Google Assistant will soon be able to buy stuff for you on command

google assistant payments

Google Assistant already helps us organize our shopping lists and find out about things we’re interested in, but it stops short at actually letting us buy items. With a new feature rolling out to Pixel phones, it looks like that’s about to change.

A new option for setting up payment methods has appeared in the Assistant settings for Pixel users, bringing the anticipated feature one step closer to reality. First discovered deep in the beta version of the Google App back in January, it seems as though Google is ready to pull the trigger on voice-powered payments, a major step in Google Assistant’s fight against Alexa and Siri.

Head into the Settings menu of the Google Assistant screen on your Pixel phone and you’ll see the new option for Payments under the Google Account section. This feature is separate from Android Pay, so tapping it will guide you through a series of steps that lets you store credit or debit cards that can be accessed by Google Assistant. At the end of the process, you’ll see a Pay through your Assistant toggle that will need to be turned blue in order to activate the feature.

There isn’t much you can do with the feature after it’s set up, but presumably Google will announce support for third-party stores shortly. At the start of the set-up process, you’ll need to accept the terms and conditions for both Google Payments and Google Express, an online marketplace that links to a number of popular stores, such as Walgreens, Costco, and Toys R Us, so at the very least you’ll be able to buy things there. However, asking Google Assistant to shop for something on Google Express merely brings up a search results screen.

Since the feature is tied to your Google account and not the Pixel phone specifically, it’s likely it will work with all of the devices integrated with Assistant, including Google Home and Android Wear 2.0 watches.

Speak ‘n shop: Amazon Echo users have long been able to order things from Amazon without lifting a finger, and it appears as though Google is looking to do the same thing. Pigs will fly before it includes support for Amazon’s boundless marketplace, which will severely limit its usefulness, but building payments into Google Assistant is an important step in the virtual bot’s development. And while it’s surprising that the steps here don’t include a vocal passcode option to protect against unintended purchases by our chatty kids, it’s likely Google will implement some kind of safeguard for the Home speaker once the feature is officially announced.


Honor V9 to be available outside China as Honor 8 Pro

Huawei announced it will unveil Honor V9 on February 21 – the week before MWC. The device has a ChinaMobile branding on its back, indicating its China-exclusive status. But according to a company insider the device will go global just under a different name. The V9 will be rebranded to Honor 8 Pro and revealed at the Huawei event on February 27 in Barcelona.

The Honor V9 is powered by the octa-core Kirin 960, clocked at 2.4 GHz and has a 5.7” QHD display. The RAM options are 4GB and 6GB while storage options include 64 GB or 128 GB. The device has a massive 3,900 mAh battery and a fingerprint sensor on the back. There’s also a dual 12MP+2MP camera on the back and a single 8MP camera on the front.


Prakash Javadekar: Fresh norms to be issued for CBSE schools to reduce school bag burden

At an event organised by the CBSE, Prakash Javadekar said that in order to reduce the burden of school bags on students, the ministry is working on fresh norms for CBSE schools.

Fresh norms to be issued for CBSE schools

Fresh norms to be issued for CBSE schools

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At an event organised by the CBSE, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that in order to reduce the burden of school bags on students, the HRD ministry is working on fresh norms for CBSE schools. He also gave the Green Schools Awards, instituted by the Centre for Science and Environment, among others to a school in Punjab’s Moga, a Kendriya Vidyalaya from Hebbal in Karnataka, and a sports school from Sonipat, Haryana.

Children from various schools were present at the event.

“I am going to reduce the weight of school bags… Carrying heavy bags is not necessary. It will definitely happen. We are preparing norms for CBSE schools that bundles of books and notebooks do not have to be needlessly carried,” he said.

While CBSE has directed its schools that students upto class 2 should not bring school bags and the restricted the number of books carried till class 8, the HRD ministry is looking at these aspects to make the norms more effective, broad based as well as comprehensive, ministry officials said.

