Google Assistant lets you type on new version

2017January16_Google_C_PHYour own personal assistant is supposed to make life easier. Designed to let you dictate your searches instead of typing them, Google Assistant was made to accomplish just that. While talking to your phone is undoubtedly a convenient way to search for information, it’s not always practical. Fret not; Google’s tech team is working on an enhancement that will let you talk and type to your Google Assistant.

A new type of Google Assistant

Don’t be surprised when a keyboard icon pops up on your Google app one of these days. This is your cue to type in something instead of verbally dictating as you normally would. Once you tap the icon, a text field will appear for your written commands. It may not seem like the most helpful or innovative update on the app, but it presents several benefits.

This update may come in handy when you’re in meetings, when you’re too sick to speak, when you’re in a noisy and crowded venue, or if you prefer to give your assistant precisely worded instructions. If you’re not impressed with this enhancement, consider it a neat alternative that the geniuses at Google offered.

Features of “Search gestures”

Aside from the keyboard icon, a “search gesture” functionality might also be on the way. It would let plus-sized smartphone users perform Google searches right on their device’s home screen… with a simple and swift swipe. Based on recent updates from Google, this feature would provide a reprieve from having to tap the Google search bar at the top, a point of concern for users of large-screened tablets and smartphones. Regardless of what the “Search gestures” feature aims to improve, it’s probably geared at further simplifying the search function across all devices.

Google-assisted wearables

The folks at Google are also reportedly working on integrating Google Assistant on Android Wear devices. Based on the latest Google App updates, an Android Wear Assistant looks to be on the horizon for users of Android’s smartwatch. Among all the reported updates on Google Assistant, this is where speculation runs the highest. If it pushes through, Android smartwatch wearers may soon be empowered to make commands to Google Assistant at any place and at any time – even while running.

Although these updates are still in the early stages, they’re bound to benefit personal and business users once launched. Google’s efforts at pushing these small yet significant changes may mean crucial improvements for your business, too. To maximize related technology at your disposal, get in touch with us now.

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New Google Assistant allows typing

2017January16_Google_B_PHAn intelligent personal assistant in the form of Google Assistant made searching much easier by letting you speak to it for all kinds of searches. If you’ve used this tool for a while now, you’ve probably noticed that speaking to your trusty assistant doesn’t always work. If you are ever caught in situations where making voice commands isn’t feasible, the newest enhancement on Google Assistant may be of great service.

A new type of Google Assistant

Don’t be surprised when a keyboard icon pops up on your Google app one of these days. This is your cue to type in something instead of verbally dictating as you normally would. Once you tap the icon, a text field will appear for your written commands. It may not seem like the most helpful or innovative update on the app, but it presents several benefits.

This update may come in handy when you’re in meetings, when you’re too sick to speak, when you’re in a noisy and crowded venue, or if you prefer to give your assistant precisely worded instructions. If you’re not impressed with this enhancement, consider it a neat alternative that the geniuses at Google offered.

Features of “Search gestures”

Aside from the keyboard icon, a “search gesture” functionality might also be on the way. It would let plus-sized smartphone users perform Google searches right on their device’s home screen… with a simple and swift swipe. Based on recent updates from Google, this feature would provide a reprieve from having to tap the Google search bar at the top, a point of concern for users of large-screened tablets and smartphones. Regardless of what the “Search gestures” feature aims to improve, it’s probably geared at further simplifying the search function across all devices.

Google-assisted wearables

The folks at Google are also reportedly working on integrating Google Assistant on Android Wear devices. Based on the latest Google App updates, an Android Wear Assistant looks to be on the horizon for users of Android’s smartwatch. Among all the reported updates on Google Assistant, this is where speculation runs the highest. If it pushes through, Android smartwatch wearers may soon be empowered to make commands to Google Assistant at any place and at any time – even while running.

Although these updates are still in the early stages, they’re bound to benefit personal and business users once launched. Google’s efforts at pushing these small yet significant changes may mean crucial improvements for your business, too. To maximize related technology at your disposal, get in touch with us now.

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Type and talk on enhanced Google Assistant

2017January16_Google_ABy now, that voice on your smartphone that you constantly rely on to search for recipes or movie schedules may already be part of your Googling routine. As helpful as it is, barking commands at your Google Assistant, an intelligent personal assistant, isn’t always the best way to go. Not to worry, as the brains at Google are on track to coming up with several workarounds.

A new type of Google Assistant

Don’t be surprised when a keyboard icon pops up on your Google app one of these days. This is your cue to type in something instead of verbally dictating as you normally would. Once you tap the icon, a text field will appear for your written commands. It may not seem like the most helpful or innovative update on the app, but it presents several benefits.

