Google Maps isn’t just a helpful guide to find your way around a new area, it has a hidden feature that turns it into a time machine.
While you won’t be able to go back and change the past, you can flick back through the archive of Google Maps’ Street View images to reminisce about what your local area used to look like.
If you’re after a hit of nostalgia, this is a fun little feature you’ll definitely want to try out, so here’s how to go back in time with Google Maps.How to visit the past with Google Maps
For starters, you’re going to want to open up Google Maps on your PC and then drop into Street View.
A simple way to do this is to drag the yellow figure (Pegman) in the bottom right corner onto any road. When you grab a hold of them the streets will glow blue so you know where you can drop them.
Once you’re down in Street View, you’ll want to look in the top left corner of the window. Here you’ll see a brief description of where you are and underneath it’ll say Street View followed by a month and a year.
Click on this and a timeline will appear with a few points on. By dragging the gray circle forwards or backward you can see what the place looked like at different times throughout the last decade or so.
Once you’ve scrolled back to when you want to visit, click on the image and you’ll now be able to explore Street View in the past.Image 1 of 2
Times Square New York in 2021 (Image credit: Future)Image 2 of 2
Times Square New York in 2011 (Image credit: Future)
Not all places will be equal though. In our testing, we found some locations – like New York’s Time Square – had over a dozen points to travel back to, while others had only a couple or no other points at all.
Generally, the best roads to visit are in towns or cities, while dead ends and those out in the sticks will only have been captured once or twice – and that’s if you’re lucky.
If you want to find out about other cool Google Maps tricks we have a guide that’ll teach you about five things you didn’t know Google Maps could do. And when you’re with that, be sure to check out our follow-up that teaches you about five more hidden Google Maps features.
Google Chat is reintroducing a small tweak that could help your boss keep tabs on what you're up to and when.
In a blog post, Google says it is bringing back the Idle status, denoted by an orange icon, ostensibly to make it easier to see which of your colleagues is really, truly around.
"In Google Chat on web and Chat in Gmail, you'll see an orange clock badge for users that were recently active in Chat, but aren't currently active," the company says. "We hope this makes it easier to determine the best time to connect with your colleagues."Google Chat Idle
The Idle status appears after five minutes of inactivity, according to 9to5Google. Back in 2020, Google introduced Away (denoted by an empty circle) and Do Not Disturb (red circle), making it easier to show what you're doing.
The update is very nostalgic in a sense, taking us back to the era of MSN status messages and all the fun that could be had. In a professional context, though, it might work out a bit differently than your mum booting you off the PC.A battle for the workplace
Google is currently in an intense battle with Microsoft, Slack, and other workplace communication apps, especially as remote and hybrid work seems here to stay.
Microsoft has made some big moves with Microsoft 365 and Teams, utilising its existing relationships with many large enterprises to cement its place as one of the core facets of all employees' lives.READ MORE
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But Google has been quietly working away in the background, improving its Google Workspace suite of tools. The fact that Google Docs is available for free is a big bonus, too, especially for students.
Still, Google has struggled to make its messaging apps – a famously complicated area for the company – stick and the latest change to Google Chat isn't likely to help, at least as far as employees are concerned.
A new WhatsApp update is in the works that could greatly improve the presence of your status updates on the popular messaging app by adding rich link previews to any link you post in your status bar.
A report from WABetaInfo shows that WhatsApp is working on what looks like a pretty significant update in regards to your profile's status bar. The feature, which has yet to be rolled out to WhatsApp beta testers, is set to upgrade the appearance of links posted in your status bar on Android, iOS, and the desktop app.
Currently, links are displayed in your status updates as plainly as possible, with no preview window to offer any kind of insight as to what the link contains. That's set to change with this upcoming update, which will flesh out links posted in your status updates with a rich link preview showing a thumbnail and a greater amount of info pertaining to where the link will take you.
WABetaInfo created a mock-up image showing the difference between the current appearance of links in your status updates, paired against what they'll look like in the future update:
(Image credit: WABetaInfo) WhatsApp isn't slowing down
WhatsApp's current run of updates has mostly been pretty impressive, even if many of them are the addition of features the app probably should've already had. Just a couple of weeks ago, the messaging app finally rolled out emoji reactions as part of a chunky update that also boosted file transfer limits up to 2GB, and bumped the maximum group size up to 512 individual users.
