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Google Allo / Duo – phone users as guinea pigs

Google Allo is a new messaging client for regular and encrypted (incognito) chats. And includes an ‘Assistant’ who learns your choices and actions to help you better and suggest options. Right now Allo is an English only Preview Edition you can download from the Play Store or App Store (iOS 8 onwards).

The Google Assistant appears on first run. Then helps setup the app and introduce you to the basic actions. 

You can also call the assistant from within Allo by typing ‘@google’  or using this as a prefix to your question. 

  1. The Google Assistant is supposed to learn so it can offer you better suggestions. Now personally I dislike voice actuated interfaces. There’s too much room for error due to accent, stress and ambient noise. For example in my straw test I asked  the Google Assistant “how to change Allo settings” it displayed a page about aloe vera. My next try opened a page about potatoes (aloo in Hindi). Third time I asked “change settings” to see app help.


Get news keep ad blocker

Starting June 30, 2016 Indian news site have put in ad blocker mechanisms. So if you don’t want to be tracked you can’t access their news. 

IMHO its no big loss as you can read most of the really important news on sites like the BBC and CNN :p

Or you can use an ad blocker like uBlock Origin on Mozilla Firefox like I do. The plugin is also available on Chrome and on Opera (are there any other noteworthy browsers?)

Of the many ad blockers (free and paid) available ‘Origin is the best. Its completely replaced Ghostery and Disconnect for me. Both add considerable resource overhead (no-no when using an older computer with under 2 GB RAM).  

Update@July 12/16: Times of India web edidition isn’t being bypassed by the ad blocker 🙁 but if you click the stop button when the page loads you can read without ads. 

And ‘Origin let’s you white list specific pages via Ctrl+Click. Not exact but it should tide you over until the news providers come to their senses.