The Dark side of the web

It’s 2018 and the world is connected now more than ever. The internet has enabled countless innovations and technology that has changed the way we function. Currently, more than 3 billion people worldwide use the web for news, entertainment, communication and a myriad of other activities. Everything we see on the web is only the tip of the iceberg. To give you an estimate, through our search engines we can access only 0.03% of the information available online. So what about the rest of it? That is where The Dark Web comes into play.

What is The Dark web?

The sites that traditional searches yield are part of what’s known as the Surface Web, which is comprised of indexed pages that a search engine’s web crawlers are programmed to retrieve. The Dark web consists of data that you won’t locate with a simple Google search.

Dark web
The Dark web is a place for people and activities who don’t want to be found

So what is the dark web really? The Dark Web is a part of the world wide web that requires special software to access. The Dark web sites are effectively “hidden”, in that they have not been indexed by a search engine and can only be accessed if you know the address of the site. Special markets also operate within the dark web called, “darknet markets”, which mainly sell illegal products like drugs and firearms, paid for in cryptocurrency.

The dark web requires a specific software program (the Tor browser) to do the trick, and it offers you a special layer of anonymity that the surface web and the deep web cannot.

Deep web VS Dark web

There is a widespread misconception that Deep web is the same as the Dark web. Contrary to popular belief, the deep web and the dark web are actually two separate definitions. A majority of the public that’s unacquainted with the dark web, tend to use these two concepts interchangeably. Here’s an infographic by Dark Web News that explains the concept with clarity.

Dark web
Source: https://darkwebnews.com/deep-web/

The contrast between the deep web and the dark web is often visually described by comparing it to an iceberg. Visualize an iceberg that is partly submerged.

Surface Web:

Everything that is accessible to the average internet user is considered as the Surface web. This is seen as the part of the iceberg that is above water. Surface web includes Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and more.

Deep Web:

Just below the surface of the water is the Deep Web. It’s made up of of the same general host names as sites on the surface web, but along with the extension of those domains. The deep web is the majority of the internet as a whole.

What people don’t realize is that there’s a lot the invisible internet has to offer besides illegal activity. The deep web is used to obtain banned books, organize meetings in secret and store archived personal data. Harvard’s internal communications system is an example.

Dark Web:

The last part of the iceberg that is submerged deep underwater represents the Dark web. It is a subset of the deep web that’s only accessible through software that guards anonymity. The Dark web contains URLs that end in .onion rather than .com, .gov or .edu.

The dark web requires a specific software program (the Tor browser) to do the trick, and it offers you a special layer of anonymity that the surface web and the deep web cannot. Using TOR itself isn’t illegal, nor is going on many deep web websites. The only illegal activity is what would be illegal out in the real world.

Illegal guns, pornography, terrorism and drug markets rely on the dark web. These are run by people who want to stay anonymous.

Some illegal markets on the Dark side are:

  • Guns and ammunition
  • Hackers and malicious services
  • Assassins and hitmen
  • Illegal pornography

Accessing the Dark web:

The simplest way to start using Tor is to download the Tor browser bundle (assuming you’re on Windows). You can get it at: Tor Browser. You can find installation instructions for Tor on other operating systems on the same page.

Dark web
Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. It is derived from “The onion router”

Once it’s installed and launched, the browser should connect automatically to the Tor network. Be warned though, some sites may contain links to illegal services and content. You are responsible for your actions as this information is purely educational.

Besides the shady people, here are a few more users of the deep web:

  • Journalists and Whistleblowers
  • Free speech and anti-censorship advocates
  • Citizens in oppressed regimes who need access to news and information

At the end of the day, it comes down to who you are as a person. Power in the wrong hands can cause trouble. But the same power in the hands of righteous men, can bring change and improve the lives of others. That’s it from us at Learn2Create and always remember: Stay safe, stay curious!

