available over the next few months and will have an average 15 % faster app startup time. All the preloaded apps will also be optimized to take up 50%  less space on the available storage and users will also be able to store an extra 1,000 photos.

Files Go
After beta testing the Files Go feature last month, Google officially launched the new feature to help free up space on smartphones. Files Go is pre installed on Go edition devices and seeks to help users find files faster and share files offline with people in the vicinity. Files Go is also equipped to create a closed network accessible only by approved smartphones and is said to be 200 times faster than Bluetooth transfers.

With multiple announcements catering specifically to the Indian market, it seems like Google is very serious about its expansion in the country. The Vice President of the Next Billion Users, Caesar Sengupta also added Google is now working on offering WiFi hotspots across Indian cities. 

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Virgin Hyperloop To Transform Indian Transportation System!

Smruthi Kishore

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Sir Richard Branson led transportation startup Virgin Hyperloop, has signed a framework agreement with the Maharashtra Government to build a Hyperloop transport system between Mumbai and Pune. The high speed travel system will reduce the travel time between the two cities to 25 minutes from the current travel time of 3 hours.
The installation of this system, combined with an operational demonstration track would make India the first country to host a hyperloop system. India may also debut the high speed transport system before Middle East, Northern Europe or even the United States of America. However, it may take at least another 3 years to complete the test run and 6 more years to start commercial operations.
During the Magnetic Maharashtra event, Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One chairman, Sir Richard Branson announced the framework agreement in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis. At present, Virgin Hyperloop has the capacity to travel up to 1,000 km per hour. However, according to reports, the current Hyperloop system is expected to function at 350 km per hour.
The route is likely to come up in parallel to the Mumbai Pune Expressway and will be built without any resettlement of residential areas. The project will begin after six months of assessment on the feasibility and durability. This initial period of six months will define details like route alignment, environmental impact and commercial viability of the project. Only after the initial study will the work on the construction of the Hyperloop begin.
The demonstration track will be constructed in two to three years and serve as a platform for testing, certifying, and regulating the system for commercial operations. The second phase will target to complete construction of the full Pune Mumbai route by 2025. With easier access to airport roads, the Hyperloop will be able to ferry across 150 million passengers. The result of this Hyperloop is to ensure the creation of a connection between nearly 72 million people across Maharashtra, Pune and Karnataka.

“The proposed Hyperloop transportation system will transform the transportation system and make Maharashtra a global pioneer in the space. The socioeconomic benefits of the project is $55 billion (Rs. 3,54,750 crore),” Branson said, claiming that the project will create thousands of jobs.

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How To Use WhatsApp Payments Feature In India

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WhatsApp the online messaging service launched their payments feature on Sunday. The United Payment Interface, UPI platform, is now live on the iOS as well as on Android devices. It is interesting to note here, India is the first country in the world to get this feature! So far, this feature has only been made available in the beta version and will soon be made available in the updated versions.

With the introduction of the payments option, WhatsApp has become more than just a messaging service. The newly rolled out payments feature lets users transfer money to their WhatsApp contacts through the app. By introducing this feature, these UPI based payments feature is squashing all competition and other online wallets in India. Further, this feature also allows users to transfer money directly from their bank accounts to anyone instantly.

WhatsApp payments option is now available in two places on the app, settings option and below the attachment icon when you open a particular chat. It is very similar to other mobile wallets like Paytm, Mobikwick and Tez. However, WhatsApp payments app as of now does not support payment option for merchants. This feature can only be used for bank to bank money transfer.

Things to keep in mind before using WhatsApp UPI feature on your phone
* The foremost factor that the sender should keep in mind is that user’s WhatsApp number should be the same as the number linked to the bank account along with UPI option activated.
* Before using the payments feature the sender and the receiver must ensure both their phones have the latest WhatsApp version.
Here is how you can use the app
For Android users the payments option is already available. However, iOS users will eventually get the feature in the upcoming days. Users can head on to settings and select the payments option, or users can also directly go to the chatbox of the contact they wish to transfer money and select the payments option. Users can verify their UPI option activated phone number via SMS, or simply create a UPI account with a pin via WhatsApp.
The advantage of the WhatsApp payments feature is the ease of tracking the payment via the payment history option. WhatsApp also notifies the sender and the receiver about the money transfer. This peer to peer payment service would be available for every user soon. This application makes it easier for businesses to connect with customers and vice versa. The major purpose of this feature is to ensure the widespread usability of WhatsApp.

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Is The Cryptocurrency And Bitcoin Era Over?

Smruthi Kishore

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Cryptocurrencies saw a sudden rise in the recent times. At present, there are atleast ten popular digital currencies that are ruling the virtual currency industry, with Bitcoin standing on the top. However, despite reaching a high valuation of $ 20,000 in December, the value of Bitcoin dipped by more than 50 % on Friday.

Bitcoin’s price dipped below $8,000 for the first time in 11 weeks in the midst of a broader cryptocurrency sell off. On 2 February, 2018, the value of Bitcoin dipped to $ 7,695.10. Even though it bounced back and regained some of its lost value, Bitcoin stands a little over $ 8,000, the only lowest position in its history.
This is not the first time Bitcoin fell by such an enormous percentage. This has happened not once, but five times in the past and each time, Bitcoin has bounced back with renewed vigour and strength. What is different this time is, the other cryptocurrencies are steadily declining as well. The year 2017 ended on a high note for these digital currencies. Unfortunately, this trend has not followed in the current year.
Ripple has been facing a steady crash and stands at a value of $0.70, the lowest it has been at since 14 December, 2017. Although Ethereum reached $ 1,358.45 on 14 January, 2018, after significant troughs and peaks, fell way down to $ 827.67 on 2 February, 2018. This alternative rise and fall of the cryptocurrency values have been credited to the regulations issued by the Asian markets.
South Korea brought in regulatory legislation affecting the Bitcoin market, while China has closed some cryptocurrency exchanges and banned all Initial Coin Offerings. India is the latest country to act against the cryptocurrency movement as it makes moves to curb the use of Bitcoin for illegal activity. Looking at this negative impact, it seems as if the rise in Bitcoin popularity has also increased a lot of regulations.
This alternating rise and fall system brings to mind one important question. With the value of the top three cryptocurrencies in the world falling below their original highs, is it safe to say the era of cryptocurrencies is coming to a close? Is this the end of the digital currency world or will the virtual world finally be incorporated into the real world?

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