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Can you imagine a world without Google?

Though the company has only been in existence since 1998, it has become a ubiquitous part of the tech landscape.

In their wildest dreams, Larry Page and Sergey Brin probably didn’t expect their Stanford University research project to become the world’s most dominant search engine.

But thanks to innovations like PageRank, that’s exactly what it did.

Today, everyone is familiar with Google as a search engine. And you’re probably aware that the company’s offerings have expanded to include a wide range of other tools.

In this piece, we’re going to look at 40 different tools offered by the Mountain View, California-based tech giant and how they can be used by businesses, big and small.

1. Gmail For Secure Email Service

With over 1.8 billion users worldwide and a 27% share of the email client market, Gmail offers more than just personal email accounts.

It’s also popular with businesses. Today, more than 5 million businesses are using G Suite, which also includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Hangout, and more. We will explore some of these later.

Customizable to your domain, Gmail is a fast, secure, and reliable email service provider. You can also try these Gmail hacks to increase productivity.

2. Google Ads To Reach New Customers

If your customers are using the internet – and they undoubtedly are – you should be targeting them online.

Google Ads is the best and most effective way to do this.

Integrated across Google search results, YouTube, and its Display Network, Google Ads gives you all the analytics data and targeting capabilities you need, plus offers automated solutions to help you maximize your marketing spend.

3. Google Alerts For Reputation Monitoring

Whoever said “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” never had the disapproving weight of the internet come crashing down on them.

But even if your business has a spotless track record, proven customer service, and an unimpeachable reputation, occasionally, someone is going to have a less-than-stellar experience.

Google lets you get out ahead of bad news, as well as find good publicity, via Google Alerts.

These will automatically notify you of any mentions of your business, allowing you to proactively deal with potentially damaging mentions – or share positive ones.

4. Google Analytics For Measuring App Usage And Website Traffic

Google Analytics is the easiest way to monitor your app’s usage and web traffic, as well as where it’s coming from.

Free to use, it provides you with insights about your customers and their purchasing journey, so you can streamline marketing processes, identify your targets, track campaigns, and troubleshoot individual webpages – all from the same dashboard.

5. Google Authenticator For Two-Step Verification Security

Spammers, hackers, and other cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated all the time.

Google helps keep you safe across all its digital properties with the help of 2-Step verification.

By texting or emailing you a unique code that you can use to log in to your accounts, it provides stronger security than a password alone.

6. Google Business Messages To Communicate With Potential Customers

An SMS and instant messaging service originally designed for the Android operating system, Google Business Messages allows you to interact with your customers through a number of entry points, including Maps, Search, and your own website.

Use it as a chat feature to convey expected wait times or answer frequently asked questions.

7. Google Business Profile For Local Business Promotion

Since rolling out new local search features in November 2021, Google has placed an increasing emphasis on nearby search results.

Creating a Google Business Profile is an important part of ranking highly in your neighborhood.

Use your profile to help customers discover you on Search and Maps or to promote a sale to the people in your area.

8. Google Calendar For Time Management And Scheduling

Disorganization is a major problem for many people.

Google Calendar is a great way to eliminate that problem, more effectively manage your time, and stay on top of your schedule.

Sync it across your devices to remind yourself of a vendor call, block out time for a sales presentation, or schedule an appointment from anywhere.

9. Google Chat For Instant Messaging

In this era of remote work, instant messaging is a must-have tool for any business.

But why complicate things by adding a third-party app when Google gives you all the functionality you need in Google Chat?

It lets you get all your messages in one place, collaborate with teammates, and integrate with other Google apps and tools with no hassle.

10. Google Chrome For Web Browsing And Development

If you’ve ever had to help a relative delete numerous toolbars from their browser or waited impatiently for a window to deal with a memory leak, you know how important a quality web browser is.

Google Chrome gives you a secure way to surf the internet.

It also has dedicated developer tools to help you create new websites and test APIs – and its functionality is updated weekly.

11. Google Chrome Remote Desktop To Connect With Home Or Work Computers

Another great tool for remote workers, Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to remotely access your work computer from home, share your screen with coworkers, or view files while traveling.

Originally a Chrome extension, it’s also available on Android and iOS devices.

12. Looker Studio For Interactive Dashboards And Engaging Reports

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio allows you to unlock the power of your data with customizable reports and dashboards.

Allowing you to connect all your spreadsheets, analytics, and other sources of data into one platform, Looker Studio is an essential tool for any business seeking new insights or trying to convey an impactful message.

13. Google Digital Garage For Learning New Skills

Want to add some new tools to your toolbox or enhance your skill set? Or maybe you just want to learn how to be more productive.

Google Digital Garage can help.

With a wide range of courses covering everything from cloud infrastructure to public speaking, digital marketing to machine learning, it can help you master new skills that will benefit your business and your career.

14. Google Docs For Online Document Creation And Editing

When it comes to real-time collaboration on documents and spreadsheets, Google Docs is extremely useful.

Part of the G Suite of tools, it’s hosted online, which allows multiple users to interact with the same document at the same time. See changes as they’re made, save automatically, or easily revert back to previous versions with ease.

15. Google Domains For Domain Registration

With more than 300 domain endings to choose from (e.g., .com, .cafe, .biz), Google Domains hosts your website on fast and secure servers while providing round-the-clock live support.

It also has drag-and-drop site-building tools, professional email capabilities, and allows you to easily interface with all your other Google tools.

16. Google Drive For File Storage And Sharing

Keep important files safe on the cloud or share them with anyone using Google Drive.

With built-in protection against malware and spam, it gives you a safe way to save and collaborate on files.

It also uses Google’s powerful search capabilities, so you can easily find what you’re looking for in your 15 GB of free storage.

17. Google Fonts For Open-Source Font Families

Font embedding can be a problem for webmasters. If you choose a letter style not recognized by a user’s browser, it can turn text into a jumbled mess.

Google Fonts offers a wide selection of free-usage and readily accessible fonts. You have control over the character set, so you can restrict the ones you don’t need and reduce loading times.

Quality varies among available fonts, but there are a number of libre versions of popular typefaces available, including Monserrat and Roboto.

18. Google Forms For Online Surveys And Questionnaires

Google Forms is included in the free G Suite, allowing you to create, edit and automatically track the results of surveys and questionnaires.

Real-time updates let you track responses as they come in.

Custom colors, images, and fonts allow you to create polished forms that are on-brand for your business.

19. Google Jamboard To Create A Virtual Whiteboard For Ideas

Jamboard is an interactive digital whiteboard that can be used for online collaboration via Google Workspace.

It can be accessed either via the Jamboard device (a 55” digital whiteboard with embedded G Suite services), a web browser, or a mobile app.

Multiple collaborators can write, draw, drag, and resize elements at the same time.

20. Google Keep For Notetaking

Whether you’re taking a class, want to send a reminder, or just need something to eliminate absent-mindedness, Google Keep is another free tool you’ll find useful.

Part of the web-based G Suite, it can extract text using character recognition or transcribe voice recordings.

Color-coding functionality helps you stay organized, while pins can keep items near the top.

Like the rest of the web-based suite, it can be used to work with other Keep users in real time.

21. Google Manufacturer Center For Brand Manufacturers

If you own or license branded items, Google Manufacturer Center is an absolute must.

In addition to allowing manufacturers to provide better, more accurate product information, it also improves the online shopping experience.

A good way to Boost your presence on Google, it lets you highlight your products on both the Search and Shopping tabs.

Comprehensive analytics help you identify how ads are performing.

22. Google Meet For Online Video Conferencing

One of two apps designed to replace Google Hangouts (Chat is the other), Meet is Google’s answer to Zoom, Facetime, and Skype.

Use of this video conferencing service grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly thanks to noise-canceling filters, multi-way audio, and screen-sharing capabilities.

23. Google Merchant Center For Retailers

Show potential customers how many of an item you have in stock, both in-store and online, with Google Merchant Center.

With a few clicks, you can upload your shop and product data, making it available for Google Shopping and other services.

While you still have to pay for clicks on your Shopping ads, Merchant Center is free to use.

24. Google Optimize For A/B Testing And Optimization

Any marketer worth their salt knows the importance of A/B testing.

But what many of them don’t know is that Google Optimize (formerly Google Website Optimizer) makes it easy, giving you the data you need to test content on your website and optimize it for the best visitor experiences.

25. Google Podcasts To Reach More Listeners

Google Podcasts Manager provides podcasters with a deep dive into listener behavior, so you can understand their listening habits, see when they’re tuning in or dropping off, and how they discovered you – all information you can use to expand your reach.

26. Google Scholar For Scholarly Research

You can’t believe everything you read online – that’s internet 101.

But if you can find a scholarly source where information is backed by research, there’s a much higher chance of it being reliable.

Google Scholar gives you access to a large number of databases containing access to academic and scientific works.

27. Google Search Console To Measure Website Search Performance

It’s unbelievable to think there was once a time when webmasters didn’t have access to information about their site’s index status, search queries, crawling errors, and visibility stats.