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Microsoft’s Azure Bot is now available to developers

The Azure Bot Framework was introduced two years ago by Microsoft and companies have been building chatbots for a variety of situations ever since. Today, the Microsoft Azure Bot Service and Microsoft Cognitive Language Understanding service (known as LUIS), were made available by the tech giant.

“Making these two services generally available on Azure simultaneously extends the capabilities of developers to build custom models that can naturally interpret the intentions of people conversing with bots,” Lili Cheng, corporate vice president at the MS AI and Research division announced.

Azure bot
You also can embed the bot in a web page or in an app and customize the UI

Microsoft has created a whole set of tools for developers to create their bots, including the Bot Framework and Cognitive Services. Cheng says flexibility is at the core of the Chatbot service. You don’t even need to host it on Azure if you don’t want to. The Bot service is actually part of a broader set of Azure services Microsoft has created to help developers build applications with artificial intelligence underpinnings.

Cheng said more than 200,000 developers have signed up for the Bot service, and they currently have 33,000 active bots in areas like retail, healthcare, financial services and insurance. Companies building bots with the Microsoft tools include Molson Coors, UPS and Sabre.

“You can build a bot and auto provision on Azure and you can publish on Facebook Messenger, Slack and most of the Microsoft channels [such as] Cortana, Skype and Skype for teams,” – Lili Cheng

You also can embed the bot in a web page or in an app and customize the UI as you see fit. When you combine the bot building tools with the LUIS language understanding tool, you get what should be a powerful combination.

Interested in Azure? Follow BotSpawn to stay updated on the Chatbot revolution!

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AI vs ISIS: The Pentagon working on AI project to wipe out terror

AI vs Terror

When we talk about the military application of Artificial Intelligence, the first thought that comes to our mind is The Terminator. Sure everyone loves watching Arnold single-handedly destroying thugs and looking insane while doing it. But the reality is far from it. This month The US Defense Department announced that it was taking a huge leap towards the regular use of AI. The Pentagon also announced the completion of it’s program. the program to bring State-of-the-art AI technology to American military.

Project Maven is helping US Special Operations Command intelligence analysts to identify objects in footage from ScanEagle AI drones. They are using special algorithms to determine potential threats in the battlefield like improvised explosive devices and car bombs.

Project Maven has been operationally deployed in the Middle East to aid in the fight against ISIS. The AI machine is currently operating at 80% accuracy and has correctly identified people, cars and types of building. The team plans to extend the algorithms to smaller tactical drones before incorporating medium-altitude Predator and Reaper drones by next summer.

This marks the first time the military has fielded AI systems using Deep Learning and Neural Networks om the battlefield. Project Maven is nothing like the “Skynet” in Terminator. This AI possesses only narrow intelligence. It can only accomplish the task of monitoring feeds from the drones and virtually nothing else.

“What we’re setting the stage for is a future of human-machine teaming up” – AF LT Gen

Air Force Lt Gen John NT Jack Shanahan told Defense One: “What we’re setting the stage for is a future of human-machine teaming. “This is not machines taking over. This is not a technological solution to a technological problem.“It’s an operational solution to an operational problem.”Shanahan described the mechanism as “prototype warfare”. The team trained the AI by going through hours of archived battlefield footage. The algorithm has been paired with a system called Minotaur, a “correlation and georegistration application”.

Would you like to see The Terminator in action? You know where the comment section is!

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Haven: Edward Snowden backed counter surveillance Android app

The most recognizable whistleblower on the planet, Edward Snowden, is launching an app designed to give users more power in protecting themselves and their stuff. The app, called Haven, turns any Android smartphone into a powerful security device that uses all of the device’s capabilities to protect against attacks on privacy.

It records video, sound, vibration, and detects motion and changes in light, and effectively turns a spare Android smartphone into a watchdog device that can be placed just about anywhere.

