Category Archives: Electronics

Windows 10 Timeline won’t make the cut for Fall Creators Update

Microsoft’s neat Timeline feature, which allows for easily working across multiple devices in Windows 10, has been delayed and won’t be included in the big Fall Creators Update as was originally planned.

That’ll be something of a disappointment for those running multiple pieces of hardware, as this is a major boon for Windows 10 users.

The Timeline feature shows a visual timeline of the desktop, allowing the user to jump right back into what they were doing on another device – and that includes Android and iOS handsets.

As well as allowing for this seamless transition when switching between different devices, it will also let the user revisit a desktop state from an earlier time. A bit like a desktop Time Machine (now where have we heard that term before…?).

Testing, testing…

So when will Timeline be ready? As The Verge reports, Joe Belfiore, the guy in charge of operating systems at Microsoft, commented: “Timeline won’t be in the Fall Creators Update. We’re planning for it to be in early insider builds shortly after Fall Creators Update is out.”

In other words, testing of the feature will only begin after the big update drops in the fall, putting Timeline back considerably on the Windows feature rollout, er, timeline. Presumably, putting all this functionality together has turned out to be a more complex undertaking than was first thought.

In other Windows 10 news this week, Microsoft’s operating system has made good progress according to Steam’s monthly hardware survey, even if the folks who are switching to the newest OS aren’t also making the move to the firm’s Edge browser.

  • Want to get a Windows 10 device? It may be worth waiting until Black Friday

      

Bing search has taken over a surprising amount of Google’s turf

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has made some seriously surprising inroads into Google’s territory, managing to snatch a considerable chunk of the search market in the US and UK.

According to comScore’s figures for desktop PC searches in March of this year, Bing has managed to capture no less than 33% of the market over in the States. And it’s not far behind that in the UK, with a 26% share.

That represents 5 billion searches every month in the US, and just under 980 million in the UK.

Note that Bing is considerably more popular in these two countries than most other places in Europe, or indeed the rest of the world. Bing has a global market share of 9%, in fact – and it’s worth further noting that Bing searches here include Yahoo and AOL searching powered by Microsoft’s engine.

Nonetheless, that’s still almost a tenth of the global market – and the overall percentage is pulled down by the Asia-Pacific region, where Bing’s market share is only 3%.

It’s quite incredible to think that one in three searches in the US are powered by Bing, and a quarter of all searches in the UK. That’s far more than we (and doubtless many others) imagined would be the case.

Other highlights include a 19% share in France, 17% of the Canadian search market, and a score of 24% over in Taiwan.

As MS Power User, which spotted this data, observes, Microsoft’s search engine is on course to pull in $5 billion (around £3.9 billion, AU$6.6 billion) in terms of annual revenue, which is hardly small fry.

Windows of opportunity

So what’s driving Bing’s success? The spread of Windows 10 is the primary factor, with Microsoft’s newest OS maintaining a steady rate of growth as time goes on, as we saw with the latest figures on that front yesterday.

Windows 10 is fronted – quite literally, from setup onwards – by Cortana, and searches conducted via the digital assistant are powered by Bing.

As Windows 10 continues to gather pace, and more folks begin to use Cortana on the desktop, naturally more searches will come Bing’s way.

And to some extent, Google getting flak for anti-competitive practices in Europe, as seen last month when the search giant was hit by a massive fine for favoring its own shopping services in results, isn’t likely to hurt Bing’s prospects either.

We’ve certainly had several non-techie friends hear anti-Google news hitting the headlines, prompting them to think about using alternatives. This search might lead folks to Bing’s door.

And finally, the fact that Microsoft will now pay you to use Bing could tempt some folks, as well.

      

Broadband deal of the week: £75 Mastercard with £18.99pm Sky broadband

There’s scarcely been a better time for your broadband contract to come to an end than the last few weeks. Promotions from TalkTalk and Plusnet, as well as BT’s Black Friday 2016 prices offer, have meant brilliant broadband deals for all.

And now Sky broadband is joining the fun. Already offering one of the very cheapest standard broadband tariffs – a mere £18.99 per month including phone line – it’s now throwing in pre-paid cash cards to the sum of £75. Available to spend anywhere that Mastercard is accepted, the offer takes the effective price of the broadband to a teeny £172.83 over 12 months. That’s unbeatable at the moment.

