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‘No better person’: Google’s Sundar Pichai named CEO at parent firm Alphabet

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Google chief executive Sundar Pichai will assume the CEO role at parent firm Alphabet in a shakeup at the top of the Silicon Valley titan, the company said Tuesday.

Pichai will take over from Larry Page, a co-founder of the internet giant, at the holding firm which includes Google as well as units focusing on “other bets” in areas including self-driving cars and life sciences.

Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin “will continue their involvement as co-founders, shareholders and members of Alphabet’s board of directors,” the company said.

In a letter to employees, Page and Brin wrote: “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company.”

They added that Pichai “brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day” and that there is “no better person to lead Google and Alphabet into the future.”

Alphabet was formed in 2015, giving a separate identity to the original company Google and other projects such as autonomous car unit Waymo and smart cities group Sidewalk Labs.

The 47-year-old Pichai, born in India, takes the helm at a time when Page and Brin have been noticeably absent and the company faces a torrent of controversies relating to its dominant position in the tech world.

Pichai is likely to fill a void at the company as it faces antitrust investigations and controversies over privacy and data practices in the United States and elsewhere.

The company has also faced allegations of failing to adequately address sexual harassment in the workplace and of straying from the ideals espoused by the founders in the company’s early code of conduct which included the motto “don’t be evil.”

“He’s a technologist but he’s been a steady hand for the last few years and has proven his ability to conduit business at the highest level,” said Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

Kay added the move “ratifies that the (Google) founders have stepped aside almost entirely.”

Pichai will have a new role as he faces up to claims from President Donald Trump of “bias” in internet search results, and the latest charge from Amnesty International that its business model leads to human rights violations by enabling surveillance of users.

Earlier this year, Pichai met with Trump and appeared to ease the US president’s concerns that Google was unwilling to help the US military but was boosting China and its military.

Trump tweeted after the March meeting that Pichai was “totally committed” to US security.

Last December, Pichai kept calm as he parried US lawmakers over complaints of political bias and intrusive data collection.

“We build our products in a neutral way,” Pichai said in one exchange with a lawmaker, and added later: “We approach our work without any political bias.”

Chennai to Silicon Valley

Born to humble beginnings in the southern city of Chennai, he studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur before heading to the United States to further his studies and career.

After leaving India, he attended Stanford University and later studied at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

In recent years, Alphabet has become one of the world’s most valuable companies, with a 2018 profit of some $30 billion on revenue of $110 billion.

The 2015 reorganization appeared aimed at installing the startup mentality for new ventures, described by Google as “moonshots.”

These ventures, including the life sciences group Verily and the biotech operation Calico, have been losing money.

Kay said the “other bets” have been struggling because even though they have the financial backing from Google’s profits “they don’t have the do-or-die element” of other startups.

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This ISRO tech could replace GPS on your smartphone: Key things to know

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is bringing its GPS alternative ‘NavIC’ to the common people. The space agency has partnered with Qualcomm, one of the world’s biggest chipset companies, to integrate NavIC on its new processors meant for budget and mid-range smartphones. Xiaomi and Realme have already confirmed plans to launch phones with NavIC-enabled processors.

What is NavIC?

NavIC stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation and is based on the Sanskrit word for navigator or sailor. NavIC essentially refers to Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), a collection of navigation-based satellites that aims to provide accurate position information service to Indian users. The service is quite similar to GPS (Global Position System). At the moment, NavIC consists of seven satellites.

The back story

Back in 1999, India sought GPS data from the US to track Pakistai troops positioned in Kargil. The information, however, was denied by the US. Since then, India had been working on an indigenous satellite system for location services. Almost two decades later, the NavIC system is inching closer to the commercial usage.

It is worth noting that the system aims to provide two types of services. The first “Standard Position Services” (SPS) will be available to all civilian users whereas the “Restricted Services” (RS) will be available to authorised users including defence and intelligence agencies.

NavIC also brings India to an elite club of the nations that have their satellite-based location services – US’ GPS, the Russian Glonass, China’s BeiDou and Galileo of Europe.

Better than GPS?

India’s NavIC, now set to be embedded on millions of Android phones, is said to be much better than the US’ GPS. The NavIC is said to be accurate up to 5 meters, much more efficient than GPS which is said to be accurate up to 20 to 30 meters.

