Yahoo Weather Now Alerts Users 15 Minutes Before Rain or Snow Is Expected

Yahoo has updated its Weather app with new weather alerts around the world. Additionally, Yahoo Mail has also received a new feature which will now show notifications for package arrivals alongside upcoming events.

With the latest update, Yahoo Weather app will alert users 15 minutes before rain or snow is expected, called near-term updates, giving users enough time to grab an umbrella or jacket. The company announced the update via its blog post and claimed that it is now more accurate than before. Yahoo claims that it has overhauled the way it determines and serves forecasts. The new app update also allows “zoom in on microclimates”. While the company claims that the update is now available for both Android and iOS. We only see the weather alert feature rolling out to iOS users. The Google Play despite being last updated on Thursday doesn’t list the new weather alert in its ‘What’s New’ section tipping that the company may roll out the feature to Android users in the coming days.

In other news, Yahoo Mail has received new features which will now show package and event notifications at the top of the inbox for quick viewing. With the new feature, whenever a new order mail arrives from an online retailer, Yahoo Mail will show package notifications on top of the inbox and will also include a shortcut for shipment tracking and the original email for the order.

For upcoming events, Yahoo Mail will now show a snapshot of the event details and a quick link to the original invite and directions on top of the inbox. Once the user read the event or package notification, it can be simply dismissed. Yahoo currently is rolling out the feature in the US over next few days and adds that it will continue to expand on the types of notifications in the inbox.

Android Devices to Soon Have Less Google Bloatware

Google has been blamed for being harsh to its Android OEM partners in the past for restricting their bloatware and instead mandating its own. However, things have started to change with Google’s latest guidelines for Android OEMs which now has four apps removed from the mandatory list of apps that were earlier required to be preloaded in the device.

According to the updated guidelines from Google (via Android Central), Android OEM partners will be no longer required to preload Google+, Google Play Games, Google Play Books, and Google Newsstand apps. It’s worth noting that Google previously removed Google Earth and Google Keep as apps that were not required to be part of the Google applications package. The four apps will be available via Google Play and can be downloaded for free if a user wishes. Until now, every Android user who didn’t even wish to use these apps had to keep the apps taking up the internal storage space, and sometimes even data. Users only had the option to disable the app from the device’s settings page.

One of the possible reasons to remove Google+ from the mandatory app list is said to be Google’s efforts to revamp the service completely.

Lately, Google has been refreshing the app policy in Android with the introduction of App Permissions in its latest Android M or Android Marshmallow. One of the biggest additions to the latest Android build was the revamped app permissions. The new feature changes how apps handle permissions, with apps prompting requests for permissions when running which means popups, would flash in the right context and let users grant permissions for specific features. Additionally, users can manage all their app permissions in settings.

Uber Said to Project 3-Fold Jump in Bookings in 2015

Uber Technologies Inc’s global bookings are projected to rise nearly threefold to $10.84 billion (roughly Rs. 71,262 crores) this year and reach $26.12 billion (roughly Rs. 1,71,713 crores) the next, according to a recent presentation for potential investors seen by Reuters.

The ride-hailing service, which operates in over 50 countries, keeps 20 percent of booking revenue, showed a confidential slideshow prepared by Chinese bankers with input from Uber, aimed at soliciting investment in a fund participating in Uber’s Series F financing.

Based on those figures, 2015 revenue would be roughly $2 billion (roughly Rs. 13,148 crores), according to a Reuters calculation.

A spokeswoman at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters, when asked about the presentation, said the company does not comment on “rumour and speculation.”

The undated presentation featuring data from as recently as June offers a glimpse of the explosive growth of the six-year-old firm, last valued by investors at $50 billion – the most for a privately held technology firm worldwide.

Uber links passengers and drivers via apps, earning revenue Chief Executive Travis Kalanick last year said was doubling every six months. But its services have been banned in several cities where, for instance, drivers have not held commercial licences. It has said it is working with authorities to lift the bans.