Keep reading to learn more about our broadband deal of the week and how to claim your cash card. Then bag this limited time only broadband offer…

Sky Broadband Unlimited deal of the week

Sky Broadband Unlimited | 12 months | Up to 17Mb | Line rental inc. | No TV | £19.95 upfront | £18.99pm
If you were to take a look at our full broadband deals comparison chart, you wouldn’t find much cheaper than Sky broadband at the moment – especially when you take the £75 pre-paid Mastercard into account. Line rental and unlimited data are included. You may feel put off by the twenty quid set-up, but that’s less than what the likes of BT broadband charges. Whichever way you spin it, this is a fantastic deal. Total cost of 12 months £247.83

View this Sky broadband deal of the week

£75 pre-paid Mastercard

If the £75 Mastercard is whetting your appetite for Sky broadband, it’s worth noting a few of the conditions. For example, it’s only available to new customers joining Sky Broadband for the first time. And you need to make sure that you claim it within 90 days within signing up for broadband. So if you’ve got a forgetful nature then it’s well worth popping in your diary! You have to use it within 12 months, too.

You can use the card anywhere that accepts Mastercard, with just a few exceptions – gambling, cash withdrawals, currency, cashback or at petrol stations.

Existing Sky Broadband customers

Sky states that this deal is for new Sky customers only. So if you already have Sky Broadband – or even if you have had it before – you won’t be able to snap up this offer. Head to our other best cheap broadband only deals instead.

Sky TV and Talk

If you like the idea of grabbing a Sky Broadband deal but want to see what the prices are like if you add Sky TV or its landline Talk options, then click on the link to see the best that Sky has to offer.

      

Twitter will be streaming action from Wimbledon 2017 this year

Twitter has been ramping up its video efforts in recent months and years, and has just inked a deal to stream selected coverage from Wimbledon over its network, giving you another option for tuning in if you’re not near a television.

TechCrunch reports that Twitter has done a deal directly with the All England Club to show match highlights (last year’s Wimbledon coverage on Twitter came as a result of a partnership with ESPN). As well as clips of the games themselves, the tweeted coverage is also going to include behind-the-scenes snippets and news updates.

What you won’t be able to do is watch whole matches live on Twitter – maybe that was just a deal too far – but short highlights segments are probably more suited to the microblogging network anyway. The content will be proved by the in-house Wimbledon Channel from SW19.

Strawberries and tweets

According to an official statement from the All England Club, you can access the Twitter stream anywhere in the world except Austria, Italy, Germany and Spain. It can be viewed whether or not you’re logged into Twitter, too.

Keep your browser or mobile app pointed at the @Wimbledon Twitter feed or head to wimbledon.twitter.com to get involved. Qualifying for the championships is already under way, though the tournament proper starts tomorrow (July 3) and runs until July 16.

As in previous years, Twitter is rolling out custom emoji for Wimbledon this year: use the hashtags #wimbledon, #thequeue or #mywimbledonmemory to generate the related emoji in your feed. If you’re not actually going to the tennis courts, it sounds like Twitter will be one of the best places to keep up to date.

      

Amazon Prime Day India: All you need to know

prime only

We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about Amazon Prime Day? If you’re not familiar with Prime Day, it’s when Amazon goes mad for 24 hours and offers big discounts on things you might actually want to buy.

The event has garnered a lot of attention in the international market already but it is coming to India for the first time.Last year it was the biggest day in Amazon’s history: Amazon’s traffic was up 36%. It sold 90,000 TVs and thousands of Kindle Paperwhites, Fire TV Sticks and tablets.

So what exactly is Prime Day? Can you trust the deals or is Amazon at it? And when will Prime Day 2017 be anyway? Read on for the answers to these questions and some you might not have thought of.

When is Amazon Prime Day 2017?

Amazon has said that Prime Day 2017 will be held on Tuesday 11 July 2017. Prime Day 2016 was the 12 of July, which was the second Tuesday of the month. This year that falls on the eleventh.

What’s the point of Prime Day?

Prime Day exists to promote Amazon’s Prime subscription service, which Amazon says is the best deal in the history of shopping. Prime Day is for Prime members, many of whom will sign up for a free trial of the service so they can get the deals. Once signed up, many of them stay as Prime subscribers.