Haven
Counter Surveillance in your palm

Haven is an open source app that will run on any Android phone, particularly inexpensive and older devices. It operates like a surveillance system, using the device’s camera, audio recording capability and even accelerometer to detect movement and notify a user. The idea is that, even with the best encryption in the world, a device is vulnerability to physical, in-person tampering — also known as “evil maid” because literally a hotel maid could access it.

“Haven is for people who need a way to protect their personal spaces and possessions without compromising their own privacy,” – Official Website, Haven

The app was developed by The Guardian Project, Freedom Of The Press and Snowden to offer eyes and ears to prevent, or at least increase awareness, of whether a device has been tampered with. “We designed Haven for investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and people at risk of forced disappearance to create a new kind of herd immunity.”

The application works a lot like smart home security systems. It can be customized to detect whatever you want, making it useful as everything from a motion-detecting camera to a discreet audio recorder.

“You shouldn’t have to be saving the world to benefit from Haven,” said Snowden, but acknowledged that the people most likely to be using Haven were paranoid developers and human rights activists in the global south.

Download the app from your play store(beta)!

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Kaspersky Lab asks US court to overturn Trump govt ban

Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab said on Monday it has asked a U.S. court to overturn a Trump administration ban on use of its products in government networks. The firm said the move deprived them of a just process. The Russian Cybersecurity firm has vehemently denied the allegations. They also agreed to have their source code inspected.

In September, the US government gave federal agencies three months to remove the firm’s security software. It came amid mounting concern among U.S. officials that the software could risk Russian espionage and threaten national security.

Kaspersky
Kaspersky Lab has denied any involvement with Kremlin

 

The US ban cited “the ties between certain officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from the firm and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks”.

“DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab’s reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company,” Eugene Kaspersky

KasperskyKaspersky, which was founded by Eugene Kaspersky, a former software engineer in the Soviet intelligence service, is based in Moscow. The company has repeatedly denied it has ties to any government and said it would not help a government with cyber espionage. Further investigation is pending.

 

It comes two months after the Cybersecurity firm offered to submit source codes for its software to be inspected by an independent party, a move US officials said was welcome but was deemed insufficient. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It’s also unclear whether the company still has plans to open offices in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Kaspersky users: Leave us your thoughts in the comment section!

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Nvidia’s New Titan V aimed at speeding up AI processing

The CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang showed up at a gathering of artificial intelligence researchers in Long Beach, California. He started this week with a couple of big surprises.

One was an orchestral piece of music inspired from the Star Wars franchise, but composed by an AI program from Belgian startup AIVA. It obviously relies on Nvidia chips. The music was an instant hit among a crowd of AI geeks attending the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference, known as NIPS. This included some giants in the field like Nicholas Pinto, head of deep learning at Apple, and Yann LeCun, director of AI Research at Facebook.

Huang started off by mentioning how competitive the AI chip market has become. Analysts say sales of specialized microprocessors for use with AI programs like machine learning and image recognition will grow astronomically. The expected growth is from about $500 million last year to $20 billion to $30 billion within five years. Nvidia has the edge over it’s competitors Intel and Advanced Micro devices. With the former developing AI-focused chips from its 2016 acquisition of Nervana Systems.

Nvidia Titan V
The new Titan V offers unparalleled performance in AI computing

 

Planning to stay ahead of them , Huang had a new graphics card called the Titan V to show off in Long Beach. Suitable for installing in ordinary PCs, the Titan V contains Nvidia’s latest “Volta” chip design with some 21 billion individual transistors. Priced at $3,000, the Titan V comes just eight months after Nvidia unveiled its Titan Xp design. It was based on its earlier “Pascal” chips.

“Our vision for Volta was to push the outer limits of high performance computing and AI. We broke new ground with its new processor architecture. instructions, numerical formats, memory architecture and processor links.” said Huang.

“With TITAN V, we are putting Volta into the hands of researchers and scientists all over the world. I can’t wait to see their breakthrough discoveries!” – Huang.