Other changes expected

Javadekar added that another change he plans to make is regarding project work assigned to school children. He said that most of the time parents have to pitch in to complete the projects assigned to their wards.

Referring to an instance in his family, Javadekar said he once saw his granddaughter working on project-work at home with the help of her mother. When asked what was happening, he was told that without the assistance of adults, the teacher would not mark a ‘star’ for the assignment.

“…But the real education is where the child learns even if he makes a mistake. The seniors can guide though…The parents too need to be educated,” he said.


IIM Calcutta and IIM Shillong to be renamed

Two of the best management institutes of the country– IIM(Indian Institute of Management) Calcutta and IIM Shillong– will now be renamed according to the IIM Bill.

IIM Calcutta and IIM Shillong to be renamed

IIM Calcutta and IIM Shillong to be renamed

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Two of the best management institutes of the country– IIM(Indian Institute of Management) Calcutta and IIM Shillong– will now be renamed according to the IIM Bill which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. While former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name will be dropped from IIM Shillong, IIM Calcutta will be renamed as IIM Kolkata.

As per a Live Mint report, the bill mentions that the name of the existing IIM in Calcutta, registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 will change. The “name of the institute incorporated under this Act” will be “Indian Institute of Management Kolkata”, says the bill.

While that may be in keeping with the change in the official spelling, IIM Bangalore name is not about to change to IIM Bengaluru. While Calcutta changed to Kolkata in 2001, Bangalore changed to Bengaluru in 2014 to better reflect local language usage.

(Read: Now, UK University offers PhD in ‘chocolate’)

The Calcutta name change will also change its brand name from IIM-C to IIM-K. However, IIM Kozhikode is already referred as IIM-K. Besides, the top three IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta have commonly referred as ABC in the IIM community and industry for decades. However, the National Democratic Alliance government has removed former Congress Prime Ministers’ names from various government schemes.


AMD reveals another edge for Ryzen vs. Intel’s Skylake: It will be smaller

ryzen new

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen CPU will occupy less space and offer twice the amount of cache of Intel’s 6th-generation CPU, according a news report. Oh, and there will indeed be a quad-core model.

AMD engineers made the disclosure in a paper this week during the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, according to EE Times’ Rick Merritt.

The engineering paper said a quad-core Ryzen chip built on a 14nm process would be about 10 percent smaller than a comparable 6th-generation Intel Skylake CPU built on a 14nm process, while offering twice the L2 cache of the Intel chip. The paper appears to count only the amount of space used for the x86 cores on an Intel CPU in its comparison. Like other mainstream CPUs, Intel’s Skylake chips also include graphics cores aboard.

Why this matters: Intel’s manufacturing prowess is the envy of the free world. News that AMD managed to squeeze its next-generation CPU into a smaller package is more good news for the underdog company. Ryzen is expected to offer competitive cost and performance against Intel’s lineup.

amd ryzen isscc 2017

EE Times

AMD engineers claim in a paper released this week that a quad-core Ryzen will use less space than an Intel quad-core Skylake chip.

Merritt further reported that AMD engineers claimed the company had no fewer than two different eight-core CPUs in the lineup.

The statements by AMD engineers at ISSCC are likely more reliable than the multiple leaks of sometimes contradictory Ryzen details that trickle out from week to week. A few weeks ago, a rumor said no six-core Ryzen would be in the initial lineup. This was then followed by other leaks that a six-core Ryzen would indeed be in the launch lineup.

The only official word from AMD promised an “army” of Ryzen chips at launch, with the top-end consumer model featuring eight cores, simultaneous multi-threading and a speed of at least 3.4GHz.

In other words, you’ll have to hold your breath until early March, when AMD said it would drop its new CPU on the world at last.


Brilliant Control could be the most exciting thing to happen to light switches since the dimmer

Brilliant control menu

I’ve checked out a lot of smart light switches since I built my own smart home in 2007, but Brilliant’s Brilliant Control is the most exciting lighting control I’ve seen since I’ve been able to control my lights with Amazon’s Alexa.