With the power of Google Search Console, we take this for granted.

Packed with all sorts of useful tools like speed reports, information on backlinks, and the ability to submit a sitemap, this is one tool every website owner must have for tracking and measuring performance.

28. Google Sheets For Online Spreadsheet Creation And Editing

Spreadsheets: some people love them, and many people hate them. But every business uses them.

Google Sheets is a web-based, Excel-like spreadsheet program that allows for real-time collaboration.

Accessible from both computers and mobile devices, it allows you to use the same formulas and automatic calculations as other spreadsheet programs.

Sheets is another free program included in the G Suite.

29. Google Sites For Simple Website Creation

Build a structured wiki or a webpage from scratch with Google Sites.

Drag-and-drop functionality allows you to create an entire site without writing a line of code.

Free to use, Sites lets you edit a webpage with someone else and see their changes as they happen.

30. Google Slides For Online Presentation Creation And Editing

Who says you need PowerPoint to make a visual presentation?

Google Slides is an online slideshow maker that’s free to use as part of the G Suite of products.

And like nearly everything else on this list, it allows you to collaborate with remote users in real time from any device.

33. Google Tag Manager To Manage Website Tags

Quickly and easily update tags on your website with Google Tag Manager.

By adding a small segment of code to your website, you can easily deploy and manage analytics and measurement tags.

Using a container, you can replace manually coded tags from Ads, Analytics, Floodlight, and third-party apps to simplify and automate configurations.

34. Google Translate For Fast Translation In Over 100 Languages

The internet has created a truly global economy.

So what do you do when you have customers in Japan, but don’t speak Japanese?

Google Translate to the rescue. With more than 100 supported languages, it’s a neural machine translation service that gets more accurate by the day.

35. Google Travel For Business Travel Arrangements

Forget about visiting multiple sites to book a flight, schedule a hotel room, and rent a car.

Google Travel gives you the entire travel package in one location.

It lets you do everything from comparing prices to exploring local attractions, all from the convenience of a single web tab.

Perfect for business trips, you even have the option of adding flights and reservations directly to your calendar.

36. Google Trends To Analyze Search Query Popularity

Want to know what people are searching for?

Google Trends analyzes search queries across regions and languages and presents the results in easy-to-read graphs.

This is a great way to identify not only what’s happening now but what’s going to be the next big thing.

37. Google Voice For Phone And Texting Service

Remember when people used their phones for talking? Like monsters? You don’t need a landline (or even a cellular one, for that matter) anymore.

Google Voice is a telephone and texting service that can be accessed via the web.

It gives you a unique phone number to use for calls and also offers voicemail transcripts, personalized voicemail greetings, and low international rates.

38. Google Web Designer To Create Animations And Interactive Elements

Add some whimsy to your website and digital ads with animations and interactive elements created using Google Web Designer.

This program lets you create engaging videos, images, and HTML5-based designs for your business.

Included templates deliver you an easy starting point, while dynamic workflows let you create ads tailored to your audience.

39. Waze Ads To Reach Nearby Customers

Increase store visits and attract passersby with Waze Ads.

This location-based advertising service will literally put your business on the map, helping you increase awareness and reach new customers.

40. YouTube For Video Sharing And Promotion

YouTube is not just for funny cat videos anymore.

Smart businesses of all types are now using this Google-owned property to answer customer questions, promote brand awareness, and engage with their targets.

If you’re creating quality content, the sky is the limit for your brand on this video platform.

Something For Practically Every Need

Google is so much more than a search engine. It’s practically a one-stop shop for everything you need to run your business – and your life, for that matter.

And these 39 products are just a fraction of everything Google offers.

There’s a reason Google has become such a dominant force in the tech world – it understands the needs and desires of users and then provides tools to address them – more often than not, free of charge.

And the truly great thing is that Google is still only getting started.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Monster Ztudio/Shutterstock

Fri, 11 Nov 2022 09:55:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.searchenginejournal.com/best-google-tools/469288/
Killexams : 10 Apple Privacy Problems That Might Surprise You By Thomas Germain of Gizmodo | Slide 1 of 11: Apple wants you to know that it cares about your privacy. For years, the company has emblazoned billboards with catchy slogans about its robust data protection practices, criticized tech rivals for their misuse of users’ personal information, and made big pronouncements about how it shields users. There’s no question that Apple handles your data with more care and respect than a lot of other tech companies. Unlike Google and Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Apple’s business doesn’t depend on mining and monetizing your data. But that doesn’t mean owning an iPhone spells perfect privacy. Apple harvest lots of personal information, often in ways that you might not expect if you buy into the company’s promise that “what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It uses that information for advertising, developing new products, and more. Apple didn’t comment on the record for this story. Click through for 10 surprising ways that the company vacuums up your data and uses it for the company’s own ends.

Apple wants you to know that it cares about your privacy. For years, the company has emblazoned billboards with catchy slogans about its robust data protection practices, criticized tech rivals for their misuse of users’ personal information, and made big pronouncements about how it shields users. There’s no question that Apple handles your data with more care and respect than a lot of other tech companies. Unlike Google and Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Apple’s business doesn’t depend on mining and monetizing your data. But that doesn’t mean owning an iPhone spells perfect privacy. Apple harvest lots of personal information, often in ways that you might not expect if you buy into the company’s promise that “what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It uses that information for advertising, developing new products, and more. Apple didn’t comment on the record for this story. Click through for 10 surprising ways that the company vacuums up your data and uses it for the company’s own ends.

© Photo: Drop of Light (Shutterstock)
Wed, 07 Dec 2022 04:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/10-apple-privacy-problems-that-might-surprise-you/ss-AA150PHp
Killexams : Google Wallet preps ID card and Driver’s License Support for Android devices in the United States

In December’s Google Play System Update, which is rolling out now, several critical fixes for Android Auto, Google TV, and more relating to account management, security, and even the overall user experience are being applied.

We have yet to receive this update, but Phone Arena reports that it includes a number of tweaks to the Play Store itself, Developer Services, and even device connectivity. However, one feature stood out to me and I wanted to highlight it today.

Now that Wallet has finally dropped onto Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2 devices, it seems Google is ready to “test drive” its ID card and driver’s license features that were first announced earlier this year. In working with state and local law, the company wants to make it easier for you to leave your wallet at home. To do this, you’d have to have vital documents and cards on your person without physically keeping them present.

The obvious answer to this is that you should store a digital version in an application on your phone, but until now, this has neither been accepted by society nor secure and reliable enough to be adopted by legal authorities.

Wallet

[Phone] Beta feature to allow users from selected US states to digitize their state ID or driver’s license into the Google Wallet for convenient, private, and secure presentation.

Google Play System Update Changelog for Wallet

The question remains, however, if users will need to unlock their device in order to show their driver’s license or ID to the DMV, police, or any other person allowed to request it on the fly. If so, this would pose a serious security risk for one’s private data.

My hope is that you can flash your cards without unlocking your device. Of course, this means that your identification would still be visible to anyone who picks up or finds your phone. What if you’re still required to provide biometric authentication in order to reveal your personal ID cards, but your phone remains locked and all of this occurs on your lock screen? It’s going to be very interesting as we watch this technology develop, but one thing is for certain – I’m just glad we’re finally making advancements in this space.

We’ll see soon enough which states receive access to these tools and can upload their driver’s licenses and ID cards. The most important question today though is whether or not you’d trust your vital statistics with Google and on your phone as you’re out and about. Let me know in the comments whether or not you’re going to deliver this a shot or pass on it when it finally rolls out.

Mon, 05 Dec 2022 05:26:00 -0600 Michael Perrigo en-us text/html https://chromeunboxed.com/google-wallet-android-drivers-license-id-support-usa
Killexams : ChatGPT: Why Everyone's Obsessed With This Mind-Blowing AI Chatbot Getty Images © Provided by CNET Getty Images

There's a new AI bot in town: ChatGPT. And you'd better take notice.

The tool, from a power player in artificial intelligence, lets you type questions using natural language that the chatbot answers in conversational, if somewhat stilted, language. The bot remembers the thread of your dialog, using previous Q&A to inform its next responses.

It's a big deal. The tool seems pretty knowledgeable if not omniscient. It can be creative and its answers can sound downright authoritative. A few days after its launch, more than a million people are trying out ChatGPT.

But its creator, the for-profit research lab called OpenAI, warns that ChatGPT "may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information," so be careful. Here's a look at why this ChatGPT is important and what's going on with it.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot system that OpenAI released in November to show off and test what a very large, powerful AI system can accomplish. You can ask it countless questions and often will get an answer that's useful.

For example, you can ask it encyclopedia questions like, "Explaining Newton's laws of motion." You can tell it, "Write me a poem," and when it does, say, "Now make it more exciting." You ask it to write a computer program that'll show you all the different ways you can arrange the letters of a word.

Here's the catch: ChatGPT doesn't exactly know anything, though. It's an AI trained to recognize patterns in vast swaths of text harvested from the internet, then further trained with human assistance to deliver more useful better dialog. The answers you get may sound plausible and even authoritative, but they might well be entirely wrong, as OpenAI warns.