This update may come in handy when you’re in meetings, when you’re too sick to speak, when you’re in a noisy and crowded venue, or if you prefer to give your assistant precisely worded instructions. If you’re not impressed with this enhancement, consider it a neat alternative that the geniuses at Google offered.

Features of “Search gestures”

Aside from the keyboard icon, a “search gesture” functionality might also be on the way. It would let plus-sized smartphone users perform Google searches right on their device’s home screen… with a simple and swift swipe. Based on recent updates from Google, this feature would provide a reprieve from having to tap the Google search bar at the top, a point of concern for users of large-screened tablets and smartphones. Regardless of what the “Search gestures” feature aims to improve, it’s probably geared at further simplifying the search function across all devices.

Google-assisted wearables

The folks at Google are also reportedly working on integrating Google Assistant on Android Wear devices. Based on the latest Google App updates, an Android Wear Assistant looks to be on the horizon for users of Android’s smartwatch. Among all the reported updates on Google Assistant, this is where speculation runs the highest. If it pushes through, Android smartwatch wearers may soon be empowered to make commands to Google Assistant at any place and at any time – even while running.

Although these updates are still in the early stages, they’re bound to benefit personal and business users once launched. Google’s efforts at pushing these small yet significant changes may mean crucial improvements for your business, too. To maximize related technology at your disposal, get in touch with us now.

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Windows 10: user complaints addressed

img-windows10-170px-op3 Over the past year, Microsoft received major backlash for ‘forcing’ the Windows 10 update as well as future updates on PC users. Fortunately, the tech leader is taking steps to address customer complaints. This article takes a look at what changes we can expect from Microsoft this coming year.

A patch and a glitch away
Users couldn’t escape the glitches in the frequent Windows 10 updates, which caused an array of problems such as frozen systems, broken webcams, and even PCs being unable to secure an Internet connection. In light of the patching dilemma, Microsoft is offering more options to defer updates. In fact, a leaked preview shows a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days via a switch in the Settings menu.

OneDrive placeholders
Since the launch of Windows 10, many users have eagerly awaited Microsoft to re-introduce this beloved feature to the operating system’s built-in OneDrive cloud storage service. In Windows 8.1, placeholders (aka Smart files) allowed users to see all their OneDrive files, whether or not they were stored on the device. Making its return in Windows 10 File Explorer when using OneDrive, the feature shows user files stored locally as well as on the cloud.

Owning up to the update fiasco
Not only is Microsoft addressing the various complaints it received, but it’s also owning up to some of them. Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, admitted that the company had gone too far when it tried to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. This referred to Microsoft’s decision in early 2016 to change the design for the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software responsible for scheduling upgrades. The user prompt was altered so that clicking X to close the window causes the user to unknowingly agree to a Windows 10 upgrade. This change puts Microsoft in direct violation of its own user experience guidelines for developers on dialog box design.

“Within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, we knew we had gone too far,” recalled Capossela. “Those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us.” It was then that Microsoft reversed its decision on tweaking the pop-up, so clicking on X would dismiss the upgrade.

It seems that 2017 is the year that Microsoft will start listening more to its users and addressing their complaints. Maybe: Hopefully this renewed strategy will benefit users sooner rather than frustrate them later. Contact us and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates.

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Addressing Window 10’s user complaints

img-windows10-170px-op2 Windows 10 had a rough year. It’s been flooded with numerous complaints from users claiming that they were “tricked” into upgrading Windows 7 and uncontrollable OS updates. The new year is a time for new things, and that’s exactly what Microsoft is planning to do in 2017. It’s been speculated that Microsoft plans on addressing certain issues, but there are still many that are left unattended to.

A patch and a glitch away
Users couldn’t escape the glitches in the frequent Windows 10 updates, which caused an array of problems such as frozen systems, broken webcams, and even PCs being unable to secure an Internet connection. In light of the patching dilemma, Microsoft is offering more options to defer updates. In fact, a leaked preview shows a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days via a switch in the Settings menu.

OneDrive placeholders
Since the launch of Windows 10, many users have eagerly awaited Microsoft to re-introduce this beloved feature to the operating system’s built-in OneDrive cloud storage service. In Windows 8.1, placeholders (aka Smart files) allowed users to see all their OneDrive files, whether or not they were stored on the device. Making its return in Windows 10 File Explorer when using OneDrive, the feature shows user files stored locally as well as on the cloud.

Owning up to the update fiasco
Not only is Microsoft addressing the various complaints it received, but it’s also owning up to some of them. Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, admitted that the company had gone too far when it tried to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. This referred to Microsoft’s decision in early 2016 to change the design for the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software responsible for scheduling upgrades. The user prompt was altered so that clicking X to close the window causes the user to unknowingly agree to a Windows 10 upgrade. This change puts Microsoft in direct violation of its own user experience guidelines for developers on dialog box design.

