Shanghai market crashes, Europe moves up, US markets confused; Google Docs add Voice typing
Morning Brief: Google has added Voice typing to Google Doc when using the Chrome browser, while Apple leaks that Siri will be baked into the next major release of Mac OS X
The stock market is in free fall, or it’s rising, or it is treading water. Whatever you think they are doing, they are doing it today.
Chinese markets fell sharply on Thursday, with the Shanghai Composite Index falling more than 6 percent. The move comes days after Xiao Gang, head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, was replaced by government officials.
In the past, such a strong sell off in the Chinese markets would lead to similar falls in Europe and in the US. But European markets moved in the opposite direction, with UK, Italian and French markets all up more than 2 percent, and the German DAX rising 1.5 percent.
US markets are set to open nearly flat or modestly up – seemingly oblivious to Europe and Asia. What supposedly has been driving the US market has been oil prices which fell below $30 a barrel recently, but now is around $32 and trading only pennies lower today.
Google is moving swiftly to add voice commands to its services, announcing today that the company had launched Voice typing in Google Docs. The function, of course, only works when using the Chrome browser, but that shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle since Chrome is the most popular browser worldwide. (I keep an ad blocker on Chrome and none on Safari in order to be able to quickly compare websites.)
Google has a very necessary help page available with both an FAQ and Voice commands guide.
My own test showed the service to be very useful.
Apple must have known that Google was about to roll out this service because they leaked it that Siri will be baked into the next major release of the Mac operating system, OS X 10.12, to be released in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
Macs already allow for dictation, but the mechanism is a bit clunky. Now, if reports are true, Siri for the Mac will live in the Menu Bar, so it will be more instantly available – and, of course, you will be able to use it for far more things than just dictation.
It’s interesting that Apple remains somewhat stuck with prescheduled releases. The company dropped its participation in Macworld saying they no longer wanted to be constrained by predetermined dates when new products would be expected. Then they set up the September time period for iPhone releases, and the June time for software previews and releases. The result is the same, Apple is locked into released schedules.
The good side of this is that developers and consumers kind of know what to expect; the bad side is that sometimes products are not ready in time but might be rushed to release, and sometimes they are ready earlier.