The new card is a little more than double the price but offers up to nine times faster performance. It was tested on major AI apps like Google’s TensorFlow software, Amazon’s MXNet and Facebook’s Caffe 2, Nvidia said. The older Nvidia card competed head on with AMD’s similarly priced Vega Frontier Edition, but the Titan V may prompt the need for a higher-priced, higher-performing AMD reply if it catches on.

Leave your thoughts about Nvidia’s Titan V in the comments below!

 

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Elon Musk’s Tesla builds world’s largest battery in Australian outback

An Australian official confirmed on Friday that the world’s largest lithium ion battery has been plugged into an Australian state grid. It’s creator none other than Tesla whose Chief Executive, Elon Musk had promised he would build it “within 100 days or free.”

Battery
Tesla notes that the battery will help solve the state’s power shortage woes, and assist during summertime peak loads

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill announced that the battery began dispatching power into the state grid Thursday afternoon.  It provided 70 megawatts as temperatures topped 86 degrees.

“The completion of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible” –  Tesla

 

Battery
South Australia has been crippled by energy problems, and suffered a state-wide blackout last September

The official launch of the battery came about 60 days after the deal was agreed upon. But more importantly, it came on the first day of the Australian summer. It is the season when power usage soars due to air conditioning use.

Tesla says the battery has the capacity to power 30,000 homes for up to an hour. Even in the event of a blackout. Tesla also added that it is more likely to be utilized to boost supply during peak demand periods.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy, delivered to homes and businesses 24/7” – Weatherill

Tesla partnered with Neoen to complete the project. It is more than three times larger than the previous record-holder at Mira Loma, Calif. Musk says “We are proud to be part of South Australia’s renewable energy future, and hope this project provides a model for future deployments around the world.”

Learn more about Tesla’s energy project here

Leave your thoughts about the World’s largest battery in the comments below!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Android Development

Let’s say you have a stunning idea for an application. You cannot wait to see everyone using it and just the idea of downloads, reviews and comments gets you excited. You’re ready to build the greatest app ever but there’s just one tiny problem: You don’t know where to start Android Development!

Learning to code is easy, it’s the mastery that takes intense practice and experience. Android development can be a bit more complicated. Not only do you need to understand Java, you also need to install all the Android-specific software and learn all of the unique features of Android app development.

In general, creating an Android app requires the SDK (Software Development Kit), an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like Android Studio or Eclipse, the JDK (Java Software Development Kit) and a virtual device to test on.

Now we know that this may seem a little unnerving at first glance. Our objective is to provide you with a clear guide and to try and make your learning experience simple. And by the end of this article, you should have a basic app that you can start experimenting with. Here at Learn2Create, we will take the Android Studio approach.

You should grab a coffee first though, this may take a while!

Step 1: Download Android Studio

Before you get to that, first you need to install Java on your device. You will find the necessary documents and download links here.

Linux users can check official documentationInstructions to download and Install Java

To program in most languages, you need a piece of software called an IDE or ‘Integrated Development Environment’. The most common IDE for Android development is Android Studio, which comes direct from Google itself. You can get it here.

Android Development
Android Studio: The Official IDE for Android

What’s great about Android Studio is that it is designed specifically for Android development (unlike the second most popular option, Eclipse). This means that when you download the software, you’ll also get a lot of the other bits you need including the Android SDK and the Android Virtual Device, which is an emulator you can test your apps on.

Android Development
Eclipse is a great alternative to Android Studio

As mentioned, there are some alternatives to Android Studio. Eclipse is an older IDE that can be used for Android Development and developing other things too (such as iOS apps) and that is a bit more flexible overall. It’s also a much more fiddly to get started with though and not nearly as beginner-friendly.

Another great alternative for Android Development is Basic4Android. Basic4Android is an IDE that lets you code Android apps with the BASIC programming language. It simplifies many things and is mainly focused on ‘rapid development’. There are other options too, such as Unity3D and numerous app builders, each of which has specific strengths and weaknesses depending on what you’re planning on building.

