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The best Google alternative I’ve tried yet

This week, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time playing EA Sports FC 24, a new soccer game that was launched in full on Friday. I’ve also been reading about Apple’s aspirations to revolutionize sports television, the genuinely insane Survivor casting process, and Sam Altman’s plan to either rescue or kill the planet. I’ve been binge-watching Special Ops: Lioness, blasting NSYNC’s new song, and taking extensive notes on Kashmir Hill’s amazing Longform interview.

also have new VR AR MR headset, browser you should use everywhere, great Android launcher, some Baldur’s Gate fanfiction, and much more for you.

Ok let’s go.

The Drop

*Meta Quest 3:

It’s no longer VR; it’s mixed reality. The $499.99 Quest 3 appears to be a significant advance over the Quest 2, and a quick demo revealed some really impressive mixed reality capabilities. But I have a real curiosity: do you care about headsets? Are they the future, too early, or completely stupid? I believe they’re incredibly amazing gaming consoles and perhaps cool TV sets. But I’m curious what you think! Send me an email with your views (and favorite Quest applications, if you have them) to [email protected].

*The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar:

I love a good filmmaking experiment, and this one has been particularly enjoyable: Wes Anderson created a series of short films based on Roald Dahl stories, which have been available on Netflix this week. It’s sort of a show, kind of a four-part movie, kind of an old-fashioned web series? It’s lovely whatever it is.

*ChatGPT’s voice commands :

This week, ChatGPT regained its capacity to explore the web in real time, and it evolved into a really useful voice assistant. (At least for the time being, you’ll need the $20 a month ChatGPT Plus membership to get them.) I now ask ChatGPT all the questions Siri never seems to get right, and the results are rather amazing. It still makes mistakes and can’t do simple tasks like share a link, but it’s the most useful voice assistant I’ve used.

*macOS Sonoma :

This apparently simple operating system upgrade is included for one reason and one reason only: the screensavers. Apple simply translated those stunning, moving screensavers from the Apple TV to the Mac, and they look fantastic. Also, widgets and everything else. The screensavers, on the other hand.

*Raspberry Pi 5:

A Raspberry Pi is still the best computer tinker toy available. The latest one, which begins at $60, is a spec improvement all around, and it’s just as simple to turn it into a smart home controller / simple media computer / almost anything else you can think of. I’m no computer guru, but I’ve had a lot of fun playing with these for years. And, with the release of the updated Pi OS next month, this one will be much more powerful right out of the box.

*The Creator :

This film contains a concept that I’m sure you’ve heard a million times before: people resisting AI takeovers, what it means to be human, and so on. The Verge’s Charles Pulliam-Moore was left cold by the film’s huge themes, but it seems like completely lovely sci-fi. Definitely one for the big screen.

*The Vivaldi browser :

One of my all-time favorite browsers is Vivaldi. It’s lightning quick, infinitely adaptable, and, as of this week, available almost everywhere! The new iOS app effortlessly syncs with your other browsers and, like previous platforms, provides a plethora of choices and capabilities. (The Android app has been available for a while and is excellent.) Plus, my phone has a real tab bar. You enjoy seeing it.

*Windows 11’s fall update :

The key addition for autumn, according to Microsoft, is Copilot, their built-in AI helper for getting things done throughout the OS. I’m also a fan of the new File Explorer. But I’d argue that the new Paint, which has Photoshop-lite capabilities like layers and transparency as well as AI tools for editing and producing images, will be an even larger victory for most users.

*Windows 11’s fall update :

Microsoft would have you believe that the big addition this autumn is Copilot, their built-in AI helper for getting things done throughout the OS. I’m also a fan of the File Explorer overhaul. But I’d argue that the new Paint — which has Photoshop-lite capabilities like layers and transparency, as well as AI tools for editing and producing pictures — will be an even larger victory for most users.

*Murder in the 21st :

This new program, a true crime series that examines significant investigations and murders through the victims’ digital fingerprints, is likely to be a big hit at my house. Since Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce started hanging out, it’s been the most iconic intersection of my family’s interests.


 

Spotlight

One thing I’ve battled with in Installer is how to talk about things that aren’t new but that not everyone is aware of. I don’t want to bore you with things like, “Have you heard of the iPhone, it’s neat!” but I do see more stuff than the typical internet user, you know? So I thought I’ll try this: if I stumble across something interesting that’s new to me (and probably new to most others), I’ll post a little bit about it and why it’s worth checking out.

First and foremost, and the reason I’ve been thinking about this area at all: I’ve converted to the Kagi search engine. I posted a large tale about Neeva and search a few months back, and everyone said, “Try Kagi! It’s fantastic!” It is, in fact, fantastic. What I enjoy about it is as follows:

It’s customizable : 

Kagi has a comparable appearance to Google and a similar user interface. However, unlike Google, Kagi allows you to ban and promote websites that you prefer. You may even construct “lenses” to exclusively search specific sites or domains – Kagi has a few, such as a “Small Web” lens that favors blogs, forums, and other portions of the web that are often blotted out by the giants.