If you’re not a Prime subscriber, there’s usually a big Amazon Prime sale in the run-up to the big day. As we mentioned in our Amazon Prime review, we think Prime is an absolute bargain anyway so at the discounted price it’s hard not to strongly recommend signing up.

Why Amazon Prime Day matters

If you’re looking for bargains, Prime Day 2017 is important – not just for gadgets, but for any kind of item. Amazon has already given a preview of all the brands planning to launch their products exclusively on Prime Day sale. This day is one of the biggest yearly event for Amazon, and India is now one of the top markets for the company. So we are anticipating some crazy unexpected deals on this day.

Amazon Prime Day is more about personal shopping, either for treating yourself or for saving money household items.

Amazon Prime Day deals 2016

Will Prime Day 2017 India be as exciting as in US and UK?

No big claims to be made but yes, being the biggest shopping event of the year in leading countries, the Amazon Prime Day may get interesting for some of us. It’s evident that we’ll see some tempting deals on Amazon products like Fire Stick TV, Kindle and Amazon Fire tablets.

In addition to these products, Amazon is exclusive e-commerce partner with leading tech brands in India, who we think will step up for the event and make the most out of it.

Just like the US and UK, there will be stacks of lightning deals on the day too. Unless Amazon decides to do things radically differently in India, with laptop deals next to handbag deals next to power tools and prosecco. If only there was a website beginning with “T” and ending in “echradar.com” to find the best deals so you don’t have to delve through the dross. Hang on… there is!

As you’d expect, we’re going to be hyped up on energy drinks throughout Prime Day on both sides of the Atlantic, finding the deals that you really don’t want to miss.

Do I need a Prime subscription to get involved?

Yes and no. While Prime is for Prime customers, there will be other deals on the day that are open to everyone – it’s just that with lightning deals, which tend to have limited stock, the Prime users get to see them before anybody else. That means some of the very best deals can be gone long before people who aren’t Prime members get to know about them.

That doesn’t mean you need to pay for a Prime membership, though. You can sign up for a free trial and take full advantage of all the Prime benefits, including Prime Day. But don’t forget to cancel the trial afterwards if you don’t intend to continue. If you don’t, you’ll be automatically billed for membership when the trial period ends.

What to expect from Prime Day 2017

We’d expect Prime Day 2017 to follow the same template as in the US and UK. In the week or two before sale day, we’ll see an enticing Amazon Prime subscription discount. Then on the day itself deals will be grouped into two category: Deals of the Day, which tend to be the most eye-catching and which are available in big numbers, and Lightning Deals, which cover every conceivable kind of product, have limited availability and often sell out very quickly. In the latter case Prime members get to see the deals before non-members.

Prime Day 2017 FAQ: what it is, when it happens and where to get the best deals

What is Prime Day?
It’s Amazon’s annual birthday celebration, when it discounts more than 100,000 products of all kinds.

When is Prime Day 2017 in India?
Amazon India has announced that the Prime Day 2017 will be on Tuesday 11 July 2017.

Is Prime Day 2017 Amazon only?
The name is Amazon’s, yes, but in 2016 plenty of other retailers decided to try and spoil Amazon’s fun by running their own doorbuster sales.

Are Prime Day deals real?
Yes and no. They’re real in the sense that you’re paying less than the official price for things, but sometimes that official price was just silly.

Like many retailers, Amazon is very keen on comparing prices against MRPs that nobody really expects anybody to pay. Such deals are essentially the same thing as supermarket wine promotions or amazing, never-ending furniture sales.

If you have a particular product in mind it’s worth keeping an eye on the prices now to make sure the deals are genuine on Prime Day. It enable you to see exactly what prices are being charged for specific things – not just big purchases, but smaller items such as video games too.

Some of the deals will clearly be paper bargains like we mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean all of them will be. Amazon will have been bargaining hard with key suppliers to cut the prices it pays for some products, and it’ll sell some high-profile items as loss leaders in the expectation of cross-selling, up-selling and, well, selling. From Amazon’s point of view it can lose money on big deals and make it back from Prime subscriptions and by shifting stock it wants to get rid of anyway.

How do I get the best Prime Day 2017 deals?
Know what you want, know what you can afford to spend and know the market: you’ll often spot interesting price hikes in June to enable amazing-looking discounts on Prime Day. Pay particular attention to real prices, not MRPs: TVs are particularly bad for this, with sets whose MRP is eleventy billion pounds routinely selling for five hundred quid.