And that's a good thing, considering that WhatsApp has certainly lagged behind other popular messaging apps like Discord and Telegram in terms of functionality. Discord, for example, has had emoji reactions for years.
However, WhatsApp does have Discord Nitro (the app's premium subscription service) soundly beat on upload size limits. WhatsApp's 2GB makes Discord's 100MB look relatively meager in comparison. As such, clear improvements over the competition are beginning to appear on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp's made some major strides over the past few months, then, but we, unfortunately, don't know much more about the upcoming status updates. WABetaInfo's report clearly states that the feature is under development, and is in the dark as to when it'll roll out for beta testers to try out.
It's safe to assume that regular WhatsApp users might not see the improvements to the status bar for quite some time as a result. But when it does launch for non-beta users, it just might be enough of a reason to make status updates on WhatsApp actually worth bothering with.
This can be found in Windows 11 Build 25115, which is available in the Dev Channel if you're signed in to the Insider program. Once you press Alt + F4, Windows 11’s shut down options, which include a drop-down menu giving you the choice to hibernate, shut down, restart or standby your PC, will look different.
Instead, it has the rounded edges that have appeared in other updates across Windows 11, such as Windows Media Player, and menus when you right-click on a folder in File Explorer.
There's also new icons for when you're in the Recovery Mode, finally moving away from the rather basic look that's been present there since Windows 8.Analysis: However small, Windows 11's look is getting better
All of these changes are making a big difference to areas that have felt abandoned for years. Whether it's the Snipping Tool to take screenshots or the File Explorer that will soon feature tabs like a web browser, Microsoft is trying to modernize Windows for everyone.
With Sun Valley 2, Windows 11's next major update, tentatively still on course to arrive later this year, these small improvements may be a sign of Microsoft putting its foot off the gas, and looking at the smaller areas of Windows to improve, while fixing up bugs.
Recovery Mode has been a useful feature for years, where it can repair a Windows installation that’s failing to boot up for example, but it's always been stuck with a look from Windows 8.
While it's just the icons that are seeing a change, we wouldn't be surprised to see a total redesign by the time Sun Valley 2 arrives.
Via Windows Latest
Shopping online should soon be a lot safer thanks to a new Google Chrome update using virtual cards.
Announced at the company's Google IO 2022 event, the move will boost user privacy by giving the option to autofil details of a virtual card when prompted in the browser, including the long card number, expiry date, and three-digit CVV number.
Doing so should help keep a user's actual card details safe from fraud, as well as making sure they aren't stored on a merchant's database, where they could be compromised in a data breach.Chrome virtual cards
Google is working with Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Capital One to launch the new system, which will initially only be available in the US before hopefully rolling out to other markets soon.
The company says the move will add an extra layer of security when paying online using a payment gateway, removing the need to manually enter card details for each purchase, much like how paying via contactless card in a physical store does away with the need to enter a PIN number, or the seller ever seeing your long card number.
(Image credit: Google)
Users can manage their virtual card details at pay.google.com, where they will also be able to enable or disable the feature for eligible cards, as well as viewing their virtual card number and track recent transactions.
Google says the virtual cards will probably be used most commonly for one-off purchases, but can also be harnessed for repeat use or subscriptions. The company adds that it won't use any data based on virtual card usage for ad targeting, but this does seem unlikely.
The tool will be available via Chrome Autofill on desktop (ChromeOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux) with Android and iOS editions set to arrive soon.Read more
Depending on your card provider, you'll have different options on what kind of virtual cards you'll see. Google noted that Capital One members will receive an individual virtual card on every site, however Visa and American Express will use a single card across all sites, but use a different CVV each time.
Once the acquisition closes, the two companies will provide elevated customer service experiences to enterprise businesses on a global scale and work together quickly to capitalize on new opportunities in both the contact center and customer support segments.