Step 2: Set Up Android Studio for Android Development

Now that you have Android Studio installed, you are well on your way to Android Development. Before we begin, you need to install Java on your machine to use Android Studio. To be specific, you have to install the Java Development Kit (JDK). Java is the programming language you’re going to be using to build your apps in this instance and you need to install the JDK in order for Android Studio to be able to interpret and compile your code. You’ll find the JDK here. Just download and follow the instructions to install.

Click on Android Studio to begin. A menu with some configurations comes up and select as you wish.

There are three vital things interacting when you use Android Studio to create your apps.

  • Android Studio itself, which is an IDE that provides you with a nice interface for coding.
  • The code you write in Java, which you installed a moment ago…
  • And the Android SDK which you’ll access through your Java code in order to do Android-type things

 

Step 3: Starting a New Project

Once you’ve installed your samples, you can go back to the first page you saw when you loaded up Android Studio. Now you want to choose Start a new Android Studio Project – excited?

Enter the name you want for your application and your ‘company domain’. Together these elements will be used to create your package name with the following format:

com.companyname.appname

Android Development

Eventually, the package will be the APK (‘Android Package File’) that will be compiled. It is this APK that you will later upload to the Google Play Store. There are ways that people can see this, so if you’re planning on making something you’ll eventually release, try to avoid using weird words.

Also, enter the directory where you want to save all the files related to your app. Click Next and yay! More options! Don’t worry, we’re almost there… Next you need to decide what type of device you’re going to be developing for and in this case we’ll start with the Phone and Tablet option. Other options are TV, Wear and Glass.

Step 4: Almost there!

The other choice you have to make at this stage is the ‘Minimum SDK’. This is the lowest version of Android you want to support. Why not just enter the latest version of Android in here? The best bet at this stage is to go with the default option, so just leave this field as it is.

Android DevelopmentOn the next page, you’ll be given the option to pick the way you want your app to look at the start. This will be the look of your main ‘Activity Module’ which is basically the main page of your app. Think of these like templates; do you want to have the title of your app along the top of the screen, or do you want your UI to fill the whole display?

For your first creation, you’ll probably make something really simple that just displays a single, basic activity. Select ‘Basic Activity’ to keep things simple at the moment and for all practical purposes, this will now be your app. Click Next again you get the last options.

Now you get to pick the name for your activity and the layout name (if you chose ‘Basic Activity’ you’ll also have the title option and the ‘menu_resource’ name). The activity name is how you’ll refer to your activities in your code, so call it something logical like ‘MainActivity’. Can’t screw that up eh?

Lastly, choose a name for the menu and for the title. Pick something neat for the title, as your users will be able to see this at some point. Click next and finally you can see the app you created!

Basic Steps to start Android Development:

  • Download and install Android Studio, making sure to include the Android SDK
  • Install Java SDK
  • Start a new project and select the basic details

Just a reminder: When you’ve done all this once, you can forget about it forever and focus on the cool stuff: creating apps!

 

That’s it from us at Learn2Create! We will provide you with further reference links that we found to be great resources to learn Android Development. Adios!

YouTube Channel : Android Developers

Tutorials : Tutorials point

Official Documentation: Getting Started: Android Studio

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Google Pixel 2 Event: Home mini, Home Max, Pixelbook and more

The wait is over! The day for the Google Pixel 2 event has come. It’s a big day for the company, which is expected to reveal its new pair of flagship smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

They’ll be the first new phones from the company in a year, since the original Pixel came out last August. It’s also the first we’ve heard from Google’s hardware team since they sort-of acquired HTC two weeks ago, bringing the team who built the Pixel in-house. Google Home was also a major topic of buzz at the event.

The Pixel 2 is here!