Chatbots have been of interest for years to companies looking for ways to help customers get what they need and to and AI researchers trying to tackle the Turing Test. That's the famous "Imitation Game" that computer scientist Alan Turing proposed in 1950 as a way to gauge intelligence: Can a human judge conversing with a human and with a computer tell which is which?

What kinds of questions can you ask?

You can ask anything, though you might not get an answer. OpenAI suggests a few categories, like explaining physics, asking for birthday party ideas and getting programming help.

I asked it to write a poem, and it did, though I don't think any literature experts would be impressed. I then asked it to make it more exciting, and lo, ChatGPT pumped it up with words like battlefield, adrenaline, thunder and adventure.

One wacky example shows how ChatGPT is willing to just go for it in domains where people would fear to tread: a command to write "a folk song about writing a rust program and fighting with lifetime errors."

ChatGPT's expertise is broad, and its ability to follow a conversation is notable. When I asked it for words that rhymed with "purple," it offered a few suggestions, then when I followed up "How about with pink?" it didn't miss a beat. (Also, there are a lot more good rhymes for "pink.")

When I asked, "Is it easier to get a date by being sensitive or being tough?" GPT responded, in part, "Some people may find a sensitive person more attractive and appealing, while others may be drawn to a tough and assertive individual. In general, being genuine and authentic in your interactions with others is likely to be more effective in getting a date than trying to fit a certain mold or persona."

You don't have to look far to find accounts of the bot blowing people's minds. Twitter is awash with users displaying the AI's prowess at generating art prompts and writing code. Some have even proclaimed "Google is dead," along with the college essay. We'll talk more about that below.

Who built ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is the brainchild of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company. Its mission is to develop a "safe and beneficial" artificial general intelligence system or to help others do so.

It's made splashes before, first with GPT-3, which can generate text that can sound like a human wrote it, and then DALL-E, which creates what's now called "generative art" based on text prompts you type in.

GPT-3, and the GPT 3.5 update on which ChatGPT is based, are examples of AI technology called large language models. They're trained to create text based on what they've seen, and they can be trained automatically -- typically with huge quantities of computer power over a period of weeks. For example, the training process can find a random paragraph of text, delete a few words, ask the AI to fill in the blanks, compare the result to the original and then reward the AI system for coming as close as possible. Repeating over and over can lead to a sophisticated ability to generate text.

Is ChatGPT free?

Yes, for now at least. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman warned on Sunday, "We will have to monetize it somehow at some point; the compute costs are eye-watering." OpenAI charges for DALL-E art once you exceed a basic free level of usage.

What are the limits of ChatGPT?

As OpenAI emphasizes, ChatGPT can deliver you wrong answers. Sometimes, helpfully, it'll specifically warn you of its own shortcomings. For example, when I asked it who wrote the phrase "the squirming facts exceed the squamous mind," ChatGPT replied, "I'm sorry, but I am not able to browse the internet or access any external information beyond what I was trained on." (The phrase is from Wallace Stevens' 1942 poem Connoisseur of Chaos.)

ChatGPT was willing to take a stab at the meaning of that expression: "a situation in which the facts or information at hand are difficult to process or understand." It sandwiched that interpretation between cautions that it's hard to judge without more context and that it's just one possible interpretation.

ChatGPT's answers can look authoritative but be wrong.

The software developer site StackOverflow banned ChatGPT answers to programming questions. Administrators cautioned, "because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low, the posting of answers created by ChatGPT is substantially harmful to the site and to users who are asking or looking for correct answers."

You can see for yourself how artful a BS artist ChatGPT can be by asking the same question multiple times. I asked twice whether Moore's Law, which tracks the computer chip industry's progress increasing the number of data-processing transistors, is running out of steam, and I got two different answers. One pointed optimistically to continued progress, while the other pointed more grimly to the slowdown and the belief "that Moore's Law may be reaching its limits."

Both ideas are common in the computer industry itself, so this ambiguous stance perhaps reflects what human experts believe.

With other questions that don't have clear answers, ChatGPT often won't be pinned down. 

The fact that it offers an answer at all, though, is a notable development in computing. Computers are famously literal, refusing to work unless you follow exact syntax and interface requirements. Large language models are revealing a more human-friendly style of interaction, not to mention an ability to generate answers that are somewhere between copying and creativity. 

Can ChatGPT write software?

Yes, but with caveats. ChatGPT can retrace steps humans have taken, and it can generate real programming code. You just have to make sure it's not bungling programming concepts or using software that doesn't work. The StackOverflow ban on ChatGPT-generated software is there for a reason.

But there's enough software on the web that ChatGPT really can work. One developer, Cobalt Robotics Chief Technology Officer Erik Schluntz, tweeted that ChatGPT provides useful enough advice that over three days, he hasn't opened StackOverflow once to look for advice.

Another, Gabe Ragland of AI art site Lexica, used ChatGPT to write website code built with the React tool.

ChatGPT can parse regular expressions (regex), a powerful but complex system for spotting particular patterns, for example dates in a bunch of text or the name of a server in a website address. "It's like having a programming tutor on hand 24/7," tweeted programmer James Blackwell about ChatGPT's ability to explain regex.

Here's one impressive example of its technical chops: ChatGPT can emulate a Linux computer, delivering correct responses to command-line input.

What's off limits?

ChatGPT is designed to weed out "inappropriate" requests, a behavior in line with OpenAI's mission "to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity."

If you ask ChatGPT itself what's off limits, it'll tell you: any questions "that are discriminatory, offensive, or inappropriate. This includes questions that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful." Asking it to engage in illegal activities is also a no-no.

Is this better than Google search?

Asking a computer a question and getting an answer is useful, and often ChatGPT delivers the goods.

Google often supplies you with its suggested answers to questions and with links to websites that it thinks will be relevant. Often ChatGPT's answers far surpass what Google will suggest, so it's easy to imagine GPT-3 is a rival.

But you should think twice before trusting ChatGPT. As with Google itself and other sources of information like Wikipedia, it's best practice to verify information from original sources before relying on it.

Vetting the veracity of ChatGPT answers takes some work because it just gives you some raw text with no links or citations. But it can be useful and in some cases thought provoking. You may not see something directly like ChatGPT in Google search results, but Google has built large language models of its own and uses AI extensively already in search.

So ChatGPT is doubtless showing the way toward our tech future.

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 07:14:44 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/chatgpt-why-everyones-obsessed-with-this-mind-blowing-ai-chatbot/ar-AA14X9Cz
Killexams : How Can Pair Programming Drive Collaboration And Efficiency

[Anastasiia’s Flashback]

Have you ever wondered what Pair Programming is, or how it works? “If I were to summarize Pair Programming in four words, it would be ‘Two programmers, one pencil.’

One day I was just listening to a tech podcast about software development techniques and heard about Pair Programming. When I joined Forbes, I introduced this practice to my team. I think it's a common misconception that software development is a solitary field. Rather, teamwork or collaboration is a key element in software development projects.

I went out on maternity leave.

It was a fantastic period as a mother. But, my developer hormones were continuously pushing me to start my job as soon as possible and catch up faster with a team.

phone and laptop on wooden table © 2022 sergo_oof © Provided by Forbes phone and laptop on wooden table © 2022 sergo_oof

Here comes the point where the pair programming felt like bliss, so I messaged Pete as he had some knowledge with unit tests at that time, to walk me through the project.

[Pete’s Flashback]

Seven weeks into my summer internship at Forbes Media, Anastasiia sent me a Slack message about working on her first unit-test ticket. I had merged about a handful of unit-test pull requests at this point, but that development (and struggle!) was done in isolation. No one had to watch as I stared blankly at error messages for (what seemed like) hours on end.

Fortunately, I had a little bit of time to prepare. Something my mentor previously said struck me at that moment. “Look for patterns in the code...”

Before we met up to work on the unit-test, I looked over the component in question and tried to assess its complexity and functionality. Then found similar components that had already had unit-tests written. Armed with a couple of unit-test examples, we connected and I started by screen sharing my code editor.

[Anastasiia’s perspective, Google Meet]

Pete and I connected, we reviewed some unit-test examples, and discussed the imports. Next, we reviewed rendering a component, then challenging it with an assertion. Afterwards, we ran the tests to have a visual example of passing results.

Next step was to modify the unit-test so that it fails. Failing the test would render the component code to the console and make it a little bit easier to see what the unit-test is actually rendering. After this, we decided to start the development for the unit-test ticket.

[Pete’s perspective]

Since I was ‘driving’ I reverted to my natural development habits… A few minutes into this, I realize that I’m talking to myself as I code (this helps me keep some of the abstract logic straight). It’s part of what I naturally tend to do, but now someone is listening to me!

Turns out this was helpful as it was a bit easier to follow my thought process since I was being more vocal.

Finally, we touch on code coverage. We discuss accessing the report, as well as interpreting the results. At that point, Anastasiia (with an excited tone in her voice) had enough!

