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Google Lens now supports offline translation in beta
by João Carrasqueira
As more and more services are based on the cloud, it's always nice to see when something that typically requires an internet connection becomes accessible offline. Google has long offered support for offline translations in Google Translate, and even delivered some major improvements to it about a year ago, and today, it's bringing that capability to Google Lens.
First spotted by 9to5Google, the Mountain View giant appears to be rolling out a new feature for the translation section of Google Lens, which is accessible through the Google app on Android. Now, it's possible to download language packs to use offline, so even if you don't have an internet connection, you can point the camera at a piece of text and have it translated instantly, even without pressing the shutter button. That should be particularly useful for traveling without a data plan.
Image credit: 9to5Google Of course, downloading language packs will take up space on your phone's storage, and it's also very common for offline translations to not be as accurate as online services, simply because the databases and intelligence behind the translation process are updated more often on the server side. It's also a bit more limited because, while you can copy the entire text you're looking at, you can't select specific words or phrases directly on the image, which you can do when you're connected. It's also worth noting that not every language supports offline translations.
According to 9to5Google, the update is rolling out through a server-side update, though it reports that only devices running beta versions of the Google app have received it right now. We haven't been able to spot the update on our test devices regardless of using beta or stable versions, so your mileage may vary. Either way, the feature should be making its way to more users over time.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Uber will let you schedule rides up to 30 days in advance
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Uber announced today that it is launching a new Reserve feature that lets riders schedule trips up to 30 days in advance. The initiative builds on the traditional on-demand model, as the ride-hailing service noticed that scheduling trips have become vastly popular during the coronavirus pandemic.
Users booking trips through the service will be shown the estimated fare as usual, and they will be required to make the booking more than two hours prior so Uber can make the necessary arrangements. Drivers chosen for the trip can be contacted in advance, and there is an additional 15 minutes of waiting time, giving users flexibility around departure if they need it. If the ride doesn't arrive when scheduled, users will be awarded $50 in Uber Cash.
Starting next week, Uber Reserve will be available in more than 20 U.S. cities, which are Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, D.C., Fort-Myers / Naples, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Jersey, New York City, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle.
Initially, the feature will be restricted to Uber Black and Black SUV rides, with support for other car segments coming by the end of the year.
Google Photos can now automatically back up pictures from Canon cameras
by João Carrasqueira
Google has announced a new integration between its Google Photos storage service and Canon cameras. It's now possible to have photos from compatible Canon cameras backed up automatically to Google Photos, which should save users some trouble when transferring photos to a computer.
The integration relies on the image.canon app, which is available on both Android and iOS. If you have a camera that's compatible with the app - a compatibility list can be found here - you can head into the app's settings to set an automatic backup to either Google Photos or Google Drive.
The reason these are separate options is that Google removed the integration between the two services earlier this year, since users found it confusing. Google Photos integrates with some devices like smart photo frames so you can show off your pictures, whereas you can have random images stored on Google Drive that you don't want to be visible.
Once you enable automatic syncing, photos will be backed up in original quality. The feature does require a Google One subscription, so it's not exactly free storage, but considering file sizes from professional cameras can be fairly large, you'd probably need more than the free storage tier anyway. Canon users get a free month of Google One with 100GB of storage, so you can get started that way and decide if it's worth it.
Zoom is currently experiencing a service outage [Updated]
by Rajesh Pandey
Zoom, whose popularity and usage has soared since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, is currently experiencing a service outage. Zoom users are reporting that they are unable to start new Zoom meetings or join existing ones. The company has already updated its service status page to confirm a "partial outage" with Zoom meetings and video webinars.
Zoom users first started reporting the issue around 5:00 AM PDT, with Zoom acknowledging the outage around 5:51 AM PDT. The company posted an update on 6:16 PDT confirming that it is "continuing to work on a fix for this issue."
Incidentally, the service outage has occurred on the first day of school for many students in the United States. As schools in the country are still closed due to the pandemic, schools have switched to hosting online classes.
The service outage does not seem to affect Zoom users across the globe as many are still able to join existing or create new video meetings.
Are you also affected by the ongoing Zoom service outage? Let us know in the comments below.
Update: Zoom has identified the issue and is working a fix for it.
Update 2: The issue has now been resolved.
Google brings Lens to KaiOS to overcome literacy barriers
by Paul Hill
Google has announced that availability of Lens on KaiOS devices through the Google Assistant. Right now, the feature is available to those in India by heading to Assistant (press and hold the centre button from the home screen), pressing the camera icon, and then pointing the phone at some text. Users can then have the writing read back to them if they cannot read themselves, or have it translated or defined.
Right now, Lens on KaiOS supports several languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, and Tamil. In the future, Google will extend support for the Kannada and Gujarati languages. Pressing the right soft key once within Assistant will let you access the different languages.
Commenting on the launch of Lens on KaiOS, Google said:
According to the latest information on StatCounter, KaiOS is currently the third most popular mobile operating system in India. KaiOS attempts to bridge the gap between feature phones and smartphones by keeping the former’s form factor but including some features, like Google Assistant, that you’d find on a smartphone. Due to the form factor, these devices are more affordable for those with a lower income.