It’s also a very good idea to be flexible: for example, if you fancy a Sony 4K TV then think about the features you want rather than a specific model number: the BRV123ABD54-88C-9218-B may not be discounted on Prime Day, but an almost identical set with the specification you want probably will be.

Can I get cashback on Prime Day deals?
You will get 20% Cashback on Amazon Pay balance from 29th June – 11th July and shop on Prime Day with HDFC cards to Get 15% cash back.

How can I stay safe on Prime Day?
There’s a good chance that spammers and scammers will latch on to Prime Day much as they have with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so be wary of unsolicited emails or links to deals on social media no matter how legitimate they look: anything asking for card details or login details is a scam. If you’re on a PC, make sure your security software is up to date. Many suites automatically block known scam sites.

      

The best online video editor 2017

A gradual move to the cloud means that we’re becoming used to spending more and more time using our web browser. No longer used to simply access websites, the humble browser can now be used to replace many traditional pieces of software thanks to a growing number of online tools.

Video editing was once seen as being a task that required high end machines, but we’ve now reached a point where even this can be achieved online. Of course, we’re not talking about creating the next Pixar-beating blockbuster online, but you’d still be amazed at what it is possible to do with cloud-based video editors.

The quality of browser-based tools varies greatly, so here we’ve picked out the best online editors available today. Selecting the best tool will often be a case of seeing which closest meets your needs, so we’ve included a mixture of very basic and more advanced options.

Looking for something more powerful that you can use offline? Check out our guide to the best free video editing software.

1. Movie Maker Online

An amazingly flexible online video editor, with royalty-free media to supplement your own movie clips, audio files and images

The first time you look at Movie Maker Online you might not be keen on the way things look. The ads on the site can be something of a distraction, but you should be able to train your eyes to ignore them – they are just a minor irritation, and certainly not a reason to avoid using this free online video editor. It’s not possible to use an adblocker because it interferes with video editing – or so the site says, anyway.

Movie Maker Online lets you upload video, images and music, and combine them into a project by dragging and dropping them onto a timeline (you’ll need to scroll a little way down the page to find it).

Video clips can be cropped, there are numerous filters available, and fade options are available for both audio and video. You can also use the online editor add text overlays, control transitions and more. There are even royalty-free images and music files to help complete your project.

It just might take you a while to find your way around the system of menus and you can only export your finished projects in MP4 format, but this is a minor complaint. Movie Maker Online is the best tool for editing videos in your web browser.

Try it online: Movie Maker Online

2. YouTube Video Editor

YouTube’s own video editor isn’t as powerful as Movie Maker Online, but the learning curve isn’t as steep and the tools are all well designed

Being a site concerned solely with video, the fact that YouTube has a video editor should come as little surprise. Don’t worry if you’re not a YouTube user, using YouTube Video Editor doesn’t mean that you have to upload your videos for the world to see – you can also upload them privately.

You’re presented with a timeline to work with, and to this you can drag any of the videos you have uploaded to your account. You can work with a single clip, or create a compilation of several if you want. Editing tools are simple, but effective – brightness and contrast adjustment, automatic fixing, image stabilization, rotation and slow motion, and there are filters for you to apply.

Other options include adding a separate soundtrack and text overlay. It’s all very simple, but it’s enough for creating simple projects and you’ll be pleased to learn that video processing is very fast.

Try it online: YouTube Video Editor

3. ClipChamp

The free version of this online video editor lacks some advanced features, but it simple to use and a good choice for simple movie-making tasks

The name may sound like something of a boast, but ClipChamp works hard to earn it. It’s not our top choice, but it strikes a decent balance between power and usability and might be just the tool for you.

ClipChamp has premium tiers starting at US$7 per month (about £5, AU$9), but a free account still lets you perform some basic edits with a few limitations – no more than five videos a month, a maximum resolution of 1080p, and no videos longer than five minutes.

You can either upload a video you’ve already recorded or use your webcam to capture new footage. Either method works well, and gives you access to basic tools including trimming, cropping, flipping, rotating and brightness/contrast adjustment.

Any changes you make can be applied very quickly and you can then share the results online, or download the video to use in your offline projects. Simple, but it gets the job done.