“Within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, we knew we had gone too far,” recalled Capossela. “Those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us.” It was then that Microsoft reversed its decision on tweaking the pop-up, so clicking on X would dismiss the upgrade.

It seems that 2017 is the year that Microsoft will start listening more to its users and addressing their complaints. Maybe: Hopefully this renewed strategy will benefit users sooner rather than frustrate them later. Contact us and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates.

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Window 10’s biggest flaws addressed

img-windows10-170px-op1In the past year, Microsoft was heavily criticized for forcing the Windows 10 OS update on PC users. After thousands of customer complaints, the tech giant vowed to make changes and appease disgruntled end users. With the new year are signs that the firm is finally tending to these problems. Here are some of them:

A patch and a glitch away
Users couldn’t escape the glitches in the frequent Windows 10 updates, which caused an array of problems such as frozen systems, broken webcams, and even PCs being unable to secure an Internet connection. In light of the patching dilemma, Microsoft is offering more options to defer updates. In fact, a leaked preview shows a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days via a switch in the Settings menu.

OneDrive placeholders
Since the launch of Windows 10, many users have eagerly awaited Microsoft to re-introduce this beloved feature to the operating system’s built-in OneDrive cloud storage service. In Windows 8.1, placeholders (aka Smart files) allowed users to see all their OneDrive files, whether or not they were stored on the device. Making its return in Windows 10 File Explorer when using OneDrive, the feature shows user files stored locally as well as on the cloud.

Owning up to the update fiasco
Not only is Microsoft addressing the various complaints it received, but it’s also owning up to some of them. Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, admitted that the company had gone too far when it tried to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. This referred to Microsoft’s decision in early 2016 to change the design for the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software responsible for scheduling upgrades. The user prompt was altered so that clicking X to close the window causes the user to unknowingly agree to a Windows 10 upgrade. This change puts Microsoft in direct violation of its own user experience guidelines for developers on dialog box design.

“Within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, we knew we had gone too far,” recalled Capossela. “Those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us.” It was then that Microsoft reversed its decision on tweaking the pop-up, so clicking on X would dismiss the upgrade.

It seems that 2017 is the year that Microsoft will start listening more to its users and addressing their complaints. Maybe: Hopefully this renewed strategy will benefit users sooner rather than frustrate them later. Contact us and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates.

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Cyber security and managed services

2017january12_security_aCyber security is something you hear about a lot these days. Sometimes it’s thrown around to scare business owners, other times it has proven to be a cautionary tale, one that small businesses can learn from to fend themselves from online threats that can leave devastating impact. What’s certain is statistics don’t lie, and as much as you’d like to believe your business is safe, the worst could happen at any time. Because antivirus software alone can only do so much to protect your business, managed services has become the solution. To make our case, here are several statistics that prove you need managed services from a technology provider.

The numbers

Small businesses are not at risk of being attacked, but worse, they’ve already fallen victim to cyber threats. According to Small Business Trends, 55 percent of survey respondents say their companies have experienced cyber attack sometime between 2015 and 2016. Not only that, 50 percent reported they have experienced data breaches with customer and employee information during that time, too. The aftermath of these incidents? These companies spent an average of $879,582 to fix the damages done to their IT assets and recover their data. To make matters worse, disruption to their daily operations cost an average of $955,429.

The attacks

So what types of attack did these businesses experience? The order from most to least common are as follows: Web-based attacks, phishing, general malware, SQL injection, stolen devices, denial of services, advanced malware, malicious insider, cross-site scripting, ransomware and others.

Why managed services?

Managed services is the most effective prevention and protection from these malicious threats. They include a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security such as around the clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection and more.

Not only that, but because managed services are designed to identify weak spots in your IT infrastructure and fix them, you’ll enjoy other benefits including faster network performance, business continuity and disaster recovery as well as minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is the fact that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist with any technology problems you might have. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having an in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cyber security is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to built. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call, we’re sure we can help.

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Statistics for cyber security during 2016

2017january12_security_cAs cyber attacks continue to rise, businesses large and small need to stay one step ahead with IT services that keep them protected no matter what. What once were minor nuisances have now become advanced threats that can actually put you out of business. In fact, these cyber attack statistics will prove to you that you need managed services from a technology provider to remain safe and competitive.

The numbers

Small businesses are not at risk of being attacked, but worse, they’ve already fallen victim to cyber threats. According to Small Business Trends, 55 percent of survey respondents say their companies have experienced cyber attack sometime between 2015 and 2016. Not only that, 50 percent reported they have experienced data breaches with customer and employee information during that time, too. The aftermath of these incidents? These companies spent an average of $879,582 to fix the damages done to their IT assets and recover their data. To make matters worse, disruption to their daily operations cost an average of $955,429.