Bookings reached $2.91 billion (roughly Rs. 19,130 crores) last year and $687.8 million (roughly Rs. 4,521 crores) in 2013, according to the presentation, which does not feature expenses or say whether Uber is profitable.

The slideshow also said state-owned China Life Insurance Co and China Taiping Insurance invested in Uber in the past year, adding to a shareholder base numbering India’s Tata group and Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd.

China Life confirmed the investment. China Taiping declined to comment.

IPO
The presentation was prepared for potential investors in a fund holding shares of Uber Global and Uber China, a separate company formed for the mainland where it competes with Didi Kuaidi. It contained operational data for both entities but did not break out financial details of Uber China.

It also forecast an initial public offering of Uber Global within 18 to 24 months. Kalanick and people close to the firm have in the past declined to discuss any timetable.

Uber is widely believed to be losing money as it offers financial incentives to drivers to gobble up market share. It is also dealing with numerous legal and regulatory issues and bans in countries including France, Spain and Thailand.

But backers ranging from Silicon Valley venture capitalists Benchmark and New Enterprise Associates to institutional investors Fidelity and the Qatar Investment Authority have poured in close to $5 billion (roughly Rs. 32,870 crores) to support Kalanick, who has said he aims to build a computerised logistics network

Fitbit Windows 10 App Brings Cortana Support And More, Xbox App In Development

Fitbit Windows 10 App Brings Cortana Support And More, Xbox App In Development

Fitbit fitness tracking company has this week announced the launch of a new Fitbit Windows 10 application that brings with it support for the Cortana personal assistant and more.

Fitbit also unveiled this week that they are currently in the process of developing a new Fitbit Xbox One application that will be available for users to access before the end of the year.

The latest Fitbit Windows 10 application includes a number of features including enhanced synchronisation with Bluetooth, a notification centre, quick actions and updated live tiles. Fitbit explains more :

• Updated live tiles that have been redesigned with more information and new notification types to let users quickly access their most critical data to better enable them to reach their personalized health and fitness goals.
• Quick actions to help users log and track their health and fitness activities, such as food, water intake and exercise, as well as set alarms more efficiently with the simple click of a button, encouraging more frequent logging.
• Cortana support allows users to speak commands on Windows 10 tablets, PCs and mobile phones — such as “Fitbit, I ate chicken for dinner” or “Fitbit, I went for a three-mile run” —  for automatic and easier food and activity logging.
• Notification center now consolidates all users’ important notifications and messages in a dedicated tab making it effortless to review progress, or stay motivated with cheers, taunts and encouragements from friends and family.
• Enhanced syncing with Bluetooth on all Windows 10 devices with supported hardware provides users with quicker access to their health and fitness stats, so they can make timely decisions to reach their objectives.
• Universal design and continuum support allows users to customize and effortlessly view their most important personalized data in real-time with an enhanced visual experience adjusted for whatever Windows 10 device they are using.

US FAA Says Software Update May Be Responsible for Malfunction

A technical problem at an air traffic control center in Virginia that caused hundreds of flights to be delayed or canceled along a large swath of the East Coast was possibly caused by a software upgrade, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday.

The FAA said the upgrade was designed to provide more tools for controllers, but that the new features have been disabled while the systems contractor completes an assessment of the malfunction.

There were roughly 492 delays and 476 cancellations related to the technical problem, the agency said, which resulted in about 70 percent of normal Saturday air traffic at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 72 percent at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 88 percent at Dulles International Airport. Part of the backlog was the result of a decision to reduce arrival and departure rates in the Washington area between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday for safety reasons.

Flights departing from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York that normally flight over the Washington region as they head southward were also affected, although the FAA had said it was trying to route the flights around the affected area.

The FAA initially blamed the problem on “technical issues” at an air traffic control center in Leesburg, Virginia. About 4 p.m., the agency said the problem had been resolved, and that officials were working to lift any remaining orders to hold planes on the ground.