This one works with Alexa, of course—in fact, Alexa Voice Service is built in—but it also has a touchscreen; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios; a motion sensor; an integrated camera and microphone; and it can control much more than just lights.

Brilliant co-founder and CEO Aaron Emigh said he was in the midst of renovating his own home in the pre-Amazon Echo days when the inspiration for Brilliant Control struck. “I was looking at various smart home options. I wanted an a la carte option, because it suits my hackerish background. Systems like Crestron involved putting holes in your walls and depended on professional installers, and the next tier down was centered around security, which wasn’t the lens I was looking through for a smart home. I was going to end up in a weird situation where I was dependent on my smartphone to control anything. So I thought to myself ‘why not put a screen and a microphone where the light switches are, so there’s one in every room?’ I was shocked to discover this didn’t already exist.”

The Brilliant Control that will come to market in late summer consists of a 5-inch, 720×1280 touchscreen that mounts to an electrical module that fits inside your existing electrical box, replacing a dimmer or switch. In situations where you have multiple dimmers or switches clustered in a row (up to four), you can replace those other switches with a module that has touch-sensitive grooves. In addition to touch, the Brilliant Control will also respond to voice (tapping Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, so you won’t need an Echo) and motion control.

Being equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, it will be able to discover and control other systems, such as a Sonos multi-room audio system, a Nest thermostat, or a Ring video doorbell, according Emigh. It can also be incorporated into broader smart-home systems, including home-security systems, and with smart-home hubs such as SmartThings and Wink. The built-in motion sensor can be programmed to turn lights on automatically when you enter a dark room, or to turn lights off in an empty room.

The Brilliant Control’s built-in camera and microphone will enable it to function as a room-to-room video intercom system. A built-in slider can cover the camera when it’s not in use for added privacy. The camera “has opened up a lot of conversations with partners for future uses,” Emigh said, “such as a home security camera.” And when the touchscreen display isn’t showing smart-home controls, it can display personal photos or even animated gifs. Brilliant says it will offer seasonal and holiday themes on a monthly basis.

Brilliant Control triple menu

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There will also be a version of the Brilliant Control that can fit into multi-gang electrical boxes to control more than one light.

Brilliant is taking pre-orders now at the discounted price of $149 for the first 1,000 customers. After that, the price will increase to $199 per unit (the company has not disclosed prices for the multi-gang models). If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can get an in-person demo at the Target Open House on 4th Street when it reopens on February 10.

BEd degree holders from J&K institutions will now be able to teach in Bihar

On Friday, the Bihar cabinet gave a nod to an education department’ proposal of making some necessary amendment in the Secondary and Higher Secondary Teachers  Rules. The proposal was to facilitate the validity of the BEd degrees obtained from the educational institutions under University of Jammu and the University of Kashmir.

BEd degree from J&K institutions now valid in Bihar

BEd degree from J&K institutions now valid in Bihar

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On Friday, the Bihar cabinet gave a nod to a proposal of the education department regarding making some necessary amendments in the Secondary and Higher Secondary Teachers (Recruitment and Service Conditions) Rules. The proposal was to facilitate the validity of the BEd degrees obtained from the educational institutions under the University of Jammu and the University of Kashmir.

According to a TOI report, after the approval, the Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree from the aforementioned universities will now be valid in Bihar for appointment of teachers in secondary and higher secondary schools. The cabinet meeting was presided over by CM Nitish Kumar.

The Bihar government had earlier refused to recognise the BEd degree from any institutions of Jammu & Kashmir on the plea that northern state does not come under the purview of the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) that regulates teacher training in the rest of the country.

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Road Development Vision 2020

The Bihar cabinet also approved a ‘Road Development Vision-2020’ for the expansion of road infrastructure across the state.