She sounded comfortable and wanted to try it from scratch, on her own, or maybe she was just tired of listening to me talk to myself.

[Anastasiia and Pete] Perks of Pair Programming:

Fewer Bugs and Quality Code - Two developers quickly correct each other's mistakes and use shared knowledge to solve problems faster. Two sets of eyes can see more problems than one; both have different ways to identify the problem.

Faster Training - In pair programming, the collaborators are usually both experienced or one expert and one novice. It is a huge perk for the juniors to learn quicker and for the company to speed up the onboarding process.

Increases teamwork and team communication - Last but not least, one of the amazing benefits of practicing pair programming is increased team communication and building opportunities. While doing the pairing, developers inform each other more about their work and trust each other. It helps build better relationships with other colleagues.

Even in remote pairing, teams work together and interact in different time zones and locations. And we believe that building and strengthening work relationships are essential for any successful agile team.

Wrapping up - If you've ever heard that 'two minds are better than one', it is pretty true in the context of software engineering.

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 03:12:27 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/pair-programming/ar-AA153C7S
Killexams : The Best Target Black Friday Deals

There's just something about a Target trip that cures my cabin fever and all minor bouts of anxiety. This time of year, all the cute Christmas decor and ornaments are out, which makes trips even more fun. Shopping on its website isn't as fun, sadly, but it's still packed full of holiday sales. Target's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have been live for almost every day of the month, but several discounts are even sweeter now.

Updated on November 29, 2022: We've removed dead deals, as well as checked links and pricing throughout. 

We test products year-round and handpicked these deals. Products that are sold out or no longer discounted as of publishing will be crossed out. We'll update this guide through Cyber Monday.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.


Jump to a Topic: Headphones, Phones, Streaming TV, Laptops, Home Devices, Gaming, Beauty and Care


Target's Holiday Price Match Guarantee

The retailer is offering a price match certain this season. If you purchase an item in-store or online from now through December 24 and the price goes lower, you can request a price match. You'll need to show proof of purchase.

Headphone, Soundbar, and Speaker Deals

Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation

Photograph: Apple

Apple's second-generation wireless buds (9/10, WIRED Recommends) deliver better sound quality than the original Pros with longer battery life, and Apple's noise-canceling tech remains some of the best in a pair of wireless earbuds. This version's charging case has an embedded speaker so you can ping it with Apple's Find My app.

Sony's flagship headphones remain our best overall choice for most people (9/10, WIRED Recommends). They look elegant, last a long time on a single charge, and sound great. Sony's noise cancellation tech is also among the best out there. If you want to save even more, the previous generation WH-1000XM4 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) are just $230 right now ($120 off) and almost as excellent to listen to.

You can spend less and still get some of the best audio quality in a tiny package if you go for Sony's WF-1000XM4 earbuds (7/10, WIRED Recommends). That said, they may be a bit too big for small ears. There's noise canceling to quiet down the outside world, quick pairing with Android phones, and a charging case that can be topped up wirelessly.

If you need intense noise cancellation, these earbuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) live up to their name—our writer called the noise cancellation nearly supernatural. The sound is pretty good too, whether your listening to music or podcasts. They're more lightweight than previous versions, making them comfortable to wear in your ears for long periods of time. 

Beats Fit Pro

Photograph: Beats

These are our favorite wireless earbuds for working out, especially if you have an iPhone, where they pair easily and enjoy a strong wireless connection. (They also work just fine with Android phones.) The Beats Fit Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends) are comfy to wear, have great battery life, and have excellent noise cancellation. There are physical controls on the outside of each earbud, so you don't have to worry about your sweaty hair pausing your music during a workout. 

Do earbuds always seem to slip right out of your ears? The Powerbeats Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends) have a secure fit with a piece that goes behind your ear—like a temple piece's hook on a pair of glasses—to keep them firmly in place. Plus, they get nine hours of battery from a charge and sound better than Apple's standard AirPods. You can automatically pause your music or route a call back to your phone simply by taking one out of your ear.

The Studio3 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are getting a little long in the tooth, but they're still a great pair of comfy over-ear headphones. There's great noise cancellation, awesome Bluetooth range, and they pair well with Apple devices. (Android users might experience worse battery life). 

Photograph: Samsung

Samsung makes some of our favorite earbuds, and we recommend them highly to people who use an Android phone. Samsung's latest are the Galaxy Buds2 Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends), which are super comfy to wear, deliver stunning sound from the dual dynamic drivers, and have excellent noise-canceling tech. Phone call quality is actually really great too. There are some specific features that only work if you pair them with a Samsung phone, but they are still great even if you have a Pixel, iPhone, or some other non-Samsung device.

Amazon's second-gen Echo Buds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are some of our favorite cheap buds at their normal $120 price, so this is a great discount. The built-in connection with Alexa voice assistant makes it easy to control the buds, ask questions, or set timers without looking at your phone.

Sonos Beam Gen 2

Photograph: Sonos 

The second generation of Sonos Beam is the Goldilocks of Sonos soundbars. It’s not the most powerful speaker from the brand, but it offers the best balance of sound and size for most living rooms. The Beam supports Dolby Atmos and the big three voice assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri), it's more responsive than its predecessor, and it’s incredibly sleek, whether on your shelf or mounted to the wall. We've rounded up more Sonos deals here.

The Beam soundbar above is the best choice for most people, and this Sonos Arc (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the upgrade pick, especially for home theater setups. It's expensive, but it delivers deep bass and crisp sound. We've rounded up more Sonos deals here.

While Marshall is most notable for its musical instrument amplifiers, the company makes some really great speakers too. The Stockwell II is our favorite of Marshall's Bluetooth lineup, but the Emberton is a great speaker to pack for your next picnic or beach day. It even features a battery gauge, so you won't get caught off guard by a record-scratch moment of silence. 

JBL makes really reliable, solid-sounding speakers. When it comes to the Flip 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, we expect it wouldn't be any different. While we haven't tested this speaker specifically, the previous Flips have fared well, and the Clip 4 is a small and mighty portable player that we love. The Flip 6 has an IPX7 waterproof rating, 12 hours of battery life, and can link up with other JBL speakers through a feature called PartyPlay.

Bose SoundLink Revolve II Bluetooth Speaker

Photograph: Bose

There are cheaper and cuter Bluetooth speakers that we've tested and recommended, but this one is an honorable mention because Bose products put out some great sound. The Revolve II is water-resistant and gets around 13 hours of battery life per charge.

This is our favorite Bluetooth speaker in our buying guide—particularly because it's convenient and fun. The UE Boom 3 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) produces a balanced and pleasant sound (especially for its size) and it lasts 15 hours on a single charge. It's also waterproof, making it the perfect option for those summer pool parties, and comes in multiple colors.

The Sonos Move (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is an excellent choice if you're looking for a speaker suitable for indoors and out. With a built-in handle and an IP56 (splash-resistant) rating, you can carry it between your living room and the backyard with ease. It's powered by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, packs an 11-hour battery life, and comes equipped with microphones to adapt its sound depending on the environment you're in. You'll get support for Google Assistant and Alexa.

Google Nest Mini

Photograph: Google

This is the best Google speaker for smart-home basics (7/10, WIRED Recommends) like asking questions, setting timers, or controlling your smart lights or thermostat. The fabric around the top is made from yarn spun entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Read our Best Smart Speakers guide for more details.

The Nest Audio (8/10, WIRED Recommends) can do everything the Nest Mini can do, including adeptly answer all your spoken questions, thanks to Google Assistant. However, its audio output is significantly better. This is the speaker to get if you want to blast tunes around the house as you do your chores.

Want a smart display without a camera? (There are plenty of reasons you might.) The 7-inch Nest Hub (7/10, WIRED Recommends) will satisfy. It can act as a digital photo frame when it's not in use, but you can call up Google Assistant to control your smart home gadgets or ask it any question and see visual responses on the screen. It can use radar to track your sleep habits, so it's a nice option for the bedroom. Check out our Best Smart Displays guide for more recommendations.

Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Photograph: Amazon

Are you often asking Alexa to play all your favorite songs? The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) can help you with that. This smart speaker can answer questions, tell you what it feels like outside, and fill up a room with its robust sound. Plus, it features a 3.5-mm output jack so you can connect it to any of your other speakers.

The Amazon Echo Show 8 may not be the biggest of the available Show smart displays, but we think it's the best for most people. The Show 8 is big enough to easily see your slideshow of family photos, but small enough to fit on the counter comfortably. The speaker sounds good, the video chat works well, and the device can control the rest of your connected smart home gadgets. However, if you want a different-sized display, the bigger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen, 2021) Smart Display is on sale for $185 ($65 off), and the smaller Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is on sale for $35 ($50 off).

You may want a smaller smart speaker to tell you the news while you get ready for the day, or listen to your favorite podcast while you put laundry away. If that's you, the Echo Dot is a great choice. The Dot is small enough to stash on a nightstand, but can still do plenty like controlling smart bulbs, your TV, and more. Kids can cash out with the Echo Dot Kids (5th Gen) for $30 ($30 off) today, too.

