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Technology/Google/Tech Companies/Google Duo/Technological Advancement

Google Launches Duo, a FaceTime Competitor

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Google launched Google Duo today, a FaceTime competitor of sorts which allows you to video chat with friends and colleagues using your mobile pone. Similar to faceTime, video calls are initiated by just pressing a button. If the person you’re calling answers, you’re joined together into a video chat where you can then communicate just like you can on services such as Skype and FaceTime.

It’s a bare bones service, used just for video chatting, which many reviewers consider both a strength and a weakness.

Google already offers video calls through hangouts. Those, which are often initiated from a computer, offer features like sound effects and sticker-like images that can give callers hats, funny glasses, or other interesting props. With Google Duo you don’t get any of that. The simple app is meant to do one thing: place video calls, and based on early reviews it does that admirably.

Setting up an account of the service simply involves signing up with your phone number and then responding to a confirmation text. Unlike FaceTime, which is tied to your email address, Duo is tied to your phone number. That’s great when you want to talk to people in your contacts list, but could potentially become problematic if you ever wanted to initiate a video call from another device, for instance a tablet.

Google Duo is available for Android and iOS, but for the time is mobile only. That means that you won’t be able to accept a video call on your laptop (a popular move for FaceTime calls), which could potentially get awkward depending on how long you’re chatting. Even with today’s larger screens, video chatting on your phone tends to start to feel a bit awkward fairly quickly.

One interesting feature in Duo: a Knock Knock feature. Only available for Android, the feature allows you to see a live video of the person that is calling you before you answer. That person could make faces, or do things to entice you to answer. At the very least, you’ll be able to see your boss is pissed before hitting that answer button.

Technology/Tech Companies

Talk Fusion Receives its Second Award

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Talk Fusion recently won its second award of the year for their amazing video communication products. This award is given to those companies who have shown great improvement to their video, voice and data communication products over the last year. Talk Fusion is proud to announce that they have won the 2016 Communications Products of the Year Award. This is a great honor for Talk Fusion to win as it shows potential users that they are the best video communication company out there.

With their award-winning products, which include Video Chat, Video Email, Video Newsletters, and Video Conferencing, it is no wonder more and more people are seeing what they are all about. Talk Fusion makes communicating with others easier and faster than ever before. Nobody is happier than Talk Fusion’s Founder and CEO Bob Reina. He is dedicated to making great products for users and is constantly improving each product to be better than before. He is the type of person who listens to what others have to say and gives back in a big way.

How Talk Fusion products work is by using their popular WebRTC technology, which allows people to communicate with anyone at anytime around the world. What is great about this product is that they are not only user-friendly, but also are compatible with all smartphones, desktop computers, or tablets. This ensures that you are able to share your videos with anyone on any device. If you are starting up a business and need help spreading the word, Talk Fusion is the company you want to work with.

Talk Fusion is constantly trying to impress their customers by providing them the very best video products out there. They claim that their products will help get your business noticed by bringing in more traffic as well as helping your sales soar to unbelievable heights. This is a company and a product you can trust that will do exactly what it claims it will do. Bob Reina designed these products as a way of giving back and helping those in need spread the word about their business.

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Apps/A Must Read/Tech Companies

Time Warner Takes A 10% Interest In Hulu

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Time Warner is a well-known cable company that’s available in many locations around the USA, but they have now decided to join a different venture that may be beneficial for all who are involved. Hulu, which is an online streaming service that brings the latest TV shows to many televisions, they are joining forces with Time Warner by allowing them to take a 10% stake in their company. Hulu already has partners in the form of Comcast’s NBC Universal, 21st Century Fox, and Walt Disney Co. These companies that have staked their interest in Hulu stand to not only make a better profit but also will be a part of the company when they introduce new services soon.

Although Netflix is a company that competes directly with Hulu, Netflix doesn’t get some of the shows that Hulu does, which are very popular shows like Fox’s “Empire,” which has broken many records as far as its ratings. Those that choose Hulu over Netflix will be excited to know that a new streaming service will be introduced next year, and the service will be streaming live as well as on demand channels and shows. Cartoon Network, which is an incredibly popular network on cable that only shows cartoons, they’ll be added to the upcoming live streaming from Hulu, giving more options to the users who want something new to watch.

TBS, TNT, and CNN will also join the live streaming as well when the new service is launched in the upcoming year for Hulu subscribers. Comcast has also chosen to add Netflix to the X1 boxes that their customers receive, which means that many cable service providers now understand that people want the inclusion of streaming services along with their cable channels. The deal that Time Warner has made with Hulu is right on the heels of the deal that Comcast made with Netflix, which almost seems as if the entities are all in a heated competition with one another to bring customers additional services.

US regulators are also contemplating if they should allow large operations, such as Apple and Google to sell cable boxes in order to let customers have a wider choice of how they get their cable services. Many cable companies are currently leasing their boxes for different fees each month, but some customers pay up to $200 per year or more in fees for their cable boxes, which would cut down the profits that the cable companies make if the regulators allow big companies to sell cable boxes. If the decision is made to allow the sale of cable boxes by other corporations, then many may see lower prices on their cable box rental fees, or the customer may choose to purchase the boxes at a lower cost.

