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SA elections couldn’t catch Pokemon Go

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Google recently announced its annual Year in Search, with its top trending local searches including Pokemon Go, Euro 2016, Olympic Games, Rio 2016 and Donald Trump.

Google recently announced its annual Year in Search – the top searches in South Africa in 2016. Previously called Google Zeitgeist, the Year in Search provides a snapshot of the trends, people and happenings that captured the nation’s interest during the year. Google also announced the top ten ‘what is’ and ‘how to’ questions for the year.

This year’s overall trending searches from South Africa have a decidedly global feel. Where last year’s top searches – loadshedding and xenophobia – were distinctly local issues, this year’s top searches show South African eyes are turned to the world at large, not just at home.

The top trending searches for South Africa for 2016 include Pokemon Go, Euro 2016, Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Donald Trump. Local news only gets a look in at number five on the list – Election Results – and that could refer to the local or the US elections.

Jacob Zuma and Public Protector topped the top trending South African politicians and prominent figures list.

Mandoza and Gugu Zulu, both of whom passed away this year, topped the top trending South African celebrities lists.

Top trending overall searches:

  1. Pokemon Go
  2. Euro 2016
  3. Olympic Games Rio 2016
  4. Donald Trump
  5. Election Results
  6. Mandoza
  7. IEC
  8. Mall of Africa
  9. Caster Semenya
  10. US Elections 2016

Top trending South African politicians and prominent figures:

  1. Jacob Zuma
  2. Public Protector
  3. Gupta family
  4. Thoko Didiza
  5. Mcebo Dlamini
  6. Pravin Gordhan
  7. Sipho Pityana
  8. Brian Molefe
  9. Thuli Madonsela
  10. Khwesi

Top trending South African celebrities:

  1. Mandoza
  2. Gugu Zulu
  3. Emtee
  4. Babes Wodumo
  5. Gareth Cliff
  6. Nasty C
  7. Rapulana Seiphemo
  8. Nyembezi Kunene
  9. Ayanda Mabulu
  10. Duke Soul

Top trending South African TV shows:

  1. Cash Gang
  2. Uzalo
  3. Muvhango
  4. Isibaya
  5. Idols SA
  6. Beintehaa
  7. Bigg Boss 9
  8. Skeem Saam
  9. The Voice South Africa
  10. Antara Nur Dan Dia

Top trending ‘how tos’:

  1. How to download pokemon go
  2. How to build a strong business relationship
  3. How to lose belly fat
  4. How to heat up cosmetic oil for production
  5. How to remove bookmarks
  6. How to make slime
  7. How to tie a doek
  8. How to deal with poor confidence
  9. How to cope with being alone
  10. How to prepare battered jackfruit

Top trending ‘what is’ searches:

  1. What is Pokemon Go?
  2. What is Java?
  3. What is globalisation?
  4. What is a blesser?
  5. What is Brexit?
  6. What is the weather today?
  7. What is meant by restorative justice?
  8. What is research?
  9. What is a dependent variable?
  10. What is biome?

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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