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Google set to shut down Hangouts, 3 other apps in 2020



Global search engine power house, Google, is set to shut down four of its apps this year. They include Google Hangouts, Google Cloud Print, Google Hire and Fabric. The company announced it would discontinue the apps in 2020.

Hangouts, its communication app, is expected to be shut down by June 2020. However, Hangouts is still operational; despite a plan announced by the company in 2017 to eventually phase out the legacy app. Nevertheless, existing G Suite Hangouts users will be transitioned to a new app – Hangouts Chat and Meet – by June 2020; after much delay.


After the G Suite transition, consumer Hangouts users will also be migrated to Chat and Meet. However, it is unclear when that would occur.

Also expected to be discontinued this year is Cloud Print. The service will no longer be supported by December 31, 2020. Meanwhile, the company has encouraged users of the tool to find alternatives before that date. Further, it has suggested Chrome OS’s native printing solution or third-party printing apps.

Equally important, the company launched Cloud Print in 2010; in an effort to make it easier to print documents from any Cloud Print-enabled app, like Google Docs, to a network-connected; Cloud-aware printer.

However, the company noted that the feature has technically been in beta since 2010.

The third app set to get the cull is Hire; a recruiting G Suite tool built for smaller and medium-sized companies. Specifically, the app will be discontinued on September 1, 2020. As a matter of fact, the tool has been around for two years; although it did not provide any information on why it had decided to shutdown “Hire.”

Meanwhile, Hire was launched in conjunction with “Google for Jobs”. Nevertheless, the company has already stopped rolling out new features to Google Hire.

Also facing the exit door is Fabric which was originally slated for closure in 2019. Fabric, a mobile app development tool, will not be shut down by March 2020. It acquired Fabric from Twitter in 2017. It has since merged Fabric’s app development tools into Firebase, another database cloud tool Google acquired in 2014.

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Oyo to build Independent Power Station – Energy Commissioner



 …seeks stakeholders’ support for improved power supply

Oyo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Barrister Temilolu ‘ Seun Ashamu, has declared that state has already begun efforts towards achieving independent power supply in the next few years.

He maintained that the options of building an independent power station were already being explored by the state.

Ashamu sought for the support of the leaderships of both the federal and state’s energy generation and power supply agencies for the government to improve the distribution of electricity across the length and breadth of the state.

Ashamu, while speaking on a radio programme, said that the government would take advantage of its potentials such as dams and landscape to power unserved areas in the state to increase the hours of electricity supply in the state.

He said: “The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating independent power in Oyo State to establish independent electric grid.

“We are working on creating a conducive environment for effective teaching and learning in schools. Also, there should be steady power supply in our hospitals and primary health centres.

“Last year, I sought permission from the governor to meet with the Transmission Company of Nigerian in Abuja. We met with them on how to improve the electricity distribution in the state.”

The commissioner expressed the readiness of the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration to further improve on the well-being of citizens through the actualization of the independent power supply project initiative.

He added: “On the economic side of things, we know that if we want foreign investors in our state, we must assure them of constant power supply.”

He added that efforts were ongoing to identify potentials and resources in each zone of the state and locations in order to determine appropriate means of generating power for residents of each zone, saying: “We are currently on a survey to identify the quality and quantity of mineral resources we have in our state. This would attract private investors to the state for the development of the sector.”

He reiterated that the ministry would make use of natural energy solutions such as solar, wastes, water, farmland and air, among others, to address the issue of irregular power supply in earnest.

“As regards natural resources, we must first gather sufficient data before taking any step. This is what Minerals Development Agency is currently doing. They are surveying the entire state to know how many natural resources we have, their location, sufficiency and quality. It is this data that can be used to attract foreign investments.”

Barr. Ashamu, who admonished residents of the state to be patient and cooperate with the state government in its quest to bring the independent power supply project into reality, said: “What we are looking at is to have programmes for our rural communities, which will be different from the urban areas. Of course, it is with this that we would be talking about generating independent power for all. We would use natural energy solutions such as; solar, waste, water and wind to generate electricity. 

