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SOUQ.com Announces Record Sales During White Friday 2017

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SOUQ.com today announced that the number of items sold during White Friday 2017 more than doubled compared to last year – making it the biggest shopping event in SOUQ history. An unprecedented one million deals were on offer during the event, and 18 items were sold per second during peak times. Customers enjoyed the four-day online shopping event and over 70 per cent of customers shopped through mobile devices across the region.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Co-Founder and CEO, SOUQ.com.

Products from over 16,000 international  fashion, beauty, electronics, grocery and other brands were on offer during SOUQ White Friday 2017 from the 22nd to 25th November across the GCC and Egypt. Almost half of payments during the event were through made through e-payment methods instead of cash, the highest SOUQ has seen in the region to date. This surge is a testament to customers’ rising confidence in online shopping and online payments.

Commenting on the record-breaking numbers, Ronaldo Mouchawar, Co-Founder and CEO, SOUQ.com, said: “We’d like to thank our customers who shopped with us on White Friday – we welcomed seven times more new customers during this shopping event compared to an average day. Our teams and thousands of sellers worked hard to make White Friday a great event for our customers – with over a million deals in total. It is exciting to see that so many customers used our convenient online payment options and our mobile App. Our teams will keep working to delight our customers by adding more products and selection, improving delivery times and offering first-rate customer service.”

SOUQ.com is constantly innovating on behalf of its customers to offer a seamless online shopping experience. SOUQ had invested heavily in local operations in the UAE, KSA and Egypt by expanding its fulfillment center (FC) facilities, upgrading technology, increasing local resources and adding pickup points ahead of White Friday to prepare for the high volume of orders. Hundreds of full-time and temporary FC associates were added ahead of the event to provide an impeccable shopping experience to customers.

Parikshit, SOUQ customer in the UAE said, “SOUQ White Friday sales is probably the best thing that happened to me this week! Bought a TV and it got delivered in a day.” Ali, an avid online shopper from the UAE commented, “SOUQ order delivered at competitive price that you can’t find in the local market and fast delivery despite high demand. Thank you SOUQ.com for the great deals and discounts.”

Nawaf, SOUQ customer in the KSA said, “The culture of White Friday spread across the region thanks to SOUQ and now this culture is ready to be extended to the rest of the world, a great team work and their efforts crowned with success.” Rabea from Jeddah said,” Thanks SOUQ, despite heavy rains in Jeddah I received my order within one day.”

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Gemini Advanced and Gemini Mobile App Are Now Available in Arabic

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Google is expanding Gemini’s mobile experience to Arabic speakers globally, making it available as a dedicated app for Android users and accessible within the Google app for iOS devices. Google is also introducing Gemini Advanced in Arabic, the latest conversational AI model by Google, to users under the Google One AI Premium plan.

People can have free access to Gemini 1.0 Pro on their phones to easily collaborate with the best of Google AI; whether by typing, talking or adding an image for all kinds of help while they are on the go. For Android, users can now download the ‘Google Gemini’ app available on Google Play and have the option to make Gemini their primary assistant from Google. As for iOS users, they can use or download the ‘Google’ app and tap the Gemini toggle to begin exploring.

Additionally, users can upgrade to Gemini Advanced, which is now available in Arabic, to access Google’s latest conversational AI model, Gemini 1.5 Pro. The model is more capable at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions and collaborating on creative projects. Users can access a two-month free trial of Gemini Advanced, and then subscribe to the monthly plan.

​​Commenting on the launch, Najeeb Jarrar, Google’s Regional Marketing Director in MENA, said: “We’re excited to bring Gemini a step closer to Arabic-speaking users in MENA and beyond, ensuring more people can supercharge their creativity and productivity with Gemini. Starting today, users can now tap on the benefits of generative AI directly from their phones and interact with other Google apps and services for more instant and personalized outcomes.”

