Google Diagnoses Your Symptoms, Microsoft Condemns Chrome… [Tech News Digest]

Google helps you determine what’s wrong with you, Microsoft condemns Chrome’s battery life, Facebook pulls a sneaky Messenger trick, Google makes 2SV suck less, and the first trailer for Westworld.

Google Solves Your Symptoms


Google is improving the results it shows people who search their symptoms online. We have probably all done it at some point in our lives, but it’s no fun trawling through websites and forums trying to pinpoint the exact thing we have wrong with us. Which is why Google has acted.

According to Google, roughly 1 percent of all searches made are symptom-related, as people turn to the web first when they get an intense headache or a nasty rash which won’t go away. Google’s new symptom search will show you a list of conditions related to the symptoms you search for, and advise you whether it’s worth a visit to the doctor.

Google manages all this with a combination of health conditions mentioned across the web and actual information colledted from healthcare professionals. Regardless, Google is keen to point out this is only meant as an informational guide based on data, and not medical advice you should follow to the letter.

To be perfectly frank, I wouldn’t advise searching for symptoms online in the first place, as no good can come of it. You could end up scared at the worst-case scenarios painted online, or be led to believe you’re perfectly fine when you’re really not. The only person who can really determine your condition based on your symptoms is a doctor. And not Doctor Google.

Microsoft Claims Edge Beats Chrome

Google Chrome may be the most popular web browser in the world, but being popular doesn’t necessarily equate to being the best. In terms of power consumption, Chrome is certainly not the best, with users having complained to Google for years about Chrome sucking the life out of their batteries.

In an effort to promote its Edge browser, Microsoft has conducted some power consumption tests of its own, pitching Edge against Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. And, lo and behold, Edge comes out on top across the board, with Chrome’s reputation for greedily eating away at batteries confirmed.

Microsoft conducted a number of tests, including the one seen in the video above. Four identical laptops were set off streaming a movie, with the moment their batteries died recorded. The laptop using Chrome dies first, followed by Firefox, then Opera, and lastly Edge. The results were the same when the laptops were set to opening tabs and scrolling through articles.

Absolutely no one who has ever used it will be surprised to find Chrome kills batteries, but the impressive results for Edge should prompt more people to give it a try. As long as they have already bitten the bullet and upgraded to Windows 10, of course.

SMS in Messenger Is Not Mandatory

Facebook now lets you send and receive your SMS text messages from within Messenger, at least on Android. This integration means you can keep all of your messages in one place, helping Facebook grow its platform, and, potentially, helping users keep track of everything. That is, if you don’t like the idea of Google Jibe.

However, it’s important to note that SMS in Messenger is an entirely optional feature. Unfortunately, there has been some confusion because of the aggressive way Facebook has offered the feature to users. Rather than asking users if they want to turn the feature on or not, clicking “OK” to acknowledge you have read the notice turns the feature on. You have to click the smaller, less visible “Settings” to decline.

After fears this slightly underhanded behaviour contravended Google Play policies, Facebook told Engadget:

“SMS in Messenger is an optional feature. People can choose whether or not they wish to use it. When they first see the prompt, they can choose to start seeing their SMS messages in Messenger by turning on the feature, or they can decide not to by tapping ‘Settings’. If they decide to see SMS messages in Messenger and to also reply to messages from Messenger, we’ll ask people to approve any new device permissions that are required. Messenger doesn’t modify any device settings without people agreeing to it.”

Google Improves 2-Step Verification

Google has enacted a change to the way 2-Step Verification (2SV) works, and it makes the whole process much simpler. Google formerly required most people to confirm their identity by entering a verification code sent via text message to their phone. But no longer.

You can now choose to verify your identity by interacting with a direct push notification. After enabling the option, you’ll see a notification when you try to sign in, and can just choose, “Yes, Allow Sign-In” to continue. If you’re not trying to sign in you choose, “No, Deny Sign-In” instead.

This new option is available both on Android and on iOS. Android users need to have Google Play Services installed, and can enable the feature thusly: My Account > Sign-in & security > Signing in to Google > 2-step Verification. iOS users need to have the Google Search app installed.

Watch the First Westworld Trailer

And finally, while the latest season of Game of Thrones may be drawing to a close after the epic Battle of the Bastards, HBO has a new show ready to fill the void. Westworld, a TV show based on a 1973 film by Michael Crichton, is “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”

Westworld is set in a futuritistic theme park which imitates the American Old West. People go to live out their cowboy fantasties of gunslinging and whoring, but things start to go awry when the robots populating Westworld start to develop sentience. Westworld is due to air in October 2016.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you ever Googled your own symptoms? Does Chrome drain your battery? Do you use SMS in Messenger? Do you use Google’s 2-Step Verification? What do you think of HBO’s Westworld?

Please let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Tony Webster via Flickr

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