The attacks

So what types of attack did these businesses experience? The order from most to least common are as follows: Web-based attacks, phishing, general malware, SQL injection, stolen devices, denial of services, advanced malware, malicious insider, cross-site scripting, ransomware and others.

Why managed services?

Managed services is the most effective prevention and protection from these malicious threats. They include a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security such as around the clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection and more.

Not only that, but because managed services are designed to identify weak spots in your IT infrastructure and fix them, you’ll enjoy other benefits including faster network performance, business continuity and disaster recovery as well as minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is the fact that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist with any technology problems you might have. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having an in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cyber security is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to built. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call, we’re sure we can help.

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Managed services for cyber security

2017january12_security_bRansomware, Trojan horses, spyware and malware are things small businesses like yours don’t ever want to come across. While the term cyber security was once thrown around to scare businesses into purchasing security software, today’s sophisticated threats can leave immense impact, something that antivirus solution alone can’t handle. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up top cyber attack statistics that prove you need managed services in order to remain safe and operational.

The numbers

Small businesses are not at risk of being attacked, but worse, they’ve already fallen victim to cyber threats. According to Small Business Trends, 55 percent of survey respondents say their companies have experienced cyber attack sometime between 2015 and 2016. Not only that, 50 percent reported they have experienced data breaches with customer and employee information during that time, too. The aftermath of these incidents? These companies spent an average of $879,582 to fix the damages done to their IT assets and recover their data. To make matters worse, disruption to their daily operations cost an average of $955,429.

The attacks

So what types of attack did these businesses experience? The order from most to least common are as follows: Web-based attacks, phishing, general malware, SQL injection, stolen devices, denial of services, advanced malware, malicious insider, cross-site scripting, ransomware and others.

Why managed services?

Managed services is the most effective prevention and protection from these malicious threats. They include a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security such as around the clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection and more.

Not only that, but because managed services are designed to identify weak spots in your IT infrastructure and fix them, you’ll enjoy other benefits including faster network performance, business continuity and disaster recovery as well as minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is the fact that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist with any technology problems you might have. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having an in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cyber security is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to built. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call, we’re sure we can help.

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2017 IT essentials: disaster recovery plan

2017january11_business_cWhen disaster strikes, organizations need to put their business continuity plans into action and recover their IT systems as quickly as possible. Failing to do so can mean serious financial and reputational repercussions. Despite this, investments in disaster recovery are set aside each year for high-tech IT investments, and every year companies and employees continue to suffer for it. Here are some reasons why disaster recovery is well worth your time, effort, and resources in 2017.

DR isn’t a huge investment
A common misconception about disaster recovery is that it’s a large, bank-breaking investment. Expensive secondary data centers, networks, and server maintenance usually come into mind when a business owner is confronted with the idea of business continuity. And while that may have been true in the past, establishing a strong disaster recovery plan today is as simple — and as cheap — as going to a cloud-based disaster recovery provider and paying for the data and services that your business needs. Subscription pricing models are actually incredibly low, meaning you can have minimal downtime while still having enough to invest in new tech.

Onsite backups just won’t cut it
Although you might feel secure with a manual backup server down the hall, it is still susceptible to local disasters and, ultimately, does very little in minimizing company downtime. When disaster recovery solutions are hosted in the cloud or in a virtualized server, restoring critical data and applications only take a few minutes.

Business disasters can be man-made, too
Even if your workplace is nowhere near frequent disaster zones, cyber attacks and negligent employees can leave the same impact on your business as any natural disaster can. Setting a weak password, clicking on a suspicious link, or connecting to unsecured channels is enough to shut down a 5-, 10-, or even 50-year-old business in mere minutes.

Sure, installing adequate network security is a critical strategy against malicious actors, but last year’s barrage of data breaches suggests that having a Plan B is a must. A suitable disaster recovery plan ensures that your data’s integrity is intact and your business can keep going, no matter the malware, worm, or denial-of-service attack.

Downtime will cost you
A business without a DR plan might come out unscathed after a brief power outage, but why risk the potential damages? Either way, downtime will cost your business. First, there’s the general loss of productivity. Every time your employees aren’t connected to the network, money goes down the drain. Then there’s the cost of corrupted company data, damaged hardware, and the inevitable customer backlash. Add all those variables together, and you end up with a business-crippling fee.

So, if you want 2017 to be the best year for your business, make the smart choice and proactively take part in creating your company’s business continuity plan. Your business will be in a better position financially with it than without it.

Keep your business safe, recover from any disaster, and contact us today.

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