People can also interact with other Google apps and services through extensions provided by Gemini in English and Arabic. With the extensions, released a few weeks ago, people can get real-time flight and hotel booking info for planning purposes, get location-based information from Google Maps and summarize specific content from Google Docs or Gmail right in the Gemini app. To activate the extensions feature, users can type (@) followed by the tool, including YouTube, Maps, Docs, Gmail & Drive.

Gemini, known previously as Bard, was launched in Arabic last July. Gemini understands questions in over 16 Arabic dialects and in turn shares responses in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). In May, Google announced the latest developments of the Gemini era and the future of AI during Google I/O – more of these features are coming to Arabic and the MENA region soon.

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Hold Onto Your Seats, Android Users: A Fart Button is Coming!

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Get ready, Android users, for a quirky addition to your phone calls: a fart button.

As revealed by 9to5Google, users on the beta update channel of the Google Phone app are discovering a fresh menu during their calls, titled “Audio Emoji.” This unexpected feature equips callers with a soundboard boasting six different sound effects, audible to both parties on the call. Among these effects are clapping, laughter, celebratory cheers, a sorrowful trombone tune, a “ba dum tss,” and, peculiarly, flatulence. Despite the term “emoji,” the only emoji-like aspect is the use of emojis as buttons to trigger the sounds.

Accompanying these audio emojis are brief animations that complement the sound effects. Notably, there’s a rather distasteful depiction of a “chocolate ice cream cone” squelching to the ground amidst buzzing flies. It’s not hard to guess which emoji corresponds to this effect. It appears that these animations may be exclusive to the sender, although their visibility for the receiver is uncertain, especially if they also have audio emojis activated.

The full extent of this feature’s functionality remains to be seen, as it’s gradually rolling out. I didn’t encounter it on my Pixel 8 Pro, and Google hasn’t officially announced it yet.

If you find yourself confronted with the Audio Emoji menu and prefer not to encounter a miniature cartoon poop in your calls, you can deactivate the menu by tapping an “X” located in its top right corner. However, it’s unclear whether this action prevents friends from sending sound effects your way.

Fortunately, there’s a cooldown period between emojis, which means you won’t be bombarded with a flurry of fart sounds followed by a sad trombone and a punchline sound effect. With Google I/O, the tech giant’s premier hardware and software event for 2024, just around the corner, let’s hope Google has more substantial innovations to unveil on May 14th.

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Huawei Launches Painting App Called GoPaint

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Huawei has announced the upcoming launch of GoPaint, a brand-new self-developed painting app designed specifically for tablets. This exciting development marks Huawei’s entry into the digital art app market, further solidifying their commitment to empowering creative expression.

The GoPaint app promises a wealth of features for both seasoned artists and aspiring creators. It boasts a comprehensive brush library developed in collaboration with a top art team, ensuring a diverse range of tools for various artistic styles. User-friendly features and intuitive design make GoPaint accessible even for beginners, with a full set of tutorials included to guide users on their creative journey.

This launch comes after the resounding success of Huawei’s GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity in 2023, highlighting the growing demand for digital art tools. By leveraging valuable user insights from the industry’s first smart device vendor to launch a self-developed painting app, Huawei aims to elevate the user experience and make artistic creation accessible to all. Their core concept of “Creation of Beauty” underscores this commitment.

Huawei’s decade-long expertise in the tablet market positions them perfectly to launch this innovative app. Their industry-leading tablets, like the HUAWEI MatePad Pro 13.2″, boast features like the first large flexible OLED display and seamless integration with the pressure-sensitive HUAWEI M-Pencil (3rd generation). Combining this cutting-edge hardware with the powerful GoPaint app creates a perfect ecosystem for artistic creation.

Huawei is poised to become a trailblazer in the digital art world by bridging the gap between its innovative hardware and software. The GoPaint app, expected to be unveiled at the HUAWEI Innovative Product Launch on May 7th, signifies a new era for creative expression on Huawei tablets. With its comprehensive features, user-friendly design, and beginner-friendly tutorials, GoPaint empowers both established artists and aspiring talents to unlock their creative potential.

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