Try it online: ClipChamp

4. VideoToolbox

Upload and edit up to 1GB of footage in your web browser, and download the finished video in a format of your choice

VideoToolbox isn’t going to win any beauty contests – the site contains a lot of ads, and it’s very easy to click them by accident when you’re trying to work with videos you’ve uploaded. Don’t let this put you off, though – the advertising might seem overbearing at first, but it means you can use this excellent online editor free of charge.

You can upload up to 1GB of footage to VideoToolbox, which is very generous (though expect to wait quite a while for it to upload). You also have the option of working with online video from a number of sites, including YouTube.

The range of editing options available on VideoToolbox is a little limited compared to tools like Movie Maker Online, but for certain tasks it’s ideal. You can convert videos between formats, join multiple clips into one video, add a watermark, embed or extract subtitles, and trim away unwanted footage. The interface makes some tasks a little tricky and longwinded to complete, but Video Toolbox is well worth a look if you have a particularly large video to edit,

Try it online: VideoToolbox

5. Online Video Cutter

If some of the tools above look confusing, check out Online Video Cutter. It’s simple to use, and is available as a handy Chrome extensions

Despite the name, Online Video Cutter is about more than just cutting up videos. The site lets you upload files up to 500MB in size, or work with clips stored on Google Drive or other online service.

You can then opt to trim away unwanted footage, and crop in if you have taken too wide a shot. There’s a rotate function for footage accidentally shot with your phone on its side, and there’s even a Chrome extension available so you can access the editing tools more easily.

When you’re happy with the edits you’ve made, you can take your pick from a choice of popular video formats, and choose a quality setting if you need to minimize file size. There may not be many tools on offer here, but the site is beautifully set out and everything is nicely streamlined, making it a joy to use.

Try it online: Online Video Cutter

      

Windows 10 adoption builds up Steam, but Edge browser isn’t keeping pace

There’s some good news for Microsoft regarding Windows 10 adoption, as the desktop OS is back on the up-and-up – but the picture isn’t as rosy for the operating system’s Edge browser.

As a new month rolls around, we get the latest Windows 10 figures for the previous month, and in the case of the Steam hardware survey for June, Microsoft’s latest OS has gained a healthy 1.22% of operating system market share.

This comes after a drop in adoption back in May, and means that Windows 10 has reached 51.23%, its highest percentage ever (the OS was at 51.20% in April).

Windows 7 lost 0.61% of OS share and now sits on 36.14%, quite a long way behind Windows 10. It’s just over a year ago now that the latter overtook Windows 7, although progress has been considerably slower for Windows 10 since that happened.

Of course, Steam’s figures are a look at adoption from a gamer’s perspective, with that particular PC demographic being more likely to jump to Windows 10 thanks to the benefit of various features such as DirectX 12 and Microsoft’s Game Mode.

Different perspective

NetMarketShare represents a broader snapshot of general PC users, and according to its numbers for June, Windows 10 is now on a market share of 26.80%, up a tiny amount on the previous month where a percentage of 26.78% was recorded.

Windows 7, however, dropped 0.42% to hit 49.04%, something of a lurch downwards – but it still remains the most-used desktop operating system by far. What’s perhaps most disturbing in this particular batch of figures is that Windows XP actually picked up pace, gaining 1.28% to reach a total market share of 6.94%. More folks are using XP than Windows 8.1 which is on 6.4%, according to NetMarketShare.

Although as NetMarketShare gets its statistics from web usage – i.e. PCs online – the increase in XP could simply be more of these machines popping up online to get patched given all the latest major security threats like WannaCry. Although even in this case, it’s still a worrying revelation of the true number of XP-powered computers still out there.

At any rate, back to Windows 10, and while the operating system may have gained a solid amount of traction this month, its built-in Edge browser hasn’t fared so well.

NetMarketShare’s browser figures for June put Edge on a market share of 5.65%, which isn’t much of an increase compared to the 5.61% the browser reached in March.

Progress seems painfully slow for Edge, particularly when you consider how many people have shifted over to use Windows 10 – apparently all these folks aren’t tempted by Microsoft’s browser.

Although that’s perhaps not too surprising when you consider that many features have been slow to arrive for Edge (such as extensions), and we’ve seen the browser berated on the security front earlier this year, too.

