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Now, you can get discounts at restaurants through Google Maps

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Google Maps on Thursday introduced three new features for Indian users to help them discover local experiences and get recommendations that are personalised for better dining experience, including an “Offers” section to help users find deals and claim them at restaurants in 11 cities.

Users will be able to find deals and claim them at restaurants across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, Google said.

The “Offer” feature is being launched in partnership with Eazy Diner, where users can now find offers from over 4,000 restaurants, with more categories and partners coming soon, Google said.

To use this feature, users can simply tap the “Offers” shortcut in the “Explore” tab or filter for restaurants with offers.

Starting from Thursday, Google Maps users will get exclusive access to Eazy Diner Prime offers for 15 days, across over 1,500 restaurants, with a guaranteed discount of at least 25% on all of them, Google said.

The other two new features introduced by Google Maps include a redesigned, India-inspired “Explore” tab and a new “For You” experience.

“We’ve heard that Indian Maps users prefer a more assistive and visual browsing experience that is easy to access. To reflect this, we have a redesigned, India-focused Explore tab, the For You feature, and dining Offers,” said Krish Vitaldevara, Director, Google Maps.

“This will help Google Maps users discover a new side to their city, whether looking for things to do around town, getting offers on dining out, or getting recommendations that are personalized to their unique tastes,” Vitaldevara added.

The “Explore” tab has been a one-tap route to getting suggestions on dining, events, and things to do in the area being viewed in Google Maps.

Now, based on top queries and the way people interact with Google Maps in India, seven new shortcuts have been added to the Explore tab: restaurants, petrol pumps, ATMs, offers, shopping, hotels, and chemists. Using Machine Learning, Google Maps automatically identifies the top suggestions across these categories in every city.

Users can now explore popular neighbourhoods in their city by simply tapping the arrow beside “Explore Nearby” and making a selection. Apart from exploring their own city, users can also look up other Indian cities by searching the city name.

The ‘For You’ tab serves users information on new restaurants, trending places, and personalised recommendations tailored to their interests.

This feature also uses the ‘Your Match’ score, which uses Machine Learning to combine what Google Maps know about millions of places with the information a user has added like restaurants rated, cuisines liked, and places visited.

The first time a user launches this feature they can select areas/localities they are interested in, and get more personalized and relevant recommendations over time.

Users can now also follow a business and get relevant updates, news on events and stay on top of offers they post to the For You tab.

The “For You” tab offers a simple, assistive experience to help discover the city with a single tap — and it will continue to improve over time, Google said.

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WhatsApp Group Call now supports eight participants in the latest beta update

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp has taken a call in the right direction on its much-anticipated group call limit. It has increased the number of participants from four to eight.

The instant messaging app was recently reported to be working on increasing the group calling limit to stay relevant in these times of social distancing.

Spotted first by WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp updates, the latest WhatsApp beta update has revealed the company is set to soon extend the limit of participants in a voice or video group call for its 2 billion users, including over 400 million in India.

“WhatsApp is rolling out the new limit of participants in groups calls, for iOS and Android beta users. The new limit is: 8 participants in group calls,” tweeted WABetaInfo.

WhatsApp has started rolling out a new feature for Android and iOS beta users. WhatsApp looks to take on other popular video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Duo with this new increased limit as businesses and classrooms deal with lockdowns.

One needs to install the 2.20.50.25 iOS beta update from TestFlight and the 2.20.133 beta from Google Play Store. Other participants also need to be on the same versions otherwise they cannot be added in the group call.

While you’re in a call, WhatsApp also shows a new header, informing that the call is end-to-end encrypted.

Late last month, 70 per cent more people participated in group video calls using Facebook Messenger week-over-week, and the amount of time spent on those group video calls has doubled globally.

Similarly, voice and video call on WhatsApp has more than doubled year-over-year in the places most impacted by the virus. Apple’s FaceTime video calling tool supports 32 people while Facebook Messenger can support up to 50 people in a call.

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Affordable AirPods 3, MacBook Pro 2020 lined up for May launch: Reports

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Cupertino tech giant Apple in a much-delayed launch is likely to showcase the new AirPod 3 alongside a new 2020 MacBook Pro in a virtual event in May.

Jon Prosser, a regular and reliable leaker of Apple news, broke the news on Twitter. The two products were likely intended for a March release, the time of year that Apple tends to hold a product launch event. However, because of complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic, this event was only rumoured and was never even officially announced.

Reports in the past have spoken about the AirPods Pro Lite which are tipped to bring features of the second-generation AirPods but at a relatively affordable price. This would also make a lot of sense because wireless Bluetooth AirPods are part of Apple’s fastest-growing unit called Wearables, Home and accessories. AirPods line-up is currently one of the most popular from Apple, as such any addition to the product list should serve Apple well.

It is also rumored that the new AirPods won’t have the Pros’ active noise cancellation feature, which makes sense if Apple wants to keep the price down.

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Apple iPhone 9 Plus in the works along with iPhone 9, iOS 14 code reveals

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There have been several reports on a new low-cost iPhone 9/iPhone SE 2 which was expected to launch this month. Turns out Apple is working on another iPhone possibly iPhone 9 Plus which would most likely debut with the iPhone 9.

9to5Mac found several details of an iPhone 9 Plus along with the iPhone 9 on iOS 14 code. Both the iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus will run on the A13 Bionic chipset. The report also reveals the new iPhones will indeed house a Home button which was discontinued after the iPhone 8 series. With a Home button, the iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus will support Touch ID for biometric authentication. Face ID will be one premium feature the new iPhones will lack.

But the iPhone 9 series will be able to use Apple Pay, scan NFC tags in the background and come with the Express Transit feature as well. These features are available on the iPhone XS and above. There’s no mention of the screen size of the iPhone 9 Plus although we know it will be bigger than the iPhone 9.

As for the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2, it has been rumoured to feature a 4.7-inch LCD display. Apple could launch it in two storage variants of 64GB and 128GB. The low-cost iPhone is also expected to be priced around $399 (Rs 28,500 approx) which is the same price the iPhone SE launched at.

The iPhone SE 2 was first expected to launch at Apple’s annual March event which was reportedly cancelled due to coronavirus fears. Apple is still rumoured to unveil a new MacBook and iPad Pro this week.

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