“Under the Road Development Vision-2020, all state highways would be widened to minimum of two lanes, while all long-distance district roads would have a minimum width of 5.5 metres,” Principal Secretary (cabinet secretariat) Brajesh Mehrotra told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

He said that renovation will be done for all the dilapidated and narrow bridges/culverts on the roads and RCC bridges would be built for all state roads and major districts roads with regular traffic density.


CBSE UGC NET 2017: Answer keys to be released soon at

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted the National Eligibility Test (NET) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on January 22.

CBSE UGC NET 2017: Answer keys to be released soon at

CBSE UGC NET 2017: Answer keys to be released soon at

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted the National Eligibility Test (NET) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on January 22. The answer keys for the same will be released soon on its official website,

How to check:

  • Go to the official website, click on the link, ‘Answer keys of UGC NET JAN 2017’
  • Thereafter, the answer keys will be displayed on the screen
  • Take a printout for future use.

The exam consisted of the following three papers:

Paper 1: The exam was held for a duration of one and a half hours. It had 60 questions, out of which 50 questions should be attempted. It carried a total of 100 marks.

Paper 2: The exam was conducted for a duration of one and a half hours and had 50 questions (all are compulsory). It carried a total of 100 marks.

Paper 3: It was held for a duration of two and a half hours and included 75 questions (all are compulsory). It carried a total of 150 marks.

About CBSE UGC NET:UGC (University Grants Commission) is a statutory organisation established by the union government in 1956. Its main objective is to provide recognition to the Indian universities and provide funds to such recognised universities and colleges.

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) now conducts this exam on behalf of UGC for the post of Lecturer and for providing the JRF for Indian nationals in order to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and in research. The exam is conducted in streams such as Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce.

For more details, the candidates can visit the official website


NEET score to be used for NISH admissions 2017

Candidates applying for admission to BASLP should have passed government recognised 10+2 examination or an equivalent examination securing a minimum of 50 per cent marks.

NISH admission 2017

NISH admission 2017

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The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) scores will be used for admission to the Bachelor of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (BASLP) course of National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) from the commencing academic year 2017-18.

The candidate’s NEET score should be reported along with the course application form; the rank list will be prepared based on this score, a press release here said.


  • NISH has been accredited as Excellent Institution by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and has been running the BASLP course, approved by RCI, since 2002
  • The course prepares professionals to work as audiologists and speech therapists
  • Candidates applying for admissions to BASLP should have passed government recognised 10+2 examination or an equivalent examination securing a minimum of 50 per cent marks
  • SC/ST or Persons with Disabilities (PwD) candidates with a pass mark alone will also be eligible
  • The applicant or candidate should have studied physics, chemistry, biology with an optional of mathematics / computer science/ statistics/ electronics/ psychology
  • source”cnbc”

Google Maps now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination

google maps parking

Update 1/27/17: The feature is now available in the full version of the app. This article has been updated to reflect this news.

If you’ve ever taken longer to find a parking spot than you did driving somewhere, Google Maps might be able to help—or at least prepare you for a headache. Thanks to a new feature in the latest version of the app, you’ll now be able to tell how hard it will be to park once you arrive at your destination.

The new feature is easy to miss. The next time you pull up driving directions, you’ll see a small circular P icon to the right of your route overview, next to which will show three levels of parking difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Limited. (To make it easier to see at a glance, easy and medium are colored blue while limited is red.) While the feature doesn’t update to show the actual parking situation when you arrive (at least not yet), you can get a slightly longer description when you expand your directions.

The update is currently rolling out in the Google Play store, but if you’re not seeing it, you can sideload the Google-signed APK from APKMirror. Keep in mind that the feature is only available in 25 cities across the U.S: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and the Washington D.C. area.

Why this matters: Parking can be a major headache when driving somewhere new, so we’ll take any information we can get. And with the new Uber integration built right into the app, a red circle could mean the difference between driving or being driven somewhere.