Google’s Chrome has been the most popular browser for a long time now, and remains so with a market share of 59.49% according to NetMarketShare.

Via: Neowin [1], [2], On MSFT

      

The best online YouTube downloader

If you want to save a video from YouTube to watch offline, you have two options: you can download a program designed specifically for the job, or you can use an online tool to save the clip without leaving your web browser.

If you download videos regularly then desktop software is the best option, offering better speeds and the ability to save several videos at once, but if you just want to download a single clip then an online tool is idea.

In this roundup we’ve chosen five video downloaders which can be used to save offline copies of content from YouTube. Some of them give you the option of download videos at various quality settings, they may give you the option of downloading just the audio, and some support other video sites such as Vimeo.

What all give tools have in common, though, is that they are all wonderfully simple to use and will quickly furnish you with the videos you desire. Just make sure you have permission from the copyright holder before downloading.

If you save videos from YouTube frequently, take a look at our guide to the best free YouTube downloaders.

1. Clip Converter

Despite the name, Clip Converter isn’t just a tool for saving videos in different formats. Its main purpose is downloading videos from YouTube – a task it makes incredible simple.

Unlike some browser-based YouTube downloaders, Clip Converter doesn’t ask you to hunt around for a specific version of a video’s URL. Just copy the main address from your browser’s address bar, choose the video quality and file format, or opt to grab just the audio, and hit Start.

As an added bonus, there are also addons available for Chrome, Safari and Firefox so you can easily download YouTube videos without the need to keep visiting the Clip Converter site.

One slight downside is that Clip Converter can be picky about downloading videos that contain music – the error message that appears doesn’t say as much, but this will be because of licensing issues. That aside, this is a great online YouTube video downloader.

Try it online: Clip Converter

2. KeepVid

One of the easiest ways to save YouTube videos in the quality of your choice

To make downloading YouTube videos as simple as possible, KeepVid requires you to do nothing more than paste a link and hit Enter. Once the video has been identified, all you need to do is click the Download button next to the version of the file you want to download.

KeepVid detects video quality options automatically and lets you choose which you want to save. You can also choose to rip the audio from a video if you prefer. All of the basic features are free, but it’s worth bearing in mind the highest quality video options and MP3 downloads are only available to Pro subscribers.

But even with these minor limitations KeepVid is worth adding to your bookmarks thanks to its speed and simplicity. While it may seem like you’re missing out if you’re denied the opportunity to download a 1080p version of a video, often it doesn’t matter.

Try it online: KeepVid

3. Online Video Converter

Save videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and many others in the best format for your device, whether it’s a phone, console, PC or something else

Another site that’s incredibly easy to use, Online Video Converter can save YouTube videos in no fewer than seven audio and seven video formats. This means that no matter what device you have in mind as a target, and no matter what you intend to use the video for – within reason, of course – the site should have you covered.

The number of download formats isn’t Online Video Converter’s only impressive feature. It can also grab videos from Facebook, Vimeo, Daily Motion and a plethora of other supported sites.

When it comes to actually saving clips, there are no fancy extras here. This is an online video downloader that gets the job done, and does so quickly. You’re offered a download link almost as soon as you’ve set your download options, and you can’t ask for much better than that.

Try it online: Online Video Converter

4. Convert2mp3.net

A simple video downloader that supports all the most popular sites and offers a good choice of download options

Another site with a slightly deceptive name, Convert2mp3.net can be used to convert videos from YouTube, Daily Motion and others to a range of formats – not just MP3.

There are a few restrictions to bear in mind. Some file formats – such as AVI – have time limits, so if you’re looking to download lengthy clips it is possible that you’ll have to opt for your second choice of format. Once the file is converted, you can download it to your hard drive or save it to Dropbox if you’d like to keep it online

If you don’t like skipping between browser tabs and copying links, Convert2mp3.net has a search tool that not only searches YouTube for you, but offers an instant download button to keep things as simple as possible.

If the site initially appears in German, click the US flag icon at the top right to switch to English.

Try it online: Convert2mp3.net

5. Converto.io

Whether you want to save a whole YouTube video or just download the audio, this online downloader makes the process as simple as possible

Converto.io describes itself as “the easiest way to download and convert YouTube to MP3 or MP4”, and that’s not far from the truth.