Due to the fact that Time Warner has joined with Hulu, they expect that their stock will go up in price, and other sources have backed this prediction as well. Time Warner has changed their upcoming year’s profit prediction to a five-cent additional profit from $5.30-$5.45, different from the prior prediction of $5.30-$5.40. Time Warner’s shares also rose about 3% prior to the market opening for the day, so things are looking up for the company and may get even better in the light of this merger.

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Technology/Tech Companies/Smart Cars/Self-Driving Vehicles

Self-Driving Vehicles Seem Poised to Take Over Trucking

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The combination of maintaining costs and a workplace shortage is one of the key reasons that the possibility of truckers being replaced by robots (in the form of self-driving vehicles) has become more of a reality in recent years. While such a change will be gradual, it seems inevitable that companies will find it more advantageous to “employ” devices that won’t ask for raises or call in sick.

The basis for this projection is the push by a number of different companies, including Google, to develop self-driving vehicles. That will avoid the issue of limiting truckers due to concerns over fatigue and other safety factors.

The fact that long-haul truck drivers do most of their driving on interstates and freeways will help expedite the manner. The reasons include the lack of stoplights, pedestrians on the road and other issues that require much closer attention when it comes to making quick decisions.

There are four different levels when it comes to autonomy inside the vehicle, with some trucks already at three. That’s where a driver is still present but is only needed in the event of an emergency.

Presently, there are more than 1.8 million truck drivers. Many of these individuals figure to keep their jobs while all the bugs involved in crafting this new technology are worked out, but those obtaining jobs now could be on borrowed time. However, previous automation has come to other industries, so with this advance warning, other potential drivers at least have a heads up.

Technology/Tech Companies/Moon Express

Private Company Soon to be Landing on the Moon

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If you’ve always hoped to walk on the moon yourself, you’ll be glad to hear that a private company will be bringing all of humankind one small step closer to space tourism. The company Moon Express, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will be sending a moon lander to the lunar surface sometime in 2017.

The spacecraft will be going one way only, and it will be unmanned except for cremated human remains, but it is a significant step for the future of commercialized space tourism because it is the first US-based private company to gain clearance to travel in space from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Now that the process to achieve clearance has been established, the route towards space tourism for all is more clear.

Though this is the first time the United States has licensed a privately-held company to travel in space, Moon Express will not be offering the first commercial spaceflights. The first space tourist took off back in 2001, when American millionaire Dennis Tito paid over $20 million and trained for eight months in order to earn a seat on a spaceflight with Russia’s Federal Space Agency.

In fact, this is not even the first time the US has made money off space tourism: Tito’s flight had been arranged by Space Adventures, a company based in Virginia. Now that the path towards totally private spaceflights is clear, though, numerous other companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will be eager to take off soon.

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Technology/Apple iPhone/Tech Companies/Apple

Apple’s Future in China: A Must Read

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Today, Business Insider reported that the iPhone had slipped to being now the fifth most popular smartphone in China. This is something that everyone interested in tech and business should be noticing, and it is a must-read for everyone.

It is big news that the iPhone is increasingly unpopular in China because China remains one of the largest underutilized markets in the world, except for Africa, which doesn’t have extra capital on its own to devote to developing a healthy tech industry. China could provide billions of dollars of new revenue for Apple for its phones alone, not to count MacBooks, Apple Watches, and other products closely associated with the Apple brand.

China is also the country where much of the iPhone is actually manufactured in the first place, and it does not bode well for Apple’s relationship with local communities and eventually the government of China if the people living in the country that produces millions of iPhones aren’t using their money to buy those iPhones themselves. It also makes it more difficult to plan for growth in future revenues, profits, or cash available for Apple because it becomes more difficult for Apple to act in China as its market share shrinks and shrinks due to other competitors who offer a cheaper product to Chinese consumers.

Trade is good, but sometimes, it doesn’t go our way. Perhaps we’re realizing that with the iPhone, and it’s perfectly okay.

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Tech Companies/Brexit

Brexit Stirs Change in Tech Companies’ Headquarters

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As recently reported by BBC News, Britain’s choice to exit the EU could cause quite a change in the European tech markets. Many tech companies with headquarters in London are looking to move quickly because they need to remain in the EU. The major competition for headquarter locations for these companies is between Berlin and London. According to Cordelia Yzer, the Berlin Senator for Economics and Technology, many tech companies are likely to choose Berlin for their next headquarter locations. In order to make sure that these companies have all the incentive they need to make the move to Berlin, Senator Yzer is actively recruiting these companies to move to Germany.

The general consensus is that many of the financial services jobs formerly based out of London will naturally flow to Frankfurt. Berlin is more poised to absorb the tech industry jobs from London because it already boasts an active tech and small business environment. In fact, even without the Brexit, Berlin has been eyed in recent months as a favorable place for many young entrepreneurs to launch their tech businesses because of the welcoming environment in Germany. Berlin is opening its arms to those Britons who voted to stay in the EU and are now worried about the status of their job opportunities in light of the Brexit. As an additional selling point, the business culture in Germany is English speaking, which makes for an even easier transition for former Britons.

While the final fallout for the tech scene from the Brexit remains to be seen, it is highly likely that various cities will compete aggressively for London transplants. Brussels is also considered a key player in recruiting companies to relocate from London. Some analysts say that there will still be a draw to remain in London because of its own market advantages.