President of product and engineering at Zoom, Velchamy Sankarlingam explained in a press release how acquiring Solvvy will help boost its Zoom Contact Center offering which launched earlier this year, saying:
“The nature of customer experience is transforming fundamentally, as enterprises increasingly need to deliver exceptional, personalized, and effortless customer experiences. Solvvy understands this shift and is the ideal platform to enhance our Zoom Contact Center offering. Solvvy’s differentiated AI and machine learning technology, deeply talented team, and an easy-to-deploy solution will help accelerate our roadmap to creating a concierge-level experience for customers worldwide. Together, we are excited to help businesses of all sizes improve their customer retention, increase operating efficiency, and set new standards for customer service and satisfaction.”Redefining the contact center
Zoom Contact Center is the first omnichannel contact center platform that is optimized for video conferencing with a robust suite of channels including video, voice, SMS and live chat in a single, user-friendly experience.
By adding Solvvy’s proprietary tech to its contact center offering, the company will be able to build it out further with scalable self-service and conversational AI. At the same time, Zoom Contact Center customers will benefit from an automated, integrated and easy-to-deploy contact center as a result of Zoom’s Solvvy acquisition.Read More
Once the acquisition is complete, Zoom will incorporate and expand Solvvy’s capabilities across its Zoom Contact Center Platform. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of the company's fiscal year 2023 and neither company provided details on the terms of the sale.
As employees begin to return to the office and organizations implement hybrid work policies, Zoom’s move into the customer service space makes a great deal of sense now that video calls are no longer as in demand as they once were during the pandemic.
Did you know that you can change the default notification sound on Slack? Maybe you did, but one of the options is not like the others - among the various jingles and drumming noises, you'll find comedy gold in the form of a British woman firmly saying the word 'hummus'.
This fun little Slack feature won't help spare you from the agonizing last few hours of the workday, but it's random enough to put a smile on your face every time a colleague messages you to nudge for any updates.
It should also be said that this is by no means a new feature to have appeared on the popular messaging program, but it doesn't appear to be especially well known, and as the world's biggest fan of hummus (self-identified) that seems like a real shame to me.
Very aware that nearly everyone has been using Slack for approximately a million years, but uhhh... were we all aware that we can change the notification sound to a passive aggressive person saying 'HUMMUS' ??? pic.twitter.com/mlCGhXZ3WOMay 13, 2022See more
Twitter user @charlottekennny is responsible for bringing this to my attention, and after the initial confusion passed I did a little digging around to see why this existed in the first place.
Because we love our Anna so much that we wanted to save her delightful voice for posterity. Also, because hummus. ♥️September 16, 2016See more
As it turns out, this is something of an inside joke amongst Slack staff. Back in 2016, Slack employees allegedly fell in love with how the company's then editorial director Anna Pickard said the word 'hummus' in her English accent, so they decided to immortalize it as an MP3 file that can be used on the platform.
It's easy to replicate on your own system if you want to give it a try yourself. Just select onto your profile image at the top right of the screen and select into 'Preferences'.
From here you'll land on the 'Notifications' page where you can scroll down to the section labeled 'Sound & appearance'. There are two dropdown boxes for notification sounds, one for messages and another for huddles, so you can set them to different sounds to easily differentiate between them while you're working (Hummus is located at the very bottom).Opinion: Slack should go all in with this
This is a total gimmick, but it doesn't need to be. In fact, I'd argue that this could be used as a valuable productivity tool if a few additional developments are made.
Slack doesn't currently support custom notification sounds, nor does it allow you to set a different notification for each channel you're a part of, and that's a crying shame. However, you can customize a variety of other elements in Slack, from emojis and aliases to integrations, which can result in potentially transformational increased productivity or pure hilarity, depending on your taste. So, why can't we customize notifications?
As someone that suffers from anxiety, being able to set custom notifications that audibly say what channel I'm being pinged in doesn't just help to avoid stress levels spiking as you run to check if your manager wants to spring an immediate 1-2-1 on you, but you can also prioritize urgent work without needing to check Slack every time a notification goes off.
A great example would be if you're part of several channels, with many of these being socially focused and a few being more work orientated. If you get a message in a channel that requires urgent attention, you could record a quick sounds that says 'urgent' so that you know exactly when you need to refocus on another task.
There are ways to record custom notification sounds, though the process isn't officially supported and requires some technical know-how. It also doesn't solve the restriction around setting different sounds for each channel, but I hope that this is something Slack could look to introduce down the line.