Google Pixel 2
“The best of hardware, software and AI”

The phones look like we expected: the smaller phone has a rather chunky, iPhone 8-style bezel, but with an OLED screen, while the XL phone has a full-screen display, more like the iPhone X or Galaxy S8. Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL revealed with edge-to-edge screen and no home button

“Feel free to choose whichever size pixel you want, because we don’t set aside better features for the larger device”, Queiroz says, in a diss at the iPhones

It comes in two sizes, a 5” and a 6” XL, and we’re back to the buzzwords for today: “the best of hardware, software and AI”. Google’s borrowed an idea from HTC. And you can now squeeze the phone to enable the assistant. Which Ellis does, then takes a selfie.

More interestingly, the Pixel 2 camera has a portrait mode, like the iPhone Pluses, but thanks to Google’s “computational photography”, it can do it with just one camera. That means can take a high depth-of-field image from the selfie camera, as well as the back camera on both the large and small devices.

The Pixel 2 will cost $649, and the Pixel 2 XL $849.

Pixel 2 homescreen
We think this looks gorgeous!

Both can be pre-ordered today in six countries including US, UK and Australia, though Queiroz didn’t give a shipping date – rumour has it the XL will be shipping considerably later than the smaller Pixel.

To make up for that, perhaps, Pixel 2 owners will get a free Google Home Mini for a limited time.

 

Google Home mini

Google Pixel 2
The Google mini home looks curvy!
  • Voice Match – how Google Home can now recognise your voice. This way the Google Assistant can bring personal help to each member of your home.
  • It has a new fabric, designed by Google itself, apparently, and can be connected to any chromecast enabled speaker. It comes in three colours
  • If you have a Nest cam, you can ask Google Home to show your camera on your TV if you have Chromecast.

    GooglePixel
    The next video doorbell

Basically, Nest has teamed up with Google to integrate Google home with Next products to achieve ease of access and security to lighting, thermostat, and cameras. It remains to see if this is implemented as elegantly as it looks on paper!

Google home Max

The Google Home Max is a supersized version of the smart home speaker.

Google pixel 2
Google Home Max is a supersized version of the smart home speaker

 

The tech giant has announced the Home Max, a larger version of its Home smart speaker designed to compete against Apple’s HomePod and Sonos. The Home Max is a stereo speaker running Google Assistant that resembles Apple’s old Hi-Fi speaker from over a decade ago.

“Just like the Pixel reimagined the camera, we’ll do the same with sound,” Chandra says.

Home Max features two 4.5-inch woofers alongside tweeters covered by a fabric speaker grille. It also includes far-field microphones that Google says will be able to hear you when the music is playing.

Google Pixelbook

Google pixel 2
Google Pixelbook: Premium Chrome OS convertible with new design, ‘Pen’ stylus

It’s a small, sleek Chrome OS laptop: 10mm thick, 1kg heavy, with a fold-back screen that lets you use it as a tablet. It has a 12.3” touchscreen, and a backlit keyboard, with up to 16GB RAM and up to 512GB storage and a 10 hour battery.

You can speak to this laptop too, since it’s the first laptop with Google Assistant built in. To Vokoun’s credit, he acknowledges the weirdness, and the Pixelbook lets you type your request too. It also comes with a stylus: the Pixelbook Pen.

  • Charging over USB-C, there is fast charging with a charge providing 10 hours of usage.
  • Meanwhile, Google Assistant can be activated via the “Ok Google” hotword or by typing through a dedicated key.

“The next big innovation will happen at the intersection of AI, software, and hardware.”

Upgraded Daydream

Google Pixel 2 - VR
The Google VR headset

Juston Payne comes on stage to introduce the upgraded Daydream View headset, with new lenses and new fabrics. It has more than 250 VR titles, and you can now cast your VR experience to the TV. That’ll cost $99.

 

 

Google’s also bringing out some wireless headphones. To make up for the lack

Google Pixel 2 - Buds
Google claims it can support real-time translation in 40 languages through the Pixel Buds.

of  headphone jack on the Pixel 2. Called Pixel Buds, they’re not truly wireless earbuds – they’ve got a connecting cable running between the two ears – but they do work directly with Google Assistant.