Phone, Tablet, and Smartwatch Deals

For more ideas, check out our guide to the Best Tablets and Best Cheap Phones.

Google Pixel 6A

Photograph: Google

If you prefer Android phones over iPhones, get the Pixel 6A (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It's our favorite phone for most people. It's budget-conscious, but its dual-camera system produces some of the best photos for the price. You also get a bright AMOLED display, daylong battery life, speedy performance, and five years of security updates. (You also get many of the smart software features that Pixels are known for.) You sacrifice a few bells and whistles, like wireless charging and a high screen refresh rate, but it's still a steal.

Google's existing flagship phone, the Pixel 7 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), has barely been out for a month, but it's already on sale. That's an impressive value, since we already liked its low price. You get snappy performance, a 90-Hz screen, wireless charging, a battery that lasts a day, and one of the best cameras on a smartphone. Don't forget the plethora of smart features you'll use every day (which you can read more about here). The Pixel 7 Pro, which has a larger 120-Hz screen and a 5X optical zoom camera, is also on sale for $749 ($150 off). You can find more Google deals here.

If you're a Samsung loyalist, then the Galaxy A53 5G (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a good budget-friendly choice. It adds a 120-Hz screen refresh rate to the mix, along with a microSD card slot. It gets four OS upgrades and five years of security updates. It's a shame the cameras aren't as good as on the budget Pixel. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Photograph: Samsung

It's likely that Samsung will announce a successor to this phone early next year, but that doesn't stop the S22 Ultra (9/10, WIRED Recommends) from being a good buy. There are almost no other smartphones in the US with a 10x optical zoom camera. That zoom lets you capture sharp photos of subjects far away—like your kid running across the soccer pitch. It's a high-end phone in every other way, from stunning performance to a fantastic 6.8-inch display. There's even a built-in stylus. 

The 2021 Fire HD 10 (7/10 WIRED Recommends) is the best Fire tablet on the market at the moment. The 1080p screen is bright, it has plenty of storage, and it works with Alexa. If you want more memory and wireless charging, the Fire HD 10 Plus Tablet—2021 Model— is also on sale for $105 ($75 off). And for the little ones, you can get the Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet (2021 Model) for $120 ($80 off).

We're still testing the brand-new Fire HD 8, but it improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way. It has a faster processor and a thinner design, and it retains the USB-C port for charging. It's a great cheap tablet for consuming media and browsing the web, and it's fairly compact. If you're buying this for a kid, get the Fire HD 8 Kids version for $80 ($150 off). It includes a two-year worry-free guarantee, in case your kid smashes the slate, and it also comes with a rugged bumper case. Want something even smaller? The Fire HD 7 (2022) is also on sale for $40 ($20 off). The Fire 7 Kids Tablet (2022 Model) is also available for $55 ($55 off), and it has good enough performance for web browsing and watching videos. 

If your partner is begging you not to bring any more physical books into the apartment, a Kindle Paperwhite could potentially curb your collecting obsession while keeping you stocked up on studying material. The 2021 11th Generation model (8/10 WIRED Recommends) gives you a bigger screen and battery, as well as a faster processing rate so you won't have to miss a moment of what's gonna happen to Evelyn Hugo next.

There's a new iPad in town, but Apple is continuing to sell last year's model; for most people, it's more than enough. It's fast, has a nice screen, and supports the first-gen Apple Pencil (along with Apple's Smart Keyboard). There are several multi-tasking improvements you can enjoy in iPadOS 16 too.

iPad Mini

Photograph: Apple

The iPad Mini (8/10, WIRED Recommends) dips to this price often, but it's still a good deal. The more compact iPad is great for traveling or bedtime use, but the 8.3-inch display is still big enough for reading, binge-watching TV, or drawing (it has second-gen Apple Pencil support). The A15 Bionic processor makes it speedy too. The 256 GB option is out of stock, but the 64 GB model is still available.

This official Apple charger will charge your iPhone the fastest (15 watts) because it aligns to a very precise spot that allows for better power transfer. Unfortunately, the 3-foot cable is frustratingly short and makes it tough to use the phone while charging, unless you're right next to an outlet. If you need to charge multiple devices at once, consider the MagSafe Duo for $97 ($32 off).

Apple Watch Series 8

Photograph: Apple

If you haven't updated your Apple Watch in a little while, the Series 8 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best Apple Watch out right now. This one retains great health and wellness features, like blood oxygen measurements, high and low heart rate notifications, and ECG, plus it now includes Crash Detection (it'll contact emergency services if you're unresponsive after a car accident). It will also track your fertility, but we'd be wary of potential privacy issues around that. 

If you don't need all the bells and whistles in a watch, or you're getting a smartwatch for a child or elderly family member who doesn't have their own phone, consider the SE. It's cheaper with a smaller screen, and it doesn't have ECG, bloody oxygen, or ovulation monitors like the Series 8. Still, it works with the latest WatchOS 9, so you can get the existing fitness features. 

Google's first-ever Pixel Watch makes me jealous that I'm a staunch iPhone user because it's gorgeous. (It only works with Android phones.) It's comfortable to wear all day and accurately tracks your health and fitness basics, like heart rate and electrocardiograms, but there's no SpO2 sensing, auto workout detection, or fall detection (that's coming soon). Its responsive interface lets you keep track of notifications and respond to messages, even phone calls. Unfortunately, battery life is lackluster, and it charges slowly.

Samsung Galaxy Watch5

Photograph: Samsung

If you have a Samsung phone and are thinking of adding a smartwatch to your gadget stack, the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 (7/10 WIRED Recommends) is the best bet for you. While many smartwatches are square, the Galaxy Watch5 takes on a more round, minimalist design. But this doesn't mean the tech and hardware are cutting any corners—this has durable sapphire crystal on the face, accurate fitness tracking, and great water and dust resistance.

When you're working out, you don't necessarily wanna see every notification or watch the number of miles tick by. The Halo Fitness Tracker is literally just a band that helps monitor your progress without all the chaos that a screen can bring. The app is easy to use, but it also does push some business and advertising on you, so keep that in mind. The Halo View Fitness Tracker is also on sale for $35 ($45 off) if you really do want the screen.

There are plenty of games you can play on your iPhone, but it's not always easy or ergonomic with a tiny touch screen. The Backbone One (8/10 WIRED Recommends) is easy to set up, works with most iPhones, and even has pass-through charging so you don't have to worry about when to press pause so you can charge up.


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TV and Streaming Deals

Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Photograph: Google

Google TV has the best interface of any streaming device we've tried, and we love this Chromecast (8/10, WIRED Recommends). Browsing across platforms is easier than Roku, whether you're looking for a specific title or know you feel like a comedy tonight. If you don't need a 4K device, Google has a cheaper HD-only Chromecast with Google TV for $20 ($10 off).

Roku's Streaming Stick 4K Plus, which is slightly discounted at Amazon right now, is our recommended Roku for most people, but this one is similar. It's cheaper, although the remote lacks hands-free voice control. Even though the above Chromecast has a nicer interface, Roku still makes our favorite streaming devices. They're just easier for most people to navigate and offer every service under the sun.

The Roku Ultra has the strongest dual-band Wi-Fi radio of the lineup, plus it comes with headphones for private listening if the rest of your house is asleep (you just plug them into the side of the remote). It streams in Dolby Vision, and this 2022 version adds support for HDR10+ (if your TV supports it). It comes with a remote that includes voice control.

Roku Streambar

Photograph: Roku

For $80, you can upgrade your streaming capabilities and the audio quality of your TV with Roku's Streambar. It's just 14 inches long, so it works great in smaller living rooms. It has Dolby Audio for better sound, and there's a night-listening mode so you don't have to worry about constantly turning down the loud scenes while your roommate is sleeping. If you need better sound quality than this and don't need a streaming device, there are a few other discounted soundbars in the section above.

If you prefer Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and watch mainly Prime Video content, go with this streaming stick. It works with most apps, but it is obviously geared toward Prime shows and movies. There's a picture-in-picture feature so you can pull up your security camera feed without interrupting your current binge. Amazon's lesser (but still good) streaming devices are also on sale. Check out the Fire TV Stick 4K for $25 ($25 off) and Fire TV Stick Lite for $15 ($15 off).

TCL makes some of our favorite TVs and we love how much you get for your money when you buy a TV from this company. This 43-inch 4-Series TV is about as cheap as quality televisions get. The image tech that's made previous 5- and 6-Series TCL TVs so good has filtered down to the 4-Series.

Laptop Deals

HP Victus 16

Photograph: HP

This is the 15-inch version of the HP Victus we like in our Best Budget Gaming Laptops guide. It has a slightly smaller screen, but the same Intel i5 processor, Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics card, 16 gigabytes of RAM, and 512-gigabyte SSD. It isn't the most powerful gaming rig, but if you're on a tight budget, it'll get the job done.

Lenovo's 13-inch, two-in-one touchscreen Flex 5i features a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM, and a 256-gigabyte SSD. It's plenty fast for browsing the web, watching videos, and most office tasks. Our only real gripe is that the 14-inch 1080p display isn't the brightest.