Microsoft is working on a major new project to enable Kubernetes for lightweight Windows edge computing deployments.
The long-rumored "Project Haven" could signal a significant breakthrough in helping bring Kubernetes to lightweight Windows edge computing devices.
Microsoft has revealed it will be talking more about Project Haven its Build developer conference within the next few weeks.What else does Microsoft have in-store for Kubernetes?
The news was revealed in a posting for a Project Haven Microsoft Build session, which promises to reveal more.
"Born in the cloud, Kubernetes is making its way to the edge," the page reads. "Microsoft is working on enabling Kubernetes for lightweight Windows edge devices, powering Linux and Windows containerized workloads. Join this session to learn about the latest developments and what's to come!"
Project Haven isn’t the only Kubernetes-related panel scheduled for Microsoft Build.
The conference will also offer viewers an introduction to Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes and a Customer Tech Talk with Starbucks, which it says will explain how the coffee firm moved their mobile app infrastructure to Azure and how they continue to manage and scale using Azure Kubernetes Services.
Microsoft isn’t the only big tech firm throwing its weight behind Kubernetes solutions for developers.Read more
Edge computing is also considered to be primed for future growth according to research by Intel.
Intel’s “The Edge Outlook” covered how IT leaders are realizing that the edge is integral to driving operational efficiencies, 76% of those surveyed agreed that identifying “the ideal location” for processing data is a challenge.
- Checkout our guide to the best cloud hosting services
According to WABetaInfo, you will be able to link up an Android phone, as well as an iPhone to the app on macOS, allowing the multiple devices feature to be used. This enables your messages to be managed regardless of your smartphone being switched off.
It's a welcome improvement for macOS users, as they may have felt left behind after the redesign that WhatsApp Desktop has been given for Windows 11. But with WWDC on the horizon for June, there's a chance we may see the redesign arrive for Mac users sooner than later.Analysis: It's about time for macOS to get attention
(Image credit: WABetaInfo)
There was a time when you would use your laptop or PC to load up MSN Messenger, AIM, or Adium, depending on your tastes and where your friends and family were on most.
But with the advent of apps in 2008 with Apple's App Store, WhatsApp slowly rose through the ranks high enough to be available to other devices and apps, such as your web browser, and recently, the Apple Watch.
Meta's messaging app wants to be accessible to the laptop and PC like MSN Messenger was. The desktop app on Windows 11 already offers message reactions, video, and voice calls, alongside being able to send gifs to one another.
Having the same experience on macOS after previous versions missing out on these features, will be a big benefit to many, and will result in one less tab being used for WhatsApp Web, where you can manage your messages within a web browser.
As we're not far off from WWDC 2022, we could see improvements to iMessage from Apple, which would also be welcome. Seeing new effects or faster ways to access stickers and emojis, would be a great improvement.
But it looks like we're close to seeing WhatsApp on macOS as its own app, and that's only a good thing for its users.
Having your day clogged with endless meetings or appointments could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new Google Calendar update.
The company says the change should help avoid potential fraud or security threats, but it could also mean that your meeting schedule becomes free of unnecessary meetings that could be replaced by an email.Google Calendar meeting booking
Users will need to enable the new feature, which is off by default, but once on, it will remain "sticky" and be saved for any new appointment scheduling series - for example, if setting up appointments across multiple days.
Once enabled, users looking to make an appointment must be signed into a Google account or validate their email address using a PIN code to complete the booking.
The feature is rolling out now to users of Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Education Plus, the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Nonprofits customers.
However, Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Frontline, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers, won't be seeing the feature just yet.Read more
The launch is the latest in several major improvements for Google Calendar as the platform looks to help those returning to the office or embracing hybrid working.
The company recently unveiled a feature that will allow users to prevent unwanted invitations from being added to their calendar. Under the updated system, users can choose for meetings and other events to be added to their calendar only after they have responded to the email invitation, hopefully making for a less cluttered calendar interface and less time spent on administration.
Recently, Google Calendar was also upgraded to show a range of status options in Google Chat, giving you extra information on what you or your co-workers are up to.
Previously limited to just showing when someone was out of office, Google Chat is now able to show a number of different statuses, including "in a meeting" or "in focus time".