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Google rolls out ‘Plus Codes’ – a digital location tracking feature for the ages



Google rolls out 'Plus Codes' - a digital location tracking feature for the ages 1

Google is introducing a new feature in Google Maps called – ‘Plus Codes’ to help locations without any legitimate or defined means of addressing call gain visibility on the global space.

Remember the days of native billboard addresses for streets and towns, and how much they helped us find our way round a friend’s place or even receive postal letters from loved ones and organizations?

Google rolls out 'Plus Codes' - a digital location tracking feature for the ages 2

But think of it…

What if you’re in a situation you need something delivered to a particular location? Or need to call for medical help you probably have to give the person on the other end of the line your street address?

It’s pertinent that e-commerce was done at a normadic leve but we’ve come to appreciate how challenging this situation might be… literally, all of us.

How about you’re somewhere you don’t even know the address cos the probably don’t even have one?

Google Maps new feature called “Plus Codes” makes it easier to share your location data with anyone on the planet, call for service and get attended to—even if you’re fortuitously living under a rock.

It’s a pretty much a unique system for identifying any particular GPS-enabled location on the planet.

How does Google Map Plus Codes work?

Google Maps Plus Codes

Basically, it is a combination of six alphanumeric codes and a plus sign (+) which replaces a series of numbers, usually associated with coordinates, with a few characters.

For instance, while dropping a pin on Google Maps will generate a string of numbers (OLC) like 6.527196,3.186750*, doing same and tapping on the details of that same pinned location will reveal its Plus Code which often can look like HYT2+S5*.

Google Maps Open Location Codes

This new location on the map can now be copied out or shared digitally as proxy address details.

While it is not clearly mentioned on the front pages the tech firm behind developing Plus Codes, several reports point to it as a project managed by Google’s Zurich engineering office, the same guys behind the Open Location Code (OLC) in 2014.

The formula adopted for this is
open source, it is hosted on GitHub and can be accessed by anyone who wishes to know how it works or develop it for their applications.

How to use Plus Codes in Google Maps

How to use Plus Codes in Google Maps

In Google Maps you can use the new Plus Codes feature in two ways – you can either find the Plus Code for a place or find a place using Google Plus Codes.

To create one, you’ll tap the blue dot on Google Maps that represents your present position right now. When you do, a new page will launch with your Plus Code at the top. Or, you can tap and hold on any location on the map to create a pin, then kick on the details tab to reveal its Plus Code.

Interestingly, these codes can be generated without any human intervention. This means that Plus Codes and it’s API are as open for use by individuals, as well as logistics and eCommerce platforms on their applications.

Currently, it can only be accessed on select Android devices but it will be rolled out fully in coming weeks, as stated by David Martin, Director of Programme Management at Google Maps.

What is the use case and should I be concerned about my security?

Use cases for Google Plus Codes

Plus Codes use cases. Image credit: Geospatialworld

This is really were it gets interesting because innovation when pulled off successfully really sparks loads of excitement.

The biggest challenge in the world we live in especially this part of life is – half of the world urban population still lives on an unnamed street.

This is unarguably the idea behind developing Google Maps Plus Code feature will no doubt be it’s major use case.

This is the notion behind most similar services like What3Words. With a similar move from Google Maps, it will no doubt be a huge uptake with organizations, businesses and humanitarian agencies start deploying it to get their services to individuals in urban areas who in this case themselves might not necessarily be ONLINE!

While this is very much a welcome addition to the tech ecosystem, it doesn’t deny the fact that it brings up more questions than answers.

Companies might see this as a loophole to gain a presence in uncharted by sending marketing campaigns to individuals living within a particular Plus Code.

How about fraudsters who might employ this to target innocent individuals who have no idea their presence on the web can be manipulated to their harm with just a random 6-digit code.

It is worthy of note that there has been early adoption in Utah, USA, and Kolkota, India which Martin touts was invaluable in delivering health services during the COVID-19.

Google Maps Plus Codes is an amazing feature that has come to stay though its success will be judged as time goes.

In coming weeks as these codes are eventually rolled out in Nigeria, we will be on the look out, whether it proves helpful or harmful to individuals and how much navigation ease it has brought to logistics and eCommerce users.

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Mediatek unveils Helio G95 gaming Processor for budget smartphones, could debut on Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7



Mediatek unveils Helio G95 gaming Processor for budget smartphones, could debut on Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7 3

Adding to its ever-growing portfolio and stern competition to it’s Qualcomm counterpart, Taiwanese chipmaker, Mediatek has announced a new gaming Chipset for the Helio G90 series. The Helio G95 SoC offers a 5% boost in GPU performance over the G90T though the rest of the feature set is identical to the latter.

With the G95, MediaTek aims at closing the huge gap existing between the mid-range and flagship gaming smartphone segment and the first phone to use this processor could be the Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7 with both due for official releases on September 3.

The G90T ended up on phones like the Redmi Note 8 and Note 9 Pro and Realme 6 , so the odds are on we likely get to see more phones with the G95 chip launch in the final lap of the third quarter of the year.

