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AppDate: 20 of the greatest Google Easter Eggs

In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights 20 of the greatest Easter Eggs hidden in Google, Facebook Watch, BBM Scratch2Win, the camera update to the latest Nokia phones, and Opera News for Africa.

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20 of the best Easter Eggs hidden in Google

Bored at work? Or looking for something fun  to take you mind off the mundane? The programmers over at Google have built a range of Easter Eggs or hidden programs into their search engine, accessible through the Google home page.

Here are the top 20:

– Typing “Google in 1998” into the search bar will take you on a trip down memory lane — the results page is formatted exactly the way Google appeared in 1998.  

 – Search “Build with chrome” and click “I’m feeling luckily” for a game of LEGO.

 – Type “play snake” into your search bar to play a round of your favourite Nokia 5110 game, albeit with sleeker interface and sound-effects.

 – Type “pacman” into your search bar to fire up a round of catch with your favourite gameboy critters.

 – Heads or Tails – making tough decisions remains just as easy as it was back in the day: Type “flip a coin” into your search bar and Google will do just that – flip a coin!

 – If the decision you need to make is a little bit more complicated you can always search “roll a die.”

 – Naughts & Crosses – search for “tic-tac-toe” to challenge your computer to a game.

 – Searching for “sonic the hedgehog” will call up an interactive Sonic logo complete with sound effect and iconic spin.

 – Search for “solitaire” to play a round against the computer.

 – Launch an image search of “Atari breakout” to play the game. 

 – Search for “zerg rush” to play a game and improve your mouse-eye coordination while you’re at it.

 – Search “I’m feeling curious” for a Chappies-esque fun fact.

 – Disable your internet connection, then go to your Chrome browser and hit the spacebar to call up a game of T-Rex Runner where you help the pixelated dinosaur navigate a cactus obstacle course.

 – Search “spinner” and you can toggle between a number spinning wheel and a fidget spinner.

 – Search “internet speed test” to check how fast your connection is running.

 – Search “breathing exercise” if you are feeling a bit stressed and just follow the instructions to calm yourself down.

 – Type “Google gravity” into search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” and watch your browser succumb to the force.

 – Type “epic google” into the search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” to see just how big Google can get.

 – Search “blink html” to see a canny demonstration of basic coding. 

 – Type “Google sphere” into the search bar and click “I’m feeling lucky” to orbital results.

 

Facebook Watch

A while ago Facebook unveiled its Watch application, and has recently made it available to users world-wide. And no, it’s not a wristwatch.

Facebook Watch allows users to find shows and video creators they like and start conversations with friends, other fans, and even the creators themselves. Since its launch Facebook has made the experience more social — such as making it easier to see which videos friends have liked or shared, creating shows that have audience participation at their core, and the ability to open Watch videos from Facebook pages.

Facebook Watch offers the following features:

 – A place to discover new videos: Find the latest videos spanning entertainment, sports, news, in a personalised Watch feed.

 – A way to catch up with creators and publishers: At the top of the Watch, a Watchlist shows a collection of recent videos from Pages being followed. Users can customise this section by following more Pages or removing Pages from their list.

 – An option to save for later viewing.

Platform: Any smartphone with or desktop with the latest version of Facebook.

Stockists: Visit www.facebook.com

Cost: Free to use.

 

BBM Scratch2Win

Available in the BBM Discover menu via the Scratch2Win icon, Scratch2Win requires users to register their profile the first time they access the service. They are then presented with a list of active mobile scratch card campaigns. Each campaign requires the user to answer a short survey or poll, which then generates a unique mobile scratch card, revealing instant rewards and prizes. Airtime and data prizes are topped up instantly to users’ mobile accounts, while digital coupons and vouchers are stored in prize wallets for redemption at participating brands and retailers. In addition to instant prizes, users can also win entries into grand prize draws.

Platform: A BlackBerry smartphone running the latest version of BBM.

Stockists: Visit the Scratch2Win option via BBM.

Cost: Free to use.

 

Camera update for the lates Nokia smartphones

HMD Global has added an update for Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6.1 devices, focused on the imaging offering of the phones. It is now easier to switch between aspect ratios and shooting functions, as well as adjusting parameters within different camera modes, such as the intensity of effects like Bokeh and Beautify.

Google Lens has also been integrated directly into the viewfinder, using augmented reality to add additional information to each image as it is taken.

The update supports Google Motion, enabling short videos to be shared directly to messaging services and social media as GIFs. 

Platform: The Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6.1 range of smartphones.

Stockists: Check for the updates under the setting menu of the phone.

Cost: A free download.

 

Opera News for Africa

Opera News for Africa is an  AI-powered app which allows people to access news articles and trending videos without high data use. It follows Opera’s recent announcement that its AI-powered news service inside Opera Mini grew to more than 100 million active users in less than a year.

The app runs off a “recommendation engine” designed to keep readers on top of their selected news, entertainment and video categories. The engine gets smarter the more it is used, as it is able to drill down and deliver even more personalised content based on a user’s likes and dislikes. Opera News is able to save up to 80% of mobile data use, thanks to its data-saving capabilities. 

Platform: Android and iOS

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

Cost: A free service.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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