Learn more about the world around you with Google Lens and the Assistant

Google Lens will be available in English on the Google Assistant in all Pixel phones in Singapore in the coming weeks. The feature, which builds on Google's advancements in machine learning, allows you to learn more about what’s in front of you and get things done at the same time.
For example, with Google Lens in Photos, you can get information about a landmark, but with Google Lens, it enables you to find out about things around you and even ask follow-up questions or get things done.
These are some of the things you can do with Google Lens and the Assistant:
  • Look up products by barcode, or scan QR codes.
  • Save information like email addresses, phone numbers etc. from a text, like on business cards.
  • Learn more about a movie, book or record by checking out the cover with Google Lens.
  • Learn fun facts about the painter of artwork in a museum.
  • Find out more about landmarks when you go on trips.

Softbank’s potential investment in Uber

Regarding Softbanks potential investment in Uber over the weekend, Mergermarkets research editor Elizabeth Lim has commented below about the deal:  
  • Sunday’s news of SoftBank’s bid with a consortium for a significant stake in Uber shows the company’s continued effort to be the king of high-profile start-ups.
  • SoftBank also owns stakes in other ride-sharing startups around the globe, including Brazil’s 99Taxis, China’s Didi Chuxing, and India’s Ola, though it does not currently have a stake in Uber’s main competitor in the US, Lyft.
  • To date this year, the company has engaged in a record 29 transactions, almost 5x the number for the whole of last year, and with only one transaction having lapsed – a US$1.8 billion attempt to acquire Luxembourg - based satellite provider Intelsat in the first half of the year.
  • SoftBank’s buys have been fairly representative of a market share grab taking place throughout the industry, and have ranged from medical testing start-ups (Guardant Health) to budding autonomous vehicle companies (Nauto) to artificial intelligence (Appier; Petuum) and robotics firms (Boston Dynamics; Schaft) to co-working spaces (WeWork). Investments have especially picked up following the Vision Fund’s formation and close with US$93 billion.
  • Deals that have closed over just the last few months have included such ventures as a US$250 million bid with Accel for popular messaging platform Slack, a US$114 million bid with Qualcomm Ventures for autonomous robot company Brain Corporation, a bid as part of a consortium of sponsors for an undisclosed consideration of indoor farming start-up Plenty, and the full-on acquisition of US cyberdefense company Cybereason, also for an undisclosed consideration, among many others.
  • Most of SoftBank’s bids have been as part of various consortia – altogether, they have taken stakes in companies worth a combined US$25 billion so far this year, with no sign of letting up on that momentum.
  • Uber has attempted to move past its recent woes by resolving certain issues within its board, which paved the way for this investment to take place. With plans for an IPO in 2019, SoftBank's stake buy and two new board seats signal a move forward finally for the ride sharing company.

ICICI bank launch India’s first voice base remittance service

ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, today announced the launch of India's first voice-based international remittance service to enable non-resident Indians (NRIs) to send money to any bank in India.

With this new feature in the ICICI Bank's Money2India app, an NRI customer can instantly initiate a remittance to his/her existing payees in India with just a simple voice command to Apple's virtual voice assistant, Siri, on his/her Apple iPhone / iPad.

A first-of-its kind cross border remittance service by a bank in the country, it improves customer's convenience significantly as it replaces a five-step process, which was required to initiate a remittance to India earlier.
Alex Lew, CFA