By midafternoon, 50 percent of inbound flights and 42 percent of outbound flights had been canceled at Reagan National, and delays were averaging about three hours, according to FlightRadar24. In Baltimore, 58 percent of inbound flights and 36 of outbound flights had been canceled, and delays were averaging more than an hour.

Information posted by the agency Saturday suggested the problem was with the En Route Automation Modernization computer system, known as ERAM, at the Leesburg Center. The agency on Sunday confirmed that the problematic upgrade was to this computer system, however there is “no indication that the problem is related to any inherent problems with the En Route Automation Modernization system, which has had a greater than 99.99 availability rate since it was completed nationwide earlier this year.”

Fallout Shelter Finally Available for Android

Post-apocalyptic open world role-playing game Fallout 4 is out on November 10. But that hasn’t stopped the company behind it, Bethesda to capitalise on hyping it up early. One such effort to do so is Fallout Shelter. For the last two months, only iOS device owners were able to play the game. That changes now, with the Android version finally hitting Google Play.

Fallout Shelter is a game that has you managing a nuclear shelter known as a vault and ensuring your inhabitants are taken care of. The game plays like FarmVille albeit with the trademark humour that the Fallout series has made its own.

On launch on iOS, the Fallout Shelter became the top downloaded game in 48 countries and the top downloaded app of any kind in 25 countries. Fallout Shelter also became the third-highest grossing apps during its first week on the App Store, overtaking King’s Candy Crush. It also was one of the top five top-grossing games on the App Store in 37 different countries.

“We play games on our phones all the time, and have always wanted to make one,” said Todd Howard, Game Director at Bethesda Game Studios at the time. “To have our first mobile game be enjoyed by so many is stunning. It just shows that gamers appreciate more depth and being treated fairly. It also shows people love Fallout as much as we do.”

Will Bethesda be able to replicate the same success on Android? That remains to be seen. Considering how the iOS audience took to it though, you can help but think it can.

Microsoft Releases Photo Story App for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has launched a new photo app for its Windows Phone (also Windows 10 Mobile) mobile operating system. Called Photo Story, the app automatically arranges the best representative photos of an event together and makes a themed video album featuring them. Photo Story is a product of Microsoft Garage Project.

Photo Story is a full-fledged app, which in addition to creating video albums, also offers editing and sharing tools apart a plethora of transition effects to allow users to do everything without ever needing another app. It also lets users add stylised music to the videos.

How the app categorises the images is just as interesting as the features it comes with. Microsoft says that the app uses machine learning in the selection process. It’s worth pointing out that a similar feature was introduced by Google in its Photos app at its developer conference I/O in May.

The app will get better at recognising and sorting similar photos over time, Microsoft said. “Photo Story’s algorithm isn’t just looking for technical quality, such as whether or not it’s blurry or the exposure is correct,” the company noted in a blog post. It looks for something called “interestingness” instead.

But how speedy is the app? Microsoft insists that the app won’t take much time as it does all the processing on the device itself cutting the waiting period wasted in uploads and downloads. Photo Story supports voice commands via Cortana, so for instance, saying “Story from today” will make the app start sorting the photos you took today. You can download it from the Windows Store.

Cortana for Android Can Replace Google Now as Default Assistant

Microsoft will release Cortana on Android later this year. However, a beta version of its digital voice assistant to Google’s mobile operating system was made available to select testers in July. While there are still a few weeks left before the company opens the app to everyone and we get to compare how it fares against Google Now, a recent update to the Cortana’s Android beta app signals how Microsoft wants to go about it on the rival platform.

Bumping up the version number to 1.0.0.204 (via Microsoft-News), Microsoft has added the ability to make Cortana the default assistant on Android handsets. Which also means that users will be able to press and hold the home button on their respective smartphones and see Cortana instead of Google Now.