Lenovo's IdeaPad Slim 9i features an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 chip, 16 gigabytes of RAM, and a 512-gigabyte SSD. That means it can handle some light video editing too. 

Home Deals

Ember Mug² 

Photograph: Ember

I love the mismatched, random mugs I have, so I prefer using them with a mug warmer. But if you work in an office and need to keep your coffee warm, Ember's mugs do their job well. You have to connect it to the Ember app when you first unbox it, but then you can set your perfect temperature from 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery lasts about an hour and a half between charges.

This is our absolute favorite robot vacuum. It's attractive, easy to use, and most of all, effective. It has powerful suction and great navigation, and it empties automatically into the bin, which means you don't have to empty it as often. 

Dyson Cyclone V10

Photograph: Amazon

We've seen this stick vacuum go as low as $350 before, but this is still a solid deal. The V10 Cyclone (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is from 2018, but it's the vac of choice for several WIRED Gear team members. The suction is strong, the body relatively lightweight, and the whole thing is easy to maneuver. You can attach different heads—including one made for pet hair—and even convert it into a hand vac. Learn more in our Best Dyson Vacuums guide. The brand-new Dyson V12 Detect Slim is also on sale for $500 ($150 off)—read our review here—but you can also save and get the older V8 Origin for $280 ($100 off).

The V15 Detect holds the spot of Best Overall in our roundup of Dyson vacuums. It's cordless and weighs under 7 pounds, which means it's easy to maneuver (it also seamlessly converts into a handheld model). It also comes with a variety of accessories—one of the most useful being the laser cleaner head that shoots out a green light to help you see microscopic dust particles.

The Nest Cam (Battery) is one of our top picks for outdoor security cameras, particularly if you want to stick to the Google Assistant ecosystem. It has a simple magnetic mounting plate, and its battery will last a little more than a month before needing a recharge. The 1080p quality is pretty great, even when night vision kicks on in low light. A Nest Aware subscription isn't required, but it adds a few helpful features. There's a version with a floodlight for $190 ($90 off), and the corded version of this Nest Cam (for indoors) is also on sale for $70 ($30 off).

At this point, Wi-Fi shouldn't be confusing, yet somehow it still is with all the rebooting and speed tests and precarious setup situations. The Eero 6 (3-Pack) Wi-Fi Mesh Routers are so simple to set up, so you won't have to worry about all that nonsense. These discrete routers easily blend into your decor, all the while extending and boosting your internet well enough to make it easier on you. 

It's actually kind of insane how expensive Christmas trees can be, artificial or not. If you wanna spend less on a tree so you can spend more on your loved ones, Target has the Wondershop brand artificial trees on sale for 50 percent off.

This is one of the lowest prices we've seen on this model. These stand mixers can stand (pun intended) the test of time and will prove a useful addition to any home baker's arsenal. If you want the Artisan model that has a head that tilts back for easier access to the bowl, it's also on sale for $350 ($100 off). Shipping is not longer available from Target, but you may be able to order one for pick up in a store near you if there's still stock.


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Gaming Deals

Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition

Photograph: Amazon

This deal is on the original Nintendo Switch model and includes a digital get code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You also get a three-month membership for Nintendo Switch Online, so you can crush your friends and strangers online. You're effectively getting the game and membership for the price of the console.

The Xbox comes with only one controller in the box, so get a spare for Player 2 ahead of the holidays. You’ll find discounts on all color options, including Carbon Black, Robot White, Shock Blue, Pulse Red, and Electric Volt.

Blue Snowball Ice USB Microphone

Photograph: Blue

Blue makes great microphones that are easy to use—just plug in and go. This Snowball Ice microphone is affordable for your work-from-home or gaming setup. 

If you can spend a little more, this Blue Yeti is still affordable and will elevate your sound while streaming your Elden Ring sessions. Just plug it into your PC, and that's it. We have other tips and recommendations in our Best Podcasting Gear guide.

Elden Ring

Photograph: Amazon

The Xbox Series X fluctuates in stock, so snag the Series S instead. It's a more affordable alternative. The Series S is smaller and can only play digital games (there's no disc drive), but it can play titles up to 120 frames per second at a 1440-pixel resolution (not 4K). This is the lowest price we’ve tracked, and Target is throwing a $50 gift card, which you can use to snag an Xbox game. It might not be available for shipping but you might be able to pick it up at a Target near you. (Alternatively, you can buy it directly from Microsoft sans the gift card.)

Deals like this are basically free money. If you're planning to buy anything via the Xbox store, this $25 gift card only costs $20. It's basically a 20 percent discount on whatever you buy in the future. And you can buy up to three cards, for a total of $15 off a $75 purchase.

Mechanical keyboards make typing all day fun, with satisfying clicky clacks. This one is a 60 percent keyboard, so it loses the number pad and the arrow keys, leaving a cute little board with just the basics. It's compatible with Razer's key cap kits, so you can customize your color scheme. 

Beauty and Personal Care Deals

Oral-B Pro 1000 (older version)

Photograph: Amazon

Oral-B makes great electric toothbrushes, with round, oscillating brush heads that get right in between all your teeth and gums and leave them sparkling clean. The brand has released a few very expensive smart brushes, but the classic Pro 1000 is the best for most people.

I've tried quite a few very expensive hair tools, and I love when cheap ones outshine them. Remington's flat iron is one of those standouts. It straightened my hair quickly and easily, so I didn't have to go over a section multiple times. I don't know if it added shine, but my coarse hair has never been shiny a day in its life. It didn't make it look crispy, so that's a win in my book.

Sore muscles are a fact of life when you exercise. If it's a good workout, you'll be sore afterward. You can massage away a great deal of that soreness though, with a percussive massager. The Theragun Prime provides up to 30 pounds of pressure, making it a solid midrange product in Theragun's lineup. Check out our Best Theraguns guide for more information.

Whenever I go to Target, I come home with far too many beauty products. If that sounds like you, several beauty sets are included in the 25 percent off deal. Here are a few recommendations:


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Retailer Sales Pages

Want to browse the sales yourself? Here are some major retailers with Cyber Monday deals.
Sat, 26 Nov 2022 15:14:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.wired.com/story/best-target-cyber-monday-deals-2022/ Killexams : Former Google exec: HR, IT need to get a lot closer next year

As competition for talent remains hot, employers are looking for any avenue to draw people in and keep them—prompting many to take a closer look at their employee experience.

While the journey to a better EX may include aspects like added benefits, heightened flexibility or new opportunities for internal mobility, many of those shifts are underscored by a need for better tech.

“Employees expect consumer-quality tech experiences at work,” says Laszlo Bock, co-founder and executive chair of HR tech company Humu and a former HR exec at Google. Despite those expectations, Bock says, most internal HR systems—from performance management to core HR—are “terrible.”

Laszlo Bock
Laszlo Bock

“It’s a chronic problem for HR departments in that they buy software and no one uses it,” he says. That’s where chief information officers can help.

Embracing new opportunities

A stronger relationship between HR and IT leaders is a key factor in promoting a better employee experience, Bock says.

But, the increasing focus on EX isn’t the only shift necessitating a closer partnership between the two functions. Bock says that the rise of hybrid work, accelerated digital transformations, and the “chronic uncertainty” in the world are all fueling gaps that people and tech leaders can fill together.

It’s a departure from the past, says Julie Simmons, chief information officer at Swire Coca-Cola, one of the Coca-Cola Co.’s largest bottling partners and an employer of 7,200 people. Traditionally, HR and IT worked in silos, largely owing to the fact that technology and data just weren’t “front-and-center” pieces of most employers’ people strategies.



“HR systems were just used to store and maintain static employee data,” she says.

But, as technology advances and employers increasingly embrace capabilities like machine learning and AI, data and predictive analytics are becoming cornerstones of people management.

“These opportunities necessitate a strong partnership between HR and IT,” Simmons says, “and create a great opportunity to drive innovations that were not possible before.”

While EX innovation is a must for today’s market, areas like employee engagement, digital empowerment and better data privacy can all be supported by HR and IT collaboration, Bock says. In addition to the expertise leaders from both functions bring to such work, the fusion of their mindsets is also important: Whereas CHROs are often driven by the impact of a project on employee sentiment and its qualitative measure—i.e., the number of people hired—CIOs bring a focus on aspects like deployment and uptime.

“There is better adoption across an organization when CHROs and CIOs jointly own things like employee happiness, retention,” Bock says. “This is particularly true in hybrid work, where HR can’t rely on themselves or team managers sitting down with people and coaching in real time.”

Agility and alignment

Employers looking to marry the work of their HR and IT teams need to first ensure their goals are aligned—and that they support the wider business strategy.



It’s about “having a committed vision and goals and being tightly connected with how [HR and IT] work and communicate and enable collective success,” Simmons says.