NavIC’s applications

ISRO says the NavIC is mainly aimed at users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500km from its boundaries.

Users can expect their future phones to use NavIC to access location-based services such as Uber, Ola Cabs, Google Maps and more. The space agency says users can expect the satellite system to help provide visual and voice navigation for drivers.

According to the agency, the technology can be used for things such as disaster management, terrestrial navigation assistant to hikers and travellers, vehicle tracking and fleet management, precise timing, aerial and marine navigation, and more.

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Microsoft ends support for Windows 7: Here’s how you can upgrade to Windows 10

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Microsoft launched Windows 7 back in July 2009. And now, nearly 10 years after its initial rollout the company is ending support for Windows 7.

Microsoft had ended mainstream support for Windows 7 back in 2015. But starting today, the company will no longer roll out security updates to its operating system. This means that the company will no longer work towards fixing bugs and security threats in Windows 7 that users might encounter in future.

So, what’s the alternative?

The alternative is Windows 10. Users can download Windows 10 on their desktops and personal computers to protect their data and continue using the latest features.

Shortly after the roll out of Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft was offering free upgrade to all Windows users. However, the free upgrade program ended in 2016. If you missed the bandwagon four years back, don’t worry as there is still a way using which you can download Windows 10 on your desktop or PC. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Go to Download Windows 10 website.

Step 2: Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download tool now and Run.

Step 3: If you are upgrading the same PC that you are working on select Upgrade this PC now option.

Step 4: Now follow the prompts.

Step 5: When the upgrading process finishes, go to Settings Update & Security > Activation. Here you will see a digital license for Windows 10. And you are good to go.

It is worth noting that Windows 7 Home and Windows 8 Home users can only upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Similarly, only Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8 Pro users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

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Microsoft Windows 10: Top 5 tricks every user should know

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Microsoft has been introducing new features for Windows 10, making it more user-friendly. Be it laptop or desktop, Windows 10 is widely used. After mid of January this year, Windows 10 is expected to see more users as Microsoft will end support for Windows 7.

Also, there are several tricks about Microsoft’s Windows 10 that most of the existing users are not aware of. These tricks may prove beneficial for users who might soon switch to Windows 10.

Customise Windows 10 Start menu

Windows 10 users can change the look of the start menu of the operating system as per their interest and convenience. According to The Windows Club, Windows 10 users can remove frequent items from Start Menu. Users can also resize and group tiles. Items can be easily moved from left side to right of Start Menu and can be displayed in Tiles.

Change Theme, Wallpaper, Lock Screen: Windows 10 users can set up personal lock screen, wallpaper and control themes in the operating system. According to The Windows Club, users can simply go to settings, click on personalization, scroll down on themes and click on classic theme settings. One will then see three different themes and four high contrast themes that are specifically designed for night usage. Select the theme of choice and click on save theme.

To change wallpaper, go to settings, click on personalization and tap on background to change the wallpaper of their Windows 10 operating system.

To change Lock Screen, go to settings, click on lock screen option and choose a picture as the lock screen image.

Windows 10 God Mode

Windows 10 has a hidden ‘God Mode’ that allows users to create a shortcut to all the control panels of the operating system. The ‘God Mode’ proves to be beneficial for all power users as it provides them access to all the important panels from single folder.

One can go to their Windows 10 desktop and right click to create a new folder. After the new folder is created, rename it to GodMode. Add code: {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.

Once the user exits the rename section, he/she will notice the icon of folder change to control panel.

It is not necessary to keep the file name ‘God Mode’ and can use any name of their choice.

Close background apps

Windows 10 users can save the battery of their device and prevent the apps running on the background to receive, send notifications when they are not being used. A person can restrict the background apps running on their system by going on the settings option, clicking on privacy and then tap on background apps.

To restrict all the apps running in the background, Windows 10 users can select the off option of the let apps run in the background menu.

Let battery of device last longer with Windows 10: Using Windows 10 on your laptop? Worried that your laptop battery might drain out? You may opt for new battery saver mode.

Windows 10 users can enable or disable battery saver by going to the settings, click on system and tap on battery saver. Turn it on to save your laptop’s charge.

According to The Windows Club, Windows 10 users can also select ‘turn battery saver’ mode on automatically if the ‘battery falls below’. The default is 20 percent and users may increase it to 30 percent.

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