Considering the wide range of features that Cortana comes with, it could shape up to become the biggest rival to Google Now. Much like Now, Cortana offers you the ability to take notes, set alarms, look for directions, get reminders, and get news stories curated as per your taste. Cortana also shows you weather information, and answers a wide range of queries.

Google Now, however has a big advantage over Cortana on Android: deep integration with system apps and hardware. For instance, it supports voice commands like “Okay Google” that triggers the app from any screen – it’s a feature that Cortana doesn’t have because of software limitations.

Microsoft seemingly has a bigger plan with Cortana. It wants to use it as a companion to Cortana on PC. The company has previously noted that Cortana on desktop will be able to glean notification and notes and show it on the desktop.

Goa Police Launch App to Report Crimes, Emergencies

Goa police have launched a mobile app to enable vigilant citizens to report a law or traffic violation, police said on Monday.

The new application, available for now on Android and iOS platforms, provides for reporting law and traffic violations via video and photos straight to the police department, enabling initiation of action immediately, a Goa police statement said.

“The ‘report offence’ and ‘traffic violation’ keys are functionalities that enable the user to capture and report offences and traffic violations in a structured manner. If a user at any time witnesses anyone breaking the law or any irregularities within the state, the user can compile a report comprising an image or video evidence of the offence,” the statement said.

“In addition, the user can record a narration of the events, and add the locational details of the offence. All this can be done in offline mode and saved for further alteration or can be directly sent to Goa police for processing,” it further said.

The app, which can be searched on Playstore or on iPhone Apps using ‘Goa Police’ as a search code, also has an SOS button in case of emergencies, which immediately calls a saved number with a single click.

“SOS is a key functionality in times of emergency. Once the SOS button is clicked, it will try and get the users GPS co-ordinates and send this information along with a message requesting for help to all contacts saved in the ‘Emergency Contact Numbers’ page,” it said, adding the police control room service as well as medical emergency response unit can also be contacted via the app

Zynga in $23 Million Settlement Over Alleged Fraud Tied to IPO

Zynga Inc reached a $23 million (roughly Rs. 146 crores) settlement to end litigation accusing the gaming company known for “FarmVille” of defrauding shareholders about its business prospects before and after its December 2011 initial public offering.

In its quarterly report made public on Friday, Zynga said the settlement in principle was reached this week through mediation and would have no financial impact on the company because insurers would fund the entire payout.

The accord requires final documentation, and eventual approval by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco, where Zynga is based.

Zynga began struggling soon after its IPO from a failure to develop games as popular as “FarmVille,” and as customers switched to rival games played on mobile devices, such as King Digital Entertainment Plc’s “Candy Crush Saga.”

In the lawsuit, shareholders led by David Fee accused Zynga of concealing declining user activity, masking how changes in a Facebook Inc platform for its games would affect demand, and inflating its 2012 revenue forecast.

They also said Zynga hid weaknesses to enable insiders to sell $593 million (roughly Rs. 3,781 crores) of stock before a post-IPO lockup expired, and avoid a steep plunge in its share price.

Zynga priced its IPO at $10 per share on Dec. 15, 2011. The share price peaked at $15.91 on March 2, 2012, but slid below $3 less than five months later, wiping out several billions of dollars of market value.

The settlement is not reflected in court records. It typically takes a few months for similar class-action accords to win judicial approval.

In a statement on Friday, Zynga said the settlement removes the “distraction of protracted litigation.”

Nicole Lavallee, a partner at Berman DeValerio representing the shareholders, said she is pleased with the settlement.

On Thursday, Zynga said its second-quarter loss narrowed to $26.9 million (roughly Rs. 171 crores), or 3 cents per share, from $62.5 million (roughly Rs. 398 crores), or 7 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 30 percent to $199.9 million (roughly Rs. 1,268 crores), though the number of monthly active users fell 32 percent to 83 million