At Swire Coca-Cola, the focus companywide is on “limitless thinking and an innovative culture”—and that has helped shape how HR and IT work together to provide employees with a consumer-grade technology experience at work. That partnership has involved an agile mindset, openness to new collaboration and the alignment of resources, which has helped the company test and iterate—and, ultimately, innovate—quickly.

A willingness to experiment—on both the part of HR and IT teams—is vital to a successful partnership, adds Bock.

“Just as importantly,” he says, “they need to establish clear, shared metrics that measure the outcomes of programs—not just usage—to answer questions like, ‘Is the product making work better?’ and ‘Is it driving productivity?’ ”

When HR and IT can successfully answer these questions, using data and analytics, adds Simmons, it can shape the entire ecosystem of the employee life cycle—and dictate how the company’s people strategy holds up in a market like that of today.

“Everyone has a war on talent. Any edge that you can put in place will help not only your competitive advantage but help your unique value proposition,” she says. “Your employee experience is going to help you as a company, and partnering together can really drive that successfully.”

Learn how HR and IT can leverage new technology to Boost the employee experience during the upcoming HR Tech Virtual Conference—a free, online event being held Feb. 28-March 2. Click here for more information or to register.

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 03:17:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://hrexecutive.com/former-google-exec-hr-it-need-to-get-a-lot-closer-next-year/
Killexams : It’s hard to choose a winner in our Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro camera test

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is a standout smartphone for 2022, flaunting a refined design, Google’s upgraded Tensor G2 chipset, Android 13 software, and a whole lot more.

But here’s a question that still needs to be answered: Has the Google Pixel 7 Pro’s camera taken a big step forward over the already excellent Google Pixel 6 Pro’s? We’ve tested them both out to see if you should think about upgrading if you have a Pixel 6 Pro, and to understand if Google has moved its photography game forward with the latest Pixel phone.

Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro camera specs

The back of the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a 50-megapixel main camera with optical and electronic image stabilization (OIS and EIS), laser autofocus, and a whole host of special Google-specific software features. It comes with a 12MP wide-angle camera with a 125-degree field of view, plus a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and a 30x Super Res Zoom feature. On the front is a fixed-focus 10.8MP selfie camera.

It’s a great specification, and on paper, the Pixel 6 Pro isn’t all that different. It also has a 50MP main camera with OIS and laser autofocus, a 12MP wide-angle camera with a tighter 114-degree field of view, and a 48MP telephoto zoom with 4x optical zoom and Super Res zoom up to 20x. The selfie camera has 11.1MP and fixed focus. On the surface, the upgrades on the Pixel 7 Pro are small, but a lot of Google’s expertise is in its software, meaning it works hard to take full advantage of the hardware no matter what.

The photos below were all taken in auto mode and examined on a color-calibrated monitor. We have reduced the size of the image before uploading for friendly online viewing.

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro main camera

With both phones using a 50MP main camera, differences between the photos will mostly come down to the way each one has been tuned, as well as alterations introduced by the Tensor G2 processor in the Pixel 7 Pro.

The first photo was taken indoors in good lighting, and shows where the Pixel 7 Pro differs from the Pixel 6 Pro. I didn’t tap to focus, but the Pixel 6 Pro correctly assumed the rear wing was the focal point, while the Pixel 7 Pro favored the rest of the image. See how the signs on the wall are sharper than in the Pixel 6 Pro photo, while the Lotus insignia is slightly less sharp. Colors are uniform across both.

In the second image, you can see more of a difference, with the Pixel 7 Pro toning down the green grass and deepening the blue of the sky. The level of detail is the same though, and while it’s really the Pixel 7 Pro that better captures the atmosphere of the day, some may prefer the look of the Pixel 6 Pro’s photo. The thing is, both photos look great.

For the third photo, I tapped on the slice of cake to focus and it’s the Pixel 7 Pro that returned the better image, with sharper focus and more accurate depth of field. This aside, the two photos are otherwise almost identical, treating colors and white balance in the same way.

Our final photo was taken in lowlight indoors, but with daylight coming in from the side. The two photos have minor differences between them when it comes to the color of the car. The Pixel 6 Pro exposes the scene slightly differently than the 7 Pro, and when you look very closely, there’s a tiny bit more detail in some areas of the 7 Pro’s photo as well. But like the other images, one photo is not categorically better than the other. It makes the main camera section a draw.

Winner: Draw

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro wide-angle camera

The wide-angle camera on the Pixel 7 Pro has a wider 125-degree field of view compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s 114-degree field of view, so you will notice the 7 Pro’s photos are more expansive.

You can see the difference it makes in our first photo, where the side of the doorway on the left includes the old Castrol sign on the wall in the Pixel 7 Pro photo; it’s missing from the Pixel 6 Pro’s photo. I prefer a wide-angle camera to have an real wide angle, and the Pixel 7 Pro delivers that far more than the Pixel 6 Pro. However, angle aside, the two photos are very similar.

On to the second photo and, again, apart from the Pixel 7 Pro’s wider field of view, the two photos are practically identical. The HDR effect is noticeable in the clouds, the grass is the same shade of green, and there’s the same amount of detail and texture in the building. All the wide-angle photos taken with the two Pixel phones had the same characteristics as these two examples, but we’re going to deliver the Pixel 7 Pro the win here as it has a wider field of view.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro zoom camera

The Pixel 7 Pro provides a shortcut to a 2x and a 5x zoom in its camera app, while the Pixel 6 Pro provides a 2x and 4x shortcut. You can see examples of both here, and the results are interesting. The first photo was shot in decent indoor lighting at 2x zoom, yet the older phone handled it far better.

The texture of the lamp in the foreground in the Pixel 6 Pro’s photo is obvious, but it’s like someone quickly wiped it down before I took the photo with the Pixel 7 Pro (they didn’t), while the text on the drive belts hanging up is sharp and clear in the Pixel 6 Pro’s phot, yet dull and blurred in the Pixel 7’s. The Pixel 6 Pro’s photo is superior.

Our second photo shows the difference between the Pixel 7 Pro’s 5x zoom and the Pixel 6 Pro’s 4x zoom, and like the wide-angle camera, it’s really the only aspect that lets you tell the two apart. There are masses of detail, the colors are sharp and accurate, and you’d never know these were taken using such a deep zoom level. Both are great photos, but the Pixel 6 Pro’s 2x does tend to show more detail and texture, especially in challenging light, so it takes the win here.

Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro night mode

It has already been difficult to tell the two cameras apart, and it’s even more so when shooting in low light with the night mode active. There are three examples below, but they treat the scenes so similarly that it’s difficult to pick a winner. While there are some subtle improvements in white balance in the Pixel 7 Pro’s photos, the Pixel 6 Pro often seems to show more detail.

However, look closely at the Pixel 7 Pro’s photo of the monument, and it seems to show stars in the sky, which are entirely absent from the Pixel 6 Pro’s image. This isn’t quite so obvious in other photos and may be entirely dependent on lighting conditions. Still, it’s some evidence that the Pixel 7 Pro’s night mode has been further refined, but the changes won’t always be so obvious.

Does that make the Pixel 7 Pro the winner? While there is evidence of improved performance in a few of the photos I took at night and in low light, most of the time, the two cameras performed in basically the same way. If you’ve got a Pixel 6 Pro, then you won’t notice a huge change in regular lowlight photos if you upgrade unless you’re shooting in very dark conditions.

The third photo shows where you may see some improvements with the Pixel 7 Pro. The photo of the Lego car was taken with barely any ambient light, and while both photos are blurry, the Pixel 7 Pro does manage to brighten, focus, and eliminate the blur better than the Pixel 6 Pro. When the Pixel 6 Pro’s Night mode is so good, even the tiniest of improvements takes masses of work. The Pixel 7 Pro gets the win, but don’t expect to see the differences very often if you upgrade.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro portrait mode

Continuing the theme of the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro taking pretty much the same photo, we come to the portrait mode test, where we look at the edge recognition, background blur, and object recognition as key points in the camera’s performance. In an entirely unsurprising turn of events, both cameras do such a great job that it’s hard to tell them apart.

Our photo here shows what we mean. Both cameras isolate the hood emblem very well, and the color and detail elsewhere are mostly consistent too. Perhaps the Pixel 6 Pro does a slightly better job with object recognition, but it’s barely noticeable. The background blur in both is creamy and attractive, with both doing a great job of easing into the blur along the car’s hood.

Winner: Draw

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro macro mode

It only needs a single photo to see where Google has made dramatic improvements with its macro mode. This was shot using 2x zoom, and only the Pixel 7 Pro shows a “macro” icon when it focuses on a close-up object. The Pixel 6 Pro also takes longer to switch to its macro mode, which is not labeled in the same way.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s photo is packed with detail and texture, avoiding any of the pixelation that’s obvious in the Pixel 6 Pro’s photo — plus, it brings out the wonderful blue sunburst effect on the watch’s dial far more than the 6 Pro. The edge enhancement is also clear in the Pixel 6 Pro’s photo, while the Pixel 7 Pro avoids it almost entirely.

