Posted: 18 Sep 2019 12:00 AM PDT
As it stands, Google Home speakers can be used to make calls via your internet connection, with or without your phone hooked up to them. However, the latest tweak to the smart home range will allow regular mobile phone calls to join this VoIP service.
Currently only available to customers of Australian mobile provider Telstra, this service allows you to register your mobile number with your Google Home device, allowing you to make calls via the telco's mobile network without the need for a phone.
Up to six users can register their numbers with their smart home speaker, with each being able to sync their mobile contact list to the speaker. In order to distinguish between which user is making the call request, though, you'll need to set up Google's Voice Match.
To start using this feature, customers should visit the "Telstra mobile calling section" in their Google Home app and enter their mobile number. Once it's verified by entering your PIN code, you'll be able to sync your mobile contacts.
From there, users can make calls by saying "Hey Google, call …" followed by the name of the contact, the name of a business, or a phone number. "Calls are at no additional cost to your existing mobile plan", according to Telstra, but "data charges may apply".
All Telstra customers have access to the functionality right away, and while there isn't any word on when this will land with other telcos or other global regions, it seems likely that it won't be too long before it becomes standard.
Aussies looking to get started can visit the Telstra support page for further details.
Posted: 06 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST
Everything these days is about Slack. With an IPO widely expected before the summer, figures and performance matter. Among the most important gauges of usefulness is the Daily Active Users (DAU) statistic, and Slack has never been shy about sharing that information. The latest number is encouraging, according to a statement from Slack, "With our fifth birthday just around the corner, Slack now has more than 10 million DAUs around the world, further solidifying our leadership position."
The company said growth is being driven by demand at all levels as teams across enterprises look for transparency across the whole organization. The statement notes that the demand for Slack is a response to the experience of work increasingly connecting employees whether inside the building or at remote locations. To enable that work, Slack has spent a lot of time developing integrations with other platforms and applications. "Slack brings people, data and applications into a single place where people can effectively work together, find important information and get more out of the software they use every day through integrations with Slack. In addition to the more than 1,500 apps in our directory, and integration partnerships with companies including Google, Workday, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Atlassian, there are hundreds of thousands of customer-created custom Slack applications and integrations in active use," the statement reads.
If there are 10 million DAUs, even more encouraging is the fact that the number of paid customers worldwide has grown by more than 50 percent over the past year and now tops 85,000. Slack says this covers organizations of all sizes from micro-companies with only 10 employees to organization with over 10,000.
That said, this is a very competitive area of tech and there are a number of other options including Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Facebook's Workplace. It is not entirely clear how many organizations are using Teams, for example, but as of March 2018 Microsoft claimed 200,000 organizations and that was before the fermium version was launched. It is also is part of Office 365, which has an estimated 130 million users, while Workplace by Facebook has access to the entire Facebook user-base.
However, with an IPO coming up Slack really has to impress, and announcing 10 million DAUs is a good way to do that.
Google VoIP Nears Release
It's not the only competitive area of the digital workplace — voice communications are one of the hot technologies at the moment. So much so that last year, Google announced that it was putting VoIP for the Google Voice app into beta testing. Based on a tweet from Google's Scott Johnson, it seems that they are very close to a full public release.
The tweet explained that VoIP is being disseminated now to Google Voice, and the rollout is expected to be finished within the coming weeks.
The update will give Google Voice users the option of making and taking calls over wi-fi and mobile data. The beta test, which opened last September, also allowed users to make and take calls using mobile carrier forwarding.
In a blog post when the early adopter program was launched, Google explained that with the release G Suite users are given a phone number that isn't tied to a device, so you can place and receive calls from any device, anywhere. The idea was that with Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, your organization can standardize on Google as the single partner for all your communication needs.
Among the additions the beta program offered was:
This is Google's first foray into VoIP and offers a major improvement to telephone communications for digital workplace users. It's not the only offering in the VoIP space so expect more soon.
Zuckerberg Confirms Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger Integration
Meanwhile, recent reports in the New York Times suggested that Facebook is looking at pulling Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into a single platform. During the recent earnings call from Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed they will, in fact, be pulled together — but that this is not likely to happen until at least next year.
Zuckerberg explained during the call that pulling the two together will make it easier to send messages across these apps, the real value, however, is that it will provide more secure end-to-end encryption. Of the three apps, only WhatsApp has this kind of security so the move will greatly enhance security across Messenger and Instagram.
But while the company shared insights on its plan to merge the apps and explained why it wants to combine the 'underlying infrastructure,' it won't happen until 2020. "We're really early in thinking through this. There's a lot more we need to figure out before we finalize the plan," Zuckerberg said during the call.
At an event in Brussels, Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister, who joined Facebook as head of global policy and communications late last year was asked about the reports in the The New York Times. He offered a number of reasons as to why it made sense, but echoed Zuckerberg as he insisted that it is too early yet to go into it in any great detail. This is definitely an announcement to watch and wait for.
Nuxeo Strengthens AI Offering
Nuxeo released LTS 2019, which delivers the latest features and functionality to the low-code Nuxeo Platform. The release comes with major enhancements in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), integration to leading productivity and creative applications, and extended content connectivity options. "The improvements we've made in AI and other areas enable us to deliver the industry's most modern and extensible content services platform, but they're only the beginning. With a move to a continuous delivery mechanism in 2019, we're striving to ensure that new features will be rolled out even faster than ever before," Chris McLaughlin, chief product and marketing officer at Nuxeo, said in a statement about the release.
One of the really interesting upgrades here is the strengthening of the AI framework. The update includes a streamlined pipeline that makes building and training AI models much more accessible. Users will be able to employ custom data models as well as train third-party AI engines (i.e., Google Vision, Amazon Rekognition or Amazon Comprehend).
The upgrade also offers Office 365 Integration as well as advanced metadata management capabilities, deep AI functionality, powerful search, permissions management and more — all while transparently editing files from within the Office 365 suite.
Workjam Buys Peerio
Finally, WorkJam, announced it completed the acquisition of Peerio Technologies, which develops employee communication software in the shape of a secure messaging and file sharing technology platform.
With this acquisition, WorkJam is enhancing its existing team communication and workstream collaboration capabilities with secure live chat enabling teams to connect and collaborate more effectively than ever before. In addition, the secure document and content sharing capabilities will enable teams to stay productive by making it easier to share documents in a centralized workspace.Peerio was founded in 2014, in 2017, Peerio rebuilt its platform to add greater flexibility and improved functionality. When Peerio was released in 2015, the reception was overwhelmingly positive. Wired called it "one of the most full-featured end-to-end encryption tools out there." The Peerio service will be closing July 15, 2019.
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