No ads :

Kagi looks and feels a lot like Google. But, unlike Google, Kagi allows you to ban and promote websites that you prefer. You can even construct “lenses” to exclusively search specific sites or domains — Kagi has a number built in, too, including a “Small Web” lens that favors blogs, forums, and other portions of the web that get blotted out by the giants.

It’s great for videos and podcasts :

It’s nearly difficult to find podcasts. However, I’ve had fairly excellent experience Kagi-ing subjects of interest and locating relevant podcast episodes, and the engine does an equally fantastic job of exploring YouTube for fascinating content.

Its AI is handy but not in the way :

Kagi places a little “Quick Answer” button at the top of many inquiries – click it, and you receive a quick AI-generated answer with cited references you may click on. That’s the amount of AI I’m searching for in the majority of my searches.

The mobile browser is great :

Kagi’s mobile software is a browser called Orion, and it’s as simple as a mobile browser gets. But that’s OK with me! It’s quick and simple to use. You can also apparently download Kagi as an iOS Safari extension, but I haven’t been able to get it to work. (On Android, simply set Kagi as your default search engine; Android is much better at this.)

It seems… good?

I’ve tried almost every search engine, and I always come back to Google because it produces better results. (Or, at the very least, the outcomes I’m hoping for.) With Kagi, I’ve noticed myself using Google less frequently than normal. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’m impressed thus far.

Ten dollars for search when Google exists, is wonderful, and is free is a tall order. But Kagi CEO Vladimir Prelovac tells me the firm is doing well and rapidly growing, and he understands he won’t achieve Google size with Kagi, but he also doesn’t need to. “I have all the respect for Google and their people and technology,” he asserts. “I just don’t like their business model.”

So far, I’m sold simply because I can configure the search engine to do what I want. That’s worth the price to me, at least for the time being. But I’m curious whether you use a search engine other than Google. What might cause you to change your mind?…


 

Screen share

Ash Parrish always appears to be playing 35 games at the same time. She covers everything from the nooks and corners of Hyrule to the massive enterprises of Epic and Unity — and all the mayhem and culture in between — as The Verge’s gaming correspondent. And I’ve learned that if she gets enthused about a game, whether on The Verge or on Slack, I should write it down and play it as soon as possible.

That’s why I invited Ash to share her homescreen with us this week, as well as some of her interests. Because when Ash is into something, it tends to reign. So, here’s what’s on Ash’s homescreen, as well as some information on the apps she uses and why:

best Google

The Phone: A Samsung Galaxy S21 whose life has been spared several times by a low-cost Amazon phone cover.

The Apps:  My homescreen is a mix of important business and communication apps, as well as enjoyable stuff. Slack, X / Twitter, Gmail, and Facebook Messenger (which, curiously, is the major method I connect with my spouse) are all on my phone. Aside from that, I have Google Maps, DoorDash, and a cool photo app called BeautyCam, which shoots the nicest selfies. I have the Overwatch League app so I can keep track of my teams, schedules, and standings because the Grand Finals (which will almost certainly be the final Grand Finals ever) are now underway.

Finally, I’m in Baldur’s Gate 3 hell, cleanly, solidly, and pleasantly. I eat, sleep, and breathe this game, and my mind is so hungry for content that I’ve acquired habits I haven’t had since my days as a Dragon Age fan. I’ve downloaded (or redownloaded) a slew of applications in the hopes of finding the fan material I’m looking for. Archive Reader is the unauthorized Archive of Our Own program that I use to read fanfiction, while Tumblr is for fan art. And, because my preferred Baldur’s Gate 3 partnership isn’t the most well-known, I downloaded Wattpad in the hopes of discovering more fanfiction that meets my requirements. (No, I haven’t. Wattpad… does not have the best stuff.)

The wallpaper: I got married last year, and this is one of my favorite wedding photos. In our sunroom, my husband and I are cutting our cake. Take a look at that dude! He’s adorable!

I also asked Ash to share a few other things she’s into. Here’s what she said:

  • Google Docs. Baldur’s Gate 3 has reawakened one of my primordial driving forces: fanfiction writing. After years away, I’ve returned to writing with a passion I haven’t seen since I was 25 and spent an entire eight-hour shift at my office job writing a 21,000-word story in one sitting.
  • The Roman Empire. You know that meme about how many women don’t realize how much the guys in their lives think about the Roman Empire? So, I’m one of those women that is always thinking about the Roman Empire. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney compared Epic to the Roman Empire in a now-outdated tweet. (The image was taken from a movie and depicted Roman troops in a woodland. I spent about an hour trying to find the battle mentioned in the movie to see whether it was one of the numerous times the Romans were beaten by Germanic tribes, which would have made Sweeney’s tweet weirdly prophetic. My findings were inconclusive.)
  • The Overwatch League. I dislike flesh sports, but I enjoy esports. And the Overwatch League is my favorite esport to watch out of all of them. However, for various reasons, this season will most likely be the last. Worse, I didn’t find this season particularly engaging. But the Hangzhou Spark, a team from a country where Overwatch is not even legally played, recently defeated the team heavily favored to win it all, reminding me how much I enjoy this game. Now I’m cheering for the Spark to win. It would be an appropriate conclusion to something that has given me so much delight.
Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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