Winner: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Pixel 7 Pro vs. Pixel 6 Pro selfie camera

Taking selfies in portrait mode shows edge recognition, colors, and overall performance is, you’ve guessed it, almost identical when shooting with the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro. Google’s work on making skin tones look more natural is obvious, but I’m not entirely sure it’s successful. The Pixel 7 Pro makes my skin redder, while the Pixel 6 Pro seems to be better at making me look more natural.

However, this may be personal preference, but because I would edit the Pixel 7 Pro’s selfies more heavily than the Pixel 6 Pro’s, it’s a win here for the older phone. This isn’t an unsurprising result, as the Pixel 7’s selfie camera also suffered when it was put up against the iPhone 14. The new selfie camera certainly isn’t bad, but I have preferred the Pixel 6 Pro’s selfies.

Winner: Google Pixel 6 Pro

Almost too close to call

The Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro camera modules.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel 7 Pro has won three categories, the Pixel 6 Pro has won two, and there are two draws. It makes the Pixel 7 Pro the winner, but looking at the results overall, it’s a very close thing. The Pixel 7 Pro’s camera is a small update over the Pixel 6 Pro’s camera, and if you already have that phone in your pocket, you’re unlikely to notice much of a difference if you decide to upgrade.

Does this make the Pixel 7 Pro’s camera a disappointment or bad? Absolutely not. It’s one of the very best cameras we’ve used recently, but the fact there are only small improvements over the Pixel 6 Pro shows how Google really got the performance of its predecessor’s camera right. It’s still superb a year into its life, and we expect the same thing to happen with the Pixel 7 Pro. If you own the Pixel 6 Pro, we’d say stick with it for this year, but if you’re looking at the Pixel 7 Pro and value the camera, don’t hesitate to get one.

Editors' Recommendations

Mon, 14 Nov 2022 05:56:00 -0600 Andy Boxall en text/html https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-pixel-7-pro-vs-pixel-6-pro-camera-test-comparison/
Killexams : How Google Cloud AI Solutions Helped Hawaii Handle Post-Pandemic Tourism

From white-sand beaches to lava flows, Hawaii is a famed tourism hotspot. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state welcomed 30,000 visitors through its airports a day. Tourism naturally dipped during the pandemic, and when tourism started to climb again after travel-related pandemic restrictions were lifted, state officials realized they would need additional tools and technology to process the travel boom — reopening being essential to Hawaii's tourism-based economy — while keeping both residents and visitors safe and healthy. Namely, technology that could collect and track necessary travel and health information for all visitors.

Scalability here was key. Once they decided to open back up to tourism, Hawaii needed a system to handle the extra health and safety requirements at scale. The State turned to a time-efficient, cost-effective solution for both the government and travelers: Google Cloud’s cloud-based, scalable, machine learning tool Document AI, or DocAI, in collaboration with Google and SpringML. In partnership with Google, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services for the State of Hawaii team built and launched the Safe Travels program in just six weeks. 

The program allows Hawaii to screen and track health data for all travelers to identify and quarantine those with symptoms, without stressing state resources or making the traveler experience more complex. By partnering with Google Cloud Hawaii was able to accelerate the time to launch: the state didn’t have years or months to build a solution or overhaul legacy IT systems — something that remains true for any unprecedented event the future holds. 

Travelers use the Safe Travels website to enter their health-screening information and COVID-19 test results. The application is web-based, so travelers can access the website on any device at any time. And the website includes a Go-Hawaii help desk powered by eWorld Enterprise Services and contact center artificial intelligence technology to field inquiries and calls to automated virtual agents. 

“Pre-pandemic, Hawaii received 30,000 domestic and international travelers per day. When the pandemic hit, that number went down to a couple hundred travelers per day. The drop in flights and travelers significantly impacted the state’s economy,” says State of Hawaii Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock.  “We worked closely with State of Hawaii Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock and his team to launch the first phase in six weeks,” says Amanda Stange, Head of Sales, Pac West Region at Google Cloud.

The Safe Travels application enabled travelers to upload their negative COVID-19 test data, leveraging Google DocAI to read the test. If a traveler uploaded their negative COVID-19 test from one of the State’s trusted providers, DOCAI would provide a traveler with a green QR code, which allowed the traveler to pass through without further screening. 

Designing for Efficiency

Serving thousands of visitors a day, the Safe Travels application needed a design that was simple, user-friendly and could scale to a significant number of concurrent users without user delays or bottlenecks. It moved travelers through the travel screening process quickly and provided virtual agents with Google Cloud Dialog flow. Travelers could receive answers from a virtual agent and didn’t have to hold for help. On the backend, DocAI extracts, interprets and transports data from traveler-uploaded COVID-19 test results to Google Cloud for analysis. From there, the cloud foundation helps move the data along seamlessly in real-time throughout the traveler’s airport experience.

Travelers simply scan the QR code they received via email at the airport, allowing the State of Hawaii to welcome guests efficiently while tracking health data in real-time. Since its August 2020 launch, over 12 million travelers have used the Safe Travels program, and the online system has processed more than 2.4 million quarantine-exemption requests.

Travelers experienced the ease of usability and consumer-like experience of the program. They receive updates and confirmations of their vaccination or test result statuses right to their mobile devices, even daily text messages checking in if the traveler tested positive. 

This solution has long-term benefits, too. With the help of Google Cloud Data Studio and BigQuery, the anonymized data is available via a public dashboard so state officials and citizens can analyze data and create helpful visualizations. These data models and trends can be useful over time. 

Having this data has helped Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services catch bottlenecks and Boost the process where needed. And when changes are necessary, Google Cloud enables the office to easily update necessary information, dashboards and processes.

The technology also allowed the State to provide more efficient and effective call center customer service to constituents and visitors who had questions about how to traverse the new regulations. According to Hawaii Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock, in an 8-hour work day at a human-run call center, workers could only manage to answer 10% of calls. With AI, Murdock said they can cover 100% of calls. “We created the SafeTravel help desk and vaccination help desks all done with Google Call Center AI and their chatbots and voice bots," Murdock said. “It’s been a tremendous ability for us to help all the citizens of the state as well as visitors get services they need.”

Expanding the Possible with AI 

Reymund Dumlao, Director of Google Cloud West, points to the economic impact Google Cloud and its AI-based tools have had on Hawaii and can have for other agencies.  

“The Hawaiian economy is largely driven by tourism. When COVID-19 hit, Hawaii relied on AI to safely maintain the economy. Consider manually processing those 30,000 travelers per day with the COVID safety applications and data they must share,” he notes. This would be incredibly time-consuming for state officials. DocAI’s ability to process the applications was “essential” to keeping the state’s economy stable.

Much of this impact wouldn’t have been possible had Google Cloud not been able to stand up these processes so quickly. 

“They had to automate and move quickly,” Murdock says. “If they had to process the COVID-19 test and vaccine cards manually, it would have delayed travel, people would have stopped coming, which has a drastic effect on individual Hawaiians and citizens who work in hotels, restaurants or provide transportation services.”

“Ultimately, this has real, human impact, and that’s the art of the possible with this technology,” says Dumlao “ Google Cloud is changing how state officials work, and how state government functions. When citizens can access state-run websites to fulfill federal requirements with the same ease and functionality as any other consumer website, that’s when processes are working.”

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 22:59:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.nextgov.com/sponsors/2022/12/how-google-cloud-ai-solutions-helped-hawaii-handle-post-pandemic-tourism/377329/
Killexams : DIY retailer Kingfisher partners with Google Cloud to boost e-commerce

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - European home improvement retailer Kingfisher (KGF.L) has agreed a five-year partnership with Google Cloud , a move it said should provide customers with faster and more intuitive searches, and better tailor product ranges.

The company, which owns DIY brands B&Q and Castorama, and trade-focused Screwfix and TradePoint, increased online sales during the pandemic when stores were closed and customers spent more on home improvements. E-commerce sales were up 138% over three years in its third quarter, it said this month.

But chief digital and technology officer JJ Van Oosten said in an interview that the company felt it needed to accelerate its digital focus, and the move to the cloud was key.

"It will deliver us more freedom, more speed and allow us to get much closer to our customers, particularly in data," he said.

Kingfisher, a long-time user of SAP software, had started moving its legacy data to Google Cloud, where it could be used to test new online concepts and Boost the efficiency of deliveries such as its less-than-one-hour Screwfix 'Sprint' service.

The partnership would also help B&Q expand its marketplace, launched earlier this year to allow third-parties to offer products in wallpaper, lighting, power tools and small domestic appliances.

Improved search, underpinned by Google's machine learning, would enable customers to navigate an online range that could increase to as much as 4 million in the coming years from around 300,000 today, he said.

Google Cloud Chief Executive Thomas Kurian said its technology was helping customers identify product using image search, or by answering questions posed in imprecise terms.

"We have a lot of history in search of making inexact queries work really well," he said.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Conor Humphries

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 21:48:00 -0600 Paul Sandle en text/html https://www.reuters.com/technology/diy-retailer-kingfisher-partners-with-google-cloud-boost-e-commerce-2022-11-30/
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