 

One more thing (Obviously!)

Pixel 2 Google Clips
Google Clips is a tiny camera that uses AI to automatically photograph family moments

One last product from Juston: Google Clips, a lifebloggy-style camera that takes pictures automatically: “turn it on, and it captures the moment, so you can be in the moment.” Stick it to your wall while you’re playing with a pet, for instance, and the camera will snap images when you’re both in frame. It’s “coming soon” for $249.

That’s it from us at Learn2Create! Leave us a comment about your thoughts on the Pixel 2 Event.

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Check out the list of latest releases by Google in it’s product page.

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What to expect from the Google Pixel 2 event

Google Pixel 2 :

It’s been an year since Google revealed the Pixel. The first smartphone designed and sold by the company, and prided itself on being the best smartphone for Android around. It’s 2017 and the tech giant is gearing up to launch the next generation: The Pixel 2! Google is setting high expectations. Its teaser video makes claims that its phones can solve problems like bad photos, storage, battery life, software updates, and more.

A series of rumors from sources like Android Authority and Droid Life have claimed that Google will be expanding its hardware presence in a big way with new Google Home devices. A new high-end Chromebook, and new Daydream VR headsets are also expected.

It looks like Google’s tech event is going to be one of the biggest tech releases from the company in years.
Here’s what to expect:

New Pixels

It looks like Google has a few products up it’s sleeve to announce at the tech event. Nevertheless, the limelight is expected to be focused on the two new phones to directly succeed Google’s existing lineup: a Pixel 2, and a larger Pixel 2 XL.

Of the two devices, the Pixel 2 XL is rumored to be the bigger upgrade. The larger phone is said to be getting a new screen design with reduced bezels. It reminds us of the Samsung Galaxy S8, while the Pixel 2 is will supposedly offer a similar design to the original.

Pixel 2 leak
The leaked images show brilliant design and finish

Android Authority claims to have gotten a hold of the specs for the new devices. Which look like some big improvements across the board. Both phones are said to be getting a similar “squeeze” interaction to the HTC U11. Also included is optical image stabilization for the cameras. The new phones are rated for IP67 water resistance, which would put them on par with Apple’s latest iPhones.

 

Pixel 2 homescreen
Rumors suggest a beautiful homescreen

Google also seems to be updating the home screen on the new Pixels. If accurate, the new devices will move the search bar from the top of the device to below the main dock, and add a new, minimalistic widget that offers information like calendar and weather.

It seems that Google may be holding off on the release, with the Pixel 2 said to launch on October 19th, while the Pixel 2 XL would be pushed off until November 15th. which if true would mean that Google would have to contend with direct competition from Apple’s iPhone X, which comes out November 3rd.

Return of the High-end Chromebooks

Google Pixelbook is going to be the future of high end chromebooks. It looks to be a successor to Google’s original Chromebook Pixel.

The Pixelbook will sell at the ultra-premium end of the Chromebook market like the Chromebook Pixel. Starting at $1,199, it may come with a separate stylus accessory similar to the Apple Pencil that will cost an extra $99.

Updated Daydream VR

Pixel 2 DDVR
The updated Daydream VR  looks smooth!

Also expected at the Pixel launch is a new Daydream VR headset. It will probably come in three colors — charcoal, fog, and coral — and a more expensive $99 price point.(versus the current headset’s $79).

Beyond the fact that the headsets seem to exist, though, there’s still not a lot of information as to what the benefits will be with the new model over the original one.

One more thing?

Despite all the leaks, there may be features that are still under wraps. And we at Learn2Create haven’t forgotten Google is a software company first. So here’s to expecting a bunch of surprises!

The Pixel 2 event will kick off on Wednesday, October 4th at 9:30 p.m. IST; 9 a.m. PT; 12 noon ET; 5 p.m. London; 3 a.m. (Thursday) Sydney.