Once you’ve pasted in your chosen URL, the video will be analysed, and you can choose to save it in MP4 format, or MP3 if you just want the audio.

Simply hitting the Convert button will save the file to your computer, but there are a few extra options available if you want to take the time to investigate them. You can choose the image quality for MP4 downloads, and if you’ve opted for audio you can edit ID3 tags and adjust album art. You can also cut down a video so you only save part of it.

Try it online: Converto.io

      

Facebook can now help you find Wi-Fi anywhere

If you’re a remote worker looking for a place to set up your mobile office or just someone with a limited data plan, free Wi-Fi can be more precious than food or water. Now Facebook is pushing out a new feature inside its mobile apps to help you locate the nearest hotspots.

It’s called Find Wi-Fi and it’s been in limited testing since last year, though Facebook has now pushed the button to roll it out globally, so everyone should be getting the feature in the near future. As the name suggests, it shows you businesses near to your location offering free Wi-Fi that you can tap into.

Businesses need to opt in to Facebook’s database before they appear, so it’s not quite the last word in where you can or can’t find internet access, but it should help. You’ll also get details of opening hours, so you can avoid places that have shut up for the day.

Show me the Wi-Fi

In more modern cities it’s (thankfully) getting to the stage where it’s more uncommon not to find Wi-Fi in a restaurant or a bar, but that’s not the case everywhere – and in remote places where cellular data is scarce, Wi-Fi becomes even more valuable.

Facebook isn’t your only option, as a number of apps and services can already help you hunt down Wi-Fi – the problem is getting the data on who offers it and who doesn’t, so we’ll see if Facebook’s vast reach helps. Of course you can always just go inside a place and ask as well.

Updates for iOS and Android are being pushed out now, and once you’ve got the feature, you can find it by clicking on the More tab inside the app and then choosing Find Wi-Fi from the list. Happy internet hunting – just remember public Wi-Fi is inherently less secure than your home network.

      

How Flipkart’s F7 Labs is building AI products to engage with customers

The ecommerce company Flipkart is a household name in India today which has made deeper inroads over the last few years across the country. The company, which claims to have come up with new payment model called Cash on Delivery (CoD), is now building artificial intelligence (AI) based products to fix challenges for its customers and sellers.

2015 was when the company set up a lab in the Silicon Valley with the aim to employ latest technologies for its datasets and gain insights on shopping behaviour of customers. F7 Labs over has been working to help Indian ecommerce giant improve its business processes and enhance shopping experience. The director of the lab, Mihir Naware, believes that “online commerce will soon become as easy and familiar as that of brick and mortar experience.”

The 10-member team of data scientists and data engineers of the lab is betting on data science and machine learning technologies to rethink ground up the challenge areas as their priorities.

The journey so far

The team say they have amassed a lot of fascinating insights on their customer behaviour –from the nature of their ‘search queries to how they evaluate products before clicking the buy button. ‘’These insights have helped our product teams to optimize the experience for customers and sellers,” says Jatin Chhugani, Principal Architect, F7 Labs.

Their AI-based model called, DeepInsight for instance, can extract 50 different features of an image while automating image processing for the entire catalogue of Flipkart. The insights are then conveyed back to their sellers to work on them.

‘’One problem we encountered is the difference in language usage of our customers. Compared to customers in the US or UK, the vocabulary used by our audience to express their sentiment is quite different,” says Mihir. Given the current size of its audience, the company can’t rely on manual moderation of reviews. They have developed a new NLP-powered algorithm which can generalize the search terms and phrases, including abbreviations. “We are now able to handle 100s of thousands of reviews with 98%+ accuracy,” says Mihir.

The image optimization technique they call LightSpeed is another attempt by the lab to reduce the amount of data sent over the wire, which they say, is impacting 100M Indian customers. “For a typical browsing session, a user would save 500Kb – 1Mb data because of this improvement. In other words, customers can save 35% – 40% of image data,” claims Mihir.

For the F7 Labs, there are a few things on the anvil. The team is working on a one-step process of information discovery on its platform. The goal of the initiative, called Mira, is to enable customers to express their desire in the most natural way possible. Users of Flipkart may soon get to see this in action, as ‘’this is closer to becoming a reality,” says Jatin.

The company is working to come up with chat-bots, as Jatin hints at, to automate its customer interactions. The Lab plans to roll this feature over the next few months.