Here’s everything the Mediatek Helio G95 has on offer

Mediatek Helio G95 Features

Essentially, it would be best to understand that the Helio G95 SoC is an overclocked G90T processor, in that it comes with an upgraded Mali-G76 GPU running at 900MHz. The G90T, on the other hand, is equipped with a Mali-G57 GPU that’s running at 800MHz.

Features like HyperEngine game technology, multi-camera support of upto 4 sensors and an APU (AI processing unit) are also very much welcome. The chip also supports upto HDR10+ enhancement quality in real-time.

The G95 processor is manufactured using the 12nm fabrication process and has two Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.05GHz while the six power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores can run upto 2.0GHz.

MediaTek’s famed HyperEngine game technology is responsible for optimizing the gaming experience to provide the best connection speed, picture quality and ensures a smooth gameplay experience on budget devices. There are several customisation options that users can fine-tune further.

Furthermore, Helio G95 chipset supports upto 10GB LPDDR4x RAM, UFS 2.1 storage, upto Full HD+ displays with 90Hz refresh rate and dual 4G SIM cards.

Additionally, the chip can be paired with upto 64MP cameras with upto 4K UHD rerecording.

Mediatek unveils Helio G95 gaming Processor for budget smartphones, could debut on Tecno Camon 16 or Realme 7 4

The MediaTek Helio G95 will power many phones set to launch in September. The first of such as confirmed by Naijatechguy could be the Tecno Camon 16 set to launch on September 3 in India.

The smartphone has been teased with stunning bezeles display, a 64MP camera unit with Samsung’s GM1 or Sony’s IMX686 sensor here which could all play into the hands of the new Helio G95 processor.

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“Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull” – Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling



"Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull" - Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology  with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling 5

In case you missed it probably you’ve been living under a rock or something incredibly heavy, a major global announcement was passed on couple hours ago which could well determine what value our lives still hold here on Earth

Naahh, definitely not another wave of Coronavirus but

Research nerd and Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup Neuralink on Friday unveiled a coin-sized computer chip that could provide the age-old solution to treating brain and neuro-ailments.

"Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull" - Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology  with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling 6

The move is regarded as another giant stride though early step taken toward the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.

Co-founded by Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc and SpaceX CEO Musk in 2016, San Francisco Bay Area-based Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain-machine interfaces that include thousands of electrodes in the most complex human organ to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and ultimately fuse humankind with artificial intelligence.

Though the mighty risks of artificial intelligence can’t be understated, Neuralink implant’s most important achievement beyond medical applications would be “some kind of AI symbiosis where you have an AI extension of yourself.”

This practically would mean having small-smart devices that electronically stimulate nerves and brain areas to treat hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease have been implanted in humans for decades.

"Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull" - Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology  with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling 7

Brain implant trials have also been conducted with a small number of people who have lost control of bodily functions due to spiral cord injuries or neurological conditions like strokes.

“An implantable device can actually solve these problems,” Musk said on a webcast Friday, mentioning ailments such as memory loss, hearing loss, depression and insomnia.

Musk did not provide a timeline for those treatments, appearing to retreat from earlier statements that human trials would begin by the end of this year. Neuralink’s first clinical trials with a small number of human patients would be aimed at treating paralysis or paraplegia, the company’s head surgeon Dr. Matthew MacDougall said.

For the Friday Neuralink webcast, Musk presented what he described as the “three little pigs demo.”

"Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull" - Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology  with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling 8

Gertrude, the pig with a Neuralink implant in the part of its brain that controls the snout, required some coaxing by Musk to appear on camera, but eventually began eating off of a stool and sniffing straw, triggering spikes on a graph tracking the animal’s neural activity.

Musk said the company had three pigs each implanted with the chip for the past couple months, and also revealed a pig that previously had an implant. They were “healthy, happy and indistinguishable from a normal pig,” Musk said. Musk said the company predicted a pig’s limb movement during a treadmill run at “high accuracy” using implant data.

Furthermore, the Neuralink’s chip, is roughly 23 millimeters (0.9 inch) in diameter which Musk described as “a Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires” making it relatively minute in size.

"Fitbit of tiny wires in your skull" - Elon Musk set to define future of Neurotechnology  with landmark Neuralink chip unveiling 9

“I could have a Neuralink right now and you wouldn’t know,” Musk said. “… Maybe I do.”

We hope you don’t for now though Mr Musk!

Stanford University neuroscientist Sergey Stavisky said the company had made substantial and impressive progress since an initial demonstration of an earlier chip in July 2019.

“Going from that to the fully implanted system in several pigs they showed is impressive and, I think, really highlights the strengths of having a large multidisciplinary team focused on this problem,” Stavisky said.

Neuralink’s chip could also improve the understanding of neurological diseases by reading brain waves, one of the company’s scientists said during the presentation.

Though some researchers however opined longer studies would be required to determine the longevity and lifespan of the device.

Also, Startups such as Kernel, Paradromics and NeuroPace are trying to exploit advancements in material, wireless and signaling technology to create devices similar to Neuralink making it really a race in time to create an actual feasible device.

Though another question which albeit could be on the lips of users will be about personalization of data. We are not envisaging a Google Ad kind of scenario here, but with the extent user data is been mined and misused, you can only prepare for the worst nowadays.

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