“We need the cooperation of the residents of the state. We also want our people to be patient with us. For instance, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has just been established, therefore, we started with establishing a management and staffing framework that we would be working with.

“Also, there are some strategies that would be adopted to reduce wastage in the use of electricity in residential and commercial buildings.”

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Lai Mohammed says NTA can compete with CNN



Information Minister, Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, is seeking for the approval of N181.5 billion ($500 million) credit facility from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The loan, according to Mohammed, will enable the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) compete with the likes of Cable News Network (CNN).

While defending the loan request before the senate committee on Local and Foreign Loans, the minister explained that there is no better time for NTA to digitize its operations.

“The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2006 gave June 17, 2015 as deadline for all members of the organisation to migrate from analogue to digital. Regrettably, we were unable to meet the deadline alongside most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the deadline was moved to 2017, which was not reliable and today the target is June 17, 2020,” he stated.

On how the loan will be deployed, the minister explained that the loan is aimed at establishing the media and culture industry centre, digitize all NTA stations, and at the same time construct integrated television services to infuse on network, which is the signal distributor and essential component of the digitization project.

Mohammed restated the need for the country to meet the new deadline, saying if the world migrates from analogue to digital and Nigeria remains analogue, it means the country would be unable to enlighten, entertain and educate Nigerians.

The minister further stressed that Nigeria has the manpower and technology to operate on a global scale, as he said the creative industry was not just about television alone, but film, music, fashion and photography.

According to him, the creative industry employs no fewer than one million young persons directly and indirectly.

Mohammed said, “If this project is approved, there will be more visibility for our people in the music, fashion and film industries.

“In 2014, we made $23 million from music alone and about $53 million in 2019 and we are looking forward to making $83 million in 2025. You can imagine the kind of growth we will have if only we digitize all the NTA stations in the country.”

The minister maintained that the project for which the Ministry of Information and Culture planned to borrow the loan, is about employment and revenue generation, as he said the industry contributes 1.492 to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Mukesh Ambani: Asia’s richest man set to take on Amazon



Mukesh Ambani

A conglomerate run by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man; has started a service that aims to compete with Amazon in India.

Reliance Industries, owned by Mukesh Ambani; said it had been inviting people to sign up to its grocery delivery service. The company is aiming to use its massive mobile phone customer base as a springboard for the business.

The BBC reports that the new e-commerce venture could become a major challenger to India’s existing online retail giants. Two subsidiaries of Ambani’s business empire, Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, said they had soft-launched the venture, called JioMart.

JioMart says it offers “free and express delivery” for a list of grocery goods; which currently numbers some 50,000 items. Unlike rivals, JioMart will connect local stores to customers via an app rather than providing and delivering the goods itself.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, has an estimated fortune of more than $60bn (£45bn). The group’s core business is oil refining. However, it also has major investments in other sectors including retail and telecoms.

Reliance Retail owns grocery stores in India, runs outlets for global brands, including Hugo Boss and Burberry. In 2019, it bought the British toy shop Hamleys.

Equally important, Reliance Jio is India’s second-largest telecom operator, with more than 360 million subscribers.

Grocery’s rise as next business frontier an edge for Mukesh Ambani
Meanwhile, India’s online grocery market is in its infancy. It is currently estimated to be worth around $870m a year, with just 0.15% of the population using such services.

However, analysts predict the sector could see annual sales of around $14.5bn by 2023.

Grocery delivery has long been tipped as the next frontier in the battle for business in India.

A staggering number of internet and smartphone users – plus an unorganised grocery delivery sector; make it a promising market for app-based services.

Some of the world’s largest and best-known technology companies, including Walmart and Amazon, are hoping to cash in too.

This should be an advantage for Reliance. It already has hundreds of millions of subscribers to its telecoms network. Also, it operates its own grocery stores as well as retail stores for international brands.

Additionally, it has the advantage of being an Indian company.

Amazon and Walmart have been held back from expanding in this space by